'Friends' trivia: 10 lesser known facts about the show

The 'Friends' cast during their reunion (Image via HBOmax)
The 'Friends' cast during their reunion (Image via HBOmax)

If one were to write a book on the influence of Friends, it would almost never end. Such was the impact of the show that, over 15 years after the airing of the final episode, it remains a household name, with thousands streaming it on a daily basis.

Friends has fans from all walks of life. And while there are also some superfans who are up-to-date everything there is to know about the sitcom, not everyone may be as well-informed. With that in mind, here are 10 interesting facts about the show.

10 'Friends' facts you may not know

1) Phoebe and Chandler were written as side characters

It is almost impossible to imagine Friends without the regular presence of the two most important characters in the show - Phoebe Buffay and Chandler Bing. However, Friends was originally supposed to be a four-character show, with Phoebe and Chandler showing up occasionally. Fans will no doubt be glad that the creators did not go for the original decision!

2) Courtney Cox was the original Rachael

Control-freak Monica is now unimaginable as being played by anyone but Courtney Cox. However, in the first draft of the show, she was picked for the role of Rachael Green instead. When Jennifer Anniston was cast for the role of Monica Gellar, Courtney Cox suggested a switch would suit them better, and the rest is history.

3) Gunther was supposed to be a silent background character

James Michael Tyler's character Gunther was a hilarious presence in Friends. The writers did not intend to use him for comic purposes, but the first time they gave him a line in the second season, he shone bright with his comic timing. It led the writers to develop Gunther's character into a funnier, more inclusive part of the show.

4) Monica's apartment number is inconsistent

A smart cover-up trick by the producers was changing the number of Monica's flat from 5 to 20 (hoping no one would notice). This was done due to the original inconsistency of having a flat which seems to be quite high but has a number plate indicating a first or second-floor flat.

5) David Schwimmer was a director for 10 episodes

David Schwimmer is undoubtedly one of the most talented actors in the cast, given his glistening film and TV career. However, a lesser-known fact is that he has also directed as many as 10 episodes of Friends, including "The One with the Red Sweater."

6) Matthew Perry was a writer for his own character

Matthew Perry fit the role of Chandler Bing like a glove. Not only did he puff life into the well-written character, but he went a step further to own it by co-writing a lot of Chandler's scenes and dialog.

7) Monica and Chandler was supposed to be a one-time thing

Chandler and Monica were only supposed to hook up once, with Ross and Rachael being the focus couple of Friends instead. However, due to the great reception, the writers decided to keep it going for a few more episodes.

However, as everyone knows, it eventually went to the point of being turned into a marriage, a home and a family, making them the real couple in Friends.

8) Lisa Kudrow wrote "Smelly Cat"

The guitar was an integral part of Phoebe's character, but Lisa Kudrow initially hated playing it. However, it grew on her over time, and she ended up writing Phoebe's magnum opus "Smelly Cat."

9) The credit sequence of Friends was shot at midnight/early morning

The main credit scene near the fountain was only shot once. The timing, though, was a bit odd. It was four in the morning when the six cast members shot the famous sequence that ended up being one of most popular intros in television history.

10) Jennifer Anniston nearly bowed out in the ninth season

The show had a great sendoff with Season 10. But Jennifer Anniston, owing to a busy schedule — not to mention her growing fame — initially refused to work on the final season. It is difficult to imagine how the show might have fared without giving closure to the long-standing Ross-Rachael arc, but it all worked out for the best after Jennifer agreed.

Nearly two decades on, Friends continues to amuse audiences both old and new, and new secrets about the show will likely continue to be unearthed.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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