"The six friends are billed in alphabetical order by their last name during the opening credits. By a bizarre coincidence, it is also the order of their height from shortest to tallest. Aniston is 5-4½", Cox is 5'5", Kudrow is 5'8", LeBlanc is 5'9½", Perry is 6', and Schwimmer is 6'1"."
Joey's statue of a white dog was originally given to Jennifer Aniston as a good luck present from her best friend when she started acting. She offered to lend it to the show for the episode where Joey became rich and bought a lot of stuff. After that episode, the producers decided to keep it, with Aniston's permission, of course.
The original idea for the show was going to focus on four characters, with Phoebe and Chandler in supporting roles. In the early stages the creators toyed with the idea of Chandler being gay, but they changed their minds when they met Matthew Perry.
The refrigerators in Monica's and Joey's apartments actually worked. Monica's was filled with water and other drinks for the cast and crew. Joey's was usually virtually empty, unless the inside of the fridge was going to be seen in a specific scene. It would make sense, though, for Joey's fridge to be empty. He wasn't exactly the most responsible person. Could you even imagine his character going for a regular grocery shop?
"The episode where Phoebe thinks her dead mother has been reincarnated as a cat was written by Marta Kauffman at the time when her own mother recently passed away (the episode was dedicated to her). In an interview with one of the other writers, they admitted that this concept would have been shot down at the table read, but nobody felt comfortable saying "no" under the circumstances."
"Courteney Cox added Arquette to the end of her name after her marriage to David Arquette between seasons five and six. Her father, Richard L. Cox, died in 2001 and in the midst of the seventh season, she dropped 'Arquette' in her father's memory."
"As with most sitcoms, episode titles are not shown. As a joking reference to this, the official names of Friends episodes take the form "The One Where..." (or some variation). The only exceptions are the third episode of season 5 (Friends: The One Hundredth (1998)), and the series finale (Friends: The Last One: Part 1 (2004)), though the titles are distinctly similar. "The Pilot," often incorrectly regarded as an exception, has two official alternate titles: "The One Where It All Began" and "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate."
"The main characters from the show are named after All My Children (1970) characters. Ross for Ross Chandler, Joey for Joey Martin, Chandler for the Chandler family, Monica for Monique/Daisy Cortland, Rachel Green for Janet Green, and Phoebe for Phoebe Tyler Wallingford."
"When Courteney Cox was on The Tonight Show she told Jay Leno a story about filming Friends. On set one day, Cox kept reciting a line by Anthony Michael Hall which goes, "Chicks cannot hold their smoke, that's what it is." Matthew Perry thought it was from Weird Science (1985), but Cox was adamant it was from The Breakfast Club (1985). After asking around among sound producers, production staff, etc., they couldn't come up with a definitive answer and they began betting on it, starting at $20 then raising the stakes. Perry joked that if he won, Cox would have to sleep with him and if she won he would have to sleep with her. When they heard that Judd Nelson (Hall's cast mate in The Breakfast Club) was filming Suddenly Susan (1996) on a nearby stage, they went over and asked him and found out the quote was indeed from The Breakfast Club. Leno asked Cox what the bet was, to which Cox sneezed and then rang a bell. Perry walked out from backstage with a tissue in his hand. Cox told Leno that Perry was going to be her man servant for five more months."
"The love story between Rachel and Joey was badly received from the moment creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane pitched it, from many of the others writers as well as the cast itself. Whenever someone told Kauffman and Crane how wrong they found that story, they would reply: "That's exactly why we're doing it. Sometimes friends fall in love, even though it's wrong."
In addition, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc pitched a story idea in which it was discovered that Phoebe and Joey had been in a casual sexual relationship since the very beginning of the series, and an episode would reveal it by restaging the show's most memorable scenes and revealing that Joey and Phoebe were in coitus immediately beforehand. The writers turned it down, arguing that it didn't match the tone of the show.
"In the first couple of episodes, Chandler and Joey's apartment number was #4 and Monica and Rachel's apartment number was #5. However, in the later episodes, they are 19 and 20 respectively because the producers noted that 4 and 5 corresponded to apartments on lower floors while the two apartments were supposed to be higher up the building."
"The storyline of Phoebe having her brother's babies was thought up when Lisa Kudrow announced her real-life pregnancy. However, as she was not big enough to be having triplets, and the show was shot in "TV time", the costume department had to pad her body to make her look bigger for the show."
David Crane and Marta Kauffman weren't always set on the title of "Friends", even though it seems like such an obvious fit nowadays. According to Mental Floss, the show started as a seven-page pitch with the title Insomnia Café. In that version, the plot was quite different from what we now know as Friends. For example, Joey and Monica were actually the key relationship, rather than Ross and Rachel. "After NBC bought the pilot, the title became Friends Like Us. NBC president Warren Littlefield came up with another title that was also considered, Across the Hall. By the time they shot it, the title had switched again to Six of One. When the show premiered on September 22, 1994, they had finally landed on simply Friends.
"During the audio commentary for 'The Last One,' co-creator David Crane revealed that in between 'The One Where Estelle Dies' and 'The One With Rachel's Going Away Party', there was going to be a story arc involving Ross and Rachel briefly going to Paris and Ross falling in love with her again. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough time because they were given 18 episodes rather than 24."
"Occasionally, NBC would air 'super-sized' episodes of their most popular sitcoms, including Friends. These episodes would run 40 minutes including commercials (or just around 30 minutes without). In syndication, a majority of the 'super-sized' episodes were cut down to fit a 30-minute time slot, except for the rare case where there was both too much plot info essential to the episode or series, and there were enough deleted scenes to make a two-episode story arc."
With a cast as large as six people, there were a lot of actors to consider for the parts. There are many stories of stars meeting each other in the audition room, or nearly joining the cast. Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch purportedly met and became friends after meeting while both were in their audition for the part of Phoebe.
For the role of Chandler? Before it went to Matthew Perry, both Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer were in the running. Matthew Perry almost didn't land the gig either. According to Mental Floss, "During the 1994 pilot season, he filmed the pilot for a show called LAX 2194 in addition to Friends. The show would have been about baggage handlers at LAX who sorted aliens' luggage. Thankfully, it wasn't picked up, and Perry was able to take the Friends gig."
Prior to the show starting, many of the cast members, who would go on to become huge stars, weren't very well known in the land of Hollywood. However, Courteney Cox was the most famous actor, having been in many commercials, as well as Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" music video. The Friends producers originally asked her to play Rachel, but she requested the role of Monica because she liked the "strong" character.
"Even though the "Friends" universe did not experience the September 11, 2001, attack that happened at the World Trade Center, the show expressed support for New York City in several ways. On the Doodle Board in Joey's apartment, there were several messages expressing support for the city and the FDNY and several cast members wore FDNY T-shirts."
Before the show aired in 1994, Director James Burrows, who would later go on to direct a handful of Friends episodes between 1995 and 1997, brought the six cast members to Vegas. Apparently, he had a "feeling about the show." They went into Caesar's Palace, and Burrows encouraged the group to enjoy themselves. He said, "This is your last shot at anonymity. Once the show comes on the air, you guys will never be able to go anywhere without being hounded."
As a small side fact: "Friends fans might remember Caesar's Palace as the place Ross and Rachel got married on a whim in the fifth season finale."
Shooting an episode of Friends was a lengthy process, typically lasting up to five hours. Each scene required multiple takes, and they took around 20 minutes between each scene to change the sets. The show was filmed in front of a live audience made up of 300 fans, and that's the way the cast preferred it. In an interview, Matt LeBlanc said:
"It's kind of like a test to see if the material works, if the jokes work, if the story tracks."
Perry agreed, "Our energy just elevates every time there's an audience."
There were, however, parts of the show that weren't filmed in front of the audience. The most important of these? Cliffhangers. For example, the season four finale cliffhanger for the episode titled "The One With Ross's Wedding." At the end of the episode, Ross is about to marry Emily, but accidentally says Rachel's name at the altar. "We couldn't have an audience for that," Aniston said. "We always remove the audience for the cliffhangers because, obvious reasons, you don't want to spoil it."
According to Mental Floss:
"During the first season, they were each receiving around $22,000 per episode. But allegedly, by the second season, each actor had a slightly different salary. In 1997, all six cast members refused to work until they all earned an equal salary of $100,000 per episode. This was big news. The New York Times reported, 'Stars of hit shows often threaten to boycott their series in pursuit of higher salaries. What is unusual is this cast's effort to use solidarity as leverage.'
This negotiation worked very well. By the final season, each cast member was earning $1 million per episode."
"Executive producer Marta Kauffman attended Marple Newtown High School in Broomall, PA. When she was asked to come back and give a speech at graduation, she berated the school system because her teachers told her she wasn't a good writer. She wasn't asked back."
Many people know that Lisa Kudrow was afraid of the duck, who made an appearance in season three. However, not many people know about Aniston's adventures with the monkey! Do you remember way back when Ross had a pet monkey named Marcel? Marcel was actually played by two monkeys: Monkey and Katie. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Marcel was written out of the show, because it became too time-consuming to shoot the scenes with a monkey. Remember how it was in front of a live audience? Time was an important factor to consider. According to Katie's trainer, Nerissa Politzer, Monkey was once supposed to "pick up a bra, but ended up throwing it at Aniston instead." So, the monkey was out, for more than one reason.
"Every main character on the show has smoked before, regardless of whether it was tobacco or... other stuff. Rachel smokes in "The One Where Rachel Smokes", as she tries to fit in with her colleagues at Ralph Lauren because the others do. Monica smokes a cigar in "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy", as she continues to get over Richard, who regularly smokes. Phoebe smokes in "The One That Could Have Been", even though this was an alternate personality of herself. Joey smokes in "The One with the Thumb", as Chandler assists him how to do it for a play he's starring in. Chandler has a history of smoking and is occasionally seen doing it. Ross was revealed to have smoked marijuana in "The One Where Ross Got High." The portrayers of all main characters have been a regular smoker at some point in their lives, except for David Schwimmer."
Get ready to be blown away by how adorable this cast was! Every week before filming commenced, the cast would gather together for a moment to prepare for the show. It would just bring them together, like the friends on the show, and allow them to have some time to get in sync with one another and get psyched for the day ahead.
Before the finale of the series, David Schwimmer said that this moment was the one that he was dreading because he knew it would make him emotional. "I started to lose it in this ritual that we had before the show," he said, "which is just a group hug, kind of get in a little circle, right before we come out. And that was the moment I was dreading for a long time because I knew that moment of just looking at everyone in their eyes, and saying 'Have a good show,' and knowing that was the last time we were going to be able to be in our little circle."
Courteney Cox may have been the most famous cast member at the start of the show, but Jennifer Aniston was arguably the most famous cast member by the time the show ended, thanks to films like The Good Girl and Bruce Almighty. She was also married, at the time, to Brad Pitt, which may have helped crank up her celebrity status a notch. They were certainly the it-couple of that time.
Rumors spread that she was, perhaps, partially responsible for the show ending prematurely. In a 2004 interview with Matt Lauer, Aniston shared that she had hesitations. "I had a couple issues that I was dealing with," she said. "I wanted it to end when people still loved us and we were on a high. And then I was also feeling like, 'How much more of Rachel do I have in me?'" She eventually agreed to the final season.
"After Rachel left her fiancée, Barry, at the altar in the pilot, her best friend Mindy then became engaged to Barry. Mindy was played by Jennifer Grey. Both Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Grey played Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). Grey played her in the movie and Aniston played her in the television series."
"Entertainer Ellen DeGeneres asked Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003) about the idea of doing a Friends movie, to which she answered: 'Yeah, it would be really fun, but I don't think it's happening. I don't think it's really been a plan.' Ellen also asked Courteney Cox about the same thing during another interview, to which she joked: 'Has that Sex and the City movie come out yet? We'll see how that does!'
"All the Friends have catchphrases: Rachel's is shouting the word 'No', Monica's is saying 'I know' when she's excited, Phoebe's is saying 'Oh, no' when something bad happens, Joey's is 'How you doin'', Chandler's is emphasizing the word 'be' when asking a rhetorical question or emphasizing a word, and Ross's is saying 'hi' when something bad happens."
"The number 27 is used a lot throughout the series. Rachel tells a date that Monica labels her cups and uses the example of cup 27. In one episode Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe wear 3 men's firemen's hats that have 27 on them. Monica mentions 27 is a dangerous eye age. The girls believe they're at a rest stop off Route 27 while enlisting on a ski trip. Chandler gives Ross $27 when he feels guilty that he's seeing Monica. Joey tells everyone that he weighed 27 pounds when he was born. When Chandler needs to replace Monica's broiling pan she tells him to order it from page 27 of their catalogue. Chandler had to pay a pizza delivery girl $27 exactly for three pizzas."
"The exact location of the Central Perk is never revealed. A few episodes have characters referring to it as being 'downstairs', but exterior shots of the apartments show the first floor of their building being occupied by a restaurant with red trim, while the Central Park has a green trim. In another episode has Joey mentions it's 97 steps away from his apartment."
"Despite being set in New York City, almost the entirety of the series was filmed in Los Angeles on the Warner Bros. studio lot, with only establishing shots of buildings shot in New York City. The only scenes filmed outside of Los Angeles were the exterior scenes shot in London for the two-parter 'The One with Ross's Wedding' from the fourth season."
"When Friends (1994) first played on Portuguese television, it was dubbed. In Portugal, dubbing is usually applied only to children's cartoons, series or films. As such, the public was not satisfied by this and complained. After just three or four episodes, the channel began airing the original audio with Portuguese subtitles."