Every Friends fan thinks that they know the show inside out. Mostly, it’s those infamous quotes. In 1994, Friends exploded onto our screens. In the best way possible, it took over our lives. Hair salons found “the Rachel cut” as the most-requested style. Coffee shop culture became a thing. Most of all though, Friends gave us six people that we wanted to be our friends, IRL. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer became superstars overnight, and the rest is history.
Here’s the problem with all the reruns and the Netflix airing. People are going to break the show down into microscopic detail. They’re going to go through Monica’s apartment with a fine-toothed comb. They will notice hiccups in plot lines and dates. This one is for Friends fans who think that they know the show like the backs of their hands. Here are 20 unknown Friends facts that even the biggest fans may have missed.
20 MONICA’S RENT WOULD BE $4,500 PER MONTH TODAY
This one aroused suspicion from the start. Anyone who knows NYC rent prices will know that a part-time chef in The Big Apple would be living in a shoebox. Monica Geller’s apartment was conveniently spacious. It had that spare bedroom for Rachel to casually live in, plus all the space in the world for these six to eat Doritos. The storyline justifies Monica’s ability to afford the rent by making her pad a rent-controlled inheritance from her grandmother. In 2016, Today estimated Monica’s rent to be $4,500 per month. That’s two bedrooms, one bathroom, an open-plan living area, plus that gorgeous outdoor terrace.
19 RACHEL AND MONICA NEARLY ENDED UP SWITCHED
That feeling you get – “no one else could have played that role.” That’s why casting agents get paid so much. Fans generally agree that Jennifer Aniston was perfect for the spoiled, fashionista, Rachel Green. Likewise, that Courteney Cox completely nailed the neat freak, A-Type personality, Monica Geller. The auditions nearly had it the other way around, though. Jen initially auditioned for Monica, while Courteney was considered for Rachel. The producers “knew they’d found their Monica” the minute Courteney walked through the production parking lot. Court also firmly felt that she would pull Monica off better. Sometimes, listening to the actors works.
18 PHOEBE STATISTICALLY DRANK THE MOST COFFEE
For a bunch of people with actual jobs (well, except Joey), these six sure did spend a lot of time doing nothing. If they weren’t betting away their apartments, they were hanging out in them, although the Central Perk coffee house was a trusted second space. To be fair, they also dominated the Central Perk couch. Thousands of cups of coffee were drunk (or spilled), but Phoebe comes out top when it comes to consumption. 236 episodes were filmed in Central Perk. Phoebe guzzled her way through the most caffeine.
Phoebe drank 227 cups of coffee throughout the 10 seasons.
17 THIS GUY ALMOST PLAYED JOEY
“You hung up on the pizza place? I don’t hang up on your friends.” Joey Tribbiani may not have been the brightest crayon in the box, but this guy knew how to work an audience. Matt LeBlanc’s spot-on delivery was so good, many fans wondered if Matt himself was a bit dumb – he is not. Kind of ironic, considering that Joey spent most of his time missing auditions, but he landed this one. Hank Azaria, who plays Phoebe’s “scientist boyfriend” was considered for the role of Joey. Hank, of course, famously voices many characters on The Simpsons. Joey? “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!”
16 ROSS CAN’T GET HIS BIRTHDAYS STRAIGHT
For a scientist with a P.h.D, we expected more from you, Ross Geller. David Schwimmer was spot-on for the dinosaur-loving, Rachel-worshipping nerd who will forever have the best “sad Hi.” Ross just had this ability to walk into any scene and switch on the most downtrodden greeting ever. What he couldn’t manage though, was getting his birthdays straight. In one episode, Ross clearly states that he was born in December. Ask him the same question in a different episode though, and it’s October 18th. Then again, this is a guy who counts “Mississippily” – which, by the way, is how you get spray tanned to look like “THE SUN.”
15 FRIENDS IS LINKED TO THE AVENGERS IN SURPRISING WAYS
Only a true Friends nerd would spot this one – and no, we’re not talking about the superhero costumes that Monica and Phoebe are wearing. We’re talking about the MCU. Now that Ant-Man and the Wasp is making Paul Rudd front-page news, it’s easy to forget that Paul had a pretty long stint on Friends. He played Mike (Phoebe’s piano-playing boyfriend and eventual husband). Meanwhile, Monica dated Pete Becker – remember the billionaire businessman who chose boxing over women? That would be Tony Stark’s trainer and eventual head of security, Happy Hogan.
Ant-Man and Happy Hogan. Avengers stars now (but Friends actors back in the day).
14 THE GIRLS ATE THE SAME LUNCH EVERY DAY FOR TEN YEARS
It’s facts like these that are irritating reminders – much as we wanted the show to be real, it wasn’t. If it had been, these girls would have dined on Monica’s gourmet Tuscan finger food and “Thanksgiving flan” every day of the week. The reality was way more repetitive. In an NBC special that saw the cast reunited, Courteney Cox revealed that the girls ate the exact same lunch every day for ten whole years. In 2010, Courteney revealed “the Jennifer salad” to be “a twist on a Cobb, with garbanzo beans added, and turkey bacon instead of real bacon.” No mention of light mayo, but we know what Monica would say: “It’s not real mayonnaise!”
13 EARLY CRITICS CALLED THE CHARACTERS “DYSFUNCTIONAL MORONS”
For a TV show that now ranks as one of the best sitcoms of all time, this is pretty weird to read. When Friends first premiered, no-one was quite sure how it would do. People gave it a D+ rating. By far the most scarring comment though was the one given by Time magazine. We are 100% not making this up. Time‘s review of the pilot read: “Who would want advice from these dysfunctional morons, with their obsessive pop-culture references?” Other reviews were more positive, though. Entertainment Weekly gave it an A+. The New York Times called the dialogue “pitch perfect.”
12 MATT LEBLANC’S DAUGHTER CORRECTS HIM ON “HOW YOU DOIN?”
Hey, kids pick up on what their parents say. Joey Tribbiani was far too busy dating every woman in Manhattan to ever settle down and have kids. Even if Joey had become a dad, let’s face it, those kids would starve. While Joey’s on-screen job was to consume the most meatball subs and pizzas in the world, the real guy behind the character has a family. In an interview with Conan O’Brien, Matt LeBlanc revealed that his young daughter had started saying “How are you doing?” When Matt tried to teach her that it’s specifically “How you doin’?” his daughter corrected him. “It should be: how are you doing?” Awesome.
11 COURTENEY COX HID HER PREGNANCY DURING THE SHOW
Hiding a baby bump in Hollywood is nothing new. That said, it’s still one of the most difficult filming challenges that a production team can face. A ton of actresses have filmed their major roles while pregnant. Gal Gadot was pregnant during Wonder Woman. So was Scarlett Johansson during Avengers: Age of Ultron. While Monica’s character was “all about the babies,” Courteney actually chose to hide her pregnancy. The producers used an awkward array of baggy clothes, props, and filming from the neck up. The storyline would have made no sense at this point – Monica and Chandler couldn’t conceive naturally.
10 LISA KUDROW HAD HER PREGNANCY WRITTEN INTO THE PLOT
While it made no sense for Courteney Cox to be visibly pregnant on-screen, there wasn’t much blocking Phoebe’s character from rocking a bump. When Lisa Kudrow told the producers that she was pregnant, they had to think fast. Phoebe didn’t have much in the way of a solid boyfriend or husband. The solution was to have Phoebe become a surrogate for her brother’s babies. The baby bump (which Phoebe ate cereal off) was exaggerated to represent a triplets pregnancy. Speaking to People in 2018, Lisa fondly recalled the group huddles which happened before filming.
9 THE FINALE TEARS WERE A NIGHTMARE FOR MAKEUP
For some characters, crying comes naturally. Rachel could cry at the drop of a hat (and to manipulate people). Chandler Bing, meanwhile, had more difficulty – The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry pretty much proved that. In the series finale, the tears were real. “I don’t think we’ve ever taken more time in hair and makeup between scenes,” Jennifer Aniston told The Huffington Post. Jen said that the cast kept “crying all [their] makeup off, over and over again.” It was David Schwimmer who led the way, though. “I started to lose it,” he said. The entire cast basically cried all the way through the finale.
8 THE OPENING CREDITS GAVE THEM “PRUNEY FINGERS”
And that’s what you get when you dance around a freezing cold fountain to get the perfect opening credits. Watching those six splash their way around the fountain became a bit of a ritual. Other shows? We skip through the credits. With the Friends opening credits, you don’t just sing along – you clap (admit it, you do). In 2017, Matt LeBlanc told Comedy Central that the fountain shoot “took hours.” Jimmy Kimmel had suggested 45 minutes, but Matt put him straight. “NO. It was hours. Everybody had pruney fingers. They were like let’s get the shot, get the crane, bring the crane in!” Er, did Matt mean the producer, David Crane?
7 THE APARTMENT NUMBERS KEPT CHANGING
Let’s be very clear, here. There’s a difference between not being able to figure out an apartment number (we’re looking at you, Joey) and actual numbers changing. At the start of the series, Monica’s door is clearly labeled with a #5. That swiftly changed when the producers realized that it didn’t make sense for an apartment on such a high floor to have a low number. So they changed it to #20. To make it even more confusing, the numbers on Chandler and Joey’s front door also changed. That door started with a #4, then randomly changed to #19. And we wonder why Joey couldn’t count.
6 ELLEN DEGENERES TURNED DOWN PHOEBE
Yes, Ellen DeGeneres turned down the role of Phoebe. Sitcoms can go either way, so taking on a role is a giant risk. Still, there’s no harm in auditioning. Ellen didn’t just audition to play Phoebe, she turned it down. Considering the number of famous faces who either auditioned or turned down roles in Friends, we’re super glad that the “big six” were picked. Jon Favreau auditioned for Chandler. Both Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch were considered for Phoebe. Leah Remini was considered for Monica (although you’ll remember her as the unnamed pregnant lady that Joey helped in early seasons).
5 BRUCE WILLIS GUEST-STARRED FOR FREE
Remember this guy? Rachel Green dated a fair amount of guys. Well, that’s when she wasn’t spontaneously deciding that she and Ross were “back on.” Bruce Willis played Paul– the intimidating dad to Elizabeth, an immature student that Ross ends up dating (and dumping). Paul was macho on the outside, insecure on the inside, and apparently, a total freebie. According to Digital Spy, Bruce Willis agreed to guest-star for free after losing a bet to Matthew Perry on the set of The Whole Nine Yards. Bruce gave us three Friends appearances, for which he donated all of his earnings to charity. His appearance even won him an Emmy.
4 ALL THE GUEST STARS YOU FORGOT ABOUT
Think twice before you think that you’ve got this one covered. Friends knew how to cast guest stars, and they always knew how to surprise us. Sprinkled across the show’s ten seasons, we got: Brad Pitt (before it got weird with Jennifer Aniston), Charlie Sheen (before he was making headlines for other reasons), Paul Rudd (before he became a superhero). Alongside the names below, we had Julia Roberts, Mae Whitman, Christina Applegate, Danny DeVito, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Denise Richards, and George Clooney. Oh, and Hugh Laurie from House M.D.
Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Gabrielle Union, Winona Ryder, Anna Faris, Ellen Pompeo, Sean Penn, Paul Rudd…
3 CHANDLER NEVER PROPERLY AUDITIONED
The show literally wouldn’t have been Friends without Matthew Perry. Delivering Chandler Bing’s deadpan style in every single episode, we’re looking at a guy who could lovingly insult you without looking at you: “I just discovered I can sleep with my eyes open.” Matthew Perry was actually so similar to Chandler, he helped other actors audition for the role. In an interview with The Graham Norton Show, Matthew confirmed that he couldn’t audition due to other commitments. When those projects were canceled, Matthew swooped in last minute. The rest is history. The best shows take inspiration from the actors. Matthew Perry gave this production team plenty.
2 THE FIRST SITCOM CAST TO NEGOTIATE SALARIES
Negotiating in Hollywood is a big deal. If anything is proof that a little negotiation can get you a long way, it’s this lot. During the first season, their salaries were approximately $22,000 per episode. According to MentalFloss, the salaries varied between cast members during the second season, although that all changed in 1997 – this marked the point where they refused to work until all six of them were earning equal pay. The $100,000 per episode slowly rose until the final few seasons, where Friends made history. $1 million per episode is what the cast was earning – each. The Big Bang Theory has matched, but not beaten this.
1 HERE IS HOW MUCH THEY SPENT ON COFFEE OVERALL
It takes a serious Friends fan to break down how much these six spent on coffee. Considering that they spent zillions of hours dominating the Central Perk couch, though, it’s worth taking a look at it – if you think you spend a lot at Starbucks, it’s nothing compared to these people. A Twitter fan calculated that 236 episodes were spent at the coffee house. 227 cups put Phoebe as the highest consumer, while Rachel’s 138 cups place her last. In The One With Five Steaks And An Eggplant, one coffee and one scone cost $4.12. That means that they each spent $2,077.20 over ten years.
We’ve done the math, now you do the sharing. Hit share on Facebook for any Friends fan you know.
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