‘Friends’ Facts Every Superfan Should Know
Laura Lee - June 30, 2019

Caged Bird

By Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.
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For ten years, the cast of NBC’s cult show ‘Friends’ entertained audiences and warmed hearts all around the world. Each episode was guaranteed to cause spontaneous belly laughter and heartfelt moments that kept us watching week after week. Behind the scenes, our six favorite friends had some secrets of their own.


1. The cast had a “pre-fame party” in Las Vegas.


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After the pilot had been filmed, the cast and crew knew the show was going to be something special. Prior to the premiere episode in September 1994, all six friends took a trip to Las Vegas to enjoy their last nights of anonymity before they all became major stars. The cast dined at Caesar’s Palace, which is the same location that Ross and Rachel got married in season 5.



2. A sitcom by any other name…


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The series had several different names between the time of conception to the airing of the pilot episode. Other aliases include Insomnia Cafe, Six of One, Friends Like Us, and Across The Hall. Personally, we’re glad they chose to go the “less is more” route.


3. The cast could have been much, much different.


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Many young actors and actresses had hopes of becoming one of the coveted Friends. Most, however, didn’t make the cut. Here’s how our favorite characters could have looked…



4. Rachel Green before Jennifer Aniston…


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Before 25-year-old actress Jennifer Aniston was cast for the iconic role of Rachel Green, the role was offered to Téa Leoni. Leoni eventually turned down the role, making way for actresses such as Jane Krakowski (30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Elizabeth Berkley (Saved by the Bell) to audition.


5. Each friend has kissed each other at least once.


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Yes, every single one, and most have kissed each other MORE than once. Here’s the very least of how it breaks down:


Rachel/Ross: multiple times

Rachel/Joey: multiple times

Rachel/Chandler: after London

Rachel/Monica: to win back their apartment

Rachel/Phoebe: after dinner with Rachel’s college roommate (Winona Ryder)

Monica/Chandler: multiple times

Monica/Ross: Monica’s first kiss

Monica/Joey: fat Joey (if Monica married Joey)

Monica/Phoebe: before London

Phoebe/Ross: bar (before Central Perk)

Phoebe/Chandler: after London

Phoebe/Joey: Phoebe’s perfect kiss

Ross/Joey: for Joey’s audition

Ross/Chandler: Joey’s birthday

Chandler/Joey: New Year’s



6. Jennifer Aniston turned down a spot on the SNL cast to play Rachel.


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Aniston is a naturally gifted comedic actress, and prior to accepting the role of Rachel Green, NBC offered her a spot on the coveted cast of Saturday Night Live. Thankfully, Aniston turned down the offer in order to accept her spot on the FRIENDS cast.


7. Monica Geller before Courteney Cox…


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According to producers, the part of Monica was originally written with “Janeane Garofalo’s voice in our head” and the character was meant to be a bit darker and edgier. Garofalo passed on the role, and King of Queens actress Lea Remini thought she’d give Monica Geller a shot. Remini recalls leaving her audition and bumping into Cox in the parking lot of the studio and immediately knowing the part would go to Courteney over herself. Cox won the part, but Remini had a cameo in Season 1 in The One With The Birth.



8. Phoebe Buffet before Lisa Kudrow…


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The role of Phoebe Buffet appropriately attracted some of the most eclectic actresses in Hollywood. Producers originally wanted Ellen DeGeneres for the part, and when that didn’t work out, they auditioned up-and-comers like Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin.


9. Lisa Kudrow based Phoebe on Jennifer Aniston’s personality.


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Jennifer Aniston was known to have an interest in spirituality, so Kudrow looked to Aniston to get some inspiration about her wacky hippie character Phoebe Buffet. According to reports, Kudrow didn’t really “get” the hippie aspect of Phoebe’s personality and would often look to Jennifer for guidance on how Phoebe might think, feel, and act in certain situations.



10. “The Rachel” haircut was created while stoned.


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Jennifer Aniston’s hairstyle for the first three seasons is arguably one of the most recognizable and iconic hairstyles of all time. Chris McMillan, Aniston’s hairstylist on set, recently revealed that he struggled with substance abuse while working on the show, and that “The Rachel” was inspired during a drug binge.


11. Courteney Cox was originally cast to play Rachel.


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Courteney was one of the most well-known actresses among the cast before the show aired. Producers offered her the role of Rachel Green, however, Cox fought for the role of Monica as she admired Monica’s strong character and felt she was much more like Monica herself than like Rachel.



12. Joey Tribbiani before Matt LeBlanc…


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Before Matt LeBlanc was cast as the charming ladies man from Queens, plenty of talented actors had their sights set on the role. Hank Azaria, who went on to play David the scientist and Phoebe’s love interest, was initially rejected by producers. He wanted the part so bad that he auditioned a second time but still didn’t fit the role of Joey. Vince Vaughn also was a viable contender, but according to casting directors, Vaughn was “too tall and handsome” to play the lovable Joey Tribbiani.


13. Chandler Bing before Matthew Perry…


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Matthew Perry was not originally available for the role of Chandler. Other actors that were being considered for the part included Jon Cryer (Two And A Half Men) and Jon Favreau, who went on to play Pete the millionaire and Monica’s love interest in Season 3.



14. Matthew Perry nearly missed out…


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Producers initially wanted Perry for the role of Chandler, but he was unavailable because he was committed to another pilot: LAX 2194. The plot of the show was based around airport employees in the futur working at the Los Angeles airport in the year 2194. Thankfully, the pilot wasn’t picked up and Perry was cast as everyone’s favorite sarcastic friend.


15. Ross Geller before David Schwimmer…


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One of the most notable names to not become a friend is Eric McCormack. After multiple auditions, McCormack didn’t make the cut, but went on to star in his own sitcom: Will and Grace.



16. The part of Ross was written specifically for David Schwimmer.


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It was later revealed that the character of Ross Geller was actually written for David Schwimmer, and he was the first actor to be officially cast in the show. Although producers did audition other actors for the part, their instincts were right and no one else could play the part quite like quirky David.


17. Monica and Joey were supposed to hook up.


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Before Ross and Rachel became the central romance of the show, early versions of the series had Monica and Joey as the primary relationship. In flashback episodes, the characters tease this idea when Monica and Joey were supposed to have “originally” met.