1. In 1993, Matthew Perry pitched NBC a sitcom he had co-written about a group of twentysomethings called Maxwell’s House. The network turned him down because they already had a similar TV show, Friends, in the works.
2. Before settling on Friends, other titles producers considered were Friends Like Us, Six of One, Across the Hall, Once Upon a Time in the West Village, and Insomnia Cafe.
3. Originally the show was going to focus on just four characters: Monica, Ross, Rachel, and Joey. Phoebe and Chandler were going to be supporting characters.
4. Also, Monica and Joey were originally intended to be the main couple on the show.
5. Ellen DeGeneres turned down the role of Phoebe.
6. In the early stages of development, the writers considered making Chandler gay.
7. “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M. was the original choice for the theme song. It was used in the pilot:
The show was still called Friends Like Us in the pilot.
8. The frame around the peephole originally had a mirror in it. It was accidentally broken by a crew member, but because it still looked good, they decided to leave it there.
9. The iconic orange couch in Central Perk was found by a set designer in the basement of the Warner Bros. Studios.
10. In the first couple of episodes, Monica and Rachel’s apartment number was No. 5. This was changed in later episodes to No. 20 because the producers noted that 5 corresponded to an apartment on lower floor.
Chandler and Joey’s apartment number was originally No. 4 and was changed No. 19 to reflect the change to Monica and Rachel’s apartment number.
11. “I’ll Be There for You” was co-written by Friends producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman, along with Phil Solem and Danny Wilde, of The Rembrandts.
12. In 1995, the song was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart for eight weeks.
13. The ages of the cast when the show premiered:
14. The full names of the characters are:
• Chandler Muriel Bing
• Rachel Karen Green
• Ross Eustace Geller
• Monica E. Geller (we never learn what the E stands for)
• Joseph Francis Tribbiani Jr.
• Phoebe Buffay (she never knew her middle name since she had never seen her birth certificate)
15. Season 2 is the only season without a Thanksgiving episode.
That year, “The One with the List” served as the Thanksgiving episode.
16. Jennifer Aniston has stated that she hated the now-iconic “Rachel” haircut.
In 2011 Jennifer told USA Today:
“Let’s say there have been moments I’d rather not relive, like that whole Rachel thing. I love Chris [McMillan, her hairstylist], and he’s the bane of my existence at the same time because he started that damn Rachel, which was not my best look. How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let’s just say I’m not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don’t love revisiting that particular era.”
17. Courteney Cox was the only cast member not to get an Emmy nomination for her work on the show.
18. Reportedly, Christina Applegate was cast as Amy Green for the Season 9 Thanksgiving episode after Reese Witherspoon was unavailable to reprise her role as Jill Green.
Christina won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the episode.
19. Bruce Willis guest starred on the show for free.
While filming the movie The Whole Nine Yards, Matthew Perry made a bet with his co-star Willis that if the film were to open at No. 1 at the box office on its opening weekend, then Willis would have appear on Friends for free. (Willis was already scheduled to appear on the show.)
The movie opened at No. 1, and Willis donated the money he earned from Friends to charity.
20. Gunther was not originally a speaking part; the actor, James Michael Tyler, got the role as an extra because he knew how to work an espresso machine.
James was working at a coffee shop when he got the role, and he kept the job for the first four seasons of Friends.
21. The refrigerator in Monica’s apartment actually worked. It was filled with water and drinks for the cast and crew.
22. In reality, Joey’s white dog statue belonged to Jennifer Aniston. It had been given to her by a friend as a good-luck gift.
23. During its run, the show released two soundtracks.
Two soundtracks were released after the show ended: Friends, The One with All the Party Music EP (2004) and Friends: The Ultimate Soundtrack (2005).