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    Updated on Aug 15, 2018. Posted on Aug 14, 2018

    32 Genuinely Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts That Prove How Different "Friends" Could Have Been

    From drastic changes to the characters' personalities to deleted scenes and rejected storylines, things really could have been very different.

    1. When the script for the original pilot was released in 2014, it became clear that things could have been very, very different had the writers stuck to the initial idea.

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    2. For one, Monica and Rachel wouldn't have reconnected.

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    In the script, Monica was very reluctant to reconnect with Rachel because she was jealous of her wealth and mad that she wasn't invited to her wedding. In fact, unlike the version we've come to know and love, in the pilot Monica didn't offer Rachel a place to stay and was also very persistent in trying to get her to leave.

    3. Ross' job wasn't intended to be integral to his character — in fact, the character description of him from the original pilot reads: “A palaeontologist. Not that it matters.”

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    Can you imagine a world in which Ross didn’t speak about dinosaurs every five minutes?

    4. Phoebe was originally written as a "serial monogamist." She was described as the kind of person who "doesn't date, but just moves in with guys."

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    A far cry from the woman who had never had a serious relationship with a guy until she met Mike in season nine.

    5. And Rachel's name was originally "Rachel Robbins."

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    6. If the creators of the show had taken the cast's advice, the Rachel/Joey storyline would never have happened.

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    The entire cast were vehemently against the storyline, with Matt LeBlanc saying he felt the whole thing was "wildly inappropriate." David Schwimmer later recalled that the cast went to the show's creators and said: “We’re really concerned about this. It doesn’t feel right. We have a problem with it.” However, the creators told them: "Yes, it’s absolutely wrong. That’s why we have to do it.” You can’t just keep spinning the same plates. You have to go places where you’re not expected to go."

    7. Similarly, if they'd listened to David Schwimmer, Ross's third divorce wouldn't have happened either.

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    David has since said: "The whole arc of the relationship was weird then. For him to be able to move on enough to marry someone else, and then go back to being in love with Rachel later just went a bit too far."

    8. Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc once pitched a story idea in which it would be discovered that Phoebe and Joey had been having casual sex the entire time.

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    The idea was to reshoot the show's most iconic scenes, but right before the most memorable moment, Joey and Phoebe would emerge from a cupboard together. The writers turned the idea down.

    9. There was also supposed to be a storyline in which Chandler went to a male strip club because he really liked the sandwiches. Matthew Perry convinced the writers to scrap it.

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    10. There was a whole scene about hijacking and bombs cut from an episode in season nine because it was due to air in the weeks after 9/11.

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    In "The One Where Rachel Tells Ross," Monica and Chandler head off on their honeymoon. Having spotted a sign in the airport which said: "Jokes regarding aircraft hijacking or bombing are prohibited," Chandler couldn't resist quipping: "You don't have to worry about me, I take my bombs very seriously." Security guards immediately pounced and took him and Monica away for questioning. Producers decided the scenes would be too insensitive to air in the wake of 9/11, and so hastily re-wrote and shot the scene.

    11. Joey was always intended to be a ~womaniser,~ but Matt LeBlanc quickly became concerned that the character was so "creepy" that he wouldn't have any longevity.

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    In fact, Joey's character was initially so predatory and creepy that Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox were afraid of and nervous around Matt LeBlanc when they first met him.

    12. So, Matt LeBlanc went to the creators of the show and made a "creative suggestion" to mould Joey into a more appealing and realistic character.

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    Matt later revealed he'd asked the creators: "Could it be that Joey thinks of these three girls as little sisters, and wants to go to bed with every other girl in New York but these three? Then I’d buy that they’re friends. Otherwise, I just don’t think they’d even talk to him if he hits on them every single time."

    13. The writers set about making the changes to Joey’s character immediately, ensuring he was more dimensional while retaining his womaniser status. However, this change meant that the original central romance between Monica and Joey, which was planned from the start, was scrapped.

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    Yep, that's right — the writers intended Monica and Joey to be the show's romantic leads because they were the "most sexual" of the characters.

    14. Courteney Cox was originally asked to play Rachel. However, after reading the scripts, she requested to audition for Monica instead, feeling that she "related" more to her.

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    15. However, the writers had envisioned Monica as dark, edgy and snarky and so were unsure whether Courteney would be right for the role. But, after her audition, they decided that her portrayal of the character was "a lovelier place to go."

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    16. Joey was never written as dim — the writers decided to make it part of his character thanks to Matt LeBlanc's skill at playing dumb.

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    17. Hank Azaria had his heart set on playing Joey. He was so desperate for the role that after being rejected a first time, he begged for a second audition. He didn't get the role, but further down the line was cast as Phoebe's boyfriend David.

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    18. The character Charlie only came about because of the criticism levelled at the show for not being diverse enough.

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    Charlie was therefore specifically created and Aisha Tyler cast to address the issue.

    19. Ellen DeGeneres was offered the role of Phoebe, but turned it down.

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    20. The show's original theme song was "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M. In fact, the song was even used in the pilot episode, but was eventually switched out in favour of "I'll Be There For You" at the suggestion of one of the producers.

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    21. And the show also went through a series of title changes — in fact, Friends very easily could have been called Insomnia Cafe, Six of One, or Friends Like Us.

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    22. The show was originally supposed to be centred around just four friends, with Phoebe and Chandler as supporting characters.

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    23. There also could have been an older main character whose role it was to give advice to the group.

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    After reading initial scripts, NBC felt the cast was too young and asked the writers to include an older character who could give advice to the group. The writers complied and attempted to write in a father figure called Pat the Cop, but ultimately he never made it as far as the pilot episode.

    24. Things could have been very different had Courteney Cox not broken just about every acting rule in the book on their first day of shooting.

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    Speaking in 2012, Lisa Kudrow revealed that on their first day, Courteney told the group: "Listen, I just did a Seinfeld episode and they all help each other. They say: "Try this," and "This would be funny."" And she told her fellow Friends actors to do the same to her. Lisa went on: "There's a code with actors. Actors don't give each other notes under any circumstances. So she was giving us permission to give her notes, and we all agreed that that would be great. Why not? And she also said, “Listen, you know, we all need to make this thing great.” She just set the stage with: “I know I’m the one who’s been on TV, but this is all of us.” She was the one who set that tone and made it a real group that way."

    25. However, we came close to not having Friends in our lives at all. The pilot of the show tested so badly that it almost didn't make it to air.

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    Most viewers felt the show "wasn't entertaining, clever or original."

    26. "The One Where No One's Ready" may have become one of the show's most-loved episodes, but it actually only happened because the production team needed to save money.

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    In a money-saving exercise, they decided to shoot the episode in one location with just the core six cast members.

    27. But the writers liked the effect of the episode so much that they decided to make at least one episode starring just the core six in each subsequent season.

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    28. The final season was intended to be 24 episodes but because of Jennifer Aniston's movie commitments, was negotiated down to 18.

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    29. This means we lost out on six episodes, and a storyline in which Ross fell back in love with Rachel during a trip to Paris ahead of her move there.

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    30. However, we should count ourselves lucky we even got a tenth season at all — not only was Jennifer Aniston's schedule a problem, but at one point she was unsure whether she even wanted to commit to a final season.

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    Speaking ahead of the show's final episodes, she said: "I was having a couple of issues [with signing up for a final season.] I wanted it to end when people still loved us and we were on a high. And I was also feeling: "How much of Rachel do I still have in me? How many stories are there to tell for all of us?" But now I'm terrified and I don't want it to end at all."

    31. And, finally, the creators of the show seriously considered not getting Ross and Rachel back together at the end of the series. In fact, they even discussed the possibility of leaving their storyline open-ended and hinting that they might become a couple “further down the road.”

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    32. However after mulling things over, they decided the audience would’ve been “very unsatisfied” with anything other than a Ross and Rachel reunion, and when it came to writing season ten, they established it as the one plot-point they had to make happen.

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    Friends creator David Crane explained: "The only thing we absolutely knew from very early on was that we had to get Ross and Rachel together. We had dicked the audience around for 10 years with their “will they or won’t they,” and we didn’t see any advantage in frustrating them. The goal was to do it in a way that you didn't see where we were going, and it was kind of surprising — all the airport stuff. It became all about execution. It was going to be an hour show, so we knew we had an hour to get to a point — the end point isn’t going to surprise anybody, but the journey is the question."

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