Friends was one of the most popular sitcoms in American TV history. Even people that claim to hate the show can get a chuckle or two out of it if they’re stuck on an airplane or in a Jiffy Lube waiting room. And there’s a lot of interesting trivia about the show you might not know:
- The first cast member to get a movie role after the show went big was… Marcel the Monkey! Actually, Marcel was played by two female monkeys named “Monkey” and “Katie”. Katie played a central role in 1995’s Outbreak, a film which starred Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo. One wonders what that says about the rest of the cast’s acting ability!
- The fridges actually worked! The refrigerators in Monica\Rachel’s and Joey\Chandler’s apartments actually worked; the cast and crew kept their lunches and drinks in Monica’s fridge, which explains why it was always so full. Joey and Chandler’s fridge was usually kept empty – unless a scene required something in the fridge, in which case the crew would fill it up. Since the crew didn’t want to do that very often, a camera angle was chosen such that you almost never see the inside of their fridge.
- The episodes had similar titles! When people talk about a television show, they often refer to episodes with the phrase “The one where…”, as in “the one where Hawkeye glues Frank’s boots to the floor”. The writers of Friends noticed this phenomenon, and most of the show’s titles begin with “The One…”. Contrary to both popular belief and barroom trivia, however, not every episode was titled as such. The pilot was named “The Pilot”, the 100th episode was titled “The One Hundredth” and the finale was named “The Last One”.
- The picture frame around the peephole was an accident! One of the most distinctive features of the show’s decor was the empty picture frame that surrounded the peephole on the back of Monica’s door. In the very early days of the show, there was a mirror in the frame, but a clumsy crew member accidentally broke it! The cast and crew decided that they liked the look of the frame, so it was left where it was.
- Their apartment numbers changed! In the first episodes, the apartment numbers of Chandler\Joey’s and Monica\Rachel’s apartments were #4 and #5, respectively. The show’s producers quickly realized that those numbers didn’t match the view from Monica’s balcony, so the numbers were quietly changed to #19 and #20.
- The show wasn’t always filmed in front of a live audience! Friends was almost always filmed in front of a live audience. However, there were no audiences during the filming of “cliffhanger episodes” (which is common in the industry, so that audience members can’t sell spoilers to Entertainment Weekly magazine). What’s not so common was that Tom Selleck always received a boisterous standing ovation from the crowd any time he walked on the set, so the scenes where Selleck walks on camera for the first time almost always had to be re-shot without an audience!