Actor Allusion: On "The One with the Football," Phoebe wears a That Girl T-shirt. Marlo Thomas, the star of that show, played Rachel's mother.
There's even one for animal actors. In "The One After the Superbowl," Ross learns Marcel the monkey is now filming the fictional sequel to Outbreak. The monkey actually was the monkey in the film.
For one episode in the opening credits, Courtney Cox gets first billing and is now billed as Courtney Cox-Arquette (due to her marriage to David Arquette). The rest of the cast also have Arquette hyphened onto the end of their names in the credits for that episode. The end of the episode has a little dedication saying "For Courtney and David, who did get married".
Creator Breakdown: The One With the Cat, an episode where Phoebe thinks her dead mother has been reincarnated as a cat, was written by co-creator Marta Kauffman, who lost her own mother at the time (the episode is dedicated to her). The episode got a mostly negative reception from the fanbase at the time of its airing, mainly due to Phoebe successfully making Ross out to be the bad guy for his insistence that she'd return the cat to her child owner (adding to the ridiculousness, Phoebe had just met her biological mother). One of the other writers mentioned in an interview years later that the episode being written to take Phoebe's inane side would've been shot down at the table read had it not been for the circumstances surrounding it; they would've felt bad going against Kauffman on this issue.
Dawson Casting: High school-aged Ross, Rachel, Chandler and Monica are played by the regular cast. Additionally, the characters were all meant to be in their twenties at the beginning of the show, but Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox were already in their thirties.
Deleted Scene: The uncut episodes on DVD tend to have scenes that were cut not just for syndication, but also scenes that also didn't originally air due to content. One example is when Joey is angry at Chandler for making fun of the bracelet he gave him; when Chandler says he should focus on the fact Chandler wore it even though he hated it, Joey tells him to "focus on this" and grabs his junk while the camera cuts to behind Joey. Another extra sequence, in "TOW The Cheap Wedding Dress", seems to be an ad-lib from Matt LeBlanc: After a love interest ditches both Ross and Joey at a restaurant, Ross asks if Joey is hungry, to which Joey replies, "Does a bear shit in the woods?"
Edited for Syndication: The show's run on Nick At Nite (which, as of this writing, is still ongoing) is full of this, as one would unfortunately expect. Various episodes that were a bit longer than the half-hour time slot are cut rather drastically, with various scenes shifting regardless of whatever was happening at the moment, making certain joke buildups seemingly pointless. To their credit, nothing plot relevant is cut, but it's really jarring and even those who haven't seen the full episodes can tell that some hasty editing was done.
Executive Meddling: The Season Six episode "The One With The Proposal" was subjected to this. Originally, the episode was supposed to depict a Big Showdown between Chandler and Richard, ultimately ending in a cliffhanger with Monica deciding who to marry. However, there was last-minute speculation that Season Six would be the final season of Friends. Thus, the writers were forced to retool the episode to end with Monica and Chandler proposing, so that if the series was cancelled, there would be no cliffhanger left dangling.
To be fair the writers also changed the 'showdown' ending because they realized it would be obvious that Monica was going to pick Chandler. They didn't like playing the proposal for cheap laughs and drama, so changed it to the more private, romantic proposal we see. They explain it all on the episodes commentary.
NBC execs forced Marcel on the show, because apparently Friends needed a monkey for comic relief. Both cast and crew found it to be a pain in the ass and give it a Take That in season 6. They also attempted numerous spin-offs and crossovers with the show to try to piggyback off the show's success.
Broadcasting U.S.-friendly newscasts into Saudi Arabia has been unsuccessful in dissuading anti-Americanism there. Broadcasting Friends, on the other hand, proved quite helpful. This is ironic, considering the ensemble tend to fornicate regularly and wear revealing clothes.
James Michael Tyler (Gunther) was so popular in Dubai that he got offered to be the spokesman for a local coffee brand but NBC botched the deal (they wanted more money).
Even years after its ending, UK channels such as E4 still show two rerun episodes of Friends several times a day. It got to the point that all E4 showed during one particular summer was live Big Brother and reruns of Friends. Since the channel lost the rights to both in 2011, its content has become more varied and seemingly attracts fewer viewers. Meanwhile, Comedy Central continues to run the show endlessly.
As of 2013, Friends and Seinfeld are the two most rerun shows on the Israeli broadcast networks, in terms of cumulative airtime over the past 45 years (i.e. since the first Israeli television broadcasts). Each of them easily outranks any other foreign or local show in terms of total rerun airtime. Geeking out over "Friends" is probably the one thing an Israeli and Arab could bond over (Friends is popular all over the Middle East).
It was very popular in the Czech Republic among the young and the older when it first aired in The Nineties, and in The New Tens, chances are that one of the TV channels is airing its reruns.
It also was and continues to be popular in India, due to being one of the few American shows broadcast in the early 1990s.
Meta-example: Joey is played by Matt Le Blanc, Chandler by Matthew Perry. Directors didn't always catch on to this.
Lampshaded by Matt Le Blanc in one of the blooper scenes that aired before the final episode.
Director: A little louder, Matt.
Le Blanc: Which Matt? (Beat) Nine years and still happens.
"Rachel Greene" (albeit with the E added at the end) is also a character on ER. note Oddly enough, Rachel's last name IS "Greene" - in "TOW The Invitation", Rachel's last name is spelled "Greene" on her invitation. It's most commonly spelled "Green" outside of the show.
The Other Darrin:In the second episode, Ross's ex-wife Carol was played by Anita Barone, whose look and acting style were nothing like those of Jane Sibbett, who replaced her for the rest of the series.
Also Rachel's friend Mindy, who eventually married her ex-fiancÚ, was originally played by Jennifer Grey.
Happens to Ben and Emma too, but it's less noticeable since they were both babies when this happened.
Matthew Perry's father played Joshua's (Tate Donovan's character) father in one episode.
When Julia Roberts guest starred, her real life sister played her assistant.
Roberts guest starred in the first place because she was dating Matthew Perry at the time.
In one episode Ross's old friend from high school comes to visit. Turns out he is the president (and only current member) of the Anti-Rachel club. He was played by Jennifer Aniston's then real life husband Brad Pitt.
Technology Marches On: In "The One With the List", Chandler marvels at his brand new computer: "Twelve megabytes of RAM, five hundred megabyte hard drive, with built-in spreadsheet capabilities and a modem that transmits at over 28,000 bps!", which was quite high tech for 1995. Nowadays there are cellphones running faster than that. Ross is also mentioned several times as having a beeper and one episode even revolves around him getting beeped by people looking for a male prostitute.
The Red Stapler: The "Rachel" cut, the flat, straight and square-layered hairstyle worn by Jennifer Aniston in the first couple of seasons, was so popular with women that it came to be associated with The Nineties the same way that frizzy, voluminous hair defined the preceding decade. The funny thing is that this was unintentional. The stylist originally wanted Aniston to have even-length hair, but accidentally cut off a bit too much on the front right; instead of matching all the rest of her hair to it, he just cut off a bit on the other side to make it symmetrical. In an interview, Aniston claimed that she hated the haircut and didn't get what the "big deal" was.
They Just Didn't Care: Nick At Nite doesn't air certain episodes for what appears to be no reason at all. For some, it can be assumed to be because of their content, such as "TOW The Stoner Guy" or "TOW The Sharks", both of which might be viewed as a bit too racy for the network. On the other hand, the others that don't air don't really have this kind of humor at all, so it could unfortunately just be the network trying to "even out" the episode line-up after cutting the two episodes mentioned above from the run.
Throw It In: The episode "The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant" dealt with a woman calling Chandler and Joey believing she's calling a guy named Bob, and Chandler picks up, pretends to be Bob, sets up a meeting with her and then shows up to win her over when she's "stood up". The tag scene for that episode had the woman calling again, looking for Bob, this time with Joey hearing the message. The script called for Joey to pick up and say "Bob here", but Matt LeBlanc tripped and fell, desperately trying to grab the phone as he went down. This ended up a lot funnier than the scripted version and was kept for the episode.
In the episode "The One With Phoebe's Uterus", Joey walks into the apartment wearing a blue blazer. Matthew Perry (Chandler), while making a joke, accidently said "black" instead of "back", but the actors' reactions to the mistake were so funny, they decided to put it in the episode:
Joey: Guess what job I just got? Chandler: I don't know, but Donald Trump wants his blue blazer black. (pauses) Ross: What? Chandler: Blue blazer back. He wants it back. Rachel: But, you said "black". Why would he want his blue blazer black? Chandler: Well, you know what I meant. Monica: No, you messed it up. You're stupid. Chandler:(changing the subject) So what job did you get, Joe?
Too Soon: The season premiering after 9/11 had an episode where Monica and Chandler are married and on their honeymoon about to board an airplane while leaving Joey and Phoebe in charge of Monica's apartment. The original version was revised at the last minute because its plot involved Chandler seeing a sign saying 'no jokes about bombs', making a joke about it, and guards swarming them and asking for a luggage search because they take those jokes seriously. Later, as they're searching, Joey and Phoebe call saying that there's an apparent gas leak in Monica's apartment. Monica replies into the phone: "Do you think I want that place to blow up!?" The guards come in hearing everything except the first three words, and rekindle their search for the 'bomb'. Additionally, "The One After 'I Do'", which was the first new episode shown after 9/11 (first aired on September 27, 2001), had a Vanity Plate saying that it was dedicated to "the people of New York". The show also began using new establishing shots without the Twin Towers in them.
Courtney Cox originally auditioned for the part of Rachel
James Micheal Tyler was supposed to be just another extra on the set. However, he was recruited to be a recurring character in the coffeehouse because he was the only extra who knew how to operate a cappuccino machine.
Joey and Monica were originally supposed to be the main couple focused on over the course of series rather than Ross and Rachel. A couple of episodes seem to have a few nods to this, such as Joey mistakenly thinking that Monica is flirting with him in "The One with the Flashback," and Monica revealing that she'd originally wanted to have sex with Joey right before getting together with Chandler in "The One With the Truth About London." There are also a few hints of this in "The Pilot," as Monica and Joey quibble with each other quite a bit more than they would during the remainder of the series.
The producers supposedly approached REM, then They Might Be Giants, to perform the show's (already written) theme tune "I'll Be There For You". The Rembrandts were their third choice.
Early on, Matt Leblanc and Lisa Kudrow had kicked around the idea that Joey and Phoebe were having casual sex in secret, but the writers were against it.
During the casting process, at one point, Leah Remini auditioned for Monica, as did Nancy Mckeon. Jon Cryer was considered for Chandler. Jessica Hecht (Susan) auditioned for Monica as well.
Jennifer Aniston auditioned for the role of Monica as well, and Courtney Cox auditioned for that of Rachel. Producers realized that were better suited for the other role.
An early idea for Chandler was for him to be gay. Then they got Matthew Perry and the idea was abandoned.
Chandler and Monica were only planned to be a short fling, but the audience loved them so much and the characters fitted together so well that the writers continued with the relationship and they became the stable relationshipof the gang.
The writers considered having Chandler and Monica sleep together in the Season 2 finale. Monica would still have broken up with Richard but Chandler's internet girlfriend would have been a crazy trekkie rather than Janice, and they'd both be so depressed they'd have sex after Barry and Mindy's wedding. This was scrapped, and it wasn't until two seasons later at Ross and Emily's wedding that they got their chance.
Originally Monica was the one having a baby in Season 8, but the writers thought it would be open more storylines if Rachel did instead. To avoid having another pregnancy story in Season 10, they developed Chandler and Monica's infertility and eventual adoption arc.
They also thought about revealing Monica was pregnant in the final episode but nixed it in favour of their adopted baby turning out to be twins.
The opening title scene was originally supposed to show the main cast playing around/goofing off in the water fountain, but this was only used once in the pilot episode and scrapped afterwards due to the producers feeling that the scene showed the cast as a closed group of friends that might snub anyone outside their group. All of the opening title scenes afterwards show a mixture of the fountain scene and scenes from other episodes.
The writers were, at one point, going to have a throwaway joke about Phoebe being molested as a kid. But this was scrapped after Kudrow refused to make a crack about such a serious subject.
Word of God: In an interview Kevin Bright revealed where he thought all the characters ended up: Joey's finally had his big break and is a star, Phoebe's still with Mike and has opened up a holistic spa chain, Ross and Rachel got married and have had another baby, Chandler and Monica managed to have a child naturally and are contently living in the suburbs with their three children as Chandler starts his own number crunching business. So in Kevin's words they're all living Happily Ever After.