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Trivia / Friends

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  • Acting for Two: Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe and recurring Evil Twin Ursula, and David Schwimmer's one-off as "Russ", a Ross-esque guy Rachel briefly dated (without noticing the similarities, such as profession and the, uh,... u-NIQUE manner of speaking).
  • 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.
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    • For one episode in the opening credits, Courteney Cox gets first billing and is now billed as Courteney 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 Courteney and David, who did get married".
    • In "TOW The Ultimate Fighting Championship", we meet formerly-bald Bonnie, played by Christine Taylor. Laura, her Alpha Bitch character in The Craft, lost her hair as part of a bullying-revenge subplot.
    • In the first season, Joey gets a part in a porno movie. Prior to Friends Matt Leblanc appeared in the soft-core series The Red Shoe Diaries.
    • All the references to Days of Our Lives and Rachel as a big fan of the show. Her dad is long-time Days star John Aniston.
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    • In “The One in Barbados,” David takes a moment to be a schadenfreude by saying “Ha Ha!”, the catchphrase of Nelson Muntz on The Simpsons.
    • A Season 10 gag has Phoebe changing her name, making a joke that her friends can call her Valerie. Lisa Kudrow's middle name is Valerie, and early in her career she had tried to change her name to 'L. Valerie Kudrow'.
    • After Ross's second wedding, Rachel accidentally travels alone to Greece. Jennifer Aniston is half Greek.
    • While looking for a substitute minister for Chandler and Monica's wedding Rachel borrows the Greek Orthodox minister from the "Anastasakis/Papasifakis" wedding. Anastasakis was Jennifer Aniston's father's original surname, which her grandfather changed to "Aniston" when the family moved to America.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Lisa Kudrow is vegetarian, like Phoebe.
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  • Ascended Fanboy: Reese Witherspoon was such a fan of the show that even if her film career was on the rise, she just had to make herself available to play Jill for two episodes.
  • Beauty Inversion:
    • Courteney Cox whenever Fat!Monica had to appear. Matthew Perry apparently didn't recognise her the first time he saw her in the fatsuit.
    • June Gable was also diguised under an unflattering wig, tacky clothes and Uncanny Valley Make Up as Estelle. She also affected a voice to suggest the agent was a chain smoker.
  • California Doubling: The show was mostly filmed in the WB Studios in Burbank, even if the setting is New York. Days of Our Lives is also filmed there, though presumably in the Friends universe it is produced in NY given Joey never moved when he was part of the soap's cast.
  • Casting Gag: Rachel's friend Mindy is played by Jennifer Grey. Both she and Jennifer Aniston played Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and the short lived TV spin-off, respectively.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • The writers openly acknowledge in one of the season eight commentaries that they don't like the Chandler/Monica subplot in "The One With The Truth About London."
    • They also have some disdain for season six, feeling they were simply going through the motions during that time period. Not surprising, given that this was when a lot of the backstage drama with issues like Matthew Perry's drug addictions really began to hinder the series.
    • Matthew Perry has a hard time watching any season three episodes, the year he was extremely skinny due to health issues.
    • Even when the show was airing, Matt LeBlanc was not happy with Joey's more perverted moments, feeling that there was no way the women would want to be friends with a guy like that.
    • Jennifer Aniston absolutely hated the "Rachel" haircutnote  and is not happy about decades later, expressing disbelief at how it became so popular among women in the 1990s.
  • 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 mid-twenties at the beginning of the show, but Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox were already in their thirties.
    • Frank Jr is also meant to be eighteen when he first appears on the show. Giovanni Ribisi was twenty-two.
  • Defictionalization: You can buy the famous glass-less mirror frame in Monica's apartment to hang around the peephole on your door.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • The extended episodes on DVD not only include scenes cut for syndication, but also scenes that were never aired due to time constraints and/or 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 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?"
    • "TOW Where Rachel Tells..." initially featured an entirely different subplot for Monica and Chandler, which was cut after 9/11 and replaced with a new story. The original version did air overseas, however.
  • Directed by Cast Member: David Schwimmer directed ten episodes in the later seasons.
  • Dueling Shows: With Living Single.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Matt LeBlanc says that he started going gray early in the show's run and had to dye his hair for the 12 years he played Joey. He initially had it done by Friends' hair department but started doing it by himself to save time.
  • Edited for Syndication: The show's run on Nick @ 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. They've also been known to take it one step further and cut out entire episodes for no real reason. With episodes like "TOW the Stoned Guy" or "TOW the Sharks" it's seemingly for racy content (marijuana and self-pleasure, respectively), but then you have episodes like "TOW Joey's Dirty Day" which aren't shown and actually have plot relevant events take place in them - in the case of said episode, it's the debut episode of Emily, Ross's (eventual) second wife.
  • 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. 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.
    • 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.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy:
    • Courteney Cox during Season 10. Especially since Monica's infertility was a plot point.
    • Helen Baxendale, which resulted in her being written out sooner than originally planned. For Emily's last couple of appearances, the bump was hidden by bed sheets or by only having her voice heard over the phone.
    • Inverted with Lisa Kudrow, who was pregnant around the same time as her character. But as she wasn't big enough to be carrying triplets, she had to be padded.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Jennifer Aniston's real life fiancé Tate Donovan, was casted as Rachel's boyfriend Joshua, but their relationship deteriorated during his run and they broke up both on the show and in real life. Donavan outright said the experience was awful.
    • In a rumoured case, Reese Witherspoon didn't get along with Aniston, and thus Jill never returned... when in fact things were mellow (Aniston even hugged Reese after she panicked following a flub), and both actresses developed a good friendship.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Courtney Cox (Monica) and Christina Pickles (Mrs. Geller) had previously starred together in the infamous Masters of the Universe film, where Courtney played Julie, a teenager from Earth swept up in the battle between He-Man and Skeletor, and Christina was The Sorceress- who for added irony, helped to heal one of Julie's injuries!
  • Jossed: A long standing rumor was that Ellen DeGeneres turned down the role of Phoebe. Ellen later clarified that the confusion came from a show she was on called These Friends of Mine, which was later retitled Ellen.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The original DVD boxsets feature extended versions of many episodes. However, these versions were not included in the HD versions found on Blu-ray and streaming.
  • Name's the Same:
    • Meta-example: Joey is played by Matt Le Blanc, Chandler by Matthew Perry. Although the cast got around it by addressing one as "Le Blanc" and the other as "Matthew", 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, which also featured characters named Ross, Susan, Carol, and Mark. note 
  • Old Shame: Jennifer Aniston has this towards 'The Rachel' haircut. She hated it and grew it out as quickly as she could.
  • 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.
    • Rachel's friend Mindy, who eventually married her ex-fiancé, was first played by Jennifer Grey and later by Jana Marie Hupp.
    • Joey's sister Gina is played by KJ Steinberg in "TOW Chandler Can't Remember Which Sister," but Drea de Matteo in the spinoff Joey.
    • Happens to Ben and Emma too, but it's less noticeable since they were both babies when this happened.
  • Out of Holiday Episode: Averted. They don't show any Christmas, Thanksgiving or Halloween episodes unless it's the actual month of those holidays. This actually cause a bit of a continuity problem because two Thanksgiving episodes were plot important; one dealing with Chandler being able to date Joey's ex-girlfriend and another having Monica and Chandler being able to adopt.
  • Quote Source: Graceful Ladies Like Purple,First World Problems
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Matthew Perry's father played Joshua's (Tate Donovan) father in one episode, complete with Chandler-like snarking.
    • Julia Roberts guest starred from dating Matthew Perry, and her sister played her assistant.
    • In one episode Ross's old friend from high school comes to visit. Turns out he was the president (and only current member) of the "I Hate Rachel Green" club. He was played by Jennifer Aniston's then-husband Brad Pitt.
    • Susan Sarandon appears as a soap actress in Season 7. Her real life daughter Eva Amurri plays her soap opera daughter.
  • 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 '90s 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.
    • The series helped popularize coffeehouse culture in the U.S.
  • Romance on the Set: Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan were dating around the same time as their characters.
    • A later episode, her then-husband Brad Pitt guested as a former classmate, who ironically hated Rachel.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Producers took advantage of the resemblance between Lisa Kudrow and Teri Garr to make the latter Phoebe's mom.
  • 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.
  • Throw It In!:
    • The golden frame around the peephole on the apartment door was a mirror originally. But a crew member accidentally smashed the glass. They found it looked good anyway and left 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?
    • The famous white dog of Joey's was a gift to Jennifer Aniston from a friend. She offered to lend it to the show for the episode where Joey becomes rich and buys a lot of stuff. They loved it and decided to keep it for the rest of the series.
    • "TOW The Ultimate Fighting Champion" opens with the gang in Central Perk about to discuss something when they're interrupted by Robin Williams and Billy Crystal who ask to share the couch with them. Their appearance was completely unplanned, the pair just happened to be filming on a nearby set and the producers asked them to make an appearance. The resulting scene is a completely improvised conversation where Crystal's character reveals he's sleeping with Williams' wife while the gang awkwardly try not to listen in.
  • Too Soon: "TOW Rachel Tells...", originally had a subplot where Monica and Chandler are interrogated by airport security after Chandler makes a joke about explosives. As it unfortunately coincided with 9/11, the subplot was hastily changed to Monica and Chandler competing with another couple for honeymoon perks.
  • Truth in Television: It may be played for laughs, but Joey's painfully slow and extremely erratic progression in the acting industry and playing a part in a low-budget medical drama is surprisingly realistic - the industry is clogged with mediocre actors, and even great actors, who just have to take any job they can, just to get something on their resumé.
  • Tuckerization: All the main characters are named after All My Children characters.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • Whilst not in itself very topical the show did manage to capture the burgeoning coffee shop scene of that era as well as gentrification of New York's brownstones under Guliani.
    • Many, many shots of the World Trade Center towers.
    • In Season 1 finale "TOW Rachel Finds Out", Rachel is able to go all the way to Ross's departure gate when Ross is leaving for China and when Ross is coming back.
    • In Season 2's "TOW Five Steaks And An Eggplant", the gang loses their minds with excitement over a Hootie & the Blowfish concert. To be fair, Hootie was probably the biggest band in the country when the episode aired (their debut album Cracked Rear View had sold more than 10 million copies in the US by then, despite being released only one year prior). So it's easy to see why the writers assumed they would have more staying power than they did.
    • George Stephanopoulous is a pretty dated reference point but features heavily in a first-season episode (complete with him in the title).
  • What Could Have Been: Has its own page.
  • The Wiki Rule: Friends Central, and another Friends Wiki.
  • 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.
  • Working Title: Friends Like Us, Six of One, Across the Hall, and Insomnia Cafe.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Giovanni Ribisi played a teenager who accidentally dropped a condom in Phoebe's guitar case, about half a season before he was cast as Phoebe's half-brother. Though some fans theorize that this was an Early-Bird Cameo and that really was Frank Jr. even though he is credited as Condom Boy.
    • Jennifer Coolidge and Adam Goldberg guest starred on Friends. Both ended up in regular roles on Joey; the latter, though, was more of a recurring role.
    • Brent Spiner appeared as one of Rachel's bosses in one episode. He turned up later in an episode of Joey, playing himself.
    • June Gable played a nurse in episode 23 before picking up a recurring role as Joey's agent Estelle. According to Word of God, she was already cast as Estelle but her scenes were cut. So they had her play the nurse to make it up to her, before bringing Estelle back.
    • There were also some one-off characters, e.g. Doug Looperr played a fireman in 3.23 and a paramedic in 5.08.
    • Lisa Kudrow had played Ursula the waitress on Mad About You prior to joining Friends; this was subsequently played with by making Ursula Phoebe's Evil Twin and having Kudrow play both characters in episodes of the latter show.
    • In-universe example was when Phoebe became an extra on Days of Our Lives and noticed some of the extras would play more than one role, and that Joey slept with most of them.


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