Did you know that Ellen DeGeneres was first offered Phoebe’s role or that the Central Perk is actually a coffee shop called The Little Owl in Greenwich village? As Friends aired its last episode on this day in 2004, take a trip down memory lane and relive some fun-filled, fascinating trivia from the iconic sitcom
Now synonymous with their distinctive characters, it’s tough to imagine the show without the cast of David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) and Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani).
A photograph of the 'Friends’ cast (from left) Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, taken in 1999. Pic/Getty Images
Apparently, NBC, on which the show was broadcast from 1994 to 2004, originally felt that the cast was too young and had asked its writers, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, to include an older character who would offer advice to the twenty-somethings; this was scrapped later.
The cast of 'Friends'. Pic/Getty Images
This show witnessed guests like Brad Pitt (who married Aniston later), Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis, among others.
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Tales from the shoot
>> With each episode lasting five hours of shoot, the show was filmed in front of a live audience comprising 300-odd people.
The Friends’ cast with talk show host, Conan O’Brien (extreme right) at Central Perk. Pic/getty images, Warner Bros. television
>> Apparently, the yellow frame around the peephole in Monica’s apartment was originally a mirror but the glass was broken by a crew-member during the initial stages of filming and it later became a prop.
>> If you ever visit Greenwich Village in New York City to check out the Friends Apartment building at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets, you will likely be staring at a restaurant called The Little Owl on the ground floor instead of the sitcom’s fictional coffee-house, Central Perk.
>> Remember that comfy orange couch in the coffee shop? That prop was found in the basement of Warner Bros. Studio.
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In 2010, ‘The Rachel’ was named the most requested hairstyle of all time. However, the actress wasn’t a fan of it, reportedly calling it, “the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen”. Pic/Getty Images
Tushita Dabir, 38, homemaker
My favourite couple was Joey and Rachel. Bruce Willis was my favourite guest star on the show; it was a lovey episode. I love Matthew Perry as Chandler. He’s funny, goofy, and makes for a great boyfriend!
Sowmya Katathil, 30, content writer
I liked Phoebe the best, she is so unusual and unafraid to be herself even if that meant being bizarre, at times. Rachel was the style icon of the show. She got everything right, and was so trendy. I loved the episode where Rachel and Ross go for a date under the stars in the planetarium.
Shahzoor p Kasnavia, 36, horticulturist
My favourite lines would be Joey’s ‘How you doin’?’ and Ross’ ‘Who ate my sandwich?’ I love the Smelly Cat song. My favourite memories from the show are the time when Ross tries to put on leather pants and the one with Joey finishing the Thanksgiving turkey with pregnant pants.
Akshita Kariwala, 22, baker
One of my favourite lines from the show is, ‘Boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go, but this, this is for life’. This show is amazing because each character is equally awesome. My favourite is Phoebe, especially, for her Christmas song, ‘Monica Monica, have a happy Hanukkah...’
It could have been quite different...
>> The show was originally titled Insomnia Café, then renamed as Friends Like Us and later, Six of One, before it was changed to Friends.
>> The original theme song chosen was Shiny Happy People by R.E.M., but was later changed to I’ll Be There For You, recorded by the Pop-Rock duo, The Rembrandts.
>> In the initial draft, Joey and Monica were intended to be love interests.
>> The role of Phoebe was first offered to Ellen DeGeneres, who turned it down. It later went to Lisa Kudrow, who was guest-starring as Ursula in another series, Mad About You, at that time.
FRIENDS in numbers
238 is the total number of Friends episodes aired from Season 1 to 10.
$22,500 paid to the stars per episode during Season 1. By the final season, they were paid $1 million per show.
52.5 million viewers saw the finale episode, The Last One, which was recorded as the United States’ highest-rated show of the decade.
Are you the biggest FRIENDS fan?
1. How many times did Ross get married?
2. What’s the name of Joey’s character on the show, Days of Our Lives?
3. Who was Rachel going to marry but left at the altar?
4. What was Chandler’s middle name?
5. Who/what is Rosita?