We’re not afraid to say that Friends is one of the best things to ever happen in the history of TV. In fact, it is one of few shows that still has us all binge-watching all ten seasons and loving every minute of it, 25 years after its debut.
But while many of us will swear that we can recite the script, and know everything there is to know about Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe by now, there are still plenty of details about the show that we’ve only been drip-fed in recent years – many of which you may never have heard of.
Last year, writer Kelsey Miller released a book for Friends fans titled ‘I’ll Be There For You‘ in which she chronicles the show’s creation, revealing interesting (and sometimes shocking) facts along the way.
Here are some of the key things you didn’t know about the hit 90s sitcom…
There almost wasn’t a Central Perk
One of the most shocking facts revealed in Miller’s book is that we almost didn’t get the iconic Central Perk. Instead, the coffee shop where the friends spend the majority of their time in was initially going to be a diner. Yes, really.
Miller explains that this is because in the early 90s, people didn’t actually spend their time sitting around in coffee shops. She quotes the show’s producer Kevin Bright, who said: ‘You gotta remember what time it was. Starbucks hadn’t really taken hold yet.’
However, in the end the Bright and the show’s creators Kauffman and Crane decided to stick to the coffee shop after decided that viewers would figure out what it was.
The iconic sofa wasn’t originally orange
Remember the orange sofa in Central Perk? How could you forget. It is a crucial part of the whole show. It features in pretty much every episode as the the gang’s go-to spot in the coffee shop. Well, apparently it was never actually meant to be orange. Instead, the creators were after a beige sofa but ended up settling for the standout colour instead.
The show wasn’t called ‘Friends‘ at first
The almost-never-a-thing Central Perk and orange sofa aren’t the only key changes made during the early days of production. The sitcom was initially sold with the titled Insomnia Café and was described as a show ‘about six people in their twenties who hang out at this coffee house.’
However, once NBC bought the script, the title was changed to Friends Like Us before later beginning changed to ‘Six of One’. Then right at the eleventh hour, when the show was about to premiere on TV in 1994, the network changed the name to what we all know and love it as today, Friends.
Janice’s unforgettable laugh was inspired by this
Maggie Wheeler who plays Janice sounds nothing like her on-screen character in real life. She made the distinctive nasal voice up during her audition, based on people she knew. As for her famous laugh? That was inspired by Flipper and Woody the Woodpecker.
‘There was a character called Arnold Horshack and he used to laugh and he would say [laughs],’ Wheeler told Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live. ‘Then I grew up watching Flipper which was a fantastic show about a dolphin, and I was in love with that dolphin and of course the dolphin sounds like a dolphin..
‘So I sort of say she’s a combination of Arnold Horshack and Flipper and Woody the Woodpecker.’
Every single episode mentions the world ‘friends’
Whether you picked up on it or not, every single episode of Friends mentioned the word ‘friends’ at least once. Listen out for it during your next viewing session. In fact, why not make it into a drinking game?
There was originally a seventh key cast member in the group
According to Miller’s book, there was originally going to be an older, father figure named Pat the Cop in the show. He was supposed to be there to give the group advice on their life choices but his character never even made it to the pilot episode and thank god for that. It would have been an entirely different show.
The show was never filmed in New York
Despite the entire show being centred around six friends navigating their lives in New York City, Friends was never actually filmed there. Ever.
Instead, the show was filmed in California, mainly at a Warner Bros studio. Only the exterior shots of the famous Friends apartment building was shot in New York at the corner of Grove Street and Bedford street.
Ross didn’t age for three years
Ever noticed that Ross was 29 for three whole years of the show? Yep. There are various references to Ross being 29 in seasons 3, 4 and 5, so which one is it? The truth is. There are a lot of inconsistent ages in the show. The first season indicates that Joey is the youngest member of the group as he turns 25, but as the season’s go by, Rachel is all of a sudden the last to turn 30. They thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.