Friends was a television phenomenon like no other. It spawned catchphrases, hairstyles, and iconic water-cooler moments (“I, Ross, take thee, Rachel…”). Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, and the late, great Matthew Perry became six of the biggest stars of the 1990s. To this day, the show has a massive fandom, but even the most hardcore Friends fans didn’t get to see everything that went on behind the scenes.
1. Reese Witherspoon had no idea what she was doing
When Reese Witherspoon was cast as Rachel’s sister, Jill, on Friends, she wasn’t prepared. At the 2011 Elle Women in Hollywood gathering, she revealed that she’d “panicked” in front of the cameras while filming the hit show.
The actress explained, “It became immediately clear to me that I had no idea what I was doing and I was completely out of my league.” Luckily, Aniston came to her aid – and the two are still close friends.
2. Lisa Kudrow couldn’t play the guitar
Friends fans got a lot of great moments with Phoebe Buffay playing the guitar — in her own, well, unique way. Originally, she was meant to be a great guitar player, but Kudrow disliked that idea; she just couldn’t get the hang of the instrument. The show producers hired a tutor for her, but that didn’t work either.
Kudrow suggested that Phoebe play the bongos instead, but eventually everyone settled on the idea of her character not being good at the guitar. And that led to some great comedy anyway. What would the world be without “Smelly Cat?”
3. One episode was changed because of 9/11
Following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, there were some subjects that it simply felt wrong to make jokes about on TV. Incidentally, Friends had already filmed a potentially problematic scene before the events of September 11. Thankfully, it was yet to air.
Thus, a scene featuring Chandler making a bomb joke at an airport was cut out and replaced with one about Monica being jealous of another couple. The original scene can still be found online, though.
4. Courteney Cox was just like her character
What does Monica Gellar love more than anything? Cleaning! And it turns out Courteney Cox was just like her character in that respect. Two classic type A clean freaks!
“[Cox] has the neatest dressing room,” show co-creator Marta Kauffman revealed to The Los Angeles Times in 1995. “She even cleans up the other actors’ dressing rooms because she won’t go in there if they are too messy.” Pure Monica.