Top 10 Secrets from the Set of Friends

Did you know these things about your favorite sitcom?

by Iva Rizova

Friends is the most popular and one of the most successful sitcoms ever made. Seventeen years after the final, its fame seems unstoppable, and it continues to find new admirers among the younger generation. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps one of them is that almost two decades after the broadcast of the last episode, not all the secrets from the set have been revealed yet, which keeps the fans’ interest. We have gathered some little-known facts from the ten-year filming process to satisfy your need for more information about your favorite sitcom.

The first group negotiations

During the first season’s filming, each of the actors receives a different salary, depending on the previous projects in which he participated. David Schwimmer and Courtney Cox are said to have had the highest remunerations. 

The storyline with Ross and Rachel became so popular that David and Jennifer’s paychecks were raised and leveled in the second season. The actors’ transformation into first-class Hollywood stars literally overnight brings them together, but they realize that different rewards can have the opposite effect. 

That’s why the six negotiated with Warner Bros for a collective agreement that ensures equal pay for all. The sitcom continued to gain popularity, and their payments increased each season. And in the last two, they received $1 million per episode. This is a precedent, and other productions follow their example.

A suggestion from the actors in Friends

Towards the end of the series, there is no possibility for significant changes in the plot. The romance between Ross and Rachel continues over the ten seasons, and it is clear that the finale will reveal whether they will reunite.

Monica and Chandler’s relationship is a model for the series, and they are the audience’s favorites. The characters have been a couple for several years. They are also married and trying to have a child. Therefore, it is almost certain that they will not separate them.

Throughout the seasons, we had the feeling that there was some unadulterated chemistry between Joey and Phoebe and that they would be the perfect couple. Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc apparently have the same opinion because they suggested that the screenwriters introduce a surprising romance between the two through retrospectives. They rejected their proposal to avoid a very unrealistic finale of the series.

The origin of Smelly Cat

Smelly Cat is probably the favorite song of every fan of the series. According to the plot, the eccentric Phoebe must play an instrument and have at least one song as strange as she is.

One of the screenwriters was inspired by his own pet and had an idea for a song called Smelly Dog. Yet, the most famous song was created not by him but by an unexpected women’s evening. Lisa Kudrow went out to a bar with her friend, and a few drinks later, they wrote the text of Smelly Cat.

The actress wanted to play drums while singing, but the writers decided the guitar was the best choice for Phoebe. Lisa even went to classes, but she didn’t do very well and appraised that this perfectly emphasized the eccentricity of her character.

The ritual before each episode of Friends

The friendship of the characters is transferred off the set, and the actors become like a family. For ten years, they have been together almost every day, rehearsing the script.

Spending so much time with each other, their rapprochement creates not only jokes but also rituals. Their most famous ritual is their indispensable group hug behind the scenes before going out in front of the audience and filming the episode.

They miss the hug only once because they were late. During the filming, Matt LeBlanc pulled out his shoulder. They never make the same mistake of ignoring a group hug, even if they were in a hurry.

The symbolic end of Central Perk

The fictional café, hidden among the skyscrapers in New York and famous for its orange sofa, has become a series symbol. Even a person who is not a fan will likely recognize Central Perk when they see a photo of it.

Central Perk

The finale is expected with both trepidation and sadness. But in addition to the final captions, the demolition of the cafe’s set to film the airport scene also marks a symbolic end to the story. That’s why Chandler’s last line, “Where?” seems even more meaningful and sarcastic.

In addition, the shooting of a new sitcom started the next day, and all sets had to be torn down. Fans of the series, who want to feel the atmosphere of Central Perk, can do so in one of the eponymous cafes around the world, inspired by Friends.

Love in the time of shooting

In the special episode of Friends, which came out in May, James Cordon shared that he thinks it was not possible they were so close and that at least one romance did not arise. That’s how we learned from the actors the attraction between Ross and Rachel was not just acting.


The chemistry between David and Jennifer did not go unnoticed by the team, but they never took the next step because one of the two was always in a relationship.

It seems the set of Friends did not cause only one crush. In interviews, Matt LeBlanc and Cole Spraus (Ben) admit they had a crush on Jennifer. Matthew Perry probably had feelings for Courtney Cox because he said it was an honor to marry her even on screen.

The same-sex wedding and the expected reaction

The end of the last century was a period of change. Until the early 1990s, they did not show many things on television because they were considered scandalous. Showing a divorce, a different sexual orientation or even a group of friends was avoided.


Friends make a change in the status quo and touch on many controversial topics. They announced Ross’s divorce from Carol in the first season, and then it turned out they would have a child.

But to show Ross’s ex-wife’s wedding to Susan was unprecedented. The producers expected a wave of discontent and hired 200 people to deal with the complaints but were surprised that only 11 people called.

Alternative family models in Friends

After the success of the episode with the same-sex wedding, the screenwriters decided that society was ready to accept what was considered scandalous and could convey more social messages through the plot.

All the main characters become parents in different ways. Surrogacy is represented by the strange Phoebe, who gives birth to her brother’s babies, and at the end, it is hinted she will have children of her own. Rachel becomes pregnant by accident, and single motherhood is added to her characteristics. Monica and Chandler are unable to have children, so they decide to adopt.

These three storylines aim to show people that the way they become parents is irrelevant and not something to be ashamed of.

The Friend Zone

We have probably all heard the phrase, “If you wait too long to take a step, you’ll stay in the friend zone forever.” But do you know where it comes from?

You guessed it right. The writers of Friends may not have invented the expression, but it is a fact that the series popularizes and imposes it. It’s needless to say by which character.

Ross is afraid to invite Rachel on a date during the first season, even though he has been in love with her for years. Then Joey utters the obnoxious but terribly true sentence. Moreover, he calls Ross the Mayor of the Friend Zone.

The Arquette family

It is no secret the six main actors are very close and share everything with each other. For ten years, they experienced weddings and separations, and some of them became parents.

In the first episode of the sixth season, Monica and Chandler try to decide if it’s time to get married. Unlike her character, Courtney Cox has already made up her mind and got married in the summer. 

To pay tribute to their colleague and publicly congratulate her on the wedding, the other actors and screenwriters added the new surname of Cox (Arquette) to their names in the opening captions of the episode, and all became part of the Arquette family for a day.

Although they revealed many secrets from the set in the special episode, it will be no wonder if this ageless sitcom has more trump cards up its sleeve and continues surprising us. And for Friends’ fans, every new detail for the series is like the bait they must catch.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Related Posts

Leave a Comment