It’s no secret that Friends is one of the biggest sitcoms of all time. And while on the surface it tells the story of the friendships, romances, and general life experiences of a group of friends in New York City, it’s definitely more complex than that. Millions are still in love with Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler, Ross, and Phoebe after the gang made their debut back in 1994. It lasted an entire decade until it went off the air in 2004. People even fell in love with the actors and actresses, most of whom got their big break on the popular series.
Still, while the show is pretty much an American classic, there are portions of the plot that viewers very likely missed while enjoying the everyday adventures of the crew. For instance, how is it possible that they were able to sit on the same couch in one of the busiest areas and cafes in New York City consistently? And where did they really film the epic intro that had all of us singing, “I’ll be there for you!” So many questions, and thanks to technology and all 236 episodes being available at all of our fingertips via Netflix, many questions as well as new revelations have been revealed. So take a look at one of our favorite lists: The 15 biggest Friends secrets and plot holes you missed. This will certainly be a fun one as we take a trip down memory lane and discover what used to be the unknown.
15. Ross’s History Is A Little Hazy
Ross might have been pretty hesitant to speak with Chandler about his previous sex life in the first season. Still, he was adamant that he had only ever been with one woman before Rachel, his now ex-wife Carol. Fast forward to season seven and the truth is possibly revealed in a very subtle manner.
Ross and Chandler are having one of their usual back-and-forth moments when Ross points out that Chandler once hooked up with the cleaning lady when they were in college. Chandler reminds Ross that he was actually the one who had the moment with the now mysterious cleaning woman. What’s interesting though is that Ross doesn’t deny it. Instead, he tries to deflect the conversation and reminds Chandler that he once kissed another man. It doesn’t look like Ross’s possibly inconsistent sex life is addressed too many more times. But maybe he simply forgot about his past with the cleaning lady.
14. Hidden Baby Bumps Are Always Fun
Fans might already know that Lisa Kudrow got pregnant in real life with her son in 1997. Can you believe he’ll be 20 this year? But what you might not be aware of is that Kudrow wanted her character, the loveable Phoebe to be pregnant as well so she could sport her baby bump.
While the producers agreed that Phoebe should be pregnant, they weren’t ready for her to be a mother. So they decided to make her the surrogate for her brother’s triplets instead. Another pregnancy on the show was Courteney Cox in the last season of the series. But she wasn’t able to tote her baby bump because the show had revealed her character, Monica, and Chandler couldn’t have children. So they had to use different props and objects to hide her growing bump. Interestingly enough, it’s always fun to see the creativity producers use to hide baby bumps in television shows.
13. Did You Ever Notice Monica and Chandler’s Elusive Relocation?
Even the most avid Friends viewers might not realize the slight change in Monica’s apartment. When the show first kicked off in the early nineties, she was in apartment number five. Now that part isn’t that hard to realize as there was a whole conversation in the hallway one time after that time Ross kissed Chandler’s mom in the episode “The One With Mrs. Bing.” However, producers later caught themselves in a slightly awkward position as it was made clear that Monica actually lived on a higher floor. So they changed it 20. Did you know that? Well Monica isn’t the only one who had somewhat of a relocation. Chandler also changed from number four to 19. Still, despite the changes in numbers, the memories and unforgettable moments were still in full swing for the Friends cast whether they were in the apartment labeled 5 or 20 or 4 or 19.
12. When The “Friends” Cast Became Family
The entire cast and crew celebrated the union between Courteney Cox and her new husband David Arquette in the sixth season of the show. It was actually really cool! You might remember in the introduction to the episode called “The One After Vegas” Courtney Cox made her debut as “Courteney Cox Arquette.” But she wasn’t the only one rocking the last name Arquette. In fact, everyone was!
Jennifer Aniston was introduced as Jennifer Aniston Arquette and Lisa Kudrow became Lisa Kudrow Arquette. Even the guys Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer along with the show’s creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman were given the last name Arquette. That’s so awesome as it shows just how close not only the cast but the crew were with one another and celebrated their personal achievements. The entire episode was also dedicated to the newlyweds as a special message read, “For Courteney and David, who did get married.”
11. The Little Dollhouse That Couldn’t
In an episode of season three, the crew learned the difficulties of working in television and making everything appear real, genuine, and authentic. They built a cardboard dollhouse that Phoebe made in the episode.
But things went in a completely different direction than expected when the original dollhouse caught on fire. Of course filming for the episode had already started with appearances from the now infamous dollhouse. So, the props team had to create another one. In the end, they made six identical dollhouses in three days. A lead prop designer, Marjorie Coster, once said the entire project was a “piece de resistance.” Oh good times. This definitely marks one of the best hidden moments on the show. As fans watched the episode, they most likely had no clue about the drama behind the dollhouse that caused the crew so much trouble behind the scenes, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be in television.
10. When a Magna Doodle Is So Much More Than It Seems
Avid Friends viewers might have noticed the now iconic Magna Doodle that was strategically placed right on the door of Joey’s apartment. Some might have overlooked it before it became a staple in the show since it appeared in the 18th episode. Either way, it was always filled with hidden and fun messages for fans to enjoy even if the camera was placed there for a brief moment.
One reminded Joey to call his mother as another showcased Joey and Chandler’s loving Bromance as it read, “I love you man!” And of course we can’t forget the one that read, “Nice nails Chandler” after he received a manicure earlier in the episode. Sometimes they kept it simple with, “Poop,” “Why,” and a “No work” symbol. Every once it in a while it reminded us that women were not welcome in the bachelor pad as it read, “No girls allowed.” As a note, it was actually one of the electric crew member, Paul Swain’s job to write on the Magna Doodle.
9. Bruce Willis Joins The Fun
We can’t forget the time when actor Bruce Willis made a cameo on the hit series as the father of one of the girls Ross was dating. But did you know that he wasn’t paid for his appearance? And that’s all thanks to Matthew Perry.
The two guys were taping The Whole Nine Yards together when Perry bet Willis that the film would debut as number one in the box office. Willis disagreed so they placed a wager on it. Interestingly enough, Perry was correct and the film hit the coveted top spot. As a result, Willis donated the money he made from his appearance to charity. Another notable guest star was actor Brad Pitt, who appeared on the series as a guy named Will Colbert. But at the time he and Jennifer Aniston were still going strong in their marriage. George Clooney, Leah Remini, and Julia Roberts are just a handful of other stars spotted on the show.
8. Gabrielle Union Made History on the Show
Speaking of guest stars, Gabrielle Union is also on the long list of celebrities who made notable appearances. But hers was extra special as she was the first African American actor to appear on the NBC series in a major role. She played Kristen Lang in the episode titled “The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress” that aired in season 7.
Union’s character won the affection of both Ross and Joey, so they battled it out over who could impress her the most. The two end up going back-and-forth airing their dirty laundry from Ross’ marriages and Joey’s role on a soap opera. As for Kristen, she’s over their screaming match and she leaves without either of them realizing it. Interestingly enough, Union recently revealed if she would rather go on a date with Ross or Joey. Spoiler alert: she said she’d actually choose Joey over Ross! We’ll be looking out for a part two if the show decides to do a Netflix reboot. But it doesn’t look like that’ll happen. Which leads us to our next point.
7. Ix-Nay on the Friends Reunion
While Friends was such a huge hit that birthed stars like Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, and David Schwimmer, it doesn’t look like they’ll be taking notes from Full House or Gilmore Girls and going for another round on an online streaming service like Netflix. Courteney Cox made it simple and said, “It’s not going to happen,” when asked about a possible reunion. She revealed that the cast really hasn’t been able to stay in touch with each other and have a hard time even meeting for dinner; so she doesn’t foresee them being able to do an entire reunion. And it’s safe to say that the reunion would not be the same without all six of the show’s stars. David Krane and Marta Kauffman also added that there will not be a reunion. Still, that didn’t stop Jimmy Kimmel from doing his own Friends reunion back in 2015. That also doesn’t mean we can’t keep reminiscing about some of the major yet hidden moments of the show.
6. Jennifer Aniston’s Nearly Early Departure
While we’re on the topic, Jennifer Aniston almost didn’t make it to the end of the show; let alone to the point of doing a reunion 13 years after the final episode. She had already earned much success after starring in films like Bruce Almighty during the Friends era. But she was also going through things in her personal life too. So she said she contemplated not returning for the final season, even though her character Rachel was arguably the most popular and biggest fan favorite of the series. She was also afraid of saturating fans with too much Rachel and wanted to make sure they ended with fans wanting more, not with viewers counting down the days until the cast would give its final bow. Thankfully, she decided to go for one last hoorah and gave us a last shot of Rachel with the rest of the cast. We guess that reunion really is too much to ask for.
5. Could You See Courteney As Rachel?
Even though you might be able to, Courteney Cox couldn’t see herself playing Rachel. The directors actually asked her to take on the role but she said she felt like she could portray Monica better after reading the script. Still, that didn’t mean that Cox had the role of Monica in the bag. She was up against Nancy McKeon, who starred in The Facts of Life. It was up to Crane to decide who would be cast as Monica and after a walk, they decided on Cox. What’s also interesting is that Ellen DeGeneres was first offered the role of Phoebe before Lisa Kudrow scored the part when the now daytime talk show host turned it down. The cast of Friends also would’ve looked much different if Jon Favreau didn’t turn down the role as Chandler. But he still had guest appearances as Monica’s boyfriend. Jon Cryer also wanted the role of Chandler but his audition tape arrived too late. We all know he hasn’t really been hurting for roles since then.
4. Phoebe’s Late Mother vs. Cat Episode Hit Home
Remember the time Phoebe was convinced that her late mother had returned to her in the form of a reincarnated cat? Even though the Friends episodes have gotten pretty wacky, it might be safe to say this one doesn’t necessarily fit the category and might even be considered a huge reach and a standout episode (but not in a good way). The secret behind it though is that Kauffman actually came up with the idea as she was grieving the loss of her mother in real life. Word is that when she brought it up at the table read, no one had the heart to tell her they shouldn’t go through with it. So they allowed it to be a brief story line for the one and only Phoebe. It might sound crazy, but it also shows the dynamics between the crew and cast that still went strong when the cameras weren’t rolling.
3. What’s My Age Again?
If you really pay attention, you’ll realize that the age of the Friends cast is hardly ever consistent. Maybe it was hard for writers to keep up with six people’s false ages for years. Or it could’ve been just another way to add flavor to the show and spark conversation. Whatever the reasoning is, our list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t point out the times that their ages changed. For example, Rachel turned 30 in an iconic episode which sparked memories of the other five friends turning 30. Still, in the first season Joey said he was 25, making him the youngest one in the group. Rachel said she and Monica were both 26; so how could Joey turn 30 before Rachel? We may never know. Ross was also 29 for three seasons in a row and Rachel even changed her birthday during the series. She first said her birthday was in May, but in season seven she tells an officer she’s an Aquarius. That sign’s birthday falls in January or February.
2. They Were Clever In Getting Their Favorite Couch At Central Perk
Considering much of Friends took place at their favorite coffee shop, it’s safe to say we might not have noticed how they were able to score the best spot in the house (give or take a couple of episodes): a brown couch right in the middle of the café. It’s not like they had a standing reservation in which they came to the restaurant at the same time. So how was the couch always available for them?
If you look closely in the photo above, you’ll see a subtle sign that reads “reserved” on the table. It’s clear they didn’t need a “reserved” sign in reality as we’re just going to assume they were filming on a set. Still, we have to admit the subtle and hidden touch is certainly a nice one when it comes to building the nostalgia around the hit series
1. Guest Appearances That Make You Go Hmmm…
So remember when we brought up the Bruce Willis episode? Well, another interesting thing about it is that Ross, Joey, and Chandler were all huge fans of Die Hard. They even watched an entire marathon in an episode. But they don’t recognize Willis when he makes his cameo? This isn’t the only time a guest appearance doesn’t exactly line up. There was also the time Susan Sarandon went unnoticed as she played a character that Joey hooked up with. But you might recall that Sarandon was actually on a list of women Ross could sleep with without any consequences. Monica also had her own hookup with Magnum, P.I. following Ross’s referral to himself as “Cro-Magnum P.I.” On top of that, in one episode the gang used the name Winona Ryder to get a table. But they didn’t seem to recognize the real Ryder when she played one of Rachel’s high school classmates.