Were Ross and Rachel Originally Not Going to Get Back Together on the Friends Finale?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Ross and Rachel were originally not going to get together at the end of “Friends.”

Series finales of famous television shows are extremely difficult for show creators to write, since fans have such high expectations for the very last episode of their favorite series. As a result, many famous TV series have had endings that range from artfully bizarre like “St. Elsewhere”, calmly subdued like “Cheers” and, well, blowing the entire town up like “Little House on the Prairie.” There’s almost no “set” way to write a series finale.

By the end of the tenth season of the hit sitcom, “Friends,” however, there was little left undecided for the series.

Phoebe had already gotten married, Chandler and Monica’s child was not yet born, but obviously no one was expecting a light sitcom to go anywhere dark with a storyline like that (although there was a twist, when it turned out that the woman whose baby Chandler and Monica were adopting actually was having twins!), so the show’s last episode really turned on one question – were Ross and Rachel going to end up together? Every since their famous (or is it infamous?) “break” in Season 3, the show had held off on getting Ross and Rachel back together, coming up with plotline after plotline designed to keep them apart (even some overly outlandish ones that they ended up not actually using). So with the last episode upon the show, what was going to happen with Ross and Rachel? In a shocking spoiler for a show that ended a dozen years ago, Ross and Rachel did end up together, as Rachel got off of a plane bound for Paris after Ross declared his love for her right before she boarded the plane. However, reader Bret S. wrote in to ask if the show originally had a different ending where Ross and Rachel did not end up together (in the alternative, he also wanted to know if they at least filmed an alternate ending where they did not end up together – he had heard the former, but was sure that the latter was at least true).

So did Ross and Rachel almost not make it in “The Last One”?

Read on to find out!
Continue reading “Were Ross and Rachel Originally Not Going to Get Back Together on the Friends Finale?”

Did Bruce Willis Guest Star on Friends Because He Lost a Bet to Matthew Perry?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Bruce Willis guest-starred on Friends because he lost a bet to Matthew Perry during the filming of The Whole Nine Yards.

During the sixth season of the TV series Friends, movie star Bruce Willis guest-starred in three episodes as Paul Stevens, the father to Ross’s girlfriend, Elizabeth (as we detailed in a recent TV Legends Revealed, Elizabeth was originally going to play a major role on the series). Paul not so surprisingly has a problem with his college-aged daughter dating her former professor. However, Paul also finds himself enamored with Ross’ friend (and ex-girlfriend) Rachel, and he finds himself having to make nice with Ross if he wants to have a chance of dating Rachel. In the second of the three episodes Willis appears in, he has a memorable scene where he pumps himself up in the mirror before a date with Rachel, telling himself “You’re a neat guy. You’re a love machine.”

Willis eventually won a Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Emmy Award for his performance as Paul. However, over the years, there has been an interesting rumor over just how Friends was able to get such a major movie star to guest-star on the series. Brad Pitt also guest-starred on the show, but he was married to Friends cast member Jennifer Aniston at the time. So how did they nab Willis? Was it seriously due to a bet he made with Matthew Perry, his co-star on the film The Whole Nine Yards? Read on to find out!
Continue reading “Did Bruce Willis Guest Star on Friends Because He Lost a Bet to Matthew Perry?”

What Surprising Character on Friends Was Originally Going to Have a Kid?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Originally “Friends” was going to have a season-long story where one of Ross’ girlfriends gets pregnant.

A curious challenge that long-running television series often encounter is that it is difficult continuing to give your characters forward momentum without feeling as though you are just recycling plotlines. For instance, the long-running sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” managed to stretch the seemingly simple story of the lead character meeting the mother of his kids out to nine seasons (including the final season, which took place over a single three-day weekend). One of the ways that that series handled it was to keep giving their lead character, Ted Mosby, different longterm girlfriends that could be the mother (in fact, as I detailed in an old TV Legends Revealed, a couple of them even were going to be the mother, if the show had been canceled too soon). Still, continuing to give Ted new possible mothers could certainly get repetitive after time (something even “How I Met Your Mother” co-star Jason Segel felt, leading to an interesting mocking insult of the series).

The long-running sitcom “Friends” faced a similar problem with their central romantic couple, Ross and Rachel (played by David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston). They played the “will they or won’t they?” game for the first season before getting the two together in season 2 and breaking them up in season 3. The creators of the series, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, always intended for Ross and Rachel to end up together at the end of the series. The problem was that they had no idea how long the series would run (it ended up lasting ten seasons), so they didn’t want to have them break up, get back together, break up again, get back together again, etc. So they had to come up with long-running plots that would serve to keep the pair apart until they ultimately get together in the show’s finale.

One of those plots was Rachel’s pregnancy in Season 8 (with Ross’ baby from a one-night stand between the two). However, interestingly enough, they had a whole other pregnancy plot originally planned for Season 7 with a surprising character. Read on to find out who it was!
Continue reading “What Surprising Character on Friends Was Originally Going to Have a Kid?”

How Did an Actor’s Ability to Make a Cappuccino Nab Him a Long-Running Role on Friends?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: James Michael Tyler’s ability to work a cappuccino machine got him a decade-long acting gig.

When the television show Friends began in 1994, the characters on the show (which was about, naturally, a group of friends in their mid-20s) often hung out on the couch at a hip coffee shop that was downstairs from their apartments (well, most of their apartments, at least). Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel even worked there the first two seasons or so.

As you might imagine, constantly filming in a coffee shop setting required a copious amount of extras.

Here’s just two random scenes from the shop, and check out how many extras are in each picture…

So when the show began, there were lots of extras running around playing customers and the workers at the shop (which was called Central Perk, by the way).

Well, one of the issues with having extras playing workers was that they had to actually look like they knew what they were doing, and not many extras did. However, one extra, at least, had experience working in a coffee shop just like Central Perk, so James Michael Tyler was given the job of playing a worker at the shop because he actually knew how to work the cappuccino machine!
Continue reading “How Did an Actor’s Ability to Make a Cappuccino Nab Him a Long-Running Role on Friends?”

Did One of TV’s Friends Have a Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: One of TV’s Friends had a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Friends was one of TV’s most popular sitcoms, playing on Thursday nights for NBC from 1994 until 2003, for a total of ten seasons. The finale in 2003 was the fourth most-watched series finale in television history.

But was one of the actors who played the “friends” an artist?

Continue reading “Did One of TV’s Friends Have a Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art?”