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For '90s audiences that preferred their sitcoms free of cynicism or brutal honesty, in 1994, NBC provided that crowd with an alternative to "Seinfeld" simply titled "Friends." The long-running comedy followed the lives of six New Yorkers from the later years of their 20s into the early years of their 30s, chronicling their many various misadventures and drastic changes along the way.

But what was the cast like in real life? Like their characters, Chandler and Monica, was there ever any offscreen romance between Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox? What were Chandler and Joey's chick and duck like when the cameras stopped rolling? Does James Michael Tyler (Gunther) have any real-life coffee serving experience? Is Ross' "We were on a break" defense justified?

Not sure that debate will ever be laid to rest, but there are several other questions related to "Friends" that we may be able to provide answers for. These are some of juiciest secrets from behind-the-scenes of the show that made our day, our week, our month, or even our year.

Money Well Spent
Money Well Spent

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One thing that Matt LeBlanc had in common with his character at one time was never having enough money. At the time of his audition to play Joey, he had just $11 to his name and the first thing that he bought with his first paycheck was a hot dinner.

You Think "Friends" Is Too Simple A Title?
You Think

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Creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman considered a few additional names for the sitcom before settling on the simple title of "Friends." "Six of One," "Insomnia Cafe," "Across the Hall," and "Friends Like Us" were among the alternative choices.

What's In A Name?
What's In A Name?

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Matt LeBlanc, who starred as Joey on "Friends," had something in common with his onscreen roommate Matthew Perry (Chandler): the same first name, of course. To avoid confusion, the set crew called LeBlanc by his last name and continued to call Perry Matthew or even "Matty." Additionally, to distinguish the show's "Ross" from co-creator David Crane, David Schwimmer was referred to as "Schwim."

Parles Vous Fran├žais?
Parles Vous Fran├žais?

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One thing that LeBlanc does not have in common with his "Friends" character? Remember the one where Joey, no matter how hard Phoebe tries to help him, cannot properly speak French? In reality, LeBlanc, who comes from a French-Canadian family, can speak fluent French.

Trust Your Audience
Trust Your Audience

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If you notice, Joey undergoes a bit of an evolution in the earlier seasons, considering he was never originally meant to be the more "slow-witted" one of the bunch. Apparently, audiences assumed that he was, so the writers adopted that persona for him.

The Joey That Could Have Been
The Joey That Could Have Been

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Some of Joey's biggest character changes occurred before the show even aired. It is hard to picture Joey as anything but a caring, lovable guy, but creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane originally intended him to be as a real bully. Matt LeBlanc questioned why the other characters would be friends with such a person, inspiring the change.

The Romance That Could Have Been
The Romance That Could Have Been

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Try this one on for size: Joey was, at first, intended to be Monica's (Courtney Cox) main love interest. Of course, this was abandoned, but teased at in the Season 3 prequel episode, "The One with the Flashback."

One Big Family
One Big Family

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Speaking of romance for Monica, the 1999 episode "The One After Vegas" plays a fun prank on Courtney Cox in honor of her recent marriage to her Scream co-star David Arquette. Since Cox had added her then-husband's last name to her name, for the opening credits of that episode, the cast and co-creators had "Arquette" added at the end of their names.

Art Imitating Life
Art Imitating Life

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Cox and Arquette actually faced an issue similar to Monica and Chandler, finding it hard to conceive a child early in their marriage. Cox actually had a miscarriage just a few days before filming "The One Where Rachel Has A Baby." Fortunately, she eventually got pregnant during the final season and can be seen often wearing baggy clothes during that time.

From One Night, To A Lifetime
From One Night, To A Lifetime

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Speaking of Monica and Chandler, we almost never got to see them fall in love like they did, as their romance was never intended to blossom past their London one night fling. However, the studio audience reacted so positively to the reveal (cheering for a full 27 seconds) that the writers decided to make them a full-fledged couple.

The Real Favorite Couple: Chandler And Monica
The Real Favorite Couple: Chandler And Monica

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One can tell how important Chandler and Monica's relationship is to fans of "Friends" by the episodes' user ratings on IMDb. The highest rated episode is the second half of the series finale, while just below it is "The One Where Everybody Finds Out," from Season 5, in which Chandler publicly declares his love for Monica.

Matthew Perry, A Slave For Courtney Cox?
Matthew Perry, A Slave For Courtney Cox?

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Of course, in real life, Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox are nothing more than just great friends, except for that time he served as her personal "man slave." How? As Cox recalled on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," she and Perry had a longstanding bet over the origin of an Anthony Michael Hall quote with Cox claiming it to be from The Breakfast Club and Perry adamantly certain it was from Weird Science. Cox was personally confirmed to be correct by Breakfast Club star Judd Nelson and Perry, having lost the bet, had to be his co-star's personal servant... or at least that is what this bit suggests.

Matthew Perry, A Former Slave To Something Else
Matthew Perry, A Former Slave To Something Else

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Joking aside, in reality, at certain periods during "Friends'" prime, Matthew Perry was a slave to something else: his substance abuse problems, having later admitted that there are multiple seasons of the sitcom that he struggles to remember. He has since worked to help those battling the same demons by turning his own home into a halfway house for recovering addicts.

Matthew Perry, A Canadian Civil Warlord?
Matthew Perry, A Canadian Civil Warlord?

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As for a less somber, yet just as amusing, Matthew Perry story, the actor admitted to Jimmy Kimmel that, while going to school in Canada, he beat up future Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeaux. "I think he was excelling in a sport, so it was pure jealousy, and we beat him up," Perry said. "I think it was rather instrumental in him going to such big heights and becoming the Prime Minister."

Could Chandler BE Gay?
Could Chandler BE Gay?

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Chandler was actually going to be a smaller character, along with Phoebe, and the creators even flirted with the idea of making him gay until they changed their minds upon casting Perry. They did, however, keep many stereotypically gay mannerisms as part of his character as jokes, and even made his father a cross dresser played by Kathleen Turner, whom Perry still calls "Dad" to this day.

Sometimes Dreams Come True, Chandler
Sometimes Dreams Come True, Chandler

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In truth, Chandler loves women and, until his marriage to Monica, was a hopeless romantic (with emphasis on hopeless), finding solace in watching Yasmine Bleeth on "Baywatch." In reality, Matthew Perry dated Bleethfor a year and a half in the mid '90s.

We May Not Have Seen The Marvel Cinematic Universe
We May Not Have Seen The Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Before he made a career out of directing some of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood, from Iron Man to Disney's "live action" update of The Lion King, Jon Favreau was offered the role of Chandler Bing. Of course, he would later appear in several episodes as Monica's boyfriend, a millionaire UFC wannabe, Pete Becker.

If Janice Ever Sounded Familiar To You...
If Janice Ever Sounded Familiar To You...

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A far more frequent and beloved guest star on "Friends" is Chandler's infamously irritating on-and-off girlfriend, Janice. Actress Maggie Wheeler based her nasally performance on Fran Drescher, who played a similar character in the title role of the '90s sitcom "The Nanny."

Whole Lotta Gunther
Whole Lotta Gunther

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Speaking of beloved guest stars, the only character other than the main six to appear in more than 100 episodes is Gunther. Despite not speaking a line or being given a proper name until the middle of Season 2, the Central Perk manager makes an appearance in 150 episodes, to be exact.

Never Has Someone Been More Proud Of Their Coffee Serving Experience
Never Has Someone Been More Proud Of Their Coffee Serving Experience

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James Michael Tyler, who starred as Gunther, was given the more proper role because he was the only extra on the Central Perk set who knew how to work the coffee machine. This was no accident since, at the time, Tyler was working at Hollywood coffee shop Bourgeois Pig, a coffee shop in Hollywood, at which he remained employed for the first four seasons of "Friends."

Hair Brighter Than The Sun
Hair Brighter Than The Sun

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While Gunther is famous for his bleach blonde hair, actor James Michael Tyler's natural hair color is actually brown and the signature look came as an accident. A friend of Tyler's who had studied hairdressing experimented on the actor's hair, resulting in the new color the day before his "Friends" audition. The producers loved it and decided to keep it, meaning Tyler had to bleach his hair back every week for the following 10 years.

Rachel Is The Real Phoebe?
Rachel Is The Real Phoebe?

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Guess who else is shockingly not a natural blonde? Lisa Kudrow! Even more amusing: Kudrow actually based her portrayal of Phoebe Buffay on her co-star Jennifer Aniston, citing the "Rachel" actress' interest in the "spiritual" world.

Twinning
Twinning

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Kudrow had already originated the role of Ursula Buffay as a guest star on NBC's "Mad About You" before she was cast as Phoebe in "Friends." Thus, the writers thought making Phoebe a twin and have the Ursula character be her sister would be a fun way to create a crossover between the sitcoms.

Perfect Time To Get Pregnant
Perfect Time To Get Pregnant

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Lisa Kudrow actually became pregnant during the filming of Season 4, prompting the writers to come up with the storyline in which Phoebe acts as a surrogate for her half-brother and his wife to keep her in the show. She was still required to wear faux pregnancy padding, however, to give her a bump of more believable size for carrying triplets.

Fun Fact About "Friends" Pregnancies
Fun Fact About

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You may not have noticed that, while all three of the female leads had had children, each of their pregnancies were seen "unconventional," with Phoebe acting as a surrogate for her half-brother and sister-in-law, Rachel and Ross' daughter born out of wedlock, and Monica and Chandler having to adopt their child. These storylines were conducted as such on purpose in support of surrogacy, single motherhood, and infertility being perceived as normal as "traditional" child birth.

The Only Explanation For A Song Like "Smelly Cat"
The Only Explanation For A Song Like

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Unlike her character (but barely, really), Lisa Kudrow is not a musician and actually hated playing the guitar on the show. However, she is responsible for Phoebe's biggest "hit," "Smelly Cat." After she and a friend improvised the song during a night of drinking, the producers caught onto it and decided to work it into the show.

They Almost Weren't There For Us
They Almost Weren't There For Us

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While Lisa Kudrow has admitted to not being very musical, "Friends" creator David Crane and Marta Kauffman actually co-wrote the show's theme song, "I'll Be There For You," as performed by The Rembrandts. The original choice for the theme was actually 1991's "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M.

The Power Of Music
The Power Of Music

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In 1994, networks were beginning to abandon the use of theme songs for their sitcoms. After "Friends" debuted, "I'll Be There For You" ended up hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making theme songs cool again.

All For One, And One For All
All For One, And One For All

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The beauty of the "Friends" theme song is how it encapsulates the sitcom's overall theme of supporting your loved ones, which the cast actually took to heart when it came to salary. After David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston were the only cast members to receive a pay raise for the second season, the cast teamed up to conduct salary negotiations in unison to ensure equal pay among all six of the leads.

The Writers Understand
The Writers Understand

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Equality among the six main actors in "Friends" was also important to the shows writers. In order to ensure that each cast members had the same amount of dialogue and jokes, the writers would use a pie chart to keep track.

Will Ross One Day Win An Oscar?
Will Ross One Day Win An Oscar?

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Many of the fellow cast members of the show credit the brain child of the united salary negotiations to be David Schwimmer who, like his character Ross, is Jewish. Schwimmer also directed 10 episodes of "Friends," including "The One With The Red Sweater" or "The One Where Joey Dates Rachel," and has gone on to direct several projects for the big and small screen.

The White Dog
The White Dog

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Speaking of money, remember when Joey first got the role of Dr. Drake Ramoray on "Days of Our Lives," went crazy spending money, and bought that infamous sculpture of a white dog? Apparently that sculpture belonged to Jennifer Aniston, given to her by a friend as a good luck charm for her acting career, who lent it to the show as a temporary prop until the producers decided to keep it, fulfilling its destiny as a recurring gag.

The Night "Friends" Was Criticized For Making History
The Night

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The episode in which Carol and Susan get married was the first lesbian wedding ever on television, prompting the producers to hire 200 people to take complaint calls they would anticipate on the night the show aired. While they received 11 calls in total and episode was later banned in some states and even countries, "Friends" has actually received more criticism for Kathleen Turner's portrayal of Chandler's father, which many see as transphobic.

Do You Ship Joey And Phoebe?
Do You Ship Joey And Phoebe?

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In another example of controversial decisions (this one never making it to air, however,) Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc pitched to the writers an idea that would reveal a casual, friends-with-benefits sort of relationship between Joey and Phoebe that would have existed since the series' beginning. While the writers did reject incorporating the idea into the show, creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman have said that they liked imagining the idea of the pair hooking up off-screen throughout the show's run.

In Loving Memory
In Loving Memory

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Speaking of subtle, behind-the-scenes references, the world in which "Friends" takes place never formally addressed the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the show still paid tribute to the first responders who lost their lives on the scene. Messages expressing support of New York and its fire department could be seen written on Joey's doodle board and several cast members would wear FDNY T-shirts on camera.

All My "Friends"
All My

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As for additional subtle references that can be found on the show (this one far less somber), the main six are all actually named after characters from the long-running soap opera "All My Children." Ross and Chandler's names come from Ross Chandler, Joey is named after Joey Martin, Monica's name is inspired by Monique/Daisy Cortland, Rachel's last name is named after Janet Green, and Phoebe is named after Phoebe Tyler Wallingford.

The Unusual Life Of Ben
The Unusual Life Of Ben

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There is another odd character name connection in "Friends." When Carol is in labor with her and Ross' child, she, Susan, and Ross all argue over the names "Dylan" and "Cody" before finally settling on the name Ben. Ben was later played by Cole Sprouse, who grew up to star on the Disney Channel sitcom "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" opposite his twin brother, Dylan.

Are You Bamboozled!
Are You Bamboozled!

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If you ever thought that you could win "Bamboozled," the fake game show that Joey auditioned for, you can try! On the "Friends" DVD box set, there is a special feature that allows fans to play the game, with the original confusing rules and Wicked Wango cards included.

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