Just as I did recently with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, I decided to watch the Pilot and Series Finale of another iconic sitcom back-to-back. I was too young for “Friends” (though I do remember my mother having spinoff “Joey” on a few times). I don’t think I watched a full episode of the ensemble comedy series until doing this little exercise.
Will I now go ahead and binge all 10 seasons? No, I don’t have that kind of time. But watching the first and final episode of “Friends” gave me some interesting insights into one of TV’s most beloved shows.
The ABCs of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
For six up and coming actors, you’d think it might be difficult for the creators and producers of the show to put them in a proper billing order. But they got lucky. In alphabetical order, the three women come first (Aniston, Cox, Kudrow), followed by the three men (LeBlanc, Perry, Schwimmer). This is how they are presented during the theme song in the first several seasons. And the alphabetical order actually remained after Courtney Cox got married to David Arquette in 1999. Her name change to Courtney Cox Arquette still allows it to follow Aniston.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?
Monica’s apartment number is 5 in the first episode, but on the final “Friends”, it is No. 20. This was reportedly changed midway through the first season.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
In the Pilot, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) sings a little bit of “My Favorite Things”. In “The Last One”, she makes a reference to beau Paul Rudd that if they have children, they can essentially become the Von Trapp family singers.
ROSS & RACHEL RIGHT AWAY
Sometimes writers wait until a few seasons in to develop storylines that might last until the end. But from the opening scenes of episode one, the seed is planted for the Ross & Rachel love story.
EVENLY SLICING UP THE PIE
Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow are the only two of the core six “Friends” cast members to win Emmys for their roles. LeBlanc was nominated three times. Perry and Schwimmer just once each. And shockingly, Cox never received a single one. But if you look at the extended, one-hour finale, you see that all six get an equal amount of importance. Chandler and Monica are welcoming their twins. Joey and Chandler say goodbye to their foosball table. And wild taxi driver Phoebe assists Ross in trying to get the girl of his dreams… Rachel.
Aniston recently told “Today” that she thinks she and Ross would still be together. For those who have watched every episode of “Friends”, or just the bookends like me, that’s very satisfying to hear.