They’ll be there for you. When the rain starts to fall and like they’ve been there before, they’ll be there for you. That’s just what friends are for.
Friends aired its series finale almost fifteen years ago, but that hasn’t stopped the influential sitcom from constantly filling up television schedules in syndication.
It’s safe to say that Friends will always be airing somewhere on television and there is always going to be people that love to kick back to it. Few shows achieve that status, but Friends will forever be a part of that higher echelon of television.
Even though frenzied Friends fans have the show memorized backwards and forwards, there are still a number of secrets that are hidden throughout the production– many of which are still being discovered.
Very recently eagle-eyed viewers even caught some episodes where Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox are replaced in inconsequential pick-up shots. This has led to audiences scouring episodes of the beloved comedy for even more secrets that might be stowed away in the background.
Whether you’re watching Friends for the jokes or the comforting relationships, these hidden goodies are really going to blow your mind.
Here are the 15 Friends Easter Eggs That You Definitely Missed.
15. Bruce Willis Appeared In The Series For Free After Losing A Bet With Perry
The stars of Friends have seen their share of ups and downs when it comes to their theatrical efforts, but one endeavor that’s a pretty clear success is Matthew Perry’s The Whole Nine Yards (although the less said about its sequel, the better).
The film has Perry acting opposite Bruce Willis and the two ended up forming a friendship while they were in production together. Their cavalier attitude even got to the point that Perry made a bet with Willis that, if their film opened up at the top of the box office, then he’d have to appear on Friends for free.
Lo and behold, The Whole Nine Yards was a hit and not only did Willis stick to his word, but his role in the series even grew into a multi-episode arc. Willis would go one step further here: while he did make money for his future appearances, he donated all of his earnings to charity.
14. The Gang’s Table At Central Park Is Actually Reserved For Them
New York City is one of the busiest places in the world. It’s the sort of city that can feel outright claustrophobic at times. There’s a lot of suspension of disbelief involved with Friends (could those apartments be any bigger?), but one of the biggest question marks with the show is just how these guys are able to always have that plum spot in Central Perk.
One of the luxuries of Friends now being available on DVD and Netflix is that fans are able to freeze moments in the series and search for extra content. One of the most incredible discoveries that this treasure hunting has led to is the fact that there’s actually a reserved sign on the gang’s table.
This explains why no one else is ever sitting there. Now, whether the reserved sign is a kind gesture from Gunther guaranteeing that Rachel is always getting the best seat remains to be seen, but there are theories out there.
13. Joey’s White Dog Statue Actually Belongs To Jennifer Aniston
Perhaps the most gaudy and tacky item from the entirety of Friends is actually something that spends its time within Jennifer Aniston’s home. The giant white dog (whose name is actually Pat) is a cherished item of Joey’s within the series.
When he suffers a loss and loses most of his lavish items, Pat is the one thing that remains. The dog sculpture is present throughout the rest of the series, largely acting as a symbol of Joey’s endless optimism and his career as an actor.
It’s perhaps a little too perfect then that the story behind this bizarre sculpture is that it was given to Jennifer Aniston as a good luck gift as she started to make a go of it as an actor. Clearly the gift worked and all of Aniston’s success is entirely due to this symbol of good luck: Pat the dog.
12. The Entire Cast Becomes Arquettes In The Credits
Friends has a pretty iconic opening title sequence, so much so that foreign adaptations of the series have let the catchy song remain. On a number of occasions the series would have some fun, warping or changing the elements of the opening credits in some way that was relevant to the episode.
A lot of the time these gags would come as a result of changing the visuals of the opening credits, but this particular edit goes in a much more clever route.
Over the course of the summer prior to the premiere of Friends’ sixth season, Courtney Cox and David Arquette got married. Courtney Cox formally changed her name to Courtney Cox Arquette, with the season six premiere, “The One After Vegas,” being the first episode that would feature this change.
The show goes one step further here, though, by adding Arquette to everyone’s name in the cast, making for a pretty funny joke. An unsuspecting viewer would have to assume that David Arquette married the entire cast.
11. The Cocktail Waitress In Drag Is Alexis Arquette
Friends would have a lot of fun with the Arquettes throughout its run, with these appearances sometimes being front and center, but also hidden in the background too.
Alexis (formerly Robert) Arquette happens to pop up a few times throughout Friends’ run, but neither appearance is the flashy sort of cameo that draws attention to itself. Season seven’s “The One With Chandler’s Dad” does a lot of playing around with gender-swapping casting due to the circumstances around Chandler’s parentage.
The episode gets a little extra fun out of the drag show scenario that they set up by having Alexis appear as one of the drag waitresses that are working the club.
Alexis appears once more, albeit in a much more grounded context, as a customer in the background in “The One With Rachel’s Sister”. It’s only fitting for episodes that feature the characters’ family to also feature the cast’s real-life family as well.
10. Joey’s Dry Cleaner Is Actually In Air Force One
A rather satisfying Joey storyline in season six’s “The One Where Paul’s the Man” sees Joey getting in a fight with his Russian dry cleaner. The fight is related to Joey’s constant pursuit for fame. This incident sees Joey arguing with the dry cleaner over hanging his photo on his “Wall of Fame.”
Joey finally has the fame necessary to get his picture on the wall, but unfortunately the film that he’s starring in ends up being offensive in its depictions of Russians. A desperate Joey tries to gain some leverage by tossing one of the other Wall of Famers, Harrison Ford, under the bus.
Joey argues that, because Harrison Ford’s film Air Force One is offensive to Russians and he can be on the wall, then he should be given the same treatment. This is a line of reasoning that might have worked, only the dry cleaner says that he’s never seen Air Force One before.
What makes this even funnier is that the actor playing the dry cleaner, Ilia Volok, is actually in Air Force One. It’s a cute little treat for all of the die-hard Ilia Volok fans out there in the audience.
9. The Magna Doodle Drawings On Chandler And Joey’s Door
The apartments of the main characters in Friends are full of countless affectations and little Easter eggs that really dig deeper into the cast. The series does an excellent job defining these admittedly broad characters, but it’s the details within the backgrounds of their homes that can really crystalize who they are.
One of biggest is the ever-present Magna Doodle that hangs on Joey and Chandler’s door. This detail is surely something that audiences have noticed before, but they may not know that every drawing on it is done by the same person: crew electrician Paul Swain.
Besides Swain fitting in a number of cute pictures and jokes within the Magna Doodle’s parameters, the simple toy even comments upon the events of episodes.
The Magna Doodle says “I’m Really Sorry” after Chandler hooks up with Kathy, for instance, and it is a crucial plot point in “The One With Mac and Cheese”. By the way, the first image ever on the toy says “Joey, call your dad” and the very last one is a drawing of a volcano.
8. The Series Creators Photobomb The Show A Lot
Fans of Friends are no doubt aware that the minds behind the sitcom are Marta Kauffman, Kevin Bright, and David Crane, but do they know what these guys actually look like?
In fact, the series would do a good job at sneaking its creators into a number of scenes during the show’s run, with many of them commenting on their producer nature. When Joey is using the stage name Holden McGroin in “The One With Fake Monica”, the show’s three creators are the ones running the audition. Joey has another run-in with them during “The One After the Super Bowl (Part Two)”, where the three are playing the producers of the Outbreak sequel.
The silliest example of these creator cameos takes place in “The One With the Princess Leia Fantasy”. In this case, the gang’s signature couch at Central Perk is filled with the show’s many producers. The group is unable to sit down and go about their routine because these producers have stolen their place and rendered them helpless.
7. The Woman Getting Slapped By Susan Sarandon Is Her Daughter
A good portion of Friends sees Joey cutting his teeth as an actor on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. Joey experiences a solid run as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the soap before his character is sent into a coma and effectively “killed” off. This prompts Joey to go on a satisfying journey as an actor, but it also leads to him inevitably returning to the soap opera many seasons later.
The complicated circumstances involving Dr. Drake Ramoray’s return sees the character undergoing a brain transplant and more or less becoming the evil character who Susan Sarandon portrays in the series.
“The One With Joey’s New Brain” shows Joey studying the work of Sarandon’s character as he’s ostensibly going to be playing her. One of the major trademarks of her character is her need to slap her co-star’s in the face.
Joey gets to see this happen first hand, but funnily enough, the woman who Sarandon is slapping is played by Eva Amurri, her daughter. It’s an entirely throwaway character but the fact that Sarandon gets to take out some mock rage on her daughter is a fun extra here.
6. Joshua’s Dad Is Played By Matthew Perry’s Father
Friends can never pass up the opportunity to fit some family members into the show whenever they’ve got an excuse. Many siblings of the talented cast have been given an opportunity to sneak into the sitcom, but “The One With Rachel’s New Dress” actually goes back a generation and gets Matthew Perry’s father in on the fun.
The plot for this episode takes place during Rachel’s time with Joshua and a misunderstanding results in Joshua’s parents getting an eyeful of their son’s girlfriend. The episode makes for an embarrassing time for Rachel, as she’s stuck in lingerie with her boyfriend’s parents, but it ends up working in favor of Matthew Perry’s dad.
John Bennett Perry is no stranger to acting, but he does a solid job as Joshua’s flustered father. Shades of Matthew Perry’s signature comic timing can even be heard in his father’s delivery of lines. Luckily for Jennifer Aniston it wasn’t her father who was the one that was cast in the role.
5. Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan Were Breaking Up During Season 4
While on the topic of the messy love ballad of Rachel Green and Joshua Burgin, it’s worth getting into how, at the time, the behind-the-scenes drama was likely even higher than what the characters were going through.
Joshua was Rachel’s romantic focus for much of the show’s fourth season. This is a prospect that might have seemed like a good idea while Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan were beginning a relationship together in real life.
However, by the time the fourth season started rolling, Aniston and Donovan were already mid-break-up. So, during all of those swoon-worthy scenes where Joshua and Rachel are getting closer and closer, in real life this was just re-opening all sorts of fresh wounds for these recent exes.
Dating co-stars or casting love interests in series is always a touchy area and the sort of thing that’s ripe for disaster. This doesn’t stop Brad Pitt from eventually popping up in Friends, but a single episode stint is a whole lot safer than a season-long arc.
4. Joey’s VD Poster Resurfaces
Friends is certainly no Arrested Development when it comes to its running joke and buried gags, but there are still a few instances when the series pulls off some impressive callbacks to continuity. Friends’ debut season shows Joey struggling with his acting career and the troubles of remaining in obscurity.
“The One Where Underdog Gets Away” gives Joey a moral dilemma where he must choose between signing a major print ad deal, but also becoming the face of sexually transmitted diseases in the process.
It may appear that that’s the end of Joey’s saga with poor career decisions, but observant viewers will notice that Joey’s infamous ad actually pops up again in the series. Later in the season, in “The One With Mrs. Bing”, there’s a scene with Monica and Phoebe out on the streets and there happens to be some of Joey’s big ad on the walls.
3. Jennifer Aniston’s Real Name Makes An Appearance
The season finale for Friends’ seventh season, “The One With Monica and Chandler’s Wedding (Part 2)”, marks a particularly sweet moment in the series for fans. While Ross and Rachel’s on-and-off romance is what many people were originally tuning into the show for, it was Monica and Chandler’s unexpected courtship that would steal many viewers’ hearts in the end.
Season seven’s finale deals with the many stresses and obligations of pulling a wedding together, with one of these obstacles involving the gang needing to find a last-minute minister. During their search, the group comes across a Greek wedding that’s going on where one of the family’s names is “Anastassakis.”
If that name sounds oddly familiar, it’s because it’s the Greek surname of Jennifer Aniston’s family before they moved over to the United States. It might be a little clunky, but hey, it’s still more appealing of a last name than “Bing.”
2. Central Perk’s Chalkboard
So much of Friends takes place inside of their go-to hangout spot, Central Perk, that the details and layout of the coffee shop are likely subconsciously committed to the brains of the audience. While the focus within Central Perk is typically placed on the centerpiece of a table that the gang congregates at, there are many other nooks and crannies that sometimes get to see the spotlight.
One of the most often overlooked Easter egg is the mammoth blackboard that’s in the background of the café. There is constantly material written on the board that’s never going to be noticed unless audiences are freezing their screens.
The show’s set designers are the ones responsible for these quirky touches, with this attention to detail even spilling outside of Central Perk too.
There’s an additional board outside of the store that also features information (like advertisements for upcoming sets by Phoebe Buffay) for those that are willing to look for it. There’s a whole universe going on within that coffee shop that can be pieced together by reading their announcements throughout the show’s run.
1. The Entire Cast Is Named After All My Children Characters
There’s a weird runner involving soap operas that courses through the entirety of Friends. The more obvious examples of the series indulging in this territory is when Joey gets thrown into the world of soap acting and it becomes a plot point for the character for several seasons. As a result, Days of Our Lives carries a special connection with the NBC sitcom, but there’s actually another soap series that might even be more influential on the comedy.
David Crane, Kevin Bright, and Marta Kauffman decided to turn to All My Children when it came to naming their cast of characters. Ross is named after AMC’s Ross Chandler, Joey after Joe Martin, Phoebe after Phoebe Tyler, Rachel Green after Janet Green, Monica after Monique Cortland; and Chandler’s name coming from the Chandler family in All My Children.
This is all fairly inconsequential in the end, but it’s funny to realize that the creators were such big soap fans. In fact, it’s a little surprising that the show never turned to amnesia during its later seasons.
Let us know if we’ve overlooked any other major Friends Easter eggs and sound off about your favorites in the comment section!
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