True Friends fans will attest to watching the show all the way through several times. With the daily reruns and instant availability on Netflix, new fans continue to discover the show as well, but for many of us the iconic sitcom is pure comfort food and demands to be watched time and time again because we love spending time with these characters, despite their flaws. The gang feel like our friends too, and we’ll never really say goodbye to them. A revival would be nice, but that’s never going to happen.
That being said, another perk of watching a show over and over again is having the opportunity to continually analyze each episode frame by frame and discover Easter eggs and mistakes we might have missed in the past. Friends is one of those shows that always reveals something new no matter how many times you watch it, and to this day, fans are unearthing new hidden details that continue to surprise the world.
Some of the following revelations were clearly intentional on the creator’s parts. Other times, they were the result of occasional mishaps, budgetary restrictions, or factors beyond anyone’s control. They all share one thing in common, though: they’re difficult to spot unless you’ve given the show you’re undivided attention. Most of these were hidden in plain sight all along, but it takes an eagle-eye to spot them. However, some of these should answer questions you’ve harbored for years.
With this in mind, here are 25 Crazy Details About Friends Even True Fans Missed.
25 The Actress Who Played Estelle Also Played a Nurse
June Gable is remembered by Friends fans as Joey’s agent, Estelle. She appeared as a recurring character from 1994 to 2004 and was responsible for Joey getting some of his hilariously terrible roles. As far as bit-parts go, hers was memorable.
That said, while everyone remembers Estelle vividly, she also had a cameo in season one with all of the makeup and garments removed that she’s barely recognizable. In “The One with the Birth” episode, she plays the nurse who’s present when baby Ben is born. The one who told the gang: “Anyone who’s not a nurse or a lesbian life partner, out you go.”
24 Chandler and Monica’s House Is Familiar
TV shows and movies recycling sets is nothing new, but it takes a real eagle-eye to spot them. In Friends, you probably remember Monica and Chandler leaving the big city behind to raise their new family in the suburbs.
It turns out that they bought the same house used in the 1990 John Hughes classic Home Alone.
In all fairness, if the folks over at 22 Vision didn’t release a video pinpointing the connection between the two then it would have probably have slipped us by. While in their respective worlds, the house is located in a different part of the country, the set is evidently the same one.
23 Jennifer Aniston’s Family Name Reference
In the second part of “The One With Monica and Chandler’s Wedding”, there’s a scene where Rachel approaches a Greek Orthodox priest about uniting the pair in holy matrimony. Anyway, the wedding he is coming out of is that of “Anastassakis/Papasifakis." This is an easter egg if there ever was one.
As it turns out, the name “Anastassakis” is Aniston’s family name, but her father changed it because she was born. This one was very sneaky, and most of us would never have guessed Aniston had another family name beforehand.
22 Matthew Perry’s Dad Had a Cameo
In “The One With Rachel’s New Dress”, Rachel and her boyfriend Joshua went to his parents house for romantic alone time. What neither of them expected was for his parents to show up. It was awkward and hilarious.
Did you know that the actor who played Joshua’s father was none other than Joshua Bennett Perry?
This was very subtle, as he wasn’t even in any scenes with Chandler. He also played the father of Matthew Perry’s Scrubs character in the episode “My Unicorn”, and appeared alongside his son in the movie Fools Rush In.
21 The Other Carol
When we think of Ross's ex-wife, we always remember Jane Sibbett in the role. Not only was she awesome and memorable throughout the years, but she was there from the early years. However, she wasn’t the original Carol. Despite the obvious actress change, it’s hard to remember the other one.
In “The One with the Sonogram at the End”, the character was played by Anita Barone. This was the only time she ever appeared in the show. It would have been nice to see more Carol for sure, but she did appear regularly after this.
20 The Apartment Numbers Changed
The apartments the gang lived in throughout the years never changed, but their door numbers did. In season one, the numbers on the doors of Rachel and Monica’s, and Chandler and Joey’s apartments were four and five, respectively. Monica and Rachel had a balcony and the view from their window showed that they lived on a higher floor.
Fortunately, this error was rectified early on.
Joey and Chandler apartment 19, while the girls moved into 20.
19 The Restaurant
In the episode “The One After The Superbowl, Part 2”, the name of the restaurant where Ross Joey, Cathy, Chandler and Susie Moss go out to dinner is called Marcel’s. The actual name of the spot is never mentioned, but you can see it on the menu if you look closely.
The restaurant is named after Ross's old pet monkey. In the previous episode, Ross was searching for Marcel only to find him working on a movie set, which we’ll discuss later on. Furthermore, this restaurant is also where Susie (Julia Roberts) entices Chandler so she can steal his clothes because he was horrible to her in high school.
18 Susan Sarandon’s Daughter
Joey had a lot of brief romantic encounters throughout the years, but one who really caught his eye was a fellow soap opera star played by Susan Sarandon, who appeared in “The One With Joey’s New Brain”. In their fictional show, her character was going to be written off and replaced by Joey's. This entailed her brain being implanted into Joey’s character's head because medical science has clearly evolved by years in this world. Sarandon’s character's trademark was her vicious slap, which she wasn’t afraid to use on anyone who crossed her.
One of the recipients of Sarandon’s slap was her real-life daughter, Eva Amurri.
Now that’s some fun parenting.
17 Multiple Arquettes
Thanks to Netflix’s function that allows us to skip the opening credits to our favorite shows, we don’t pay as much attention to them as we used to back when the show originally aired. That said, even back then you might have missed the reference to Courtney Cox’s wedding, which took place before the season premiered.
During the intro to “The One After Vegas”, the name of every cast member was followed by “Arquette” to commemorate the actress’s marriage to then-husband David Arquette. When it comes to wedding presents, no one can accuse the Friends creators of lack or originality.
16 The Recurring Poster
Friends’ first season shows Joey struggling to meet ends meet, but he thinks his luck has changed when he becomes the face of a brand. In the episode “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”, he becomes the face of a campaign warning people of the dangers of VD, a social disease. Later in the season, in the episode “The One With Mrs. Bing”, there’s a scene featuring Monica and Phoebe out on the street.
If you look closely, you can see the VD poster again on a wall in the background.
Just like some social diseases, this poster never goes away.
15 Joey’s ATM PIN
Joey definitely wasn’t the brightest character in the show. In fact, he was so silly that he couldn’t even remember his own ATM pin number -- which was his name. Good job thing he's funny, good-looking and charming.
This subtle Easter egg appears in season five's "The One in Vegas: Part One." You probably recall Joey asking Phoebe to find his pin number for him, which she reveals to be 5639. On a dialpad, this spells out his first name. Of course, this is an easy bit of information to miss as most people wouldn't check such information.
14 Funny Doodle Board Messages
Remember Chandler and Joey's little pad they had pinned to the door in their apartment? Most of the time they used it to write down messages for each other if the other person wasn’t home at the time. At other times, the board contained messages that were silly.
These doodles and messages had some relation to the episodes.
For example, in the episode where their apartment gets burgled after Joey climbed inside a TV cabinet, it reads: “Thanks for all your stuff.” In the episode where Chandler kisses Joey’s girlfriend Kathy and confessed to the betrayal, you can see an apology message. There are lots of these messages peppered throughout the entire saga, so if you look closely you’ll spot something fun each time.
13 The Drag Queen
With Courtney Cox in a relationship with David Arquette, other members of the Arquette family landed a gig on the show. One of those family members was Alexis Arquette, a cabaret performer and actress.
Alexis shows up in a couple of episodes. The first, “The One With Chandler's Dad” sees her as a drag queen cocktail waitress. Later on, she also appears in “The One With Rachel's Sister” ever so briefly. David also had a cameo in one of the shows, in the season three episode “The One with the Jam”. He played Malcolm, the guy Phoebe asked to stalk her. This was around the time he just started dating Cox.
12 The Central Perk Chalkboard
Central Perks is as iconic to the show’s mythology as the characters themselves. When we picture them all in the same room together, it’s usually sitting on the coffee house’s sofa with their oversized mugs of caffeine. What you might not have noticed, though, is what’s written on the chalkboard menu in the background.
Throughout the years, this menu was hidden in plain sight, and it really knew how to appeal to customers.
Take the Long Island Cream, for instance, which was described as "a moovingly rich and creaming coffee straight from the mutter's utter." Or how about the 5th Avenue, made for keen shoppers and hailed as "a trendy blend when you spend."
11 Adult Party Balloons
Bachelor parties are synonymous with off-color humor. They’re supposed to be one last hurrah before proper adulthood, allowing the groom-to-be to let off some steam. In Friends, however, Joey’s life was always like this. Hence him being the perfect guy to host the party. That’s if you think they should all be silly, anyway.
In “The One With Ross’s Bachelor Party,” the guys have a get together in Joey and Chandler’s apartment before Ross gets married-- again. Everything is normal for the most part -- beer, decorations, etc -- but if you look closely, you’ll notice that the balloons aren’t conventional. They're more protective in nature.
10 Rachel's Passport
In the emotional finale, Rachel almost moved to Paris. However, getting onto the plane wasn’t smooth sailing for Ms. Green, as she couldn’t find her boarding pass. Eventually she did, and other events stopped her from moving to France. But that’s not the point. Clearly, this airport clearly didn’t have the best security at all.
If you look closely at Rachel’s passport photo, you’ll spot a face that looks like Monica’s.
Whether this was supposed to be her old roommate’s passport or Courtney Cox’s was included for giggles, we’ll never know. Either way, it wasn’t Rachel’s passport.
9 Marcel Was Played by a Female Monkey
It’s not uncommon for identical twins to be hired in movies and TV shows to play the same part when child actors are involved. Moreover, it’s commonplace for filmmakers to use different animals when dogs, cats, etc. are involved. The same goes for monkeys, as evidenced by the pair that played Marcel in Friends.
The first monkey actor was called Monkey (seriously), a capuchin whose real gender was the same as Marcel’s character in the show. Did you know that the adorable primate was also played by a female counterpart named Katie? Their resemblance was uncanny, so it was difficult to spot.
8 Ross Liked Ice Cream After All
Ross needs to get his story straight. In “The One Where Chandler Hates Dogs”, we discover that he hates ice cream because it’s cold and makes his teeth hurt.
In a future episode, we learn that he does like ice cream when he eats it on a romantic date with Elizabeth.
Maybe it was all a show. We’ve all eaten things on dates to please our significant other. That’s not the only time he ate ice cream, though. He also ate a cone in season two, which he shared with Marcel. Overall, the evidence points toward Ross eating ice cream -- or at least he does whenever it's convenient.
7 The Outbreak Connection
No one talks about the 1995 thriller Outbreak these days. How is this forgotten '90s flick connected to Friends?
In the episode where Ross goes to visit Marcel following the monkey's Hollywood success, we discover that his old pet is filming a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme called Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan. This is another sneaky reference as Katie the monkey was actually in the 1995 movie mentioned above. Outbreak 2 was never a real film, but it’s a nice connection that gave an obscure '90s flick some attention and supported the prized monkey actor’s work.
6 Celebrity Paradoxes
Friends had a lot of fun with celebrity paradoxes.
This is the idea that while real celebrities are known to exist in a fictional universe, they aren’t recognized if they appear as characters in the show.
For example, Joey and Chandler make no secret that their favorite movie is Die Hard. Bruce Willis later appeared in a couple of episodes as a guest star. Elsewhere, we learn that Ross has major crushes on Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder while he was devising his "freebie" list. Both of them appeared in future episodes.
5 Monica’s Stand In
Prior to the shot in the above image, Monica and Phoebe are having a conversation in Central Perk. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, as they had lots of conversations on that very couch. However, as you can see from the above image, that Monica is not Monica.
Sometime during that conversation, Monica was temporarily replaced by an imposter.
We’ve all wanted our own imposters to replace us during boring conversations with people we know, so maybe that was an artistic statement by the showrunners to reflect this aspect of human nature. Maybe, though, the camera person just needed a cup of Central Perk’s best cup of Long Island Cream to keep them focused.
4 The Mad About You Connection
You remember Phoebe’s twin Ursula, right? She was the waitress with a bad attitude, serving as the dark, mean alternative to Phoebe's bright optimism. Lisa Kudrow played both characters. As it turns out, Kudrow played also a waitress in Mad About You, another iconic 90’s show, and Ursula was introduced to Friends as a result.
As Kudrow told Foundation: "When Friends got its time slot on Thursday night at 8.30, after Mad About You, everybody realised 'we need some explanation for the audience - why are they seeing the same girl with the same voice at 8 o'clock and 8.30 on two different shows?"
3 The Show’s Creators Were Recurring Guest Stars
Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane sneaked into episodes of their sitcom occasionally.
In "The One with Fake Monica," they can be spotted in the audience at a stage performance. In "The One After the SuperBowl (Part 2)", they can be spotted near the director after Joey tells Phoebe to avoid the "horrible flesh-eating virus.” In "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy," they can be spotted sitting on the gang’s couch in Central Perk. Finally, in "The One with Ross's Wedding", Kauffman and a writer for the show, Adam Chase, are on the double-decker bus sitting behind Chandler and Joey.
2 The Air Force One Connection
In the season six episode “The One Where Paul’s the Man", Joey visits a dry cleaners to get his picture on their wall of celebrities. This failed as the Russian man working behind the counter didn’t like Joey because he went out with his wife and starred in a show that was offensive towards Russians.
However, Joey spots a picture of Harrison Ford on the wall, whose movie Air Force One was also anti-Russian. When Joey brings this up, the clerk informs him that he never saw Ford’s blockbuster and that was that. As it turns out, though, the actor who played the angry Russian, Ilia Volok, actually starred in Air Force One.
1 The Reserved Couch
Friends ran for a lot of seasons. During that time, the gang’s favorite couch was never occupied by other Central Perk customers. A busy coffee house in the heart of New York City with a couch that was conveniently free for them whenever they decided to show up? No one was buying it, but we let it slide. Crane, Kauffman, and co. had us fooled all along. There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the couch was always reserved for them -- because they booked it.
If you look closely, you’ll see a reserved sign on the table that confirms as much.
That makes a lot of sense.
Are there any crazy Friends details we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below.