The NBC sitcom Friends started with a bang. This comedy series centered on the lives of close-knitted peers Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courtney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Ross (David Schwimmer) somehow transcended to audiences that it became a phenomenal show, even if it was met with early skepticism by the network.
It all begins with “The Pilot” or “The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate," wherein the gang meets runaway bride Rachel, making a recently dumped Ross feel elated. Yet, there are 10 things that viewers and fans never noticed from this first episode.
10 The Episode Features A Baywatch Reference
Guest star John Allen Nelson appeared in the episode as Monica’s date Paul the Wine Guy. It is never explained why Paul was given that nickname, even as Phoebe questions Chandler.
Before this, Nelson was playing dodgy former lifeguard John D. Cort in Baywatch, who had a problematic relationship with C.J. Parker. Coincidentally, as the show progressed, Baywatch turned out to be Chandler and Joey's favorite show. Thus, Nelson’s appearance can be labeled as foreshadowing.
9 Joey and Chandler Almost Have Identical Personalities
On early writings of the show, the characters of Joey and Chandler were initially alike on character and dialogue. However, director James Burrows, who liked the script, requested that Joey be "dumbed up a bit."
This could be the case to tell the two best friends apart from being womanizers themselves. And the rewrite results Joey being clueless yet caring and Chandler being hardheaded but sarcastic. Needless to say that Burrows’ suggestion helped Joey’s likability.
8 Lily Buffay’s Suicide Is Featured Mentioned
Phoebe mentions her mother Lily’s suicide in a non-sequitur wherein she attempts to sympathize with Rachel. She shared that when she came to the city at 14, her mom “killed herself” and her stepfather was sent back to prison.
This is not the only time that Phoebe mentions her mother’s suicide. In the episode “The One with the Cat," Phoebe claims that the cat that crawled into her guitar has her suicidal mother’s spirit.
7 Spot The Plant On Monica’s Kitchen Table
When Rachel served coffee for Joey and Chandler, the two disliked it and poured it on the potted plant on Monica’s table. Later on in the episode, the plant was spotted dead, likely caused by the two. She later worked at Central Perk.
In the case of blink-and-miss gags throughout the pilot, one of the cards that Rachel was told to cut was a card for the New York Public Library.
6 Monica’s Promiscuity Was Deemed By the Network as Racy
Monica Geller might be the “mother hen” of the group, but she has a rocky romantic life.
When NBC learned about the arc involving Monica sleeping with Paul, the executive panicked that the audience might dislike her for being “too racy." So, after studio taping, they passed around an audience questionnaire about her promiscuity. In the end, the audience did not care for that angle, leading to a point that NBC was worried for nothing.
5 Is Ross Really 29?
Ross’ actual age has remained uncertain throughout the show’s run. And that starts from the very beginning when he claims that he is 26, solidifying the fact that he was October 18, 1967.
In the Season 3 episode “The One Where Monica and Richard Are Just Friends," it is logical for Ross to be 29 since it has been three years since the first episode. But in Seasons 4 and 5, it is implied that he is still twenty-nine.
4 Rachel’s Panicky “Sorry” To Barry
When Rachel attempts to phone to her former soon-to-be-husband Barry, she hysterically apologizes to him, saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry." This is out of panic for implying that she is (financially) cutting ties from her family.
This is referenced in the very last episode “The Last One, Part 2” when Rachel says the same lines as an attendant forces her back to the plane. This time, it is out of love for Ross, to the point when she is in tears.
3 Rachel’s Wedding Resembles One In A Future Episode
Friends is known to be a fashion trendsetter. Rachel’s wedding gown on her first appearance is similar to the wedding dress she wore in the fourth season episode “The One With All The Wedding Dresses." Though, it is not the exact same gown. The most glaring difference is the veil and the upper lace pattern.
That difference later manifested as an unintentional goof during the Season 7 episode “The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress," when Monica bought the wrong gown.
2 The Subtle Symbolism For Ross and Rachel
Ross and Rachel are the quintessential “will they, won’t they” TV couple. And their on-and-off again relationship is symbolically foreshadowed from the pilot episode itself.
On her first appearance, Rachel was drinking coffee from a cup that is similar to Ross’. The obvious signs are also on the latter’s face. And in another scene, Ross gives Rachel half of his Oreo cookie. It is not clear if Rachel ate her half. So, that indicates an uncertainty.
1 This Is The Only Episode Featuring The Full Opening Sequence
The Friends opening sequence, featuring the six-lead cast dancing on the fountain to the tune of “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts, was intercut with clips from other episodes as the cast credits roll. However, it is only in the pilot episode that the iconic opening sequence was featured in full without cutting to character montages.
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