Jennifer Aniston’s , the iconic sitcom adored by millions around the world, owes its success to its brilliant cast and visionary directors. Thus, this can’t be denied that one of the core elements that made so successful was the remarkable chemistry among the cast members. From Aniston’s Rachel Green to Matthew Perry’s Chandler Bing, each character brought a unique set of comedic talents to the table.
But would not be the same without its secondary characters, those who accompanied the six main stars along on their successful way. However, not all of those characters have been accepted with open arms by the fans and even by the team behind the show.
James Burrows, who directed more than a dozen episodes of , once revealed that not everyone on the beloved NBC sitcom had good comedic instincts.
In , played Emily Waltham, Ross Geller’s (David Schwimmer) girlfriend, wife, and ultimately his ex-wife. She made appearances in fourteen episodes of Season 4 and the first half of Season 5. In 2022, the actress told :
“I saw those people in Friends, for example, and thought: ‘I don’t think that life is really what I want. They were hounded. They weren’t able to walk into a supermarket and buy something…’”
Regarding the attention she received because of her role in , she said:
“This thing… this programme that I happened to be in for a few episodes. The whole thing was bonkers.”
Contrary to this, almost fired her from the television sitcom. However, due to scheduling, that suggestion was ultimately dropped.
The 82-year-old director made a strong allusion to the 1990s sitcom’s almost-recasting of Baxendale, who played Ross Geller’s (David Schwimmer) fling-turned-wife-turned-ex, in his memoir, Directed By James Burrows
She simply lacked ‘s comedic talent as Rachel Green He wrote:
“She was nice, but not particularly funny.”
In contrast to Ross and Rachel, Burrows thought Baxendale, 53, and Schwimmer, 56, lacked chemistry on-screen. According to him:
“Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand.”
So, Burrows added:
“You need someone who gets laughs. Sometimes you start an arc and it ain’t working out, so you have to get rid of that person. If it’s a day player, it’s a quick goodbye.”
Although she had already starred in the popular British dramas and Helen Baxendale’s debut in 1998 brought with it a level of fame and public scrutiny that she had not yet experienced. She once told the :
“You couldn’t walk down the street to buy a pint of milk. In fact, you couldn’t go anywhere. It was impossible to mix with the crowd, and do what ordinary people do.”
She continued by saying that, although not nearly as badly as the main cast members of she, her friends, and family were constantly being followed by paparazzi at the time:
“I saw it as a gilded prison. It was something I wasn’t prepared for.”
If she had remained in the United States, Baxendale acknowledged, she might have maintained that level of fame:
“Fame just didn’t fit in with my life. I don’t know how much would have come from staying in the States anyway. I didn’t want to live in America, when all my circumstances were leading me back to Britain. I don’t regret it for a minute.”
Baxendale last appeared in Joe Stephenson’s 2020 filmalso starring Blake Harrison and Jacqueline Boatswain.
The series finale, which aired on May 6, 2004, was the most-watched television episode of the 2000s and the fifth-most-watched series finale in television history.
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