It became a massive hit, and one that continues to trend today. Without a doubt, Friends created quite the legacy during its 10 season run. However, as we'll reveal in the following, outside of the main cast, appearing on the show was often times stressful for guest stars, and even the extras on the show.
We're going to take a closer look at experiences, like how Jennifer Coolidge felt about her time on the series. Coolidge called the experience a serious one, and we'll reveal why.
In addition, we'll take a closer look on what it was like to be an extra on the show. Comedian Anjelah Johnson opened up about her experience and surprisingly, there were a lot more protocols to it than most fans expected, like what would happen if extras tried speaking to Jennifer Aniston. We'll reveal what that was like, and how shooting an episode of Friends differentiated from other sitcoms.
Throughout its 10 season run, Friends had so many memorable guest stars, however, the experience was a nervous one a lot of the time for celebs going on the series. Not only was the show a major hit, but the main cast also had a close connection.
Jennifer Coolidge had lots of experience but despite that, she still felt intimidated heading in.
"I have to say, I was kind of intimidated, even though I knew Lisa because she was in a comedy group. But I didn't know the rest of them, and I was very intimidated because they were all so attractive and had it going on. I'm just going to do my little part and I'll be in my dressing room."
Coolidge would also reveal that she tried to pitch some improv work during her scenes, but the showrunners were not interested in making modifications.
"Sometimes I think people want to hear my ad-libs when I get on a show, and they really don't. Sometimes I come in and throw some lines, and they come up and say, 'You know, Jennifer, we're just going to stick to the script.' That was a serious show."
As it turns out, the vibe was also a serious one for those working as extras.
Fans of Friends don't miss much, and that includes the extras on the show. Comedian Anjelah Johnson was spotted by fans, and was asked to discuss her experience.
Although Johnson had a great time on-set, she admitted that extras were given clear directions. They couldn't talk given that it would've been picked up by the cameras and in addition, they needed to make sure they were talking one at a time during their convos at the coffee house.
Johnson would also make another major reveal, stating that the extras were discouraged from talking to the main cast during shoots.
"There was protocol being an extra. If someone tried talking to the stars, that's a big no no, you're out. There would be a girl trying to talk to Jennifer Aniston, while Aniston was waiting for her cue. They would be like, get her, move her out of the way."
The reveal can be seen in the video below around the 3:00 minute mark.
Being an extra clearly came with some extra set of rules. However, when it came to the actual shoot of Friends, things were a lot more easygoing compared to some of the sitcoms of today.
Friends had a different approach when it came to shooting episodes. As revealed by late cast member James Michael Tyler, if a joke didn't land, the stars of the show would give their own input, while writers would also think of a different line on the spot.
"Everyone would huddle around a table and you'd have members of the cast, Matthew Perry, who would jump in and join the writers so you could get a better laugh."
"And yes if you didn't get the right response, because writers laugh at their own jokes, but if it didn't land they'd huddle and five minutes later have an entirely different joke that landed."
Even actress Lisa Kudrow would take it upon herself to ask the audience if they understood a joke in the case that it didn't land how they wanted to.
This is a very different structure compared to sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory. According to the stars of TBBT, shooting the series was often on a tight schedule, which meant changing lines that were written rarely took place by the cast. This held true for lots of other sitcoms, that didn't dare to touch what was written on the page by the writers.