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This 'Friends' Actor Was Almost Recast For Not Being As Funny As Jennifer Aniston


Ross and Emily's relationship in Friends did not have the same chemistry as Ross and Rachel, making it difficult for fans and the show's creators to root for them to last.James Burrows, the creator of Friends, considered firing Helen Baxendale, who played Emily, due to the lack of chemistry and comedic timing between her and David Schwimmer.Baxendale's casting in Friends was different from other guest stars and actors on the show, as she came from a more dramatic background and was not perceived as particularly funny by Burrows.

Fans of always wanted Ross and Rachel to wind up together. But it appeared that that particular storyline had run its course when Ross was asked by Rachel to take her boss's niece, Emily to the theater. The two began dating, fell in love, and, albeit only for a short time, got married. The problem with the relationship between Ross and Emily was that and Helen Baxendale did not have the same fun, flirty chemistry that Schwimmer and , , had. As such, not only did fans have a hard time rooting for the relationship to last, but the creators of the show did as well.

Conversations were had about what to do to salvage the relationship between Ross and Emily. There was even a discussion about firing Baxendale and recasting the role of Emily, . In the end though, creator, James Burrows let the storyline play out and never brought Baxendale back to guest star in the years after Emily and Ross divorced.

James Burrows Almost Fired Helen Baxendale From 'Friends'

Baxendale was on a total of 14 episodes of , which was enough time for her to become fodder for the paparazzi and .

Her relationship blossomed with Ross in Season Four and by Season Five, the two were married. But that did not mean that Baxendale had a secure job on the show.

Quite the contrary, in fact, as . However, as a result of scheduling, that idea was eventually taken off the table.

"Often, you can’t recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations," Burrows wrote in his book, . "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."

However, with the tight deadlines and shooting schedule had, it was nearly impossible to be able to recast the role of Emily in the timeframe they had. Instead, the decision was made to write the character off the show and use her as little as possible to move the storyline along.

This did not mean that Baxendale was not a good actor. What it meant was that if there was going to be a character that was going to take Ross' attention and love away from Rachel, there needed to be a significant amount of chemistry between the actors portraying those roles.

Unfortunately, this is something that Schwimmer and Baxendale did not have.

Chemistry Between Ross And Emily Wasn't The Same As Ross And Rachel

While Ross had a series of relationships over the course of the series, none of them ultimately made him happy because he was in love with Rachel.

However, that did not mean that there were not some great romantic interests on where there was chemistry between Schwimmer and the actor playing his current crush, such as Bonnie Summerville (Mona), Aisha Tyler (Charlie), Christine Taylor (Bonnie), and others. The same, however, and their on-screen chemistry.

"Schwimmer had no one to bounce off," Burrows explained in his memoir. "It was like clapping with one hand."

Burrows went on, saying, "In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, the funny is just as important as the chemistry. We discovered that any new girlfriend for Ross needed to be as funny as Rachel... If there’s chemistry, the writers go to work to figure out some way of keeping the actor."

That meant that anyone brought on the show not only needed to have chemistry with Schwimmer that was as good or better than it was with Aniston but also needed to be funny to resonate with the audience and make the relationship believable.

The character of Emily was not seen as particularly funny by fans and even divided them when it came to her behavior after the wedding when Ross said Rachel's name versus Emily's when saying his wedding vows.

Some found her to be too controlling by telling Ross that he could not have a friendship with Rachel. Others found Emily to be very forgiving given what took place at the wedding.

It was clear, however, that Baxendale had an expiration date on . A fact that boiled down to her comedic timing and not her personality and how she got along with the cast.

James Burrows Said Helen Baxendale Was "Nice" But "Not Particularly Funny"

What was interesting about Baxendale's casting in was that she did not come from a comedic background. Instead, Baxendale's resume is filled with more dramatic roles. Therefore, the fact that she was should not have been surprising.

"She was nice but not particularly funny," Burrows wrote of Baxendale.

To Baxendale's credit, Burrows only directed 15 episodes of . Of those episodes, As such, critics argue that he may not have truly gotten to see all that Emily's character could bring to the ensemble in that short time.

Critics have also said that Emily was not written in the same comedic light as the cast was. Instead, Emily was "intended to be a wholesome, sensible and cultured figure." A character with these personality traits may not possess the same sense of humor as other characters on the show. However, Emily and Ross on paper looked to be a good match.

Between Burrow's believing there was a lack of chemistry between Emily and Ross, audiences not being able to build a relationship with Emily, and Baxendale getting pregnant during her stint on , a long-term role on the show was not meant to be.

Perhaps, had circumstances been different, Baxendale could have prolonged her time on the show. But in the end, there was only one "lobster" for Ross and that was Rachel.

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