From September 1994 to May 2004 Friends ran for 10 successful seasons, yet more than 20 years since it began, the series is still one of the most iconic. The obsession with Friends hasn’t gone away because the show came to an end, and with streaming services such as Netflix in play, new generations are finding the show every day, but it is this undying popularity of the show that encouraged Kelsey Miller to write a book about it. In “I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends,” Miller goes behind the scenes of the show, and fans’ undying support of it to present some truly interesting findings. Here are the biggest and most surprising revelations from “I’ll Be There For You.”
14. Kauffman and Crane and The Changes
Although, as Miller points out in the book, the credit to Friends’ success always goes to its phenomenal six stars, it can’t be understated that it all began with Marta Kauffman and David Crane. The book offers a backstory to the beginning of Friends that many did not know. Yes, the series went through multiple name changes, but before that, Kauffman and Crane had to develop a show worthy of a title. Initially, the pair met as part of the theater scene in New York and stumbled into television, and had many TV flops and were close to giving up on TV writing before Friends was conceptualized. Along with title changes however, after NBC bought the script and pilot for what would become Friends, they insisted that Kauffman and Crane add an older character, “someone who could pop in every now and again and give some sage advice to these young folks,” and suggested that person as the coffeehouse owner or a cop. In response the pair wrote a script including “Pat the cop” but “hated the idea so much that they called the network and begged them to can the idea,” and instead compromised by giving more time to the parents and adding older guest-star appearances. Another change suggested would have been monumental — the network didn’t want a coffeehouse to be the central hangout. “You gotta remember what it was. Starbucks hadn’t really taken hold yet,” said showrunner Kevin Bright in the book. Miller added, “The network suggested the coffee shop be swapped out for a diner — much like another NBC sitcom [Seinfeld]. […] but Kauffman, Bright, and Crane pushed back on this, too, believing that audiences would somehow figure out what a coffeehouse was.” In the end the network relented and merely suggested that the couch color be changed from beige to the orange-red sofa that became iconic.