'Friends' Turns 20! Go Behind The Scenes with Cast in 1994
By Denny Directo
It's hard to believe but 20 years ago today we were first introduced to Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe on Friends. To celebrate the milestone anniversary of one of the most popular sitcoms ever made, we're taking you behind the scenes with the not-so-famous cast before the series even premiered!
"It's like you're always stuck in second gear and when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year, I'll be there for you."
It's the words heard in the opening credits of what has become one of the most beloved sitcoms of our generation. The initial pitch for the series was simple: the story of six twenty-something friends who live in New York City. No one could have predicted the cast's uncanny chemistry let alone the show's staying power.
"No one knew what it was going to turn into," Matt LeBlanc told ET this past May. "But it was around season three-- season two or three that we all started to realize, 'Wow.' And also when we were shooting the pilot everybody thought this could turn into something."
ET was first on the set with the young cast back in 1994. And while the success of the series was still unknown, the chemistry even back then between relative newcomers LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow was undeniable.
“These people have now become my friends and it's really nice—you see them at work and everybody gets along really well,” LeBlanc told us back in 1994.
It was that fast bond that kept the show on the air for ten seasons. The show was the big ratings getter in NBC's Thursday night lineup and earned multiple Emmy awards including a win for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002. The cast also notoriously stuck together and negotiated a massive syndication deal of a reported $22 million dollars per friend.
Thanks to syndication, generations of Friends fans can still obsess over Ross and Rachel will-they-won't-they plots ("We were on a break!"), endure Joey's favorite pick-up line ("How you doin'?") or Phoebe's performances of "Smelly Cat," and attempt to figure out what Chandler actually does for a living.