Two episodes Friends creator regrets

The one with Marta Kauffman's regrets.

During a 25th anniversary panel of Friends at the Tribeca TV Festival, the show's co-creator admitted there are two plot lines she isn't too thrilled with.

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"The stalker," Kauffman said, referring to an episode from season three of the beloved sitcom in which Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) ends up falling for a guy named Malcolm (David Arquette), who's been stalking her twin sister Ursula.

"We did a lot of rewriting on that to make that work," she revealed.

Kauffman also wasn't thrilled with a plot line from season two, where Phoebe gets the chickenpox and gives them to someone in the navy named Ryan (Charlie Sheen), who she sometimes dates when he's in town.

While co-creator David Crane didn't call out any specific moments, he commented, "It's one of those things where, I don't watch the show at home, but occasionally if we're travelling or whatever, it will be on and sometimes I'll see something … and it will be like, 'Wow, that actually holds up', and then there are definitely times where I'll go, 'Really? We went with that?'"

The gang at Central Perk Cafe.
The gang at Central Perk Cafe.

Executive producer Kevin Bright was also on the panel, while one of the series' stars, David Schwimmer, was also spotted in the audience trying to go unseen.

Last month, it was revealed that the show's writers nearly had to ditch Jennifer Aniston and recast the role of Rachel Green because of a scheduling conflict with another project.

A new book, Generation Friends, claimed that the then-unknown actress had already filmed several episodes of another new comedy called Muddling Through for a rival network before auditioning for Friends in 1994.

David Schwimmer (Ross) and Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) in a scene from Friends.
David Schwimmer (Ross) and Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) in a scene from Friends.

And while Friends bosses were desperate for Aniston, now 50, to play Central Perk waitress Rachel, the book alleges they were concerned they would have to lose the actress halfway through their first season if the other show was picked up for a full series.

In a crafty move, US network NBC, the channel that aired Friends for 10 seasons, decided to "kill" the rival show by scheduling a series of blockbuster TV movies against it during the summer so it couldn't find an audience.

As a result, Muddling Through was axed, Aniston got the Friends gig and the rest, as they say, is TV history.

It’s hard to imagine the show without Jennifer Aniston.
It’s hard to imagine the show without Jennifer Aniston.

The book also reveals network bosses initially wanted producers to add a "seventh friend" into the mix alongside Rachel, Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt Leblanc).

"The one major suggestion the network had was the addition of an older secondary character," writes Austerlitz.

The writers then came up with a character known as "Pat The Cop" who would have rubbed shoulders with the gang, but they ultimately begged the bosses to ditch the seventh addition.

"The writers made a good-faith attempt, even casting the role, but hated the resulting script so much that they pleaded with NBC to drop the idea," reveals the book. "NBC gave its permission and Pat the Cop was no longer."

Parts of this article originally appeared in NY Post and The Sun.


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