Let them stay Friends! According to Friends producer Kevin S. Bright, the cast was furious about one specific story line the creators pitched — and ended up using.
“[There was a creative fight] when we first started the arc where Joey was going to get together with Rachel. The cast revolted when they read the first script on it. [They said], ‘No. Joey would never do this to Ross,’” Bright told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, May 27.
While Bright noted that the show’s creators, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, were able to “explain how it wasn’t going to end in a place that would compromise Joey as a character for stealing his buddy’s girlfriend,” the story line almost didn’t come to light.
“We would have lost what was a very good season for that. I’m glad they won that one,” he added.
Between seasons 8 and 10 of the show, the friendship between Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) turned into something more. After realizing they couldn’t make it any farther physically than kissing — as well as a bit of pushback from Joey’s best friend and Rachel’s on and off boyfriend Ross (David Schwimmer) — the pair eventually decided they’d be better off as friends.
“I’m not a big fan of Monica thinking Chandler likes watching shark sex to get off,” Bright said, referencing a season 9 episode. “I thought that bit belonged in a Seinfeld episode, not on our show. But it was during the time with Matthew Perry and, well, I don’t want to get into that.”
Perry went through many health struggles while the show was airing from 1994 to 2004.
Crane, for his part, had a separate answer about a story line he wasn’t crazy about.
“The lesbian wedding. I was happy that Carol and Susan got married but my only wish looking back is that we had told that story more from their point of view,” he said. “Our mantra was always that the show was about the six of them. And so many of the stories happened off-screen and the six would come back together at the apartment of the coffee house and they’d talk about what just happened. I wish we had violated that rule in that case.”
On Thursday, May 27, the Friends cast returned to fans’ screens when Friends: The Reunion aired on HBO Max. The creators and producer, who were in the show’s audience, noted that while there are still untold Friends stories out there, they likely haven’t been shared for a reason.
“If they’ve been untold for now, maybe they need to be buried for a little bit longer,” Bright said.