I can’t say I’ve ever met a “casual” Friends fan if I’m being honest. Everyone has seen the show and is familiar with it, and it feels like everyone I know can quote some of its most memorable lines and recall scenes in close detail. However, there are still a few details on the show that we’ve never noticed!
This show is filled with hidden details that we’ve never noticed before. Many refer to these little details as “Easter eggs” because they are seemingly out of place but still put there by someone for us to find. You could rewatch this legendary series over and over again and still find yourself noticing new details!
You would think that given how frequently the Friends gang hung out at their favorite coffee shop, Central Perk, we might have noticed some of the specific food and drink options you could find there. You might expect to see some scones and croissants, maybe a donut. Well, the cake stand at the coffee shop housed a “treat” I didn’t expect to see!
On the cake stand is a large potato! You can see this clearly in the eighth episode of the fourth season. Joey enters Central Perk looking for his buddy Chandler, and we were too distracted by his awkward-as-heck interaction with Gunther to notice that a raw potato was on the cake stand!
Jennifer Aniston’s Real Family
Have you ever wondered how characters are named? What about the names that you might read across the screen? In the episode where Chandler and Monica get married, it seems that they used Jennifer Aniston’s family name somewhere in the hotel! They stumbled upon a Greek Orthodox ceremony while looking for a last-minute officiant…
They stumbled upon a sign that says “Anastassakis Papasifakis Wedding,” which was not just a random name! This is actually a detail from Jennifer Aniston’s personal life. Her father, John Aniston, was born Yiannis Antonios Anastasakis, but his name was Americanized after they moved from Greece to the United States.
A Message from a Thief
Remember those little Magna Doodle toys that people could draw on? They acted like a whiteboard without requiring the same kind of clean-up. Well, every now and then, Joey and Chandler would have a message hidden on the board for people to see. One episode had a particularly cryptic (or obvious) message.
In the fourth season’s second episode, Joey was tricked, and a man ended up robbing the apartment for all it was worth. When Chandler arrived to see what had happened to his home, we found the most hilarious message waiting on the Magna Doodle from the thieves themselves – it read, “thanks for all your stuff!”
The Hidden Huggsies
We don’t technically meet Huggsy, Rachel’s daughter Emma’s favorite toy, until the ninth season. I mean, Rachel doesn’t even have her baby until later in the show! We meet Huggsy after Emma becomes attached to the toy, and Joey has to deal with his resentment of her taking one of his toys.
This toy was first introduced in the fifth season, but if you look closely, you’ll see that Huggsy was present long before then. The “bedtime penguin pal” has been found around the apartment before being formally introduced, discreetly placed, and wearing different outfits – not always his full costume.
Fans of Friends know Estelle as Joey’s agent, Estelle Leonard. We couldn’t imagine the actress, June Gable, in any other part! Little did fans know, but she made her first appearance in Friends back in Season One! Can you guess what role she had before?
Before giving us comedic gold as Estelle, delivering lines like “Joey, look at me. Look at me! Do I have lipstick on my teeth?” She appeared in an earlier episode as a nurse in the delivery room when Carol, Ross’s ex-wife, was giving birth to their son Ben. Estelle can be seen holding Carol’s hand in the delivery room!
Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Joey have gone down in history as some of the biggest pop-culture icons of all time. When you hear those names, you instantly connect them to the Friends gang and the actors and actresses playing the roles. That makes it even weirder to see any one of them replaced on screen.
During an episode in Season Nine, Rachel rushed into Monica’s apartment to share some exciting news. Joey had an audition! The camera changes the view to a different character for just a moment, and suddenly, Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel is being played by another character!
Monica’s Experienced It Too
In an episode in Season Eight, Phoebe and Monica are hanging out at their usual spot, Central Perk. For some strange reason, Courtney Cox is replaced by a different person in one of the shots. These actresses had their own “stand-ins,” whether it’s obvious or not.
Back in the 1990s, shows were filmed differently. Directors and producers did not anticipate technology advancing to allow viewers to see more than a 4:3 aspect ratio, meaning they did not really expect people to see more than a certain viewpoint. When it became a 16:9 ratio, people watching on streaming services were able to see everything within the frame!
The Reserved Sign
We know our favorite characters from Friends sit at the same table and couch every time they congregate at Central Perk, but how is it that this group of pals were always able to be seated in their favorite spot every single time? That seems rather odd, especially in a crowded New York City café.
If you look closely, you can actually see a “reserved” sign for the group at their favorite table! Without this sign, it would be almost impossible for anyone to have their favorite spot, let alone a group of that many people. It looks like Gunther and the Central Perk team wanted to do the group a solid and reserve their table for them!
Weird Shadows Lurking
Many of these mysterious “Easter eggs” happen as a result of errors while filming. It only took viewers ten years to notice a big error in the episode “The One With the Jam.” In this episode, you can see the shadow of a person walking behind Monica’s closet.
Chandler, Rachel, and Ross are sitting in the living room while Chandler tells a story about an interaction he had with Janice. Around the same time, Monica was dating Richard, so this makes us wonder if this shadow was just Richard sneaking around in the background.
Mother and Daughter Affair
When Susan Sarandon first appeared on Friends, she played Cecilia Monroe, an actress who acted on Days of Our Lives alongside Joey. Cecilia played the role of Jessica Lockhart on the soap opera, and fans watched as she slapped her on-screen daughter, Dina, across the face.
Well, not only did Joey learn that the slap looked so dang real because it was a real slap, but the audience later learned that Dina was more than Jessica’s on-screen child. Eva Amurri is Susan Sarandon’s daughter in real life, which makes everything about that episode so much better!
New York’s Bravest
There are numerous odes to New York’s bravest, the nickname given to firefighters in New York City. The “bravest” and “finest” nicknames for firefighters and police originated around the Civil War and have stuck through the city’s history. Following the tragedy that struck New York City on 9/11, the show had to come up with a good way to honor the victims.
In many episodes following the terror attacks, the show did several silent tributes to honor the fallen. Joey wore an FDNY T-shirt in one episode, while another episode shows the Magna Doodle in Joey and Chandler’s apartment with a drawing of the FDNY logo, acting as an appreciative nod to the Fire Department of New York.
When Is Rachel’s Birthday?
You get one birthday, I get one birthday – we’re only born on one day, even if your mother has been in labor for days. In the fourth episode of the fifth season, Rachel tells Gunther that her birthday is May 5th, though later episodes would prove that her birthday is actually in a different season altogether.
We know that Rachel’s birthday is somewhere between January and February because a police officer pulls her over one day and points out her star sign – “You’re an Aquarius, huh?” the cop says while looking at her license. This would place her birthday between January 19th and February 18th – very different than the original May 5th date of birth!
Ross’s Birthdays Were Mixed Up Too
It seems that the writers of Friends didn’t really pay attention to the small details, like keeping birthdates and ages the same throughout the series. One great example of this is Ross’s birthday, which we still can’t quite nail down, thanks to some confusion throughout episodes!
In the fourth season’s fifth episode, Ross tells Gunther that his birthday is in December. A couple of seasons later, Joey is helping Ross out at the hospital and says his birthday is October 18th. Another discrepancy is in the fourth episode of the first season when Ross implied his birthday is in March. When is your real birthday, Ross?
The Strange Ad Campaign
The show might have made a series of mistakes that we see as unforgivable, but they definitely kept other things consistent in the best way. One of the best examples of this is when Joey became the face of a campaign warning against the effects of VD, a sexually transmitted disease.
The posters were hung throughout the city, embarrassing Joey anytime he stepped outside of his home. Luckily, the producers knew that they couldn’t just toss it away and get rid of the poster after that one episode. Later in the season, you can see the poster in the background as Phoebe and Monica walk through their neighborhood.
One of the series’ most iconic scenes happened when Rachel left her fiancé Barry at the altar and showed up to Central Perk to find Monica and her friends while still wearing her wedding dress. It was there that she met some of the group members for the “first” time, though we’d later learn that was not the case.
Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that the gang initially interacted as strangers at a bar that would become Central Perk, and even earlier than that, when Monica and Rachel visited Ross at college and met his roommate, Chandler. They even spent Thanksgiving together before their “first meeting” in the coffee shop!
A Hole in the Wall
Every now and then, there are little details that make us think – “how did I miss that?” One of these details is the giant hole in the wall in Joey’s apartment. How on earth did so many fans miss that? It came up when Rachel and Joey talked about whether or not she would become “an item” with Ross.
The hole wasn’t initially in view, in the same way that we couldn’t necessarily see Monica and Rachel’s “body doubles.” There was a different screen format back when the show was initially aired, so we saw things that were different than how it looked on set.
Rachel’s Random Passport
All these little details continued through the very end. In the final season’s 17th episode, a very small yet significant detail came to light. Rachel’s passport had a significant difference when she was interacting with her gate agent on her way to Paris.
While joking with the gate agent about how she didn’t think she would remember her high school French (he barely said anything in French at the time), she hands over her passport. If you look closely, you can see that the passport clearly shows the photo of another woman!
Joey’s Personal Identification Number
In one episode, Joey asked his dear friend Phoebe, whom he trusts with his life, to go to the ATM for him to check and see what the number was he scratched into the machine. Phoebe already knew the number without going to check – 5639. It turns out that these numbers had more significance than we thought.
More than a decade after the episode aired, we realized something major: 5-6-3-9 spells out J-O-E-Y on a keypad! Not only is that hilarious, but how could Joey forget something he set as something so painfully obvious? His character was a major goofball, through and through.
Matthew Perry’s Father
Did you know that actor Matthew Perry, who plays Chandler Bing, has a father who is also an actor? Not only is he an actor, but he even had a guest role on Friends as one of Rachel’s boyfriend’s fathers. In the episode where Rachel and Joshua go back to his family’s house to have a private, romantic dinner, they learned his parents came back from Europe early.
Joshua’s father is played by actor Joshua Bennett Perry, who is Matthew Perry’s real-life father. Now that you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it. The resemblance is uncanny, and his character’s body language isn’t too far from his son’s in real life. What a funny little detail to stumble on!
Gladys Changed Outfits
Gladys is that hideous, strange piece of artwork that Phoebe holds onto for dear life. Gladys is a large doll that lives on a canvas in Phoebe’s living room, and it is truly terrifying. Throughout the series, she tries to pawn it off to the rest of the group, and she was often depicted in the background.
Well, Gladys somehow managed to change outfits multiple times throughout the series! Crazy, right? How could a doll of her shape and size manage to change outfits? In the ninth episode of the second season, Gladys sports a red dress. In Season Ten, she’s seen wearing an alluring shade of blue.
That Time When Joey Was Laughing in the Background
Bloopers make the world go round! I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this before, but fortunately it made the final edit. In the episode, “The One with the Worst Best Man Ever,” actor Matt LeBlanc, who plays Joey, has to hide in the background of the scene to shield us from his laughter.
In this episode, the boys confront an exotic dancer whom they believe might have taken a wedding ring which belonged to Ross’s dead grandmother, and since Ross couldn’t simply “be cool,” it caused him to break out into laughter. He likely thought he was off-screen, but we’re lucky to have seen that.
The One Where Rachel Breaks
I have always wondered how my favorite scenes manage to be done without the actor or actress breaking character. How are they able to shoot such a funny scene without breaking out in a fit of laughter? Maybe they’re just really good actors…
The truth is these entertainers don’t always stay in character. In an episode in which Ross tries to show off his bagpiping skills, Phoebe decides to sing along. She shouted the lyrics to “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang, and Rachel looks over to her friend Monica and clearly starts laughing to the point of tears – while trying to hide it.
The Ice Cream Incident
There are so many inconsistencies in this show; it’s ridiculous! In the eighth episode of the seventh season, Ross talks about how he doesn’t like ice cream because it hurts his teeth. “It’s too cold!” he says, shuttering. Yet, we later see him eating ice cream on multiple occasions.
He’s been seen eating ice cream on more than one occasion. In the second season, he’s eating ice cream while hanging out with his pal, Marcel the monkey. In another instance, he goes for an ice cream date with Elizabeth. Maybe he decided that ice cream wasn’t his jam, just much later!
Clothes in the Bathroom
Julia Roberts made a cameo we will never forget. She guest-starred as Susie Moss, a former classmate of Chandler’s. Apparently, as children, Chandler embarrassed Susie in an unforgivable way, and she later retaliates as best as she can: by stealing all of his clothes while he is undressing in the restroom.
In the episode, he is supposed to be wearing Susie’s underwear. As he’s leaving the restaurant covered up, he can be seen wearing men’s boxers. We know they weren’t Joey’s because he made it clear that he “wasn’t wearing any,” so it might have just been a detail that fell through the cracks while filming.
The Misplaced Box
I’m so curious to hear who pointed out this detail, but this detail is really quite the catch. While Joey was filming a movie as Al Pacino’s body double in the shower, some truly dedicated fans managed to point out a box that can be seen in the background.
This box says “Monica’s,” meaning it belonged to Monica (duh!) and must have gone missing somewhere along the way. If you look behind the director, you can clearly see the box in the background. Granted, you have to look closely – but it’s clear as day!
Phoebe’s Old Apartment
One of the biggest complaints about Friends is the unrealistic size of their apartments. Seriously, did the directors think that Rachel would be able to split that incredible apartment while working on a coffee shop salary? Probably not! The show had more apartment discrepancies, though.
Phoebe’s apartment is possibly the most unrealistic of the group. She works as a freelance masseuse but lives in a beautiful Greenwich village apartment, which seems a tad unrealistic. She apparently had a roommate named Denise, whom we never get to meet – but that is one huge apartment for a small salary!
The Banana Lapel Pin
Marcel the monkey is a very popular and important character in the first couple of seasons, but as the monkey grew older, his attitude and behavior become a little uncontrollable. Unfortunately, Ross decided that the San Diego Zoo would be the best new home for him.
He brings Marcel to the airport for a proper send-off, but did you notice this amazing detail? Ross is sporting a banana pin on his lapel as a tribute to his little furry friend. This was a sweet element for the directors to include, and the dedication certainly did not go unnoticed!
How Long Is Rachel Pregnant For?
Like any woman carrying another person inside of them, Rachel was super anxious to give birth. She was pregnant for over a year in the Friends universe, and the timeline just does not match up with a realistic pregnancy. Take a look at the timeline – it just doesn’t quite add up!
She took the pregnancy test that came back as positive at Monica and Chandler’s wedding, which was on May 15th. In the third episode of the eighth season, Ross revealed that the two slept together “a month ago.” By Thanksgiving of that year, she should have been seven months pregnant but only had a tiny baby bump. When the bump was bigger, on Episode 22 of that season, she tells Ross how hot it is outside, implying it’s summertime… when her due date should have been in January!
The One With the Message in American Sign Language
In an episode in which Ross and Monica are arguing over the true color of one of his shirts – a “faded salmon color” in his words – we almost missed the small detail on the shirt he was wearing during that conversation. It has a little hidden message as well.
If you look at the shirt he is wearing in this scene, it has an image of two hands making a signal. That sign means “friend” in American Sign Language. He was too busy arguing with his sister about the color of his shirt that we almost didn’t notice the symbolism on his T-shirt!
The Harrison Ford Movie
In an episode during Season Six, Joey goes to the dry cleaner in order to get his photo back on the wall. Now that he’s starring in his own show, he felt it was warranted! The owner refused, claiming that the famous episode was offensive to people of Russian descent.
Joey points out that Harrison Ford was on the wall, which was apparently very offensive to Russians. The man looks at him with a straight face and says, “I’ve never seen it.” Joey laughs, telling him it’s a great film and he should definitely check it out. The real joke? The actor who plays the dry cleaner, Ilia Volok, was actually in Air Force One!
When Ross Misspelled Rachel’s Last Name
Rachel and Ross have known each other for a looong time, yet somehow, he still managed to misspell her last name! You could argue that adding an extra “e” to the end of Green is still a possible last name, but fans beg to differ.
Viewers see this mistake as Ross sends out the wedding invitations and places them in the mailbox. Ross probably would not take the blame in that case, and he and Emily already determined that Ben could be in charge of the invitations, so of course, he could pin the mistake on his son!
Small Celebrity World
Friends were meant to mimic reality, so even though they live in a fictional world, many of their pop culture references are from real life. They wore brand names we know, they read magazines from the real world, they watched real movies; the list goes on and on.
There are a ton of celebrity overlaps, but in one case, things are pretty perfect. The guys love the movie Die Hard, but when the star of the film shows up as a guest star, they barely flinch. Bruce Willis appeared on the show as “Elizabeth’s father,” and the guys don’t seem to notice.
The One Where Chandler Cries
In an episode entitled “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry,” the crew makes fun of Chandler for being “dead inside” and not being able to express certain emotions in the way they wanted him to. However, we know that he’s capable of crying because he’s done it before!
One instance that disproves this is an episode in the fourth season when the men of the group have a heart to heart about how lucky they are to have each other. There’s another instance when Phoebe tells him the harsh truth about something, and of course there’s a Season Ten flashback when he cried back in college after seeing Ross with Missy Goldberg.
Mad About You
Seemingly connected through circumstance to the sitcom Mad About You, many viewers see Phoebe’s twin sister as fun but still a minor detail in Phoebe’s overall story. Really, though, her twin Ursula is pretty much Phoebe’s origin story! The facts behind this will shock you…
When Friends started as a series, Lisa Kudrow was already playing Ursula Buffay in Mad About You. Mad About You would air Thursdays at 8 p.m., and Friends was slotted right after at 8:30 p.m. Writers felt they needed an explanation for the audience seeing identical characters between series back-to-back, so Phoebe became Ursula’s twin!
Ross Doesn’t Remember
Uh oh… Isn’t it strange when people don’t remember big moments with their closest friends? There could be any number of reasons for that, but in this case between Ross and Chandler, the cause was a drunken night out. Ross was telling Chandler that his first and only time getting intimate with a woman was with Carol, his now ex-wife.
This information changes later in the series. In the seventh season, Ross and Chandler are having revelations about the roots of their intimate pasts with different women. Ross claimed that Chandler got close with the woman who cleaned their dorm room, but it turns out it wasn’t Chandler but just a really drunk Ross.
Changing Apartment Number
Monica’s place is the token set of the entire show. As it is one of the most critical and primary sets of the show, you might anticipate the show’s art department taking a detail like that seriously. Fans with an intense dedication to detail have noticed that the number of apartments changes!
The show started out with Monica’s apartment listed as number five. The guys’ apartment was number four. Later, the numbers change to 20 and 19, likely because it wouldn’t make sense for their apartment numbers to be so low while the windows made them appear to be so high up.
Where Did Her Birth Mother Go?
In the third season, Phoebe learned that her mother, Lily Buffay, was not actually her biological mother. Her real mom is a woman named Phoebe Abbott, a friend of Lily’s, who is alive and well. Phoebe didn’t know how to handle the information at first but came to terms with it, and the two form a personal bond.
After Season Four, though, her biological mother disappears. We don’t really hear a thing from her again until later when she sends her daughter a fur coat; she doesn’t even come back to appear for her daughter’s wedding to Mike, but again, she doesn’t come up often on Phoebe’s part either.
Everyone Was an Arquette
As much as we appreciate Netflix giving us the ability to skip over the opening credits of a show these days, there are some details you just don’t want to miss out on! This function almost kept us from noticing this fine little detail from the first episode of Season Six, The One After Vegas.
This episode came out after Courtney Cox got married to David Arquette, so the producers decided to celebrate her union by adding “Arquette” to the end of everyone’s last name. This was a little celebration of their marriage for the whole world to see, in a subtle manner!
The Chick, the Duck, the Farm
The chick and the duck became vital parts of the men’s lives back in the third season, but they were phased out in the coming seasons. They went to a “farm” sometime later in the show, but it was strange to see that they almost entirely disappeared after Season Six.
Maybe they travel in flocks, sure, but they certainly like to stick with their family in general. You might have anticipated a bigger “to-do” about saying goodbye to their foul friends, but it seemed that the chick and the duck just flew out of the show without saying so much as goodbye!
Did Ross Stop Aging?
While Ross boasts his intelligence as a selling point, he definitely doesn’t seem to understand the way aging works. In the third season, Chandler offers Ross some chocolate milk, which Ross declines, saying that he’s 29 years old – as if that’s an excuse for why someone wouldn’t want to drink chocolate milk?!
The following season, the guys say that partying isn’t for them anymore. They use their age, 29, as an excuse. Then, in Season Five, Ross is trying to sort out what to do about Emily and Rachel and complains that he’d be getting divorced for the second time… before turning 30. He should be well after 30, really…
The Dollar Jar
At the beginning of Season Eight, an episode entitled “The One with Rachel’s Date,” Phoebe is in the kitchen of the restaurant Monica worked at, called Alessandro’s. She’s flirting with the sous-chef, Tim, when Monica loses it and yells at the two.
Monica claims she didn’t yell at them or lose her patience so that she won’t have to put a dollar in the jar. What does that mean – is it an expression? It turns out there was an actual jar, though we don’t see it clearly. If you go back to before Phoebe and Tim flirted, you see that there is a jar in the background – it’s just a continuation issue on the director’s part because it doesn’t show up again!
They Weren’t Great at Geography
Wow, you’d think that with at least one academic in the group, maybe they would know world geography a bit better – but, hey, it’s not everyone’s strong suit! After the 10th episode of the show, Phoebe’s boyfriend Dave leaves the gang because he is heading off to Minsk. The group kept calling Minsk a city in Russia…
…Minsk is not a city in Russia, but rather the capital and largest city in Belarus, which became independent in 1991. That episode aired in 1994, so what’s the writer’s excuse in this case? This mistake continued, even on Dave’s part, and the error was repeated in other episodes.
The Soulmate Story
Monica and Chandler’s wedding is one of the most pivotal parts of the series. Watching that scene makes people tear up with joy, only for us to realize that there is yet another slight inconsistency in this case. In Monica’s vows, she says, “My prince, my soulmate, my friend”…
Later, however, Phoebe introduced the gang to someone she referred to as Monica’s soulmate. Naturally, Chandler was upset by the situation, and Monica calms him down by letting him know that she doesn’t believe in soulmates. Why would you add that phrase into your vows then, Monica?
The One Where Joey Waited
In the sixth season’s 10th episode, Joey and Janine finally get together. They kissed after taping Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and all the fans were looking forward to them getting together. He was naturally excited to tell his friends, claiming he went to them right away.
The next episode starts with Joey running to the next apartment to tell his friends about the fantastic thing that just happened. He claims that he came to tell his friends instantly, but there’s one minor detail that doesn’t line up – he’s not even wearing the same clothes as before!
How Long Was Their Dinner Date?
Pete begged Monica to go out with him, and she finally gave in. He claims that he knows a cute little place they could go to, but it turns out that site is in Rome. Cool date, right? Well, a flight from New York to Rome is roughly eight hours, for one leg of their round trip.
This leads us to believe the two had the longest dinner date ever. That’s at least 16 hours in-flight, total, including eight hours of waiting for their pizza dishes (they couldn’t go to the restaurant until they landed, of course!); they must have been absolutely starving!
The Present That Unwrapped Itself
Monica struggled with self-restraint in unwrapping their wedding gifts. She’s clearly mistaken when she thinks that she could only open “one” present. Of course, it gets a bit out of hand. She opens a small one that ends up being an anti-climactic tiny saltshaker before going for another present.
She went for the pepper shaker second half of the gift but then started to open the biggest of all the boxes. In one frame, the package is still completely wrapped. Rachel comes into the apartment, and they discuss some pregnancy questions, and by the time that Monica comes back into the frame with her gift, it is somehow already unwrapped!
Does Chandler Like Dogs?
There’s an episode called “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs,” and in this one, Chandler reveals that he hates animals – even little puppies. Crazy, right? Well, this seems to be an error that seems to come up again throughout the show. What happened?
This episode was in Season Seven, but just a season earlier, Chandler and Monica agree to watch Phoebe’s brother Frank’s three “incredibly cute little puppies.” Chandler agrees, even though the “puppies” ended up being Frank’s triplets. If Chandler really hated dogs so much, he wouldn’t have agreed to help!
The One With Rachel’s Wedding Dress
We first met Rachel Green when she came charging into Central Perk in her wedding dress, soaking wet, after leaving her fiancé Barry at the altar. Not only was the scene memorable, but so was her beautiful wedding dress! How could we forget something as beautiful as that?
In Season Four Episode 20, entitled “The One With All the Wedding Dresses,” the costume designers put Rachel in a different dress! There were many significant details of the gown that we didn’t see in the later episode, and we certainly did not miss it this time around!