A lot of discussions go into making a show not only legendary but acceptable for the audience, and things were same for the iconic sitcom Friends. The show, which saw a group of six people navigating through life and making the best out of their weird and funny experiences, raised some serious concerns for an NBC executive as he thought Courteney Cox’s character Monica Geller’s “er*tic pursuits” might not come out as good for the audience. Scroll down to read the scoop.
The show saw Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, late actor Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller.
Before NBC picked up Friends, the makers went through a lot in making the pilot as good as they could. As per Saul Austerlitz’s book, Generation Friends, the production company listed several issues with the sitcom’s pilot and every notable department in the network was asked to give their honest opinion. The show’s first episode came out to be too cute and many also thought that the six pals did not have very distinct personalities.
Friends’s pilot was also termed as “not very entertaining, clever, or original,” as per an internal memo. Several test screenings that involved audience participation also brought out the concern that many over 35 years of age did not connect with the six characters. One of the biggest concerns was that NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer thought Monica’s “er*tic pursuits,” as she sleeps with a stranger, Paul, on the first date, would make people despise the show.
Keeping his concern in mind, Ohlmeyer held an audience survey in which he asked viewers about how they would define Monica’s character. The questionnaire asked the viewers if they thought Monica was a) a wh***, b) a sl**, or c) easy. Marta Kauffman, Friends’ co-creator, was irked by the “obnoxiousness of his questionnaire” and mentioned that it was misogynistic.
As a result, Ohlmeyer did not think it through as the scene of Monica hooking up with Paul was important and was perfect for the show’s demography. And, NBC carried the pilot without making any changes to it and the rest is history.
For all Friends fans, October 29 did not begin on a good note as our beloved Matthew Perry, aka Chandler Bing, passed away at the age of 54. May his soul rest in peace.
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