Friends cast nearly ‘left New York for Minnesota’ in mid-series plot twist, creators reveal

Series co-creator David Crane said the writers were ‘out of their minds’ to suggest the idea

Adam White
Wednesday 18 September 2019 09:38
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Scene from Friends in which Phillip Scofield claims you can hear his laugh

The cast of Friends nearly left New York for snowy Minnesota in a mid-series plot twist, the show’s writers have revealed.

As confirmed in Saul Austerlitz’s gossip-filled book about the sitcom, titled Generation Friends, writers on the show once pitched an idea to have Matthew Perry’s Chandler get a job in Minnesota in the show’s fifth season, with the rest of the show’s ensemble eventually following him there.

“The idea was that Chandler would be unexpectedly transferred to Minnesota for work,” Austerlitz writes. “Since there was no urgent reason for the characters to stay in New York, each of his friends would ultimately choose to join him there, and Friends would keep them in Minnesota for half a season.”

Austerlitz additionally claimed that the characters would have been impressed by Minnesota’s leisurely pace of life in comparison to Manhattan, along with the friendlier neighbours and cheaper apartments.

The book also claims that the writers had pondered the idea of re-shooting the show’s famous opening credits for the story, only with the cast dancing around a frozen fountain in reference to Minnesota’s freezing temperatures.

Designed as a spin on the popular story arc in season four in which Rachel, Monica, Chandler and Joey switched apartments, the story idea was eventually shut down by the show’s co-creator David Crane, who said that they were “out of their minds” to suggest it.

Somewhat awkwardly, the show did utilise a similar plot in the show’s ninth season, in which Chandler is accidentally transferred to Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, that storyline saw none of the other characters, including Chandler’s then-wife Monica, relocate with him.

Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era is published by Random House and was released in the US this week.

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