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Friends’ Showrunners Regret Two Plotlines, Which, As Ross Knows, Is Better Than Three

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With ten seasons spanning an astounding (and financially lucrative) 236 episodes, Friends’ writers’ room was, on average, tasked with creating three plotlines per episode for our beloved Central Perk sextet. We did some basic math: That means 708 stories, whether you liked Chandler’s work sojourn to Oklahoma or not! Showrunners Marta Kauffman and David Crane, speaking at the show’s 25th-anniversary panel at the Tribeca TV Festival on Friday evening, admitted that at least two of these plots haven’t sat well with them in recent years, with the main one being Phoebe’s stalker — or rather, when Phoebe begins to date a man (David Arquette) who was stalking her twin sister, in the hopes of curing his habits. “We did a lot of rewriting of that to make it work,” Kauffman explained. The second one, she added, is when Phoebe’s Navy lieutenant boyfriend (Charlie Sheen) gets chicken pox from her during a romantic reunion before a deployment: “I’m not sure the chicken pox worked either.”

Kauffman and Crane also divulged, during the rare occasions they view Friends reruns, that certain story decisions now take the fun out of watching. “I don’t watch the show at home, but occasionally if I’m traveling it’ll be on,” Crane explained, “and sometimes I’ll see something and I’ll be like, Wow, that actually holds up! And there are times where I’m like, Yeah, alright, really? We went with that?” Kauffman agreed, without adding any specifics. “I watch the show once in a while,” she said, “and it’s much harder for me to enjoy the good moments when there are moments in it that I’m just going, Oh my god, we let that happen? We did it?” Was it Fat Monica?

Friends’ Showrunners on the Two Plotlines They Regret Most