There are only a few true certainties in these confusing times: Ice cream is good, Lady Gaga will win the Oscar for A Star Is Born, and Ross and Rachel lived happily ever after. But the latter came very close to not happening, according to Friends executive producer Kevin S. Bright.
In a recent interview with Digital Spy, Bright revealed that the show—which ran for 10 seasons on NBC—was originally supposed to end after season nine. “We started out on season nine thinking that that would be the last season,” Bright said. “We were prepared to end the series in season nine. But at the last minute, things fortunately happened, and there was a season 10.”
Bright explains that the uncertainty over a 10th and final season left the writers “frozen,” meaning had the show ended after season nine, the writers wouldn’t have been able to craft that pitch-perfect ending. Instead, the show would have ended in Barbados, with Joey and Rachel embarking on a relationship that, let’s be honest, never rang true.
Thankfully, we got the finale we all deserved, with one of TV’s greatest will-they-or-won’t-they couples finally admitting their love for one another. And while audiences rejoiced after the final episode, things proved much harder for the cast. “Everybody was just trying to get that last bit of Friends delight, but almost all of the actors broke down and cried in one scene or another,” Bright, who directed the finale, revealed. “So there was a lot of stopping to mop up, and get the redness out of the eyes!”
Bright goes on to explain that the mood on set that day was one of “great accomplishment,” but also one of “real sadness,” after the cast and crew had spent the last 10 years of their lives together. “There were over 120 people working on the show, and we saw them for those 10 years far more than we saw our own families,” he said.
Bright added that the sadness came from “knowing that probably there’s never going to be something like this again in our lives. We’ll do other television shows, but it’s not going to be like this.”
You can say that again.