On Friends, the complexities of the relationship between Ross and Rachel had viewers hooked for ten seasons, however, according to Saul Austerlitz’s new book, Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era, which has been released in honor of the show’s 25th anniversary, the other romance on the sitcom almost never happened.
Chandler and Monica's less volatile relationship was considered a “whim” in the beginning. Austerlitz says that when the second season was in the planning stages, one of the writers dropped the idea of Chandler and Monica getting together. “The thought was intended less as a permanent shift in the gravity of the series and more as a fun plotline, good for a few episodes before the status quo snapped back into place,” he writes
Not all the show's writers were on board. One writer thought the idea was “a little desperate,” and it was discarded until season 4 when another writer suggested it would be a funny ending to Monica’s drunken night during Ross’ London wedding to Emily. However, the writers’ room was unconvinced, according to Generation Friends, since there was fear that the relationship between the two would be seen as practically incestuous since they were best friends by that point.
Finally, the writers agreed to the plot twist but only as an embarrassing one-night stand. What the writers weren’t prepared for was the studio audience’s response at the London soundstage where the scene was filmed. “The cheers and hoots of delight went on and on, drowning out the performers and shaking the room,” Austerlitz writes. The relationship continued back in New York despite Chandler and Monica’s pact to keep it secret.
Executive producer Scott Silveri remembered the first hookup in a 2013 interview with Vulture. “When Monica popped up from beneath the sheets, there was just this explosion from the audience,” he said. “It was a combination of a laugh/gasp/cry/shriek. They were just blown away by it. It was so intense, for the second or third takes, instead of watching the monitors, I just turned around and watched the audience.”
Silveri added Cox and Perry weren’t exactly into the idea of a long-term relationship between Monica and Chandler. “I don’t think anybody balked too much at them hooking up. That felt natural. The fallout came in the following year when it became a relationship,” he said.
Silveri also believes that if the relationship between Monica and Chandler had not come about, the show would have ended much sooner. “Without Monica and Chandler, it ends three years earlier. I don’t owe my whole house to them, but at least two bedrooms and a bath are because of them.”
Fans still love Chandler and Monica’s odd pairing. In May, the couple’s 18th wedding anniversary was celebrated on social media. As for the show’s other iconic couple, Jennifer Aniston thinks Ross and Rachel would still be together, however, an on-screen reunion is unlikely.
“People ask us all the time, ‘Will we ever do a remake?’ That was a story about this group of people that are friends in their 30s who are finding themselves. I don’t know if there’s a way to redo it,” Cox, 55, told PEOPLE last October. Still, she admits that she would love to work the original cast again and there is no doubt that a reboot would be a huge success.
“I fantasize about it. It really was the greatest job I ever had,” she continued. “I don’t know what it would look like today, but you never know. So many shows are being successfully rebooted.”