The One With The Easter Eggs: 40+ Hidden Details From The Hit Sitcom Friends

By Abigail S December 26, 2023

This article was originally published on whythese

The hit TV sitcom Friends has long outlived its 10-year runtime. Although it first aired in 1994, and its last episode wrapped up in 2004, many fans are still watching the show today. With the series being made available on streaming platforms like Netflix, Friends is also finding a new generation of audiences who were much too young to watch the show in its glory days. Whether you’re someone who has seen all the episodes a hundred times or are only beginning to follow their journey, we can bet there are some details in the show that you may have missed. Are you a true Friends fan? See if you’ve caught these tiny particulars in the show yourself!

Cheeky burglars

Okay, let’s start with an easy one. True Friends fans will be familiar with the dry erase board that Chandler and Joey have hanging on their door. They would use it to leave each other messages or other dumb content.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In The One With the Cat, Joey and Chandler got robbed of all their stuff when Joey tried to sell his hand-built entertainment unit. If you notice, the burglars left a cheeky note on the dry erase board thanking the duo for all their stuff.

The iconic couch

Have you ever wondered how it can be that the gang would always be sitting on that couch in Central Perk? Many customers walk in every day, but no matter how busy the café gets, there’s always the couch available.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Well, if you have a sharp eye, you’ll notice that there’s a “Reserved” sign on the coffee table every time the friends hang out there. It looks like they’ve reserved that couch indefinitely! That’s why no one else has sat on it, except for that one episode where the guys get bullied.

Ross’s birthday

Since the show ran for ten seasons, we see quite a bit of birthday celebrations for each of them. But does anyone actually know when their birthdays are? Writing across hundreds of episodes means continuity isn’t always perfect or accurate.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

For example, when exactly is Ross’s birthday? In one episode, he tells Gunther his birthday is in December. However, in another episode, he tells Joey that his birthday is October 18th. So which one is it? Did David Schwimmer, who played Ross improvise one of these?

Gladys’s wardrobe

Remember Phoebe’s ghoulish artwork, which she so lovingly named Gladys? She made her appearance in Season 10, Episode 6, The One With Ross’s Grant. In the episode, Monica and Rachel fight over who will end up with the horror painting.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

If you notice, Gladys made a couple of wardrobe changes in the episode. She was wearing red at one point but blue in another shot. It seems that the wardrobe designers on Friends had more to dress than just the cast!

Breaking character

It’s no doubt that the natural hilarity of the Friends cast and the humor in the script make for hilarious scenes. While we as audiences laugh freely, sometimes the cast can’t hide their laughter while filming. This is apparent in this particular scene.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

As Phoebe obnoxiously “Eeee”s to Ross’s bagpipe playing, Jennifer Aniston struggles to keep a straight face in the periphery. She clearly breaks character by laughing here in a futile attempt to cover up her face. In a recent interview, Matt LeBlanc shared that if Jen covered up her face, she was probably breaking character!

A long gestational period

In later seasons, we follow Rachel’s unexpected pregnancy, which resulted from a tale of going backpacking on Mount Tibidabo. But did anyone notice that Rachel’s pregnancy was unusually long? Let’s take a look at the timeline here if you’re still not sure.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

We find out that Rachel is pregnant at Chandler and Monica’s wedding in the summer. This would have placed her due date around February. However, in episode 22 of that season, Rachel complains about it being 100 degrees outside. We can infer that this means it’s already summer again, but she’s still pregnant!

Sitcom crossover

We all know that Phoebe has a less than pleasant twin named Ursula. At various points in the show, she makes an appearance only to cause havoc and grief for Phoebe. In an episode in an earlier season, Ursula is seen waitressing in a restaurant that Joey and Chandler visit.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Many might not know that at that point, Lisa Kudrow was also working on the show Mad About You, where she played waitress Ursula Buffay. This was why the writers incorporated Phoebe’s twin sister into the show to create a convincing backstory. It was sort of like a crossover!

Which apartment?

Fans with an eye for detail would notice that the number on Monica’s apartment wasn’t always the same. It changed at some point between seasons. As seen here, earlier episodes had the apartment door indicating Apartment 5. However, this later changed to 20.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

While we don’t know the reason behind this unusual change, it’s quite a necessary one. The view depicted from Monica’s balcony implies a high-rise apartment that wouldn’t have looked that way from apartment number 5.. Apartment number 20 seems more appropriate for that view.

The chick and the duck

Joey and Chandler’s fowl friends make quite a bit of an appearance in the show. Not only do they keep the two guys company, but they’ve also been a source of entertainment. They’ve even managed to ruin Rachel and Joshua’s date one time!

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

However, they seemed to disappear without a trace as the seasons rolled by. There was never any mention of Joey or Chandler giving them away. It was only said in passing that the chick and the duck were “on a farm” now.

Rachel’s birthday

Just as it was with the continuity of Ross’s birthday, the writers also got Rachel’s birthday mixed up. We’re sure this was an honest mistake, though, as it’s hard to keep track of the details of each character after ten years!

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In one episode, Rachel tells Gunther her birthday is on May 5th. But further along in season 7, when a cop pulls Rachel over, he says she’s an Aquarius. We’re not experts in astrology, but we’re pretty sure May birthdays are Taurus!

The potato

The friends have enjoyed their share of cakes, scones, muffins, and cookies at Central Perk. It seems the baked goods in the place are just as tasty as the coffee! But did you catch the one time when the cake display did not display cake?

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In one of the episodes, Joey and Gunther are seen conversing over the counter, where a cake display sits in between them. However, instead of a cake under the cover, it’s just a raw potato! This was probably one of those sneaky pranks they played on set.

Multitalented Estelle

Joey’s beloved agent Estelle Leonard really made her way into all our hearts. Sure, she’s not the best agent, and she didn’t exactly land Joey the most promising of gigs, but her sheer fiery personality is why we all love her.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

June Gable, the actress who played Estelle, was multitalented. She took on more than just the role of Estelle. She was also the feisty nurse who helped Carol deliver her and Ross’s baby! Did you notice it was her? There’s nothing like hair and makeup to transform an actor into a completely different person!

Susan Sarandon’s slap

In The One With Joey’s New Brain, actress Susan Sarandon made an appearance as a star of the Days of Our Lives show of which Joey was a part. Sarandon’s character, Jessica Lockhart, was famous for slapping other characters in the show.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

You may not know that the girl she slapped on the Days of Our Lives set was actually Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amurri! What is more meta is that Amurri’s character was also the daughter of Sarandon’s character. Mind = blown.

The timeline mix up

Throughout the seasons, there have been several flashback episodes where we take a look at the friends’ pasts. This includes Monica pre-weight loss and Rachel pre-nose job. But there seems to be an inaccuracy in the timeline, as we see Rachel meeting Chandler for the first time… multiple times.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Unless there’s some sort of Friends multiverse we aren’t aware of, this may just be the writers forgetting what they’ve written. After hundreds of episodes, we can understand this mistake. Rachel met Chandler for the first time over Thanksgiving when they were all in college, and it seems to happen again in a later flashback episode.

Joey’s ATM PIN

Although Joey was always portrayed as the less intelligent friend, we’d argue he has more street smarts. In several instances, Joey has proven this about himself. Here, he calls Phoebe because he’s forgotten his ATM PIN. As it turns out, 5639 isn’t just a random set of numbers.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

When you look at the keypad on a phone used in the 90s, before the QWERTY keyboard existed on mobile phones, the letters 5639 spell out JOEY! If he used this to help him remember his PIN, it definitely backfired.

Breaking character, part 2

Jennifer Aniston wasn’t the only one who couldn’t keep a straight face on set. Matt LeBlanc was caught on camera breaking character too. Here he is sneakily hiding behind David Schwimmer in The One With the Worst Best Man Ever.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Despite being almost out of frame, there is no missing that Matt was struggling to stop bursting out in laughter. We can’t blame him either because David Schwimmer was ridiculously funny in that scene! We’re surprised Matthew Perry didn’t break.

Ross’s views on ice cream

Ross is a nice guy, but we can all agree he has strong opinions. After all, he is a paleontologist, and he needs to stand firm in what he believes in. But his views seem to be a little shaky when it comes to ice cream.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In season 7, Ross says that he’s not into ice cream because “It’s too cold.” But in many episodes prior to and following that, he is seen digging into ice cream. Character preferences like these are hard to keep track of, and if you’re not one for details, you may miss this inconsistency.

How did they afford all that?

Many have criticized and wondered how the characters in Friends could afford to live in such luxury considering their vocations. One look at the size of their apartments will have you thinking that they’re all filthy affluent 20-somethings in New York.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

To be fair, Monica’s apartment was rented from her grandparents. But it’s Phoebe’s living situation that has people wondering. She can afford a grand place for a masseuse and an unpaid coffee shop singer! And it’s located in Greenwich Village, no less.

A hidden message

The team behind Friends would work together to include easter eggs in the scenes. This next one is pretty specific, and if you’re not familiar with American Sign Language, you probably would have missed this. Pay attention to Ross’s shirt here.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

The design on it is ASL for the word “friends.” It’s pretty meta when you think about it, but it’s so niche that nobody will get it unless they understand ASL. Even then, they’d still miss it if they weren’t paying attention!

Rachel’s surname

True Friends fans will know that Rachel’s full name is Rachel Karen Greene. But how is her last name spelled? Viewers were left believing that it was spelled “Green” like the color. But an episode in a later season had everyone proven wrong!

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

When Ross and Emily fought over inviting Rachel to their wedding, we saw Ross about to mail an invitation to Rachel. Rachel’s surname is spelled “Greene” on the envelope with an “e.” Was this an honest mistake, or have we believed the wrong thing for decades?

Who was Ross’s first time?

Ross and Chandler have been best friends since college, and over the years, they’ve shared and protected each other’s secrets. One of these secrets is about Ross’s first time. Fans thought that Carol was Ross’s first, but that was disproved in another episode.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

When the gang was exposing each others’ secrets in season 7, Chandler divulged that Ross slept with the cleaning lady at their dorm. This would have been in college, before Carol and Ross even started dating. Guess it wasn’t Carol after all!

One big family

In June of 1999, Courteney Cox, who plays Monica, got married to actor David Arquette. She decided to take on his last name, meaning the name on the credits of Friends also changed. To celebrate the marriage, the show did an adorable tribute.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Instead of just adding “Arquette” to Courteney’s name, they decided to add the name behind all the other cast members’ credits too! This switch-up may have confused many viewers. We even thought there was a glitch in our TV when we first saw it!

It’s a family affair

Remember the episode when Rachel and Joshua were at Joshua’s parents’ house because they thought his parents were away in Europe? That was such an awkward episode for Rachel because she wore lingerie to dinner. But that’s not what made the episode special.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Joshua’s parents turned up halfway through their date, and they couldn’t have been more lovely. But did you notice something familiar about Joshua’s dad? Well, that’s actually Matthew Perry’s father, John Bennett Perry! Like father like son, both are charming and handsome.

Who’s that on Rachel’s passport?

While props are essential to the believability of a show, it’s also crucial to get them accurate. Otherwise, people might have trouble believing the story. Unfortunately, this was the case in the episode where Rachel was about to fly to France.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Here, she hands her passport over to the guy at the counter at the airport. But did you notice something? It’s a “blink and you miss it” moment, but the woman on her passport is definitely not her! Whose passport did she even hand over?

Joey’s long-running ad

In episode 9 of season 1, Joey is shown on a poster for VD and suffers the consequences of being shunned by his family over Thanksgiving. The signs end up everywhere, and he couldn’t even pick up a girl at the station.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

However, this wasn’t the only episode where Joey’s VD posters show up. In the episodes following, the posters can be seen outside in the streets. It wouldn’t make sense if the signs were just there for a day and then disappeared.

FDNY tribute

Friends aired for ten seasons, during which several disastrous world events happened, the most fatal being the 9/11 attacks. The show couldn’t just keep quiet, so they did a tribute in the best way they knew how – Easter eggs.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

As homage to The New York City Fire Department, which risked their lives to rescue those in the towers that day, show creators would leave easter eggs of the FDNY logo in the shots. This can be seen on Joey’s shirt and the dry erase board at Chandler and Joey’s.

Double trouble

Even though Friends isn’t an action series, the cast members still have body doubles on set. This is mostly for post-production purposes, and it’s not an uncommon method. But sometimes, even in editing, they fail to create the illusion completely.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

You can see Courteney Cox over Lisa Kudrow’s shoulder in this particular series of shots. But when the image switches to Monica’s point of view, you know that it’s not Courteney Cox! Did you realize this, or were you too immersed in the scene to pay attention?

All the Huggsys

Joey’s favorite penguin doll Huggsy made his first appearance in season 9 when Rachel’s daughter Emma developed an unhealthy attachment to it. But Huggsy isn’t just a new addition in that season. If you notice, he’s been around for a while.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In previous seasons, you can see Huggsy in the background in some of the shots in Joey’s apartment. Check him out chilling on the couch behind Monica here. It’s apparent that Joey has always had an affinity for that penguin.

It’s another family affair

Matthew Perry’s father wasn’t the only parent making an appearance on the show. They also used Jennifer Aniston’s personal life details in the show in an Easter egg way. Did you know that “Aniston” isn’t actually Jennifer Aniston’s last name?

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

It’s Anastassakis! If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was the wedding that took place at the same time as Monica and Chandler’s. The actress’s father had a Greek surname, later anglicized into “Aniston.” This was how the show hinted at that.

Double Rachel

Courteney Cox wasn’t the only actor on the show with a body double. Jennifer Aniston also had one. And, just as was the case with Courteney’s double, they failed to properly remove the double from the shot! Did you clock this one?

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In season 9, we switch shots and see that they had replaced Jen Aniston with another person! Did you realize this? They didn’t even try to get the double to wear the same clothes in this shot. Maybe this is the woman whose picture was in Rachel’s passport!

The hole in the wall

Because Friends was a sitcom that aired in the ‘90s, it was presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio of most TV screens in those days. However, as televisions increased in size and display quality, viewers began to see set secrets which they once cut out because of the old aspect ratio.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In today’s age, where televisions display an aspect ratio of 16:9, we see a complete view of what was on set. As we can see here, there’s a random hole in Joey and Chandler’s apartment wall, which was never seen before!

Monica’s boxes

The following detail is only for the sharp-eyed to see in the episode where Joey is cast as Al Pacino’s body double. As Joey shoots his scene, you can see a pile of boxes behind the director on the set. One of them reads “Monica’s.”

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

How this box made its way here is beyond us. This seems to be the box ruined by the flood when Ross and Monica went back home to gather their stuff from their parents’ home. What was this box doing here?

The laundry photo

Who can forget the episode where Joey desperately tries to get his picture on the wall of his local laundry? He got into a heated argument with the dry cleaner, fighting for his place on the wall of fame, even mentioning the movie Air Force One.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

The dry cleaner claimed that he had never seen the film. Here’s what’s meta about this—the actor who played the dry cleaner was also an actor on Air Force One! His name is Ilia Volok, a Ukrainian actor who has appeared in many more films.

Casual cameos

Friends has seen its fair share of cameos. The star-studded cast has worked alongside Hollywood A-listers of the time. Everyone from Julia Roberts, and Reese Witherspoon, to Bruce Willis has guest-starred on Friends at some point. (We love you, Bruce!)

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Sometimes the cameos would somehow be related to the characters and wholly unacknowledged. For example, we know that Ross and Joey were massive Die Hard fans. However, nobody batted an eye when Bruce Willis acted as Elizabeth’s dad in the show.

Where did Phoebe’s mom go?

In season 3, we learn that Phoebe’s biological mother is actually Lily Buffay’s best friend, Phoebe Abbott. This threw a wrench in Phoebe’s backstory, and she is seen being so upset that she refused to see her “mother,” Phoebe Abbott, again.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

However, throughout the show, there ceased to be any mention of her until one of the episodes, where Phoebe says her mother sent her a family heirloom. It seems the two patched things up, but it was never clear what happened to Phoebe Abbott.

How old is Ross exactly?

In addition to all the confusion surrounding Ross’s birthday, there’s also confusion surrounding his age. We all know the Friends are in their 20’s, and we even follow a couple of them on their 30th birthdays. But how old is Ross?

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

In season 3, Ross refuses Chandler’s tasty milkshake offer with the excuse, “No thanks, I’m 29.” However, two seasons later, Ross complains that he doesn’t want to be divorced twice before turning 30.  Was he 29 for three whole years?

The One Where Chandler Can Very Well Cry

Out of the six friends, Chandler is known as the sarcastic one. He uses humor as a defense mechanism, and because of his bitter past, he doesn’t display vulnerable emotions. There’s even an episode titled The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

But as we see in these few screenshots, Chandler is pretty in tune with his emotions. He’s seen crying on several occasions and not even trying to hide it. After saying he’s “Not a crying kind of guy.” Chandler, we’re calling your bluff!

The capuchin

We can’t talk about Friends without mentioning Ross’s pet capuchin, Marcel. Just like Marcel gave the characters much grief in the show, the actual capuchin playing Marcel also gave David Schwimmer some grief while filming. The monkey would make a mess and mess up the comedic timing.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Despite all this trouble, you can’t deny that you really felt how Ross cared about Marcel throughout the episodes. Did you notice that when the cast sent Marcel off to the zoo, Ross was wearing a lapel pin in the shape of a banana?

Chandler and the bathroom door

One of the more iconic episodes of Friends is the one where Julia Roberts guest stars as Susie, Chandler’s old classmate whom she once bullied. A bathroom tryst goes wrong as Chandler gets played, leaving him completely naked in the men’s bathroom.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Or, supposedly entirely naked. Chandler was supposed to be wearing Susie’s underwear, but that still doesn’t explain how he could walk out of the restaurant scot-free. Even the bathroom door wouldn’t have covered him up entirely, underwear or not!

Monica’s closet

We all know that Monica has a closet down the hall from the bathroom. It’s always closed, and it never really served a purpose save for one episode, where the friends wonder what lies behind that door. But did you ever notice the shadow?

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

The door always seems to cast a weird shadow on the floor. We guess that since this was a set on a soundstage, the shadow was probably cast by lighting equipment set up right behind that door. But who knows? Maybe Monica was indeed hiding Richard there all along.

The prominent ‘Jouets’ poster

If you have seen Friends as many times as we have, you know what we’re talking about. There’s no way you can picture Monica and Rachel’s apartment in your head without seeing this poster. While most people know it’s French, only a few know what it was for.

Screenshot | Warner Bros.

Well, the truth is that it was an ad poster for a popular toy. A rocking horse, to be precise. That said, we think it fit perfectly with the aesthetic of the girls’ living room, and we can’t picture it without the poster. It hid a camera often used to film scenes from that angle.