Friends has one of the most recognisable opening credits sequences of all time. As the opening riffs of The Rembrandts' song I'll Be There For You begins, the lights go up around the famous Friends fountain and we meet our six beloved characters, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey as they dance around with umbrellas. It sets the scene for the rest of the episode, lifting our spirits and inviting us to clap along from our sofas. But it could have all been so different.
Before Friends was commissioned for its first full season, they made the pilot episode that we're so familiar with. You know the one: Rachel leaves Barry at the altar and heads to Central Perk in search of her old friend Monica. TV magic was born, and we watched these six individuals thrive for ten years. But originally, this first episode was attached to a completely different credits sequence, before they invested in a new shoot that could accompany the series. Give it a look:
As you can see, a lot has changed. Back then, the show was called Friends Like Us, just one of the options explored before they creators settled simply on Friends. The song was also different: R.E.M's Shiny Happy People. The music, along with the montage of the characters made up of clips from this one episode, just doesn't feel right. It's partly, of course, because of the fact that we're so used to the version we know and love. But the original song gives the six characters a slightly smug, overly cheerful feel. Even the font isn't as interesting.
Would Friends have been so successful if they'd stuck with the first option? Probably. But we're really glad they made the change.
Reese was a Young Hollywood star when she was hired for a two episode role in Friends, having appeared in Legally Blonde and Cruel Intentions. She played Jill, Rachel's spoiled little sister whose eyes stray too Ross, leading to a huge argument with Rachel. Off-screen, Reese got on well with Jennifer Aniston. So much so that they starred in last year's The Morning Show.