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The PilotFriends : Season 1 Episode 1

The scene earlier on in the season where Ross goes in for Carol's ultrasound is hard to watch now, as he tries to discredit their relationship in every way possible. The episode's humor completely overshadowed a historic TV wedding moment for the LGBTQ community, and other weddings, like Ross to Emily, ended up being far more memorable. All in all, the Carol Friends recast was necessary, and her character was ahead of its time, but there are still areas in which she can be considered problematic.

The PilotFriends : Season 1 Episode 1

In the early development of the Star Wars Rebels episode "The Antilles Extraction," then known as "Darklighter," the story was originally intended to deal with the defection of Biggs from Imperial service into the rebel ranks. However, due to timeline complications with Biggs' already established backstory seen in A New Hope, it was decided to replace Biggs with Wedge Antilles.[19]

The Friends reunion has taken place 17 years after the show wrapped up its 10th season and in the new episode the cast reflect on all the time gone by since they first stared in the iconic TV show. But what exact age where the cast members when they filmed the pilot of Friends in 1994?

The pilot episode[a] ( also known as The One Where it All Began or The One Where Monica Gets a New Roommate) of the American situation comedy series Friends premiered on NBC (National Broadcasting Company) on September 22, 1994. It was written by series creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and directed by James Burrows. The pilot introduces six friends who live and work in New York City; Monica (Courteney Cox) sleeps with a wine seller after their first date but is horrified to discover he tricked her into bed; her brother Ross (David Schwimmer) is depressed after his lesbian ex-wife moves her things out of their apartment; Monica's old schoolfriend Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) moves in with Monica after running out of her wedding; and their friends, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe (Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow) offer them each support and advice.

Crane and Kauffman pitched their original idea to network NBC in December 1993. NBC liked it and commissioned a complete script, which was submitted in March 1994. Before the script was finished, casting for the six main roles began; 75 actors were seen for each part. The pilot was taped on May 4, 1994 at Warner Bros.' studios in Burbank, California. After making final edits to the episode, executive producer Kevin Bright submitted it on May 11, two days before NBC was due to announce the schedule. Satisfied with the completed pilot, NBC ordered 12 more episodes for the first season. The episode was watched by approximately 22 million viewers, making it the fifteenth-most-watched television show of the week. Critics compared the show unfavorably to Seinfeld and Ellen, noting the similarities all three series had in depicting friends conversing about their lives. The cast, particularly Schwimmer, were complimented, though there was some concern that the character roles were undeveloped.

Creators and writers David Crane and Marta Kauffman were known in the television industry for writing the cable television series Dream On. A second series by the duo, Family Album, had premiered on CBS in the Fall 1993 season but was cancelled after airing six episodes.[1] In November 1993, they began developing three new television pilots from their offices at Warner Bros. Television that could premiere in the Fall 1994 season.[2][1] As Dream On had won them clout in Hollywood, they aimed to pitch one of their ideas to NBC; Insomnia Cafe,[a] about six friends who live and work in New York City, was pitched as a seven-page treatment to the network in December 1993.[1][3]"It's about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything's possible. And it's about friendship because when you're single and in the city, your friends are your family."

Chandler and Phoebe had originally been written as more secondary characters who were just there to provide humor around the other four; Matthew Perry described Chandler in the pilot script as "an observer of other people's lives". They had become part of the core group by the time casting concluded.[17][18] Crane believed that the part of Chandler, described in the character breakdown as "a droll, dry guy", would be the easiest to cast, though it proved more difficult than he initially hoped.[6][19] Perry had previously worked with Kauffman and Crane on an episode of Dream On, and requested an audition when he identified with the character. He was turned down due to his involvement as a cast member in LAX 2194, a television pilot about airport baggage handlers in the future. After the producers of Friends saw LAX 2194, it became clear to them that it would not be picked up for a series, and Perry was granted an audition.[17] He read for the role near the end of the casting period and got it in under a week.[20] Before Perry was cast, Craig Bierko was the first choice for the role. Bierko was a friend of Perry's, and Perry coached him for his audition to help him get to know what the Chandler character was like.[7] Jon Cryer had also auditioned for the part. He was doing a play in London and read for a British casting director, though his audition tape did not arrive at Warner Bros. in time for him to be considered.[21]

[3][4]The set of Central Perk, where many scenes in the episode were filmed.A dress rehearsal was held on May 2, two days before taping. Several NBC executives watched the rehearsal and were concerned that Monica did not care enough about Paul to sleep with him on their first date. NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer believed that the audience would perceive her as "a slut".[25] Crane, Kauffman and Warner Bros. executives disagreed, and surveyed the other people watching the rehearsal to support their position.[25][26] Despite the audience agreeing with them, they had to take NBC's considerations into account in case they lost the commission; they rewrote Monica's lines to show that she cared about Paul. NBC also wanted a scene removed that implied the supposedly impotent Paul was getting an erection, as it would violate network standards. Crane and Kauffman rewrote the scene and found they preferred the new version, as it made the scene "smart and subtler". They sought to protect other parts of the script, some major and some minor; NBC wanted two of the pilot's three storylines downplayed to subplots, but the writers were adamant that all three should carry equal weight. They also favored not cutting the "Mr. Potato Head" line. Their final script draft was completed on May 3.[26]

The episode was taped on May 4 at Warner Bros.' studios in Burbank, California.[26][27] A total of eight hours of material was filmed (two hours from each of the four cameras), which was edited down to 22 minutes under Bright's supervision.[26] Bright submitted it to NBC on May 10, 72 hours before the fall schedule was announced. NBC ordered Bright to make further edits, which he completed at 1 a.m. on May 11. On May 12, NBC screened the finished pilot to focus groups, who gave positive but mixed reactions.[28] The network announced the fall schedule on May 13 and ordered an additional 12 episodes of Friends for its first season. Crane and Kauffman immediately received telephone calls from writers' agents who wanted to get their clients jobs on the series.[28][29]

The Los Angeles Times called it "flat-out the best comedy series of the new season".[38] Variety's Tony Scott had optimistic hopes for the series; he enjoyed the premise but was concerned that dialogue from the writers of Dream On should be "snappier". Scott was also concerned that the Monica storyline set a bad example to younger viewers; "Friends touts promiscuity and offers liberal samples of an openness that borders on empty-headedness". He singled out Cox and Schwimmer as the best actors of the ensemble.[27] Robert Bianco was complimentary of Schwimmer, calling him "terrific". He also praised the female leads, but wrote that Perry's role as Chandler was "undefined" and that LeBlanc was "relying too much on the same brain-dead stud routine that was already tired the last two times he tried it".[33] Entertainment Weekly rates the episode B+ and states that "After 22 minutes, these six people are believably set up as lifelong buddies". Ross's line, "Do the words 'Billy, Don't Be a Hero' mean anything to you?" is singled out as the best line of the episode.[39] The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends call it a "good, solid start to the series" but "the regular cast (particularly Perry and Schwimmer) might be trying just a little too hard".[40] Schwimmer recalls enjoying the physical humor involving Ross, particularly the scene where Ross greets Rachel and opens an umbrella on her.[41]

The episode was syndicated for the first time on September 21, 1998. Several deleted scenes were restored to the episode, bringing its total running time to 37 minutes, for a one-hour timeslot. It gained a rating of 5.8/10, averaged across 40 stations. This made Friends the third-highest-rated off-network syndicated sitcom to air at that time, behind Home Improvement and Seinfeld.[42] 041b061a72


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