One of Monica Geller’s storylines on “Friends” could have looked different if NBC had their way.
In new revelations from David Crane, a co-creator on the beloved ’90s sitcom, Monica’s date was almost cut from the Friends pilot — for the most ridiculous reason.
In the very first episode, “The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate,” Monica (Courtney Cox) goes out with Paul “the wine guy” and sleeps with him on the first date but the NBC bosses didn’t like that plot.
“When we were doing the pilot, Don Meyer, who was then the head of NBC, took real issue with the fact that Monica sleeps with a guy on the first date,” Crane told Entertainment Weekly. “He said, ‘We’re not going to like her!’ But we really held our ground on it.”
Thankfully, director James Burrows planned to have a live audience for the network’s run-through “so you can hear what’s working.” And despite NBC’s “skewed” feedback questionnaire, the audience loved it.
“The network gave the audience a questionnaire that was so skewed,” Crane said. “It basically said: ‘When she does this, is she a trollop? Is she a slut?’”
“The audience all came back with, ‘No, we still like her,’” Crane says. “Then Don got on board because he said, ‘Well I’m okay with it because she gets what she deserves when the guy sort of screws her over.’”
He added, “I could see the steam coming out of [co-creator] Marta’s [Kauffman] nose. And I’m tap-dancing going, ‘But you’re okay with it! So if you’re okay with it then we’re good, let’s move on, yay!’”
As EW pointed out, this was back in 1994, when women even talking about sex wasn’t all that common on TV, let alone women having sex.
Ultimately, Monica’s storyline with Paul made the pilot and the rest is history.