Top 10 Things You Didn't Notice in Central Perk

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Top 10 Things You Didn't Notice in Central Perk

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
How did we never notice these things in Central Perk? For this list, we'll be looking at details from the iconic coffeehouse from “Friends” that even the biggest fans might have missed. Our countdown includes coffee brands, the couch was reserved, the potato, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Things You Didn't Notice in Central Perk


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Notice in Central Perk.

For this list, we’ll be looking at details from the iconic coffeehouse from “Friends” that even the biggest fans might have missed.

Is there anything we missed? Blow our minds in the comments!

#10: Coffee Brands


You see all those coffee beans and the packaging in the background of Central Perk? Well, starting in Season Two the show’s set decorator Greg Grande and his team began creating fake coffee brands with original logos to put on display. If you’d told us that you noticed them before now we would have been very impressed. Because let’s be honest, even if you know they’re there they aren't exactly easy to make out clearly enough for you to really appreciate the design. But we guess that’s what makes this such a cool easter egg, because you really have to hunt for it. And by hunt, we mean pause and zoom in.

#9: It’s REALLY Close to Joey & Chandler’s Apartment


Central Perk boasts convenience as well as comfort. In the fourth episode of the first season, Joey walks into Central Perk counting off the last few steps, proving to Chandler that their place really is less than 100 steps from the coffee house. 97 steps is only about 240 feet. Now, when Joey says “our place,” we don’t know if they started counting from their apartment door or the front of their building. But even if it was from their building, that’s at most about one block away. We’re sure the coffee was good and the big couch looked comfortable, but as with most things it all comes down to location, location, location.

#8: Gunther Isn’t Named Until Season 2


Remember that episode in Season One where Gunther says…. Wait! No you don’t! And do you know how we know that? Because Gunther didn’t have any lines in the first season. In fact, he didn’t even have a name. According to actor James Michael Tyler, about a week before filming the ninth episode of the second season, one of the show's creators, Marta Kauffman, asked him if he had any acting experience. He told her yes, and the next week she told him, “'Your name is Gunther.” And then she told him, “You get to say, 'Yeah' today.” And with that Gunther was born.

#7: The Cups Weren't Always Empty


As you may, or may not know, when actors have coffee in a scene, the cups are usually empty. And “Friends” was no exception to that long-held props rule. That is, unless they were actually supposed to drink. A big pet peeve of many TV viewers is when a character “takes a sip” from an obviously empty cup. But James Michael Tyler told Express that if a character had to actually drink in the scene then they would fill their cup with an actual latte or cappuccino from backstage. That only went for the main cast, though. For all the extras on the Central Perk set, their cups of joes were just cups. No joe.

#6: The Artwork Changed Regularly


We’re not sure how often the general decor is changed at your local coffeehouse, but at Central Perk it was multiple times per season. Obviously some things, like that awesome couch, never changed. But according to the set decorator, every three or four episodes you would see some new artwork, flowers and posters. Over the course of the ten seasons you’ll also notice reupholstered chairs and barstools at the gang’s favorite hangout. And fun fact: in the show’s third episode, Ross wore a “big hitter” pop art t-shirt. Well, that art was by Burton Morris, who ended up creating much of the art displayed in Central Perk over the next ten seasons.

#5: The Writers Stole the Cast’s Seats


In the Season Three premier “The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy,” the one thing that everyone remembers is, obviously, Rachel dressed up like Princess Leia. But if you remember the opening scene to that episode, it shows the gang walking into Central Perk, seeing other people sitting on the couch, and slowly walking back out. It’s a funny scene, but what most of us didn’t notice at the time is that the people sitting in their spot are writers on the show - and likely came up with the gag. Well, that’s definitely one way to get yourselves on-screen.

#4: Gunther Was an Actual Barista


You know that expression, “Right place, right time?” Well, for actor James Michael Tyler it was “Right place, right time, ability to use an espresso machine.” Tyler didn’t show up to the “Friends” set knowing he was going to have a recurring gig for the next ten years. He was just an extra like all the others, except he was the only one that knew how to use an espresso machine. And with that he was put behind the Central Perk counter and the rest is “Friends” history. And the funny thing is, the espresso machines they had on the set were pretty loud, so as he told Buzzfeed, “I never actually made one coffee!”

#3: The Couch Was Reserved


Speaking of that couch, one of the show’s biggest mysteries was how the hell the gang always got dibs. Central Perk looked like a popular place and they were usually pretty busy, yet those primo seats were always, or almost always, available for them. Well, if you look closely at the coffee table in front of the couch you will often see a “Reserved” sign. But why is it there? Why are these six people so special? Well, there is a fan theory that posits Gunther holds the couch for the gang because of his love for Rachel. But regardless of how the sign got there, it does seem to explain why these particular friends have the best seats in the house.

#2: The Potato


Over the course of its ten-season run, “Friends” had at least two instances involving potatoes. One you definitely noticed and one you probably didn’t. The more notable potato sighting happened when Ross walked into Monica and Chandler’s Halloween party in season eight dressed as “Spudnik.” It would’ve been hard to not see that big potato, but the one sitting on the cake stand in Central Perk in the eighth episode of the fourth season was much easier to miss. Although, now that we’ve told you and shown you, it might be the only thing you see whenever you revisit the scene in the future. And no, we have no idea how it got there or why no one got rid of it before filming.

#1: The Backdrop Changed


Back in 1994, no one could have predicted that “Friends” would be the TV megahit and global phenomenon that it became. At the time it was just a new show with potential and without a huge budget. And one place where that smaller budget was most evident was just outside of Central Perk, where, during the first season, it was nothing more than a painted set. But in the second season, they moved from Stage 5 to the bigger Stage 24, and with the move came more space outside the coffee shop for an actual street set. It was a set we saw used on many occasions throughout the rest of the show's run - including for Phoebe’s wedding!
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