The “Friends” director of the first hour, James Burrows, remembers the beginnings of the now iconic sitcom and tells what he thought of the actors at the time – and why the show could be called a different name.

When the first episode of “Friends” was filmed in 1994, nobody knew what a worldwide success the sitcom about six friends in New York would become. But director James Burrows had a good feeling right from the start. “I knew two things right away. First, I didn’t have time to direct it at all. And second, I absolutely had to direct it,” he writes in his forthcoming memoir. The “Wall Street Journal” has now published an excerpt from it and of course Burrows also looks back on “Friends” in it.

He immediately fell in love with the characters, 95 percent of the script made it into the first episode. That was also due to the actors Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry. At the time, Cox was considered a star of the six, but she was initially the least well-received at Burrows. “She wasn’t the funniest of the group, but she grew into it and eventually found her sense of humor,” he writes. In his opinion, the series could have been called “Monica’s Friends” instead of “Friends”. “She was incredibly beautiful and the connection between all the cast members.”

About Matt LeBlanc: “He never played Joey as a dumb guy”

However, LeBlanc, who had little acting experience when he was cast in 1994, is said to have grown the most on the show. “It’s a testament to his skill that his character has evolved over the course of the show. He’s never played Joey as the dumb guy, only the incorrect guy, the guy who’s a lot smarter than you think, the guy with the biggest growth potential who had the fewest rules and became the character with the most empathy,” enthuses Burrows.

The director has also worked on other sitcoms such as Will

“Friends” inspires viewers to this day – even the younger generation tunes in. There hasn’t been a proper sequel with a similar impact since the series ended in 2004. The only consolation: For a reunion special, all the main actors of the show came together again on set in May 2021 and reminisced.

Which: “People”