25 Things You Didn’t Know About the Sets on “Friends”

by hookedonhouses on May 19, 2014

Set Design on the TV Show "Friends" | hookedonhouses.netCan you believe it’s been 10 years since Friends took its final bow and said goodbye to Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Ross and Rachel? In honor of the anniversary, here are 25 things you may not know about the sitcom’s iconic sets.

CENTRAL PERK:

Central Perk on "Friends" | hookedonhouses.net

The sets on Friends were almost like another character on the show and are just as memorable. Did you know…

Central Perk coffee shop on TV show Friends

#1. In the first season, the street outside Central Perk was just a painted backdrop.

Central Perk on TV Show Friends

#2. The artwork on the walls of  the coffee house was always changing.

Central Perk on TV Show Friends 2

#3. The famous orange velvet sofa was pulled out of the Warner Bros. Studios basement storage.

Central Perk on Friends | hookedonhouses.net

PHOEBE’S APARTMENT:

Phoebe's apartment on the TV show Friends

#4. Phoebe’s address was 5 Morton Street, Apartment #14 in New York.

Phoebe's apartment on the TV show Friends 2

#5. The show took some heat over the episode that featured prominent Pottery Barn product placement: “The One with the Apothecary Table.”

The One with the Apothecary Table episode of "Friends" | hookedonhouses.net

In the episode, Rachel tricks Phoebe into believing that it’s a one-of-a-kind antique, but the jig is up when Ross buys one just like it for his apartment.

The One with the Apothecary Table on Friends 3

Until I saw that episode, I always assumed Pottery Barn was just a place that sold, you know, pottery. We didn’t have any of their stores in our area back then, so in my case, the product placement worked. After that I knew they sold things like apothecary tables that even flea-market shoppers like Phoebe would love!

ROSS’S APARTMENT:

The One with the Apothecary Table on "Friends" | hookedonhouses.net

#6. When asked about the product placement in the episode, Peter Roth of Warner Bros. said it “offset the high cost of production.” It was a good deal for Pottery Barn, too. A rep reports that “the phones still light up every time that episode airs.”

Ross's apartment on Friends TV show 2

#7. Even though the gang lives in NYC, we rarely see them lock their doors. One of the times was when Ross and Rachel accidentally locked baby Emma in his apartment, so maybe it was safer to just leave them open!

Ross's apartment on Friends TV show 3

Ross's apartment on Friends TV show

#8. Monica, Chandler, and Joey live at 90 Bedford Street in New York. This is the exterior that was used for their apartment building:

NYC apartment exterior used on Friends TV Show

JOEY’S APARTMENT:

Joey's apartment on "Friends" | hookedonhouses.net

#9. The Magna Doodle hanging on the door had a different drawing on for every episode.

Joey and Chandler's apartment on Friends

Joey's apartment on the TV show Friends 3

#10. Courteney Cox reportedly said in an interview that Joey’s big white dog statue belonged to her husband David Arquette. But some trivia sites claim it was a “good luck gift” someone gave to Jennifer Aniston on her first day on set.

Joey's dog statue named Pat on "Friends" | hookedonhouses.net

#11. Joey bought the statue when his Days of Our Lives money started pouring in and named it Pat. After he had to sell it, Ross bought it back for him.

Joey's apartment on the TV show Friends 2

Joey's apartment on the TV show Friends

#12. When Rachel goes back home to visit her dad in the final season, they used the exterior of a traditional brick house that had already been made famous in the Steve Martin movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

The real Planes Trains & Automobiles house for sale

(You can see my post about the house with interior photos of it here.)

MONICA & CHANDLER’S APARTMENT:

Monica's apartment on Friends purple door

#13. The quirky gold frame on Monica’s purple door was originally a mirror that broke, so they used it as a frame around the peephole instead.

Apartment numbers change on TV show Friends

#14. In the first season, Monica lived in apartment number 5. It was later changed to 20 to reflect the fact that she lived on a higher floor.

Monica's Secret Closet on TV Show Friends

#15. In “The One With the Secret Closet,” the locked door where Monica supposedly stashed all her junk really just led to the area backstage.

Monica's kitchen on TV show Friends

#16. The Set Designer for the show was Greg Grande, who’s worked on other shows with great sets like Joey and Switched at Birth.

Switched at Birth Kennish Manor

(You can see my post about the Kennish Manor on Switched at Birth here).

Cast of Friends in Monica's Purple Kitchen

 #17. When it came to Monica’s apartment, Grande wanted to develop “a whole new kind of eclectic taste with a flea-market, whimsical, and anything-goes style.”

Brad Pitt on Friends Thanksgiving episode

(Remember when Brad Pitt came for Thanksgiving dinner, back when he was married to Jen?)

Monica's apartment on Friends 5

#18. The mix of chairs around Monica’s kitchen table varied over the seasons.

Chandler Ross Rachel Monica in Kitchen on Friends

Monica's apartment on Friends 3

#19. The vintage refrigerator in Monica’s apartment actually worked and was kept stocked for the cast and crew.

Monica's apartment on Friends 4

#20. In some of the early episodes there was a beam going from the ceiling to the floor in between the kitchen and the living room. The beam later disappears but was reinstalled by the stage crew whenever James Burrows directed an episode as a kind of inside joke.

Extra Beam in Monica's Apartment on Friends

#21. The purpose of the poster behind Monica’s TV set was to hide a hole in the wall that cameras often filmed through.

Monica's apartment on Friends 6

#22. The doors to Monica’s bedroom and guest room were fake entries. The Central Perk set was on the other side of that wall. The bedrooms were only put together when needed for a scene.

Monica's apartment on Friends with Rachel

(Remember when Monica dated Tom Selleck? The studio audience went so wild every time he entered a scene that they had to re-tape some of them on an empty set.)

Monica's apartment bedroom on Friends with Tom Selleck

#23. The flower poster above Monica’s bed was from the 1980 Summer Olympics.

Monica's apartment bedroom on Friends flower poster

#24. Monica had 11 different categories for towels, including “everyday use,” “fancy,” “guest,” and “fancy-guest.”

Monica Geller's purple bathroom on Friends

#25. The layout of Monica’s bathroom was a little different in different episodes.

Courteney Cox was pregnant with her daughter Coco during the final season, which is why she was wearing lots of scarves and baggy clothes toward the end of their run.

Monica's Purple Apartment on Friends | hookedonhouses.net

I just finished re-watching the final season on DVD, so it literally feels like yesterday that the gang said goodbye. And I’m still upset that Rachel gave up her dream job in Paris to stay with Ross (why couldn’t he give up his job to go with her?).

Cast of Friends on Monica's Terrace

I always love their ’80s flashbacks, so I can’t resist throwing this one in:

80s flashback on Friends

If you know any other facts about the sets, fill us in! I found these photos and Friends facts on Grande Design, Friends TV, Buzzfeed, Movie Mistakes, Chasing Props, and IMDb.com. I got a kick out of this post Tsh wrote in honor of the anniversary, too.

Friends TV show finale cast photo 2004

 The final episode aired in May of 2004 and was watched by over 52 million viewers. Were you one of them?  I know it still has a lot of fans out there because two of the most popular Celebrity Houses I’ve featured belong to Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.

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Visit my Houses Onscreen page to see more famous sets, including…

Cougar Town sitcom sets

Courteney Cox’s Current Show Cougar Town

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Traci May 19, 2014 at 8:58 am

This is still my all time favorite show! I cried like a baby during the final episode & I laugh like I’ve never seen them when I watch reruns. I had no idea what Pottery Barn was until that episode!

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 9:02 am

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one, Traci. Funny to think there was a day before we all knew what Pottery Barn was! :)

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Lisa May 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I had never heard of Pottery Barn either until that episode. I thought the show made it up! Now they seem to be everywhere. I guess their marketing scheme worked! :)

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Mrs Limestone May 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

I remember watching that Pottery Barn episode – i was familiar with the store but it seemed like the most crazy expensive place to shop.

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Screendoorgirl 3 May 19, 2014 at 9:35 am

What a fun post! I loved Monica’s apartment and was always looking at what was new and funky. Those purple walls just worked! Go figure. It does bother me that I so relate to some of her OCD type thoughts. I remember the episode where she was trying to pretend that she wasn’t a neat freak and casually left a pair of shoes in the middle of the living room and swore it was no big deal. The next scene had her laying in bed thinking she could go and put them away, and then wake up early and put them back into the middle of the room before everyone got up. Of course she then realized how crazy that was. Loved it.. Sadly, my dining room today does resemble the 80′s shot, I think it’s Ross and Rachel’s parents house. I’ll have to update it..Cringe. Anyhoo-thanks, Julia, for a great post.TV and movie sets are awesome!

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

Yeah, I think I can relate to Monica a little too much sometimes, too, although having kids loosened me up a bit. I’ve had to get used to having shoes, socks, Legos, Barbie dolls — you name it! — scattered around the house most of the time. Have to admit it still bugs me sometimes, although I probably wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night to clean them up like she did (love that episode). :-)

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Shemy May 19, 2014 at 9:41 am

The pictures of the above bathrooms. The top one is the bathroom in Joey’s apartment and the bottom picture is the bathroom in Monica’s apartment. Sorry, I’m a FRIENDS’s junkie and I know those episodes.

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

Thanks for catching that, Shemy! Fixed it. I’ll try to find another photo that shows how the toilet/tub/sink shifted around in Monica’s bathroom.

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Shemy May 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

No problem Hun, you are definitely right though, her bathroom did change. Have a good day :)

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DRL May 19, 2014 at 9:44 am

There was an episode where they all shared a house in the Hamptons. There was a painting that hung on the wall that I LOVED – it was different pairs of Keds (yes, I know I’m crazy), but I adored that painting! I searched forever for a source, but was never able find one!

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 9:47 am

I don’t remember that painting. Isn’t it funny how things like that will stand out and stick with you? If anyone has info on that painting, fill us in!

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Margot May 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm

It’s a small point but since it bothers you, Ross couldn’t go to Paris with Rachel because he would be leaving behind his son Ben, This dialogue was hashed out when he was married to Emily and she wanted him to come to London.

Still love this show and watch the reruns every night at bedtime! I was the same age as the characters when it aired so it was interesting to compare lifestyles.

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Good point, Margot. Guess I forgot about poor little Ben. Ha. I just thought it was kind of sad that she had to give up her dream job when she seemed so excited about it.

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Beth May 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I worked for Mary Engelbreit for several years, including around the time the show ended. My old boss told me that before I arrived, they got a permission request from the show to use some ME canisters in Monica’s kitchen. (we handled several of these for a variety of productions, and it always amazed me that they had to get permission for the most subtle background items on a set!) Every time I’ve come across a rerun over the years, I’ve looked for the canisters, and I finally saw them just last week! It was a sage, buttery yellow and cream set with cherries and it was in the one when Chandler and Monica get engaged. Monica’s countertops and open shelving were constantly changing (believe me, I’ve looked ;), so I don’t know if they were in other episodes as well. I’m pretty sure I’ve also caught some of ME’s ceramic clocks, teapots, teacups, etc. I wouldn’t have said Monica had an ME personality, but the products really did fit right in with the apartment’s whimsical style!

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Really?! That’s so cool — both that you worked for her and that the show asked permission to use the canisters! I never noticed the ME influence in the kitchen, so I’m glad you pointed that out. They really do fit into the overall look of her eclectic kitchen. Thanks, Beth!

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PAR May 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I went on the WB studio tour last year. They have the coffee shop set still standing and allow you to take pictures of it and sit on the orange couch. I took a lot of flak from our tour guide because I have never seen the show. Apparently, he had never met anyone who didn’t watch this show! :-)

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm

How fun!! I’d love to take that tour someday.

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Wade Watson May 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I have to admit awhile back I started rewatching Friends eps on Nickelodeon as part of my bedtime ritual. It seems like there were only a couple of times you saw the front wall of the main apartment– one was in the aforementioned closet episode and the other(s) were when we saw the cast on the balcony outside the window. You never saw much of it, though. I just remember it’s purple.

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T. May 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm

My daughter and I watched the entire series last summer. I watched it as it originally aired, but back then I didn’t notice how sex was the focus of so many jokes. I certainly became painfully aware of that while watching it with my young teenager!

I did know what Pottery Barn was before that episode aired, but I had no clue about IKEA. I notice in reruns now how often IKEA is mentioned.

I still love Monica’s apartment, and while I wouldn’t say the look is timeless, it certainly doesn’t look dated to me. I would be very happy living now among those furnishings.

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Yeah, I always have to turn it off when my daughter walks in the room because I never know when they’re going to make a kinda raunchy joke that I don’t want to have to explain. Ha.

Good point about how they mention IKEA on the show from time to time, too. We didn’t have one of those back then, either, so those references always zoomed right over my head. I get them now, though! :)

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belledame May 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm

back then ikea got a famous for being the source of the quirky furnishings on “the real world.” i knew exactly one person who had ever been to one. a few years later when i moved to nyc and heard about the free shuttle to the new jersey store, i could not wait to go!

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MK May 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

As much as I loved Monica’s apartment, I still always feel like it doesn’t exactly suit her personality… I mean, she’s the one who cleans her vacuum! It always seemed a bit too disorganized (especially the kitchen) to really ring true to her meticulous ways. Put it this way… if she actually did have 11 types of towels, you would never know because everything is so mis-matched already! Even zany Phoebe had a more organized apartment!

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm

That’s so true! It’s almost like her apartment was designed before they fully knew what her personality was going to be. It was more of a “cool twentysomething apartment in New York City” concept than “Monica specific,” if you know what I mean. Was she a neat-freak right from the beginning? I haven’t seen the first season for a while, so those of you who have will have to remind us.

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Karen May 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Yes, Monica was a neat freak from the beginning. That’s why Phoebe moved out, although Monica wasn’t even aware she had moved out for quite a while. I always thought Monica’s quirky decor suited Phoebe’s character more. When it originally aired we watched with our teenage sons and sometimes their girlfriends. I remember cringing a few times over the subjects. Now when I see re-runs, it seems tame compared to the new shows. I guess the so-called progressive shows have desensitized viewers. I think it would be fun to see a reunion showing them with their kids, especially with Monica & Chandler’s adopted twins :) Wonder if they would have Joey married or living with them as they suggested in final episodes.

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Lisa May 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm

That is such a good point! I always thought that Phoebe’s tidy apartment and decor were much better suited to Monica’s organized personality and vice versa — Monica’s apt. for Phoebe. Perhaps the writers originally didn’t have the characters as developed when the series started and Monica’s neat-freak personality emerged as the show and characters were perfected.

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claudia May 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

What an entertaining post! I almost forgot how influential all of the apartments were on decorating styles/trends; I especially loved Monica’s apartment and I hate to admit, but while watching the shows, I spent most of the time scanning the sets/props! I especially loved the “cookie time” cookie jar (found one like it at an antique store soon after) and still to this day have mismatched chairs/cushions around my old kitchen table. I always was amazed how they could live in those cool NY apartments with their meager earnings – not very realistic –also their great clothes!, wow- takes me back!!

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liz @ btb May 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I love love LOVE Friends. I can watch it every single day (saw two episodes last night) and never get tired of it. I really like the one where they traded apartments. It was fun to see Joey & Chandler’s place Monica-ized.

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hookedonhouses May 19, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I always thought it was fun seeing them swap apartments, too!

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Becky @Farmgirl Paints May 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I was watching and still do with reruns almost every day. Felt like I lost my friends when it went off the air.

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Esther George May 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Hi Julia yes I watched the last episode with my daughter and we were emotional, didn’t know what we were going to do without Friends at 7.30 every night except the weekend. We do get replays over here but I don’t watch them too much so as not to get sick of them (if that’s possible). I remember an interview with Mat Le Blanc where he was saying spending so many hours locked in a studio was not something he would like to do again. I loved the apartments thank you for sharing. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney.

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neesha May 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I wasn’t one of the people who watched the finale because I hate saying goodbye to my favorite shows. I still haven’t watched season 10.

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Lorelai July 28, 2014 at 7:41 am

I thought I was the only person who did this!
I haven’t watched the last 3 eps of season 11 of Frasier because I can’t “let it go”.

Also, Julia – I loved this post. Perhaps a Frasier post or two! Between Frasier and Niles there are a lot of areas that could be covered!

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hookedonhouses July 28, 2014 at 7:48 am

Funny you should mention “Frasier.” I started watching it on Netflix over the weekend and was impressed by how contemporary and current his apartment still looks after all these years! Thanks, Lorelai. :)

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Patience May 20, 2014 at 5:17 am

I love Friends, although I don’t think I ever watched the final season. As far as the apartments of Friends characters go–I loved the episodes in which Monica and Rachel trade apartments with Joey and Chandler, especially when Monica refinishes the floor in the boys apartment and tries to make it homey.

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Alie B May 20, 2014 at 8:36 am

I loved this show. I recall hosting “friends” parties, in my oh-so-stylish yellow living room. :) I always enjoyed the set for the café, and I loved that Monica kept some of her grandmother’s things in her apartment, such as the art deco piece which was used for the TV. My friends and I were the age that the characters were, and we felt that it was “our” show, but I’ve realized since then, that this show appeals to all ages and eras. My 14 year old loves it now, and my folks have started watching it in syndication. It’s nice to be able to relate to family from other generations in this way.

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Laura May 20, 2014 at 11:02 am

Although I always watched Friends while it was on, I preferred Seinfeld. Still catch the Friends reruns, though, and I love looking at the sets. I would take Monica’s apartment in a heartbeat!! West Village, balcony, huge windows, 2 bedrooms, rent control ….

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Sonya May 20, 2014 at 11:41 am

Love this! Friends is my all time favorite show and I still miss it so much. Always happy to watch reruns!
Love your blog!!

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hookedonhouses May 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Thanks, Sonya! :)

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The Country Girl May 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Nice tribute, thanks for this post. It brings back a lot of memories.

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Nathan May 21, 2014 at 3:00 am

I was one of the viewers from the finale episode and it is one of the very few, if only, finales I’ve cried during.

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Dawn May 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

LOVED this show. Still love this show. Still sad they went off the air.

I think the thing with Ross and Rachel was that her job was in Paris, and away from family, etc., so if they were going to be together, it would better to be together here. I always got the sense that her heart wasn’t into going to Paris, but she felt compelled to because she was supposed to be wanting to have it all, and when it came together with Ross it pushed over the edge of preferring to stay.

(Perhaps I have over analyzed this!)

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Joy May 22, 2014 at 9:15 am

What a great job Julia. This is such fun. I always loved the sets & found the Central Perk especially hard to follow. Who knew they were changing sets back then ha ha.I don”t think any of us ever heard of Pottery Barn either, was Pottery Barn behind that free advertising in that episode?? Friends was & still is such a great show & I hated that it ended too. But I always did have a hard time trying to understand Monica”s 2 bedroom layouts. Both rooms looked the same. No wonder thanks for clearing that up. Also the bathtub scene with Chandler playing with the boat you see a wall of gray tile(guess they had to do that for tv) then you don”t. How funny.You did a really good job. Thanks for all your hard work. By the way I like your new picture on Twitter of your sunroom. Looks very nice. :) Take Care.

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hookedonhouses May 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

Thanks, Joy! :-)

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Tina May 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I did notice the Magna Doodle on the back of Joey’s door changed every episode … I remember squinting, trying to work out what the picture was of, or what the words said.

:-)

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hookedonhouses May 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Me, too, Tina! I always wanted a closer look at it.

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Alicia Kelly May 22, 2014 at 9:19 pm

The Flock of Seagulls hair on Chandler from the 80′s pic made me LOL!!!

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hookedonhouses May 23, 2014 at 7:22 am

I know — classic, right? Ha.

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tammyCA May 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm

One of my all time favorite shows & have watched the reruns since it went off the air..has it really been 10 yrs?! I love Monica’s eclectic, homey apartment..it’s probably my fave TV set design. I also like how some of the knickknack props change over time. A fave episode besides the 80s flashback ones is phoebe’s quirky dollhouse with the bubbles????.

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Carla July 22, 2014 at 10:33 am

Hi! I just wanted to say that Ross couldn’t go with Rachel to Paris because of Ben, not because of his job! He would have to live apart from his son if he went! That’s why it was much more reasonable for Rachel to stay! Other than than that I loved your post! ;-)

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hookedonhouses July 22, 2014 at 10:44 am

You’re right, Carla. I just felt bad for her that she didn’t get to take her dream job. :-)

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Carla July 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

Yeah! Me too! It was like the perfect job for her…

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