A Former 'Friends' Writer Claims the Cast Wasn't Exactly Easy to Work With Because of Their A-List Fame

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A former television writer’s new book, End Credits: How I Broke Up With Hollywood, is making waves in the entertainment industry for what she had to say about working on one of the most iconic shows ever: Friends. It wasn’t exactly the dream experience that most people would expect, author Patty Lin gave a much different perspective about writing for the show’s seventh season.

In an excerpt published by Time, Lin shared how her starry-eyed view of working on the hit show quickly diminished. “At first, I was excited about table reads because I got to be in the same room as the cast, who were Big Stars. Plus, there was a catered breakfast buffet,” she wrote. “But the novelty of seeing Big Stars up close wore off fast, along with my zeal about breakfast. The actors seemed unhappy to be chained to a tired old show when they could be branching out, and I felt like they were constantly wondering how every given script would specifically serve them.”

The ‘Friends’ cast in 1996. Photo: Gary Null/©NBC/Courtesy: Everett Collection.

The biggest problem, according to Lin, was how the cast would ruin a joke on purpose if they didn’t like the way it was written. “They all knew how to get a laugh, but if they didn’t like a joke, they seemed to deliberately tank it, knowing we’d rewrite it,” she continued. “Dozens of good jokes would get thrown out just because one of them had mumbled the line through a mouthful of bacon.” Once they reached the set, things often got worse.

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“Everyone would sit around Monica and Chandler’s apartment and discuss the script,” Lin added. “This was the actors’ first opportunity to voice their opinions, which they did vociferously. They rarely had anything positive to say, and when they brought up problems, they didn’t suggest feasible solutions. Seeing themselves as guardians of their characters, they often argued that they would never do or say such-and-such. That was occasionally helpful, but overall, these sessions had a dire, aggressive quality that lacked all the levity you’d expect from the making of a sitcom.” Needless to say, working on Friends wasn’t the highlight of her career that she had expected. The show is recognized by fans worldwide, but behind the scenes, things were exactly rosy.

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