Friends is, by nearly all metrics, one of the most beloved and successful television series of all time. The show made its debut on September 22, 1994 and ran for ten seasons through 2004. Friends was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards, and the show's eighth season took home the award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002. More than just a weekly viewing event, shows like Friends and Sex & The City shaped the world's perception of New York City life, albeit sometimes unrealistically. Despite the absurd size of Monica's apartment, Friends became a cultural reference point for young adults who aspired to move to the big city one day, too. 

Starring Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), Friends turned the then-unknown actors into household names. While the character of Ross was written for Schwimmer, the rest of the Friends cast were selected from a pool of over 1000 actors. Producers initially envisioned Cox in the role of Rachel, but the actor's preference for Monica's character eventually won them over during her final auditions. Cast members were initially paid $22,000 per episode. As the show became increasingly popular, the six principle actors became the first television cast to negotiate their salaries collectively. They were paid roughly $1 million per episode by the final season.

Despite the premise and setting, the show was never filmed in New York City. All 236 episodes of Friends were shot on at the Warner Brothers Studio lot in Burbank, California. Excluding cliff hangers and the series finale, episodes were filmed in front of a live studio audience at took about 6 hours per episode to tape. The iconic fountain scene from the opening title sequence took place at 4 a.m. at a fountain on the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank.  

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