Although Friends was a sitcom, the massive popularity of the show saw some of the biggest stars in Hollywood making cameos over the years. Fisher Stevens was one such actor who guest-starred early on the show, in the capacity of Phoebe’s psychiatrist boyfriend Roger who drives everyone crazy with his constant psychoanalysis of their behaviors. In a recent interview with EW, Stevens revealed that when he first signed on for the role, Friends was far from the pop culture phenomenon it is today.
“At that moment in my career, I had never done a sitcom before. I had never heard of Friends because it was just the beginning of the show and I didn’t watch TV at the time much.”
Still, the script that Fisher Stevens received was so good that he agreed to do the role without having much knowledge of the show. The actor flew to Los Angeles to film his episode, only to discover by that time that the entire script had been rewritten, and not for the better, according to Stevens.
“Because [frequent revisions of the script is] what sitcoms did. And I didn’t know that. I was kind of an asshole, I have to admit. ‘What do you mean? So I have to relearn lines that you’ve written that are worse than what you’d originally written?’ Yeah, I was a dick. I’ve rarely seen any of those people on Friends again, but I’m sure if you asked them about me, they would go, ‘What a New York snob.’ [And so I’d like to say] yeah, I’m sorry guys. I’m sorry I was a dick to you all. I apologize. I was bad, I was wrong.”
In the end, Stevens’ self-confessedly poor behavior on set might have made his performance as Roger better, since it would have made it easier for the main cast to act like they disliked him. Still, despite the off-screen unpleasantness, that episode remains a highlight of the season and is one of the few times that the show featured a truly unpleasant character that all the characters and the audience hated equally.
Troubles with guest stars notwithstanding, the main six Friends cast members have always enjoyed a strong bond on screen and off, which, apart from the writing, is a major reason why the show continues to be one of the most widely-watched series in the world. So much so that a reunion episode was planned for 2020. Although the plan had to be scrapped in view of the lockdown, Lisa Kudrow confirmed recently that the reunion will happen someday, and that she has already shot parts of the episode.
“There’s different facets to it, and we already shot packages of things […] I pre-shot something already so we’re definitely doing it, because I already shot a little something…It’s not a reboot. It’s not like a scripted thing, we’re not portraying our characters. It’s us getting together, which just doesn’t happen a lot and has never happened in front of other people since 2004 when we stopped.”
This news originally appeared at Entertainment Weekly.