As a TV show, “Friends” is thought to be one of the best. Many things from the show have become part of popular culture, like “Central Perk,” “a bunch of one-liners,” and “the main characters,” some of whom even became fashion icons, like Rachel Greene (Jennifer Aniston). This made each of their friends very relatable. Monica, for example, was obsessed with order and cleanliness and had a hard time getting along with her mother. During the show, Monica was always hosting, and her apartment was the place everyone went to when they weren’t having coffee at Central Perk. This is also true now.
Monica was an essential character in the show because she welcomed Rachel into her home and made her part of the group. She also dealt with many things and situations that weren’t shown on TV at the time and were even considered taboo. If Courteney Cox had been hired to play Rachel, she would have played a very different character called Monica. That was not the plan at first.
For the same reason that Courtney Cox chose to play Monica rather than Rachel:
Before “Friends,” Courteney Cox wasn’t a complete unknown to the world around her. She was best known for her role in the music video for Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” She also starred in a few TV shows and movies. She wanted to play Monica because she was more attracted to the role and her strong personality. The producers of Friends wanted her to play Rachel. Before that, Janeane Garofalo was the creator’s pick for the position. Maggie Wheeler also tried out for the part, but she played another character: Janice, who was so memorable.
As for Rachel, the first choice was Téa Leoni. But she didn’t want to do the show The Naked Truth (which lasted only three seasons). After rejecting an offer to join Saturday Night Live, Jennifer Aniston auditioned for the role. She was briefly at risk of being replaced because she worked on a different show. It was muddling Through, which was later canceled. Courteney Cox’s portrayal of Monica ended up having a bigger impact on the character. And the front than the show’s producers could have imagined. She was credited with dispelling myths about beauty and comedic performances and Monica’s character talking about topics rarely discussed on prime-time TVs, like safe sex, infertility, and age disparity in relationships. Monica’s legacy wouldn’t have been the same if Courteney Cox hadn’t played her. It’s fun to think about what she would have done to Rachel.