‘Friends’: All Lead Cast Names Like Ross and Rachel Were Inspired By ‘All My Children’ Characters

The NBC sitcom Friends graced television screens across the United States with new episodes for a decade. The sitcom first premiered in September 1994. Little could producers or cast members know at the time, but the show would attract such strong support that it would be able to continue until May 2004.

Nearly two decades after the last episode of Friends premiered, the show still contains a loyal following base today. While many might consider themselves fans of Friends, most aren’t aware of the interesting connection between the popular sitcom and daytime soap All My Children.

Read on to take a walk down memory lane and learn more about the show’s strange connection to All My Children

Representing the Chandler family 

Lisa Kudrow (top row, 2nd from left) with the rest of the cast of 'Friends'
Lisa Kudrow (top row, 2nd from left) with the rest of the cast of ‘Friends’ | Reisig & Taylor/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Interestingly enough, all the main characters on Friends were named after characters on All My Children.

All My Children, a daytime soap opera, was premiered on ABC in January 1970. The soap quickly became one of the most popular shows on television. However, at the turn of the millennium, All My Children experienced an unprecedented decline in its ratings.

Many daytime soaps were experiencing the same situation. The many once-popular soaps were no longer able to continue, All My Children being one of them. ABC’s last episode of All My Children hit airwaves on September 23, 2011. 

While All My Children is no longer on the air, the soap inspired generations of viewers, including the creators of Friends. The quick-witted and sarcastic Friends main character Chandler Bing was named after the Chandler family on All My Children.

The Chandlers’ were one of the show’s original families, although the Chandler family did not join the cast of characters in Pine Valley until 1983. However, members of the family graced the show from the 1980s until the show’s cancellation in 2011. 

Nothing like their namesakes 

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Along with Chandler, the other two leading men on Friends were given names inspired by All My Children characters.

The smart, caring, and socially awkward character Ross Geller was named after the All My Children star Ross Chandler. Ross Chandler was a member of the famous Chandler family and a less than upstanding citizen of Pine Valley.

Unlike Ross Geller, the ladies’ man character of Joey Tribbiani was given a name inspired by a prominent and upstanding Pine Valley citizen. Joey Tribbiani’s name was inspired by one of All My Children’s original characters, Dr. Joe Martin.

Joe Martin was part of the All My Children cast during the show’s inauguration in 1970 and stayed on the soap throughout its entire duration. While Ross Geller and Joey Tribbiani were named for Ross Chandler and Joe Martin, the two Friends characters couldn’t have been more different than their namesakes. 

The leading women

All three leading women on Friends also received names inspired by All My Children characters. Monica Geller was named after the character Monique/Daisy Cortland, one of All My Children’s original leading stars.

Rachel Green’s name was inspired by the All My Children character that was always off her rocker, Janet Green. Unlike Janet Green, the Friends character Rachel Green never went around murdering and torturing other characters.

The final main character of Friends, Phoebe Buffay, was named for the All My Children character, Phoebe Tyler Wallingford. However, All My Children’s Phoebe was not the upbeat and quirky character, as was Phoebe Buffay. Instead, Phoebe Tyler Wallingford was an original Pine Valley character that spent her days meddling and being a busy body around town.

Ultimately, while all the main characters on Friends were named for characters on All My Children, there was little else that linked them together.