‘Friends’ Creators Were Ready to Abandon Chandler and Monica’s Romance if Fans Hated It
Every character on Friends ends up paired off with a love interest at the end except for one (Joey just gets a duck).
However, fans almost didn’t see Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) realize their dream of becoming parents and moving to the suburbs. That’s because producers were fully prepared to kill the Monica/Chandler love story if it got a negative reception.
Series co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane paid close attention to fan reactions. Luckily for everyone, Friends viewers adored seeing Monica and Chandler hook up. Even if they later found out Monica was looking for Joey on the night they first got together.
Monica and Chandler get together during ‘Friends’ Season 4 finale
All six Friends are close, but Monica and Chandler especially have an especially tight bond.
During “The One With the Birth” in season 1, Chandler even suggests that they become each other’s “back up plans” in case both are still single when they turn 40. Fans take little comments like this as foreshadowing for the relationship they’ll have in the future. However, there’s no indication that Kauffman and Crane always knew the characters would end up together.
Monica and Chandler take their relationship to the next level during the Friends Season 4 finale, “The One With Ross’ Wedding, Part 2.” Monica is depressed that Ross is getting married for the second time while she’s still single. To cheer herself up, she goes looking for Joey to have a meaningless fling. Instead, she finds Chandler and discovers he has feelings for her. Though they feel awkward around each other after sleeping together, both agree that they like each other and continue their new relationship in secret.
Monica shockingly pops up out of Chandler’s hotel room bed
Executive Producer Scott Silveri explained that they decided in season 3 to pair up Monica and Chandler to encourage the longevity of the show, but knew they needed to do it in a unique way.
“The thinking was, if the show’s going to be entertaining for years to come, it can’t simply rest on this one [Ross and Rachel] relationship,” Silveri told Vulture. “So it follows that if another pair got together, that would be fun and provide more story. And it’s organic: If you get six friends together, all around the same age, there’s gonna be a little mixing and matching as time goes on. It felt real.”
And audiences were certainly surprised when Monica came out of hiding in Chandler’s bed right after Ross stopped by. “Do you think he knew I was here?” she asked with disheveled hair, with the audience shrieked in delight.
“The goal from the get-go was to treat Monica and Chandler’s hookup as a surprise, a jolt in the second half of the hour-long episode to add some energy and fun,” Silveri explained.
“The only real debate was around just how we’d get Monica and Chandler there that morning, how many crumbs to drop to lead the audience and the characters to the moment, all in hopes that the fact that they ended up in bed that morning wouldn’t feel unmotivated and false.”
Fans reacted positively to the Chandler and Monica scene
Silveri remembers how much fans loved seeing Monica and Chandler get together.
“So we got to experience them seeing that [Monica and Chandler] scene three times,” the EP continued. “The first time, I was huddled around a monitor, watching [the actors] perform. And when Monica popped up from beneath the sheets, there was just this explosion from the audience. It was a combination of a laugh/gasp/cry/shriek.”
He continued, stunned by the audience embracing the concept. “They were just blown away by it. It was so intense, for the second or third takes, instead of watching the monitors, I just turned around and watched the audience.”
“Before the dawn of social media, you could keep secrets,” he told Vulture, laughing. “We didn’t have to worry about it.”
Show creators would have abandoned Monica and Chandler’s relationship
Fortunately, Friends fans loved seeing Chandler hook up with Monica. But the show’s creators were fully ready to let their fling be just that if everyone hated it.
“The question was, ‘All right, is this something we dispense with after a week? [or] Is it something we explore a little more?’” Silveri confirmed.
“[Kaufman and Crane] did that with all of the relationship arcs.”
With Monica and Chandler, he said, “There were plans, but there was no [final] decision. It was always, ‘We’re gonna see how it feels … We’re gonna see how it plays to the audience,’ and then go forward from there. It was sound producing on their part.”
Monica and Chandler got married and eventually adopted children together. Ross and Rachel were the most popular couple at first on Friends. However, by the end, fans arguably loved Monica and Chandler best of all.