‘Friends’: Fans Have a Theory About Why the Coffee Table Is Always Reserved at Central Perk

The relatable characters of Friends combined with the talented actors and actresses that portrayed them helped make it a staple sitcom.

One of the most iconic locations on the popular series was the Central Perk, which was the cornerstone of the group’s friendship. The group scored the same seating arrangement each time, and fans have a theory behind why. As the coffee shop in the middle of New York City, it would be almost impossible to score prime seating in real life.

However, in the Friends world, the explanation is more obvious than you might think. 

Things you might not know about Central Perk

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing | NBCU Photo Bank

As one of the most recognized TV show sets, the Central Perk was the hang-out spot for the six main characters on the hit sitcom Friends. Even with the significance held on the show, some fans may not know all the details that created this comfy spot.

According to TheTalko, the iconic orange couch was leftover furniture found in the basement of Warner Bros.’ studios instead of hand-picked for the show. They later hid the flaws of the comfy piece, but surprisingly it was until filming the final episode that it endured a stain. Jennifer Aniston‘s blue pen exploded and stained the back of the couch. While the well-loved show finished production, the cast members received a part of the sidewalk outside Central Perk as a final season gift, which shows the importance of the location to the crew. 

‘Friends’ wouldn’t have been the same without Gunther 

Although Gunther was only a supporting actor on Friends, he became a significant part of the show. Gunther is the peroxide blonde hair manager of Central Perk, portrayed by James Michael Tyler. While he was a regular on the show and was in the friends’ day-to-day lives, Gunther was never considered part of the inner circle.

This became a running joke throughout the show and had him left out of formal parties, including not being invited to their weddings. Since he was on good terms with the close-knit group, he was often invited to their informal parties, such as birthdays or Halloween. His appearance also was a recurring joke on the show, often used as an unattractive alternative to the main group. 

It wasn’t until season three that fans learn of Gunther’s crush on Rachel. He fantasized about marrying her and slipped to Joey that being able to stare at Rachel all day was one of the perks of his job at the coffee shop. He shows jealousy for any other men who were lucky to get into a relationship with her, including Ross.

Gunther’s love obsession with Rachel was a way that she could get anything she wanted from him. When Joey was fired from the Central Perk, he almost immediately agreed to give his job back when Rachel asked. 

Fans have a theory of why the ‘Friends’ group always had the same seating at Central Perk

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While the drama changed, one thing remained the same in each episode of Friends: the group’s table and chairs at the busy NYC coffee shop. The Tao of Screenwriting stated the obvious reason they had prime seating at the busy Central Perk. The logical explanation is a “Reserved” sign seen on the table in many episodes. The real mystery that fans have theorized about is why and how the group was able to reserve the same table day after day.

The fan theory behind the table reservation mystery is one word: Gunther. Since Gunter was a supporting cast member of the hit show from the beginning and Rachel eventually worked at Central Perk, fans have put the puzzle pieces together.

Since Gunther always had a crush on Rachel, it makes sense that he would do anything for her and her friends, including allowing them to be the only ones allowed to use the “Reserved” table.