Soft. Like velvet. Like sitting on a cloud. A cloud that will always be there for you. That’s what it felt like, sitting on the very same couch that the cast of Friends sat on all those years ago.
As the Warner Brothers tour came to an end, I could feel the anticipation of entering into the world I’ve always wanted to be a part of. As I turned the corner, tears filled my eyes as the set of Central Perk was laid out before me, in perfect array. I held my breath as we waited in line to place our eager tushes on the infamous upholstery. FINALLY it was our turn. It all happened so fast. We held mugs, looked in several directions for the “paparazzi,” and then it was on to the next in line.
However, this isn’t nearly the end of the story. Oh no, my “Friends,” we’re just getting started. What I didn’t mention is that we’d already witnessed the “Central Park” where Rachel and Phoebe ran together, the stairs Ross played the keyboard on during the prom flashback, Frank Jr.’s House, and the “field” where Red Ross played Rugby. My heart was already soaring just from those instances and then from getting to sit where they sat, breathe the same air, just, you know, 10+ years later. Ok, so maybe not the EXACT same air. Regardless, I felt so close to my favorite characters.
I had no idea how much closer I was about to get. Back at the Perk, after our photo, there was a countdown on television screens above the set, a countdown for the next shooting. I HAD to be a part of it. I WOULD be a part of it, no matter what I had to do. And here we go…
The set attendant turned to all of us gathered around and asked who loved Friends. Thinking everyone would scream their guts out, I gave it my all. And I was the loudest… I’m sure I had a crazy look in my eyes when she turned to me and asked who my favorite character was, to which I replied “Phoebe Buffay.” All of a sudden, my dreams had come true. The heavens had opened as she began to sing “Smelly Cat.” She handed me the mic, as I proudly sang the line, “What are they feeding you?” Then, as we all continued to sing, the attendant was about to turn to me again with the mic and the WORST thing happened. I don’t know how it could have happened. I guess with all the hype my mind just couldn’t process it all, but I BLANKED! I FROZE! Thank goodness for the rest of the crowd helping me out. Even my husband made fun of me with, “REALLY?! You of all people!”
After that slight embarrassment, I was chosen to play Rachel in a scene (the only available female role that had nothing to do with my failure as Phoebe). The attendant asked me who I had brought with me, “My husband, but he doesn’t want to do this,” I said. She persisted that I needed a Ross to my Rachel. He begrudgingly obliged as the crowd egged him on. We were joined by a Joey participant, as well. Suddenly all eyes were on us as we watched the scene from “The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner” and rehearsed our lines.
Lights. Camera. Action. It was my time to shine as a member of the Friends cast. I was giddy. Like on Christmas morning. I said my lines flawlessly, unlike the “Smelly Cat” incident. As we watched the playback I was just so full of joy all I could do was smile and forbear a scream.
As we walked away, I couldn’t focus on anything else for this part of the tour. All I could think about was going back. So we did. Like five times. And on the last time, we lucked out. MAJORLY.
We noticed that no one was in line for pictures, and people were exploring the set! So, obviously, we got pictures all over the place. I kept touching everything, from coffee pots, to mugs, to magazines, to an old computer, to a guitar meant to look like Phoebe’s. I couldn’t stop soaking up each and every detail. I’m getting emotional right now just thinking about it, thinking about how I miss it so much and how I want to go back every single day. Once we had taken in every inch of the set, it was time to get our Central Perk coffee. And as we walked out, my tummy was warm with mocha and my heart was warm with a deeper love for my favorite Friends.
Thank you Warner Brothers for letting fans experience something so raw and beautiful. I’m forever grateful.