Friends fans may consider the series a perfect sitcom, but executive producers Kevin Bright, David Crane and Marta Kauffman don’t exactly love every single plotline over 10 seasons. Kauffman, 62, was asked if she regres any specific story at Tribeca TV Festival’s 25th Anniversary Celebration of Friends discussion.
“The stalker. David Arquette,” she said Friday in New York City. “We did a lot of rewriting on that to make that work.”
The 1996 episode titled “The One with the Jam” sees guest star Arquette’s character Malcolm stalking Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) because he mistook her for her twin sister Ursula. Despite correcting him early on, Phoebe ends up justifying Malcolm’s behavior and falling for him — and even invites Malcolm to stalk her instead of Ursula.
Kauffman added that she “wasn’t sure that chickenpox worked either,” referring to a season 2 episode in which Phoebe gave the illness to a Navy sailor (Charlie Sheen) whom she occasionally dated when he was in town.
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Bright, who directed “The One with the Jam,” revealed that Kudrow, now 56, felt challenged by scenes in which both Phoebe and Ursula appeared. Kudrow’s older sister Helene actually helped mark those scenes with her.
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“Lisa did really not have a good time doing them,” said Bright, 64. “She did not like acting with a double and I think in a way she might’ve made it more difficult because her double was her actual sister … So those scenes were a bit tricky to shoot but ended up being a lot of fun when you put it together.”
Another way the creators incorporated Kudrow’s real life into the show: by making her pregnant in season 4 when she was expecting son Julian, now 21. But instead of giving Phoebe a conventional pregnancy, she served as a surrogate for her brother’s triplets.
“We weren’t ready to have a baby on the show,” said Crane, 62. “And so this seemed like it was weird and different and could also give us lots of comedy and lots of stories.”