Part of Monica’s charm on Friends is the fact she makes no apologies for who she is, her sex life and her excessive cleanliness. Well it turns out that NBC – the network that owns the TV show – wasn’t too fond of Monica initially, especially the sex stuff, and tried to get the writers to scrap one of her best storylines.
Friends co-creator David Crane spilled the beans to EW and revealed that NBC head Don Meyer wasn’t too pleased about Monica’s plot in the pilot episode where she sleeps with some dude on the first date.
Despite the showrunners holding their ground amidst Meyer’s pearl-clutching cries of “no one’s going to like her!” the NBC head tried to strong-arm them into changing Monica’s storyline with some good ol’ slut-shaming.
Director James Burrows planned to have a live audience give feedback on the Friends pilot and NBC decided to get them to fill out a ridiculously “skewed” questionnaire about Monica that asked stuff like “When she does this, is she a trollop? Is she a slut?”
Happily, the audience all responded with a “nah, we still like Monica, sex and all,” and Meyer was basically forced to let the Friends showrunners do what they want at that point.
But being the petty little prude that he is, the NBC head got one last dig in by expressing his delight in the resolution of Monica’s story (she gets screwed over by the dude she sleeps with), which didn’t exactly go down well with Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman.
“Then Don got on board because he said, ‘Well I’m okay with it because she gets what she deserves when the guy sort of screws her over.'”
“I could see the steam coming out of [co-creator] Marta’s [Kauffman] nose. And I’m tap-dancing going, ‘But you’re okay with it! So if you’re okay with it then we’re good, let’s move on, yay!'”
But Friends ultimately got the last laugh in because Monica’s story in the pilot was untouched, she (and the rest of the cast) quickly became some of TV’s most beloved characters ever, and the show became something of a trailblazer in the depiction of sex on television.
Clutch your pearls at that, Don Meyer.