James Burrow sheds light on the hasty departure from the series of one of the characters who anticipated a greater presence.
Friends is one of those series who had plenty of time to sow all kinds of curiosities, anecdotes and details that tend to go unnoticed in the eyes of the public. What happens in Central Perk, stays in Central Perk.
The series lasted 10 seasons and the lives of its protagonists took many turns. The love story of Ross (David Schwimmer) y Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) was one of the pillars of Friends, but the lives of both characters took many turns.
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Ross, for example, married Emily (Helen Baxendale), who was a recurring character during seasons 4 and 5 of Friends. But that wedding sowed the seeds of discord when Ross said “Rachel” instead of “Emily” at the ceremony itself.
What we saw in the series was only the explanation that would end with Emily returning to the United Kingdom. Behind the cameras, the explanation for the hasty departure of Helen Baxendale is in your record.
Friends didn’t need an “unfunny” actress
As reported by the Daily Mail (via NZ Herald), James Burrowdirector of Friends, indicates in his memoirs, Directed by James Burrow, that the cause of Helen Baxendale’s departure from the series is due to her poor chemistry with David Schwimmer onscreen.
“She was kind, but not particularly funny. Schwimmer didn’t have anyone to contrast with him. It was like clapping with one hand. In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, funny is as important as chemistry. We understood that any new girlfriend Ross had to be as funny as Rachel.
Often, it is not possible to recast a character due to tight filming schedules or other considerations. You need someone who makes you laugh. Sometimes you start an arc and it doesn’t work, so you have to get rid of that person.”
Helen Baxendale said goodbye to Friends at the beginning of season 5, although she would have a voice cameo shortly after, at the end of that same season. The adventures of the protagonists continued without her, as happens in reality. Do you think James Burrow is right? Didn’t Helen Baxendale and David Schwimmer mix well on Friends?