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Friends creator Marta Kauffman reveals her favourite on-screen couple (and it's not who you'd expect)

Friends.jpg

For many of us, watching Friends was a huge part of our adolescence. We gunned for Ross and Rachel all throughout the mid-nineties, dreamed of eating one of Monica's home-cooked meals and desperately wished we were as funny as Chandler. Even the way we speak has been moulded by over-watching our favourite six pals, and you can guarantee that slipping a Friends reference into a conversation will be well-received by all. 

Despite the final series ending eleven years ago, we are still just as obsessed as ever. 

Lucky for us, Friends co-creator, Marta Kauffman is onto new things. Her Netflix show, Grace and Frankie, has been a huge success.

Kauffman spoke exclusively with Stylist.co.uk and told us all about her writing room regrets, her favourite Friends couple and why, with the advent of Netflix bingeing, Grace and Frankie is a totally different ballgame. 

Friends

“Friends was, in essence, a very hopeful, happy show,” Kauffman says.

“Television is a very intimate experience: you bring the characters into your home, you watch the shows in your pyjamas, or naked, or doing the ironing. The people in Friends were people you wanted to have around - people you liked. That's why it worked."

Kauffman revealed, somewhat unexpectedly, that Joey and Chandler were here favourite on-screen couple.

“I loved their marriage-like relationship,” she says.

“They were part of a special relationship that we developed through the course of the show.”

As we all discovered with shock earlier in the year, Monica and Chandler were a surprise couple - the writers had only planned for them to enjoy a short comedic fling, but the audience loved them together so much, the writers changed their path and had them end up together.

Friends

But what about the other coulda-woulda-shoulda couples in the show? We all thought Phoebe and Joey would happen. Kauffman was quick to deny this, saying without hesitation that:

“Joey and Phoebe could never have happened.”

Martha admitted that being part of the team that created Friends wasn’t always an easy ride:

“In the writer’s room was a bunch of smart sassy writers, so of course no one was ever on the same page.”

“But that’s what was fun about it,” she says. “We forced each other to make it better. It really helps to have those people who play the devil’s advocate to make it the best show it can be.”

Unsurprisingly, Kauffman has no regrets about the show – we don’t think we would, either – but she did say there were a couple of jokes she wasn’t quite so fond of…

“Sometimes when I watch an episode I think, ‘how did we get that joke through?’ or ‘how did we not change that gag?’” she says.

grace and frankie

Grace and Frankie

Kauffman's new show, Grace and Frankie, focuses on the lives of two middle-aged women who are forced to reinvent themselves when they find out their husbands are having an affair with each other.

As it’s a Netflix series, Kauffman has had to work in quite a different way than back when she was on Friends.

Now that we can devour an entire series in one sitting, we are consuming our television shows in a completely different way. According to Netflix research, it is now possible to tell exactly when viewers get hooked on a show - and surprisingly, it's never usually the pilot, with the first episode holding far less importance than it once did.

Netflix analysed its global streaming data to find that the moment when audiences became fans varied hugely per show - and also, per country, with the Dutch falling in love with a show much faster than than viewers in Australia or New Zealand. It also means viewers could be watching four or five episodes of something before they become truly hooked.

This means that while it is still important, a pilot no longer has the make-or-break pressure that it once did – a sure-fire relief for producers and writers like Kauffman:

“It has been incredibly liberating not to have to rely solely on a pilot when making Grace and Frankie,” she says. “Pilots are probably the hardest thing to write.

“You don’t have to establish anything instantly anymore, so you have more time to let a story unfold more naturally. It’s a wonderful process for a writer.”

While Kauffman is far too busy to indulge in the sort of Netflix binges that so many of us partake in, she revealed that her favourite Netflix shows are House of Cards and Bloodline.

For us, though, Friends will always top the list.

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