Guess what? The Friends cast all hated the theme song

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Moya Crockett
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What is it with ’90s TV stars ruining our favourite shows with their present-day insights and analysis? If it’s not Sarah Jessica Parker revealing her theory that Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda were just figments of Carrie’s imagination in Sex and the City, it’s Jennifer Aniston announcing that the cast of Friends never actually liked the show’s theme song.

You heard us. In a new interview, Aniston has revealed that she and her Friends co-stars disliked The Rembrandts’ track I’ll Be There for You (otherwise known as the soundtrack to our youths, Jennifer).

And it turns out that they weren’t fans of the show’s iconic opening credits, either.

“No one was really a big fan of that theme song,” Aniston told The One Show. “We felt it was a little… I don’t know. Dancing in a pond? A fountain felt sort of odd. We did it because we were told to.”

But Aniston did admit that she often watches Friends re-runs when they pop up on TV, despite the fact that the show ended more than 12 years ago – or perhaps because of it.

“I can’t help it,” she said. “First, I’m trying to remember which episode it is, and then half the time I’m saying to myself, ‘I don’t remember that’. You get sucked in.”

This – as anyone who has ever stumbled across an old episode on Comedy Central and then accidentally watched four in a row – is true.

Lisa Kudrow has also previously shed light on what filming that opening sequence was like in real life. And yeah, it doesn’t sound super-fun at first.

“I remember it being cold, and we had to do it way too many times,” she told People last year. “I don’t think we were in the mood or could even look like we were having fun anymore, but then Matthew Perry said, ‘I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in the fountain’, and we all laughed so hard.”

Kudrow added: “I think that’s what’s on TV.”

Incidentally, the story behind I’ll Be There For You is pretty fascinating – regardless of whether the cast enjoyed hearing it again and again. Based on a demo tape provided by the Friends producers, the theme song was co-written by Allee Willis, a songwriter who had previously written hits for Earth, Wind & Fire and the Pet Shop Boys. And she also didn’t like the track when she first heard it.

Watch: The ‘90s TV shows we loved

“I did not like the song at all, mainly because I was known for all of this R&B and soul stuff, and this was the whitest thing I had ever heard,” Willis told The A.V. Club in 2015. “The little demo that was done of it, it sounded almost country-ish.”

But if Aniston and Willis disliked I’ll Be There for You, it’s nothing compared to how Danny Wilde and Phil Solem – aka The Rembrandts – ended up feeling about it. 

“We were the darlings of alternative radio [before Friends],” Wilde told The A.V. Club, adding: “The audience changed. It was all about Friends. It wasn’t even like, ‘Well, let’s go and see The Rembrandts’; [it was like], ‘Let’s go see the band that does the Friends song.’ So it was pretty weird.”

“I wouldn’t want to go back to that,” agreed Solem.

Images: Warner Bros, BBC