Did you know that the ‘Paul the wine guy’ story almost didn’t make it to the screen?
Just before NBC launched its sitcom about six twenty-something friends trying to figure out life in New York City, the network had some issues with Monica’s pilot story.
“When we were doing the pilot, Don Meyer, who was then the head of NBC, took real issue with the fact that Monica sleeps with a guy on the first date. Friends co-creator said, ‘We’re not going to like her!’ But we really held our ground on it.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, director James Burrows insisted on having a live audience run-through so network execs can see exactly “what’s working.” While the network “gave the audience a questionnaire that was so skewed,” it actually came back with a super positive response to the Monica and Paul the wine guy story.
“The audience all came back with, ‘No, we still like her,’” Crane says. “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.’”
Despite being a bit of a controversial story back in the mid-90s, it made it into the pilot.