James Burrows, the director of the iconic TV show “Friends”, comments in his latest memoir that the producers almost replaced Helen Baxendale, who played Ross’s wife Emily. According to Burrows, her on-screen relationship with David Schwimmer, who played Ross, didn’t elicit the laughs that are crucial in a sitcom.
Burrows noted, “In the realm of sitcoms and romantic comedies, humor is as vital as romantic chemistry. Schwimmer had no one to relate to humorously, which made us realize that the Ross’ future girlfriends had to be as funny as Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston.
The idea of recasting Emily proved difficult due to the show’s tight production schedules. Burrows explained, “Logistics often get in the way of revision. The character has to generate laughs, and if it doesn’t work, sometimes you have no choice but to write the character.”
Emily made her first appearance in the fourth season and appeared in a total of 14 episodes. The character became famous when Ross mistakenly said Rachel’s name instead of Emily’s during their wedding vows in season 5. The couple eventually broke up and Baxendale’s character was written off the series .
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