It was a goodbye watched by more than 52 million TV viewers.
The last episode of “Friends” was the fourth most-watched television series finale in U.S. history when it aired May 6, 2004, bringing an end to Central Perk and the TV lives of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe.
The two-part series finale memorably wrapped up with an emotional reunion between TV’s most famous on-again and off-again couple, Rachel Green and Ross Geller, who ended up “on” after Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston, comes back home to Ross, played by David Schwimmer.
What the millions of viewers who watched the reunion – which involved a dash to the airport, a false alarm to dry to delay Rachel’s plane and then a last-minute decision by Rachel to get off the plane – didn’t know is that the happy ending almost didn’t happen.
To celebrate the Nov. 13 release of “Friends: The Complete Series” on Blu-ray, the man who created “Friends” and wrote the finale, David Crane, is admitting for the first time that the ending was almost not to be.
“That just seems so expected,” Crane says of Ross and Rachel ending up together in a clip from the Blu-ray set obtained by Entertainment Weekly.
Crane, also one of the show’s producers, says the writers searched for an unexpected resolution but ultimately decided to give the viewers, all 52 million of them, what they wanted.
“Maybe we do the vague, ‘There is hope for the future,’” he said. “Then we are like, ‘Screw that. We have waited 10 years. Give them what they want.’”