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On Friends season 1 episode 4, there is a scene where Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel are all on the balcony telling stories. At one point Rachel sits up from where she is leaning against a pillow on the fire escape and the pillow falls. Rachel takes a moment to let the audience laughter end and then says "anyway..." and tells her story.

Later, in the credits scene, a man knocks on the door of the apartment with an unamused look on his face, and without a word returns the pillow to Chandler who says thanks and sets it aside.

This seems like a mistake that was written into the episode after the fact to explain the falling pillow. Is this the case or was the joke originally intended to be in the episode?

Pillow Falling

Pillow Returned

  • I think that man who brings up the pillow was the Yeti whose name I forgot but Rachel later had few dates with him – Vishwa Aug 20 at 9:46
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    "...a mistake that was written into the episode after the fact..." After the fact? After WHAT fact? You seem to be of the impression that they only shot the balcony scene once and then HAD to work with what happened (ie: pillow falling) whether they liked it or not. TV shows are not filmed in one go, take it or leave it. They usually aren't even filmed in chronological order, nor are all scenes from a single episode filmed at once. They could have easily gone back and re-shot the balcony scene until they got it just right. No need to write in any last minute gags to explain anything. – Steve-O Aug 20 at 13:13
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    @Steve-O I'm fully aware that tv and film are capable of filming scenes multiple times to get it right. My question is simple. Was the pillow gag added later due to onset magic/mistakes, or was it part of the original script? Ad libbing is a very common practice in film and tv as well and the elements that make the final cut are not always part of the original script. – sanpaco Aug 20 at 20:27
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    @sanpaco I agree ad-libbing is a thing, but the way your question was worded suggested that they were scrambling to account for something they couldn't correct. – Steve-O Aug 21 at 13:59
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    @Steve-O - agreed, I reread it a few times before I understood. Perhaps a better title is "Was this pillow joke on Friends in the original script, or added during filming?" – BruceWayne Aug 21 at 17:07
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IMDb, bberry and me.me claims:

When Phoebe, Monica and Rachel were out on the balcony, Rachel knocks her pillow over the edge. That wasn't really supposed to happen, but they left it in anyway.

From friends-tv.org

One reader asked if the pillow falling from the balcony in TOW George Stephanopoulis [1.04] was scripted or a just wonderful flub by JA.

Alexa Junge: "The pillow falling thing evolved on the stage. It may have come from the director, James Burrows or the actors or as a result of all their comic heads working together. I don't know for sure. All I know is we came by to see a run-through and were surprised by the wonderful bit and it stuck.

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    The links for the first quote have the same exact wording. Bad example of plagiarism. I am not sure how much credit we can give them. The second quote does not really answer the question, but at least, it is from an authoritative source. – Taladris Aug 20 at 10:06
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    @Taladris on the contrary, I think the second quote answers the question well: It wasn't in the script, but it was done intentionally, and wasn't an accident – Baldrickk Aug 20 at 16:15
  • @Baldrickk That's not what it says. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 21 at 11:57
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit I was paraphrasing... "it evolved on the stage" is the key bit to answer the question - it wasn't already in the script, and it wasn't a one-off accident. Of course it could have happened by accident in a early run-through, and they decided they liked it enough to want to add it, but Alexa is stating that they had added it on the stage by the time they saw that run-through. Maybe I could have said "wasn't an accident while filming" – Baldrickk Aug 21 at 13:52
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    @Baldrickk Just because something evolved on-stage doesn't mean it did so deliberately. But yeah fair enough about the run-through whoops :D. So yeah I think the answer is still "we just don't know" "but if it was an accident, it's one that happened early in production and was deliberately kept in, not 'in the moment' during filming" – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 21 at 14:14

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