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Phoebe's Character Was Almost Completely Different On Friends

So much of the success of "Friends" came from the sitcom's universal appeal and light humor, but a critical element was the chemistry the actors had with each other. Like other great sitcom ensembles such as "Arrested Development" and "Seinfeld," each actor was perfectly cast. However, the whole group still felt as if they'd known each other forever.

Actress Lisa Kudrow was no exception. As New Age-y, good-hearted massage therapist and busking musician Phoebe Buffay, Kudrow often had the most jarringly funny lines ("Don't get me started on gravity!") but she always felt like she belonged on the Central Perk couch with everyone else. Phoebe also had the darkest home life of the "Friends" gang, including a father who abandoned her when she was young. This often resulted in jokes where she cheerfully recounted her gloomy past. Nevertheless, the character kept up a sunny demeanor even in an often harsh world.

However, Phoebe wasn't necessarily meant to be a happy-go-lucky, superstitious singer-songwriter right from the start. Here are more details about the origins of Phoebe Buffay.

Phoebe was more of a goth when the show was first written

According to Factinate, the Phoebe character was originally written less like a folk hippie and more of a dark and brooding type. In an early incarnation of the series, she was a bit of a goth girl, which naturally meant Janeane Garolfolo was considered in casting sessions, among other actresses (per Screen Rant).

When Kudrow was cast, however, they rewrote the character so that she could have more of the actress' light, goofy energy. Ultimately, this was a boon for "Friends" and the character. It's easy to see why Phoebe might have been gloomier in the original treatments, especially considering her traumatic past, but the disconnect between the musician's dark history and her sunny behavior is arguably what always made Phoebe so bleakly funny. Instead, Chandler served as the sarcastic, anti-social member of the group, which matched Matthew Perry's energies perfectly.

Certainly, a goth Phoebe means that her "Smelly Cat" duet with Lady Gaga on the recent reunion special would have felt very different.