You think that you know every single thing about the show Friends. Don't you? You were obsessed with the cast from day one. You have watched all the reruns over and over again. You then revisited the show commercial-free on Netflix years later. You've studied, analyzed and memorized, but you may have missed one major detail. Do you remember when they replaced Rachel with some random girl and never ever talked about it? Yea, I didn't think so!
Okay please follow along. Go back to Season 9, episode 1, The One With The Mugging.
According to D'Amico, "Only a few minutes into the episode, an enthusiastic Rachel rushes into Monica’s apartment to tell Joey that he got an audition with the famous and fictional actor, Leonard Hayes, played by Jeff Goldblum."
It then cuts over to the other three in the scene and when it cuts back, Rachel has been replaced! How dare they!? They didn't even put her in the same shirt. Did they think we wouldn't notice. I guess so because we didn't!
So how could a show like Friends make such a huge mistake? Well, one theory is that this may not have been a problem when the show originally aired due to how it was originally formatted. Now with this new 4:3 formatting, this is a whole other story.
So that was clearly her stand-in getting her big break. Could this stand-in have also been the photo double used in Jenn's passport photo in the final episode? That isn't Jennifer in that photo. Come on, we know the real Rachel when we see her.
But Rachel isn't the only cast member who was temporarily replaced and thrown to the side without any mention at all. Look at this picture of Phoebe and Monica chatting away. When they cut to another angle and come back...
Monica is poof! Gone! Just like that. No word, no notice and no warning. These stand-ins sure got their end of the bargain and more. No more behind the scenes for these stand-ins. This is now their time to shine!
Could you imagine how many more times they may have fooled us this way and got away with it? And think about how many years were we living without knowing the truth. All the times we thought that Monica was talking to Rachel or Phoebe was talking to Monica....Lies, all lies! I don't even know what is real anymore.
A stand-in is typically used to help the crew light certain areas and help the camera focus and know what needs to happen in the scene. The stand-ins rehearse the scenes, and everyone marks their movements as they do. When it comes time to shoot, the regular cast members usually step in and the stand-in steps out.
While the stand-in is usually not seen on camera, a photo double is. Photo doubles are chosen because they look exactly like the actor. Sometimes the back of the head of a character will not be the star but it will be the photo double instead. However, when they use a double they will usually be very careful to make sure they film it in a way that no one would notice that it isn't the star. I guess Friends didn't do such a great job in that department. Did they? Maybe we should ask fake Rachel and fake Monica what they think?