Courteney Cox as Monica Geller and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing in 'Friends'

We Have Matthew Perry To Thank for Preventing This Awful ‘Friends’ Plot Twist

Chandler and Monica were the best couple on Friends. Sorry, Ross and Rachel. They were by far the more mature relationship, an unlikely pair brought together by shared insecurities who grew into a warm and loving marriage. But, according to an actor on the show, they very nearly ended up the same way Ross and Rachel did—until Matthew Perry stopped it.

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Matthew Perry’s tragic death has sparked renewed interest in Friends and the goings on behind the scenes of the beloved sitcom. In an interview with TMZ, actor Lisa Cash says she was cast in the show to play a woman Chandler cheated on Monica with in the episode “The One In Vegas.” Says Cash:

The scene was, Chandler and Monica were arguing in Vegas about having lunch with Richard. Initially in our script, Chandler goes up to the hotel room, orders room service and I bring it up [to him] as a hotel worker. We end up talking and laughing and connecting and Chandler ends up cheating on Monica with my character.

Cash went on to say, “We had rehearsed it and everything.”

Isn’t this just recycling an earlier plot?

You may have noted that the proposed Monica-Chandler cheating plotline sounds almost exactly like Ross and Rachel’s famous “we were on a break” plot. During season 3, Rachel and Ross fall out and Rachel asks to “take a break” from the relationship. Ross is furious, especially when he finds out that Rachel went to the home of her co-worker Mark right after the argument, so he cheats on her with “the hot girl from the Xerox place.” The results were catastrophic, and it took a very long time for Ross and Rachel to get back together again.

Having Chandler do the exact same thing to Monica would cheapen the whole show, and according to Lisa Cash, that’s exactly what Matthew Perry thought as well. “The day before we were shooting in front of a live audience, I was told that Perry went to the writers and said the audience would never forgive [Chandler] for cheating on Monica,” she explained. “He was probably right. That would’ve changed possibly the course of the show and his character.”

Cash herself wasn’t left out when the plot was changed. She was instead given the role of the flight attendant for Ross and Rachel’s drunken trip to join the others in Vegas.

Matthew Perry’s legacy

Perry was found dead at his home on October 28. The exact cause of his death is still undetermined, but it may have been an accidental drowning in his hot tub. His struggles with addiction were well-documented, but according to Friends co-creator Marta Kaufman, Perry was “emotionally in a good place” before his sudden and unexpected death.

Perry was laid to rest on November 4, and all five of his main Friends co-stars—Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc—attended. Now talk is turning as to his lasting legacy.

Perry was known for helping others struggling with substance abuse issues, and a foundation has been set up in his name to continue providing resources to those in need. And we also have him to thank for not allowing Chandler, his relationship with Monica, and arguably the whole of Friends to be ruined by a cheap plot.

(featured image: NBC)

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.