Courteney Cox Sweetly Surprises Friends Fans Visiting the Central Perk Set

Courteney Cox recently gave fans a delightful surprise when she worked at the Warner Bros. gift shop in LA to help fans checking out the Friends set.

By Alyssa Morin Oct 02, 2021 5:19 PMTags

The one where Courteney Cox surprises fans.

The Friends actress took a break from her typical schedule to spend some time at the famous Central Perk set on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles. While the Emmy-nominated star has returned to the studio in recent months to reminisce over the beloved TV series, her latest visit was slightly different.

On Friday, Oct. 1, Courteney took to Instagram to share behind-the-scenes footage of herself working at the Warner Bros. gift shop, where she helped guests who purchased items from the Friends souvenir section.

"Do you want me to put it in the same bag or a different bag?" the A-lister asked one person buying merch, adding, "And you get a picture."

In the short clip, they posed for a selfie as Courteney stood behind the gift shop register. Another sweet moment captured the 57-year-old actress taking drink orders for guests.

Friends Cast's Many Reunions

"Here you go," she told fans sitting inside a replica of the iconic Central Perk. "The Rachel and The Monica."

After a hard day's work, the Scream star concluded, "Woo my shift is over!"

She captioned her Instagram video, "When I'm not acting… #inbetweenthescenes."


Just last month, Courteney delighted fans when she took a studio tour on the Warner Bros. lot.

She explained at the time, "Here I am on the backlot of Warner Bros. filming my show, Shining Veil. There's definitely a lot of time in between set-ups, but I don't get bored. I see opportunity all around."

"We're at stage five, which is right here on our right," she told guests. "This is where Friends started in 1994, and is now occupied by a show called Shining Veil, starring me."

If you have FOMO, take a look back at the Friends set in our gallery below and feel like you're with the star herself. 

The Purple Walls

Yes, the walls of Monica's apartment have always been purple. Production designer John Shaffner's suggestion to paint the walls purple was not immediately met with agreement, but once he painted a little bit of the set and showed the shade of purple he was envisioning, it was an immediate hit. 

"In the pilot, the whole color scheme was based on the fact that the girls liked color and weren't afraid of it," Shaffner shares with E! News. "And of course, purple is the perfect color for all skin tones and hair colors. It's the best complement you can have. Blue is good, but blue is more gender neutral and the purple did give that atmosphere of being a little more feminine." 

Brown for the Boys

While the girls got purple, the boys got brown. 

"For the boys' apartment, in the first season, I said, everything in this apartment is going to be brown," Shaffner explains. "So we had brown carpet on a brown floor with brown drapes and a brown sofa and tan walls, and the boys were scared of color. Then they kinda got over it and got their yellow sofa, and started to jazz it up a bit as they got more secure in their manhood." 

The Secret Closet

Both apartments are designed for ideal comedy potential, with the bedrooms on one side and the kitchen and bathroom on the other. That meant that there was constant need for people to be walking back and forth across the living room. 

In the middle of it all was a mysterious door, set down a small hallway. 

"Everybody said, 'What's that door?' And I said, 'Well, why don't we wait and see what you think of?'" Shaffner remembers, and that resulted in the season eight episode, "The One with the Secret Closet." Turns out it's full of Monica's secret mess. 

The Peep Hole Picture Frame

Shaffner says that when he lived in a New York apartment like the one Monica has, he always had something hung on the door. His door usually had a peg for scarves or an umbrella, or maybe a chalkboard, and he wanted something similar for the show. Art director Greg Grande then came up with the picture frame. 

"I remember so clearly. He waved at me and he said, 'Come over here.' I came over, and he said, 'What do you think about this?'" Shaffner recalls. "He held up the little yellow picture frame, and held it over the peep hole. First of all, the color against the purple was spectacular. And I loved that it was so whimsical and fun, and it's a picture frame, for the peep hole through which you see your friends. So it's like a picture of all your friends! I just thought it was the most marvelous thing." 

The Confusing Exterior

No, the outside of the apartment building does not match the inside, and that's OK. 

"What always cracked me up is when they went for the establishing shot, they were in a real hurry so they found this picture of a building in New York that had arched windows on the top floor," Shaffner says. "And so I always explain it like, well, their apartment was in the back. And they were lucky because they were on a floor that only had two apartments on it." 

However, while Monica's apartment was bigger, purple, and had a balcony and brick in the kitchen, the apartments were designed to look like they could be in the same building. The moldings, all designed after Shaffner's real New York apartment, all match, and they have similar layouts. 

Shaffner was also accused of giving the apartment the kind of balcony and window that did not exist in New York, so he went on a mission to find that balcony in New York, take "a million" pictures, and prove he didn't make it up. 

That Pesky Post

As David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow greeted each other at the beginning of the reunion special, one of the first things they discussed was the post at the front of Monica's apartment set, and how a decision had been made to get rid of that post during the series. Shaffner explained that the post had been there from the beginning to indicate that at some point, the residents had taken down the wall between the kitchen and living room, which was common in New York apartment buildings because "landlords don't bother to come see what you've done."

Prolific director Jimmy Burrows was a big fan of that post.

"He loved this post and to shoot around it," Shaffner said. "So in the first season, when Jimmy was directing, most of the time we had the post there."

Then other directors came in, and they did not like shooting around the post, so it was removed. But every time Burrows returned, he wanted the post back. It had to be rebuilt halfway through the series because it got lost, and then had to be rebuilt once again for this special, in Burrows' honor.

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