The longer a show goes on, the more writers try to keep things fresh for viewers but this can often lead to the kind of shock writing that turns fans off for life. Friends narrowly escaped this fate according to guest star Lisa Cash. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, via Cash’s interview with TMZ, there was a planned cheating scandal that would have started in the two-part season 5 finale, “The One in Vegas,” and startlingly it would have involved Chandler and Monica.
If you thought the fighting over whether Ross and Rachel were on a break was bad in fandom, the chaos that would have been unleashed if Chandler cheated on Monica would have been far worse. The set-up was simple. Still upset after their argument about her lunch with Richard (played by Tom Selleck), Chandler would have been alone, ordering room service.
Cash was originally supposed to play a hotel worker on who, once she delivers his food, hits it off with Chandler. The two were going to end up connecting after talking and laughing together. One thing would have led to another and Chandler would have made a relationship changing, potentially relationship ending, mistake that he’d never be able to come back from.
Why didn’t this scene air? Cash shared that Matthew Perry intervened:
“We had rehearsed it and everything, and then 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 will never forgive him for cheating on Monica, which, he was probably right. That would have changed possibly the course of the show, and of his character.”
Perry was absolutely right. Cheating storylines are hard to come back from on television let alone in sitcoms. As audience members, we become invested in the relationships we see onscreen. Seasons in, we’re expecting the couples we’re rooting for to tie the knot not implode because of infidelity especially one-off affairs that come out of nowhere.
Thankfully, the storyline was tossed out in favor of Chandler and Monica making up after their fight. While their decision to elope didn’t go ahead because they witnessed Rachel and Ross’ drunken altar visit, they did go home with their romance intact. As for Cash, she was written as a flight attendant just trying to do her job as Ross and Rachel engaged in a mini prank war.