Friends writers originally included a joke in the much-loved TV show about Joey being secretly gay, but it was later cut.
As news of the eagerly-anticipated Friends reunion was announced, it has also emerged that an early draft of “The One With Ross’s Wedding” explicitly referred to Joey as gay.
During the episode, most of the group travels to London for Ross’s wedding to Emily, but Phoebe, who is heavily pregnant with triplets, stays home with Rachel, who intends to look after her.
In one scene Rachel begins explaining that she isn’t going to the ceremony because Ross is her ex-boyfriend and it would be “uncomfortable”, ultimately coming to the realisation that she is still in love with him.
The punchline comes when Phoebe says: “We thought you knew! Yeah, we all know!
“We talk about it all the time… It’s so obvious! God, that would be like telling Monica, ‘Hey, you like things clean.'”
But according to Grazia, the first draft of the scene, published in the book of the original Friends script, saw Phoebe continue: “Or, ‘Hey, Joey, you’re gay.'”
The first season of Friends kicked off on NBC in 1994 and garnered a huge following during its 10-season run.
But in recent years, the show has faced criticism for its often offensive depiction of LGBT+ characters, including its depiction of Chandler’s “dad”, played by cis female actor Kathleen Turner.
The character was introduced as a drag performer, but after the show finished airing co-creator Marta Kauffman confirmed she was a trans woman. Despite this, the character’s appearance and gender identity were used as a running punchline.
Kauffman teared up during a virtual panel of female showrunners last year, reflecting on the portrayal of LGBT+ characters in Friends and saying: “I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.”