TV

From Brad Pitt To Reese Witherspoon: These ‘Friends’ Guest Stars Might Surprise You

It’s been 11 years today since the finale of Friends aired. Feel old yet? Many shows have tried to emulate the formula, but nothing has come close to the cultural impact of Friends since it went off the air in 2004. There may be pretenders, but there’s only one Smelly Cat.

Anyway, after running for ten seasons, could there be any more guest stars?! Sure, the core six were always there with a palpable chemistry and easy rapport, but it was always fun to have familiar faces show up for an episode or two. Some guests stuck around for a long time, like Paul Rudd, Tom Selleck, Hank Azaria, Aisha Tyler, Elliott Gould, and Giovanni Ribisi. However, this list is for the famous (or someday famous) actors that popped up only for a brief time, but managed to make an impact on whatever scenes they were in.

Jim Rash

Nervous Male Passenger in “The Last One” (Season 10, Episode 18)

Before he won an Oscar for The Descendants and was everyone’s favorite Dean, Jim Rash briefly appeared in the series finale. He starts a mass panic on Rachel’s flight over an issue with the “phalange,” a misunderstanding perpetuated by Phoebe. I wish I could tell you that this was pre-9/11. It was not.

Mae Whitman

Sarah Tuttle in “The One Where Rachel Quits” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Mae Whitman broke our hearts in Parenthood, but Ross broke her arm by accidentally pushing the little Girl Scout down the stairs. Luckily, he made up for her missing space camp by tricking out her bedroom with space gear. Totally not creepy, right?

Anna Faris

Erica in “The One with The Birth Mother” (Season 10, Episode 9)

Anna Faris played Erica, the birthmother to Monica and Chandler’s twins. She went on to appear in four more episodes. Bonus! Parks and Recreations‘ Jim O’Heir also appeared in this episode as the social worker who mixed up the Bing’s information file. Dammit, Jerry!

Scott Adsit

The Director in “The One with Ross and Monica’s Cousin” (Season 7, Episode 19)

Hornberger! Adsit showed up in this episode as a director holding one of Joey’s auditions. Joey pretended (through various… arts and crafts) to be uncircumcised for the role, which required full frontal nudity. He was not convincing.

Brad Pitt

Will Colbert in “The One with the Rumor” (Season 8, Episode 9)

The former Mr. Jennifer Aniston was in one of the classic Thanksgiving episodes as a former classmate of Rachel and the Gellars. Secrets are brought to light, and it’s revealed that Will and Ross used to have an “I Hate Rachel Green” club back in the day. Despite this happening years ago in high school, Rachel does not take it well.

Jennifer Coolidge

Amanda Buffamonteezi in “The One with Ross’s Tan” (Season 10, Episode 3)

With her insane dancing, inflated sense of confidence, and Madonna-esque fake accent, Jennifer Coolidge is certainly an odd guest. She plays Phoebe and Monica’s old roommate who they are attempting to ice out.

Jennifer Saunders

Andrea Waltham in “The One with Ross’s Wedding: Part Two” (Season 4, Episode 24)

One half of the dynamic Absolutely Fabulous duo, Jennifer Saunders played the stepmother of Ross’s second wife, Emily. She spends the entire episode drunk, belligerent, and hitting on every man except her husband.

Craig Robinson

The Clerk in “The One with Princess Consuela” (Season 10, Episode 14)

Before he worked at Dunder Mifflin or got in a time traveling hot tub, Craig Robinson was the clerk who helps Phoebe change her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock. Despite it being a short scene, Robinson’s trademark deadpan was still apparent.

Danny DeVito

Roy the Stripper in “The One Where the Stripper Cries” (Season 10, Episode 11)

When Monica and Rachel have to order a stripper at the last minute (as one does), they get more than they bargained for when Roy shows up. He may be in the twilight years of his career, but he still gives them quite a show.

Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Sandy in “The One with the Male Nanny” (Season 9, Episode 6)

After the birth of their daughter, Emma, Ross and Rachel undergo a search to find the right nanny for Emma. Freddie Prinze, Jr. shows up as Sandy, a gentle “manny” who comes fully equipped with puppets and light-as-air madeleines. Ross, being the progressive that he is, feels threatened by Sandy’s sensitive nature and sends him and his puppets on their way.

Reese Witherspoon

Jill Green in “The One with Rachel’s Sister” (Season 6, Episode 13)

Rachel is one of three sisters, but the truly surprising thing is that she’s the least spoiled. Reese Witherspoon’s Jill — the baby of the family — is definitely the worst. Between recklessly spending her father’s money and hitting on Ross, her sister’s ex, Jill clearly has no regard for others.

Christina Applegate

Amy Green in “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” (Season 9, Episode 8)

Rachel’s other sister, Amy, is oblivious in the extreme, forgetting her niece’s name, gender, and father. She may lack focus (no, baby stylist is not a valid career choice), but at least she means well, mostly.

Billy Crystal and Robin Williams

Tim and Tomas in “The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion” (Season 3, Episode 24)

These two legendary comedians just show up for one brief scene as patrons of Central Perk. They squeeze their way onto the gang’s usual couch and drama ensues.

Winona Ryder

Melissa Warburton in “The One with Rachel’s Big Kiss” (Season 7, Episode 20)

Our favorite girl interrupted played an old sorority sister of Rachel with whom she may or may not have had a brief romantic encounter. They do share a kiss in the episode, which leads to Phoebe initiating a kiss with Rachel to see what all the fuss is about.

Gary Oldman

Richard Crosby in “The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding: Part One” (Season 7, Episode 23)

Oldman basically played an exaggerated version of himself as Richard Crosby, a serious actor who believes that spitting on your fellow actors while enunciating and getting completely plastered on the job is all part of the process. Because of Crosby’s drunken antics, Joey almost misses Chandler and Monica’s wedding and has to perform their ceremony in his soldier costume. Classic Joey.

Susan Sarandon

Jessica Lockhart in “The One with Joey’s New Brain” (Season 7, Episode 15)

Joey’s work on Days of Our Lives was a constant source of wacky storylines. Sarandon’s Jessica Lockhart is an imperious diva who is unceremoniously killed of the show, and Joey’s Dr. Drake Ramoray gets her brain. Yes. Her brain.

Jeff Goldblum

Leonard Hayes in “The One with the Mugging” (Season 9, Episode 15)

Goldblum brought his patented brand of stuttering cool to this guest appearance as a famous actor directing the play that Joey is trying out for. In a role clearly meant to skewer the artifice of the creative process, Hayes believes that Joey is giving a truly passionate and tortured performance. Joey really just has to pee.

Hugh Laurie

The Gentleman on the Plane in “The One with Ross’s Wedding: Part Two” (Season 4, Episode 24)

When Rachel decides to fly to London to break up Ross’s wedding at the last minute, she sits next to Laurie’s wry stranger. As she regales him with all of her drama, he grows increasingly frustrated until he finally gives her the tongue lashing she deserves.

Isabella Rossellini

Herself in “The One with Frank, Jr.” (Season 3, Episode 5)

Everyone has their celebrity freebie list. However, most of us don’t take it to the extreme of printing it out and laminating it like Ross did. Unfortunately for him, he misguidedly bumped Isabella Rossellini off his final list. Not that he had a shot otherwise.

Bruce Willis

Paul Stevens in “The One Where Ross Meets Elizabeth’s Dad” (Season 6, Episode  21)

In one of Friends‘ more questionable storylines, Ross dates his student, Elizabeth. Bruce Willis shows up as her father, and he immediately hates Ross as much as he likes Rachel. He sticks around for a few episodes, before everything comes to an awkward conclusion around cabin misunderstandings. He’s just a really neat guy.

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