Friends is still one of the most popular TV shows out there, because we all know a Rachel or Chandler in our lives. Everyone but Ross, basically (which is what a Ross would say… my god, I’m a Ross). But do you know a Pat the Cop?
After seeing the Friends pilot, then called Friends Like Us, NBC only had one major note for creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane: add “an older secondary character,” according to Saul Austerlitz’s book Generation Friends, someone more *mature* than the other members of the Gen X cast. The network was concerned that “older viewers” wouldn’t watch, otherwise.
Enter: Pat the Cop.
Kauffman and Crane reluctantly agreed, and began trying to wedge the character, whom they referred to as “Pat the Cop,” after an older police officer who used to hang out in the movie theater where Dream On writers Jeff Greenstein and Jeff Strauss used to work in Somerville, Massachusetts, during college, into their next script.
It was a disaster. “The writers made a good-faith attempt, even casting the role, but hated the resulting script so much that they pleaded with NBC to drop the idea,” Austerlitz writes. “If only NBC would kill Pat the Cop, they promised, they would give their six protagonists parents in notable supporting roles, and find older guest stars to attract a more mature audience.” Goodbye, Pat the Cop; hello, Elliott Gould as Ross and Monica’s father and… does Danny DeVito as a stripper count? That’s a trade I would make every time, unless Pat the Cop was played by three Marcel the Monkeys in a trench coat. Then it’s a toss-up.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)