The One Where The Friends Cast Took A Trip To Las Vegas

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For our country’s celebs, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas. Though the place is something of a celebrity stomping ground, it's also outside the informal omerta of New York and Los Angeles by virtue of the sheer number of (shudder) civilians roaming its streets.

So when sitcom directing legend James Burrows went with the cast of Friends pre-season one, he told them to enjoy their anonymity while it lasted. Burrows tells the story as part of a special that’s been billed as a pseudo-Friends reunion. (In fact, the special is to pay tribute to the director, but that’s a minor detail.)

Here’s Burrows, telling The Hollywood Reporter about their trip:

"I took them to Vegas. We ate at Caesar’s Palace in Spago. I had me and six of them and I said—I don’t know why I said this—I said, 'This is your last shot at anonymity. Once the show comes on the air, you guys will never be able to go anywhere without being hounded.' I knew the show had a chance to really take off. So I did that and then I said, 'Do you want to gamble?' and they said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Okay, go ahead.' And all six of them didn‘t have any money so they each wrote me checks for $200 and I cashed them. And that was it. They came back and premiered and they don‘t have a shot of anonymity anymore."

He also talked about filming the first same-sex kiss on scripted network TV:

"We never set out to proselytize. We knew that if we could get the audience to watch it, somehow they wouldn't leave it because it was so funny. You'll notice at the end of the pilot, there's a kiss between Will and Grace. And at the end of the first year, there's a kiss between Will and Grace. In the back of my mind, I wanted audiences to think that somehow Will will take magic pills and become straight. He would never do that. We would never do that. But I wanted people to at least tune in to see how funny it was. I'm sure there's a sector of the pop­ulation that would never watch because it had gay people all the time. But I always say Ellen kicked the door open, and we broke it down."

And, like all of us, he has a favorite moment from Friends:

"One of my favorites was the prom video [during which Rachel finds out that Ross was prepared to be her backup date]. For me, one of the best things is at the end, when they're all watching it, and Jennifer gets up and slowly crosses the stage to Ross. I remember [Friends co-creator] David Crane saying to me, 'Isn't that [walk] too long?' But it was a great moment. You don't know what she's going to do, and all of a sudden she kisses him."

Sitcom directors are often hidden behind the lens and behind the megawatt power of casts and showrunners, but Burrows has cut out his place in history. Outside of seeing almost the whole cast of Friends reunited, the special should be a fascinating look at one of the undercover legends of modern television.
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