5+ Casting Decisions That Saved 'Friends' (5+ That Hurt The Show)

I love Friends and I always have. No matter how many times I watch it, the episodes always feel fresh and the jokes are always funny — even 10 years later.

A lot of that can be attributed to the stellar cast of characters. Have a look and check out these 5+ casting decisions that saved Friends (and 5+ that hurt the show).

SAVED: James Michael Tyler as Gunther


A huge portion of Friends revolved around the Central Perk six chatting it up at their favorite coffee shop.

Can you imagine what those scenes might have looked like without Gunther slinging cups of java?

HURT: Tate Donovan as Joshua


The idea of Rachel and Joshua together was unfathomable for many viewers. He was a clear Ross rebound and just an all-around annoying character.

Also, what kind of person has such a debilitating phobia of fowl?

SAVED: Bruce Willis as Paul Stevens

Bruce Willis is one of the greatest and most prolific guest stars in the history of Friends. His character, Paul, was the father of Elizabeth, and the perfect foil for Ross.

Some of the funniest moments of the series took place during Bruce's tenure.

HURT: Hank Azaria as David


A lot of people tend to think of David and Phoebe as star-crossed lovers. I like to think of them as the worst couple in the history of Friends.

David could never commit to Phoebe. All he ever managed to do was lead her on and break her heart.

SAVED: Paul Rudd as Mike Hannigan


Thank goodness for Mike. If it weren't for him (and Joey), Phoebe might still be waiting for that geek David to get his act together.

Paul Rudd is the fifth Beatle of Friends, without question.

HURT: Helen Baxendale as Emily Waltham

Have you ever bitten into a piece of hot delicious pizza, only to have the sauce squirt out and burn the top of your mouth beyond repair?

That's the identical sensation I get every time I see Emily Waltham on Friends.

SAVED: Giovanni Ribisi as Frank Buffay Jr.


Giovanni Ribisi as Frank Buffay Jr. is on the shortlist for the best Friends recurring character. He possesses all the same beautiful eccentricities as his sister, amplified ten-fold.

And to think, it all started with a dropped condom...

HURT: Steven Eckholdt as Mark


Ugh. Mark is the worst.

If it weren't for him, we might have been able to avoid seven-plus years of Rachel and Ross playing the will they/won't they game with our hearts and minds.

SAVED: Elliot Gould as Jack Geller


I love Jack Geller. One of my favorite episodes is when he uses all of Monica's boxes to form a flood barricade around his Porsche.

Probably because I can picture my own father doing the exact same thing with my heirlooms.

HURT: Elle Macpherson as Janine Lecroix


What was the point of Janine? She was quite possibly the blandest and most boring character in the history of the series.

Every single time she was on screen was enough to make you cringe.

SAVED: Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay

Phoebe was always my favorite. She was hilarious, incredibly weird (but in a good way), and always had the most intriguing and exciting story arcs.

Oh what I wouldn't give to hear her play "Smelly Cat" just one more time.

HURT: Eddie Cahill as Tag Jones


Tag Jones. The name on its own should be enough to tell you everything you need to know about this dismal character.

He wasn't cute, and he wasn't funny. Tag Jones was just plain terrible.

SAVED: David Schwimmer as Ross Geller

I know, you were probably expecting to see Matthew Perry right about now.

And while I will always hold Chandler Bing in the fondest recesses of my heart, I'm a Ross Geller man through and through.

HURT: Anna Faris as Erica


I'm just going to come out and say it — I hated Erica. I thought her introduction to the cast was so unnecessary and just dreadful when it comes down to it.

How in the world could you not have known you were having twins, Erica?! You saw the sonogram!

SAVED: Maggie Wheeler as Janice Litman-Goralnik


Say it with me now: "Oh. My. God!" Those three little words are enough to send the majority of Friends fans running for the hills.

Janice is without question one of the best villains of the series, the anti-hero if you will.

HURT: Jon Favreau as Pete Becker


I'm a Jon Favreau fan, but there was something about Pete Becker that was just instantly unlikeable. He never quite gelled with the group and always felt like the outsider looking in.

He also left Monica for a doomed career as a cage fighter; is he nuts?

SAVED: Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani

Joey is one of the main reasons why audiences continued to tune into Friends over the course of the series.

He's lovable and as loyal as they come, not to mention laugh-out-loud hilarious: "How you doin'?"

It gets me every time.

HURT: Anita Barone as Carol Willick


Anita Barone was dead weight and after a while of watching her berate and emasculate Ross, audiences began to grow tired of her altogether.

I was always a fan of Susan's but felt that Carol brought absolutely nothing to the table.

SAVED: Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing


What would Friends be without the Chan-Chan man? I'll tell you: nothing.

Without the rapier wit and sarcasm of Matthew Perry, all you have is five people sitting around a table drinking coffee. Chandler isn't the only passenger on the bus, but he's the one that makes it go.

HURT: Debra Jo Rupp as Alice Knight


I always felt that Debra Jo Rupp's cameo seemed a bit contrived. The idea of Frank getting together with his former teacher struck me as creepy, not endearing, and I've never been able to shake that.

Plus, whenever she laughs, all I see is Kitty Forman.

SAVED: Courteney Cox as Monica Geller

It is a crime, nay, a downright shame that Courteney Cox never received even a single Emmy nomination during her tenure as Monica Geller.

Who remembers the time she explained the seven female erogenous zones to Chandler? I would have given her the Emmy right then and there.

HURT: Cole Sprouse as Ben Geller


Far be it from me to attack a young kid at the beginning of his acting career. Let me be clear that Cole Sprouse did a fine job as Ben.

My main gripe is that after Ben's birth, the writers had absolutely no idea how to fit him into the story.

SAVED: Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green


Of all the cast members in the history of Friends, Jennifer Aniston is the only one who appears to not be acting at all.

It's impossible to ascertain where Rachel Green begins and Jennifer Aniston ends.

HURT: Mitchell Whitfield as Barry Farber


One of my favorite movies has always been My Cousin Vinny. So don't get it twisted when I say that Mitchell Whitfield hurt the show.

There was only so much he could do with a snobbish, transient character like Barry Farber.

SAVED: Tom Selleck as Dr. Richard Burke

Of course, I'm happy that Monica and Chandler managed to make it work and got married in the end. But let's not pretend that theirs is the greatest love story in the history of the series.

That title belongs to Monica and Richard. And without Tom Selleck, we might never have got a chance to see it.

HURT: Michael David Rapaport as Gary


Speaking about placeholder characters, Gary was one of the worst. When he's first introduced, he's portrayed as a tough street cop with integrity.

Having him use his department-issued firearm to kill a bird on his balcony while lying in bed with a woman he'd just moved in with... Who would honestly do that?

SAVED: Reese Witherspoon as Jill Green


Jill is a glimpse of what Rachel would have inevitably become had she not cut all financial ties with her father.

Their contrast is a hilarious reminder of just how far Rachel has come, as well as how she's evolved as a person.

HURT: Adam Charles Goldberg as Eddie Menuek


Adam Charles Goldberg is a phenomenal actor, but his character, Eddie Menuek, was all wrong for the series.

The writers kept trying to portray him as this neurotic hot-head on the verge of a mental breakdown, and it just came across as forced.

SAVED: Christina Applegate as Amy Green


Christina Applegate is great at playing the villain, as any fan of Dead to Me is sure to agree with.

I love her interactions with Joey most of all. There have only ever been two women that Joey has truly hated, and Amy is one of them.

HURT: Robert Elmer Balaban as Frank Buffay Sr.


Why even bother to introduce Frank Buffay Sr. if there was absolutely no follow-up plan for the character?

After all the build-up, Phoebe's reunion with her father gets relegated to the final few minutes before the end of the episode?

Talk about a letdown.

SAVED: Ron Leibman as Dr. Leonard Green


Ron Leibman plays the stereotypical terrifying father-in-law better than anyone I've ever seen.

"The One with the Two Parties" is without a doubt one of the most hilarious episodes of the series, and it's all thanks to Ron.