Aliens in the Family

Friends was a sitcom that aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004, for a total of ten seasons. The series centered on six friends (Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey) living in Manhattan, and the challenges of single life, although the end of the series saw the characters more settled, with some married and with children. The series became a pop culture sensation, and the theme song a top 40 radio hit. The cast were even named number forty six on Bravo's list of the 100 Greatest TV Characters.

The show made many Muppet references over the years, cracking jokes based on Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock.


  • In a 1997 appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Elmo is told by Bernie (via phone) that he has an offer to be an addition to the cast of Friends, playing the role of Marcel (Ross' former pet monkey).
  • In the Aliens in the Family episode "Dissected and Neglected," Snizzy accidentally creates living versions of her favorite candy, Yukkles. They eventually get their own TV show resembling Friends. They're seen in a Central Perk-esque coffee shop, where the Green Yukkle complains about his platonic relationship to the Red one.

Muppet Mentions


Rachel and the "Muppet skin" pillow

The One with George Stephanopoulos

Rachel: Uh, Pheebs? Who's George Snuffleupagus?
Phoebe: That's Big Bird's friend.

The One with the Ick Factor

Monica has broken up with a guy, who she has found out to be a high school senior.

Ross: This may take some time for him to get over it, but then at 4, Muppet Babies is on.

The One Where Joey Moves Out

Joey is considering moving out of the apartment he shares with Chandler.

Joey: What're you gettin' so bent out of shape for, huh? It's not like we agreed to live together forever. We're not Bert and Ernie.

The One Where Eddie Moves In

Rachel: (holding a pillow made out of plush pink fur) Hey, nice pillow. So, now tell me, is this genuine Muppet skin?

Phoebe and Ben watching Sesame Street

The One Where Old Yeller Dies

Ross' son Ben is watching Sesame Street with Phoebe. The clip on the television is of Ernie burying Bert in the sand.

Ernie: (on tape) Oh, wow, look at this nice deep hole I've been digging. Hey, Bert, isn't this a nice hole here. Hey...
Phoebe: (pauses tape) Okay, Ben, this is the part where Ernie buries Bert in the sand and can't find him. Now, I've looked ahead on the tape and he does find him again. But, okay, before that happens, there's some pretty rough goin' for a while, but I think we can handle it. And -- there's just the alphabet, but we know that ends well, so... Okay, here we go. (starts tape again)
Ernie: Bert...Bert...Bert. Hey, what happened to my friend Bert? He was here just a moment ago. Oh, no, my old friend Bert is lost.
Phoebe: (to Ben) I'm so glad you're here.

The One Where Rachel Quits

Ross accidentally broke the leg of a little girl who was trying to sell him cookies.

Chandler: (reading the paper) Says here that a Muppet got whacked on Sesame Street last night. (to Ross) Where exactly were you around ten-ish?

The One with All the Resolutions

Ross is dating a girl named Elizabeth Hornswoggle.

Chandler: Hornswoggle? What, are you dating a character from Fraggle Rock?

The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS

The episode centers on Phoebe's dislike for PBS, the basis of which is a perceived slight on the part of Sesame Street.

Phoebe: Okay, 'cause right after my mom killed herself, I was just in this really bad place, y'know, personally. So I just thought that it'd make me feel better if I wrote to Sesame Street, 'cause they were so nice when I was a little kid! No one ever wrote back.
Chandler: Well, y'know, a lot of those Muppets don't have thumbs.
Phoebe: All I got was a lousy key chain! And by that time I was living in a box -- I didn't have keys!

Earlier, Joey challenged Phoebe to perform a selfless good deed, claiming no such thing existed.

Phoebe: I would like to make a pledge. I would like to donate $200.
Joey: $200? Are you sure, Pheebs? I mean, after what Sesame Street did to you?
Phoebe: Oh, I'm still mad at them, but I also know that they bring happiness to lots of kids whose moms didn't kill themselves, so by supporting them, I'm doing a good thing, but I'm not happy about it. So there, a selfless good deed.

The One Where Phoebe Runs

Rachel is describing how Phoebe runs.

Rachel: You guys, I'm telling you, when she runs, she looks like a cross between Kermit the Frog and the Six Million Dollar Man.
Ross: Monica had such a crush on him. Yeah, she used to kiss his poster every night before she went to bed.
Rachel: Oh! I used to do that, too!
Monica: Did you also have his album, "It's Not Easy Being Green"?

The One with the Male Nanny

Ross insists that he and Rachel fire their daughter Emma's male nanny.

Rachel: I can't watch. It's like firing Elmo.

The One with the Cake

Joey is arguing the importance of having a birthday party for one-year-old Emma.


Rachel's Cookie Monster t-shirt

Joey: What's the point? The other day, she laughed for, like, an hour at a cup. Just a cup with a picture of Elmo on it dressed as a farmer. And he's standing next to this cow and the cow says "El-moo!" (starts laughing) Yeah...that's a funny cup!

The One with the Home Study

When the woman interviewing Monica and Chandler from the adoption agency reveals that Joey once dumped her, Chandler refers to Joey, who's yelling through the door, as Bert.

Laura: Is he all right out there by himself?
Chandler: Oh, yeah! He has a caretaker. His older brother...Ernie.
Laura: Bert and Ernie!
Chandler: (smiles nervously) You can't make this stuff up!

Then, following an awkward silence

Chandler: Bert and Ernie have a big, yellow bird.

The One Where Estelle Dies

In one scene, Rachel wears a Cookie Monster t-shirt.


  • In the episode "Joey and the Neighbor," Eric tells Alexis that she didn't finish her crossword puzzle. He reads the puzzle, "Sesame Street character ______ Monster" and says "That's Cookie!"


Many actors who have played character roles in Muppet/Henson productions have also appeared on the series.

  • Jason Alexander played Earl in the episode "The One Where Rosita Dies".
  • David Arquette played Malcolm in the episode "The One with the Jam". He was also married to series star Courteney Cox.
  • Dan Castellaneta played The Zoo Keeper in the episode "The One After the Superbowl: Part 1".
  • Conchata Ferrell played a Judge in the episode "The One with Joey's Porsche".
  • Jeff Goldblum played Leonard Hayes in the episode "The One with the Mugging".
  • Elliott Gould had a recurring role as Monica and Ross' father, Jack Geller.
  • Lucy Liu played Lauren in the Joey episode "Joey and the Plot Twist", "Joey and the Taste Test", and "Joey and the Premiere"
  • Alaina Reed played an admissions woman in "The One with Two Parts: Part 2".
  • Craig Robinson played a desk clerk in "The One with Princess Consuela".
  • Isabella Rossellini appeared as herself in the episode "The One with Frank Jr".
  • Paul Rudd had a recurring role as Phoebe's boyfriend and husband, Mike.
  • Jennifer Saunders played Andrea Waltham in the episodes "The One with Ross' Wedding" and "The One After Ross Says Rachel".
  • Brooke Shields played Erika Ford in the episode "The One After the Superbowl: Part 1".
  • Paxton Whitehead played Mr. Waltham in two episodes ("The One with Rachel's Crush" & "The One with Joey's Dirty Day").
  • Noah Wyle played Dr. Jeffrey Rosen in the episode "The One with Two Parts: Part 1".

In addition, Friends featured appearances by various celebrities who have appeared as themselves with the Muppets.

  • Hank Azaria played David in five episodes
  • Christina Applegate played Amy Green
  • Billy Crystal played Tim in the episode "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion".
  • Danny DeVito played Roy, the Stripper in the episode "The One Where the Stripper Cries".
  • Dakota Fanning played Mackenzie in the episode "The One with Princess Consuela".
  • Soleil Moon Frye played Katie in the episode "The One with the Girl Who Hits Joey".
  • Teri Garr played Phoebe Abbott in three episodes.
  • Cheryl Hines played Woman #2 in the episode "The One with Rachel's Sister".
  • Greg Kinnear played Dr. Benjamin Hobart in the episode "The One with Ross' Grant".
  • Jay Leno appeared as himself in the episode "The One with Mrs. Bing" and the Joey episode "Joey and the Tonight Show"
  • Phill Lewis played Steve in three episodes.
  • Debi Mazar played Doreen in "The One Where Rachel Has the Baby".
  • Conan O'Brien hosted the 2001 TV special Friends: The Stuff You've Never Seen.
  • Donny Osmond appeared as himself in the episode "The One Where the Stripper Cries".
  • Denise Richards played Cassie Geller "The One with Ross and Monica's Cousin".
  • Julia Roberts played Susie Moss in the episode "The One After the Superbowl: Part 2".
  • Antonio Sabàto, Jr. played Kyle in the Joey episode "Joey and the Tonight Show"
  • Susan Sarandon played Jessica Lockhart in the episode "The One with Joey's New Brain".
  • Bob Saget appeared as himself in the Joey episode "Joey and the Road Trip"
  • Steve Schirripa played Pit Boss's in the Joey episode "Joey and the Road Trip"
  • Tom Selleck played Dr. Richard Burke in a series of episodes.
  • Harry Shearer played Dr. Baldharar in "The One with The Fake Monica".
  • Sherri Shepherd played Rhonda in "The One with Phoebe's Uterus"
  • Cole Sprouse played Ben Geller in seven episodes.
  • Ben Stiller played Tommy in the episode "The One with the Screamer".
  • Marlo Thomas had a recurring role as Rachel's mother, Sandra Green.
  • Fred Willard played Mr. Lipson in the episode "The One After the Superbowl: Part 1".
  • Robin Williams played Thomas in the episode "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion".
  • Reese Witherspoon played Rachel's sister, Jill Green
  • Noah Wyle played Dr. Jeffrey Rosen in "The One With Two Parts"

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