She wasn’t one of the main characters on Friends, but Maggie Wheeler’s Janice was quite unforgettable. Who can forget that nasal voice and that laugh?
It’s safe to say that fans shared a love-hate relationship with Janice. She was annoying at times, but you couldn’t help but feel for her at other times. All said and done, Janice played a huge role in making Friends the show that it was.
Now, you may be a die-hard Friends or Maggie Wheeler fan, but we bet you don’t know the facts we’re about to tell you here.
Here are 7 facts about Maggie Wheeler’s Janice that will make you go “Oh my God!”
1. Janice wasn’t supposed to be a recurring character
Maggie Wheeler had auditioned for a “one-shot guest” role, and she had no idea Janice would be made a recurring character.
Wheeler was scared that every episode she appeared in would be her last. “I always hoped that it would not be the last time and I always sensed that they left the door just a little bit open, no matter what the episode was,” she once said.
“The door never really, really shut so I used to just keep my fingers crossed that they would call and they did – they kept calling.”
The actress brought so much to Janice — from her quirky mannerisms to her trademark laugh. It certainly would’ve been difficult to let her go.
2. The creators used to hide her before her entry
If you remember, the audience always erupted into cheers whenever Janice appeared. This was because the makers did all they could to keep her hidden before she was set to enter.
“It was sort of a rock star moment because there will never be another show where my every entrance is a secret and a surprise,” Maggie revealed.
“They would keep me hidden – I could barely come down to get a doughnut. I had to stay in my dressing room until the last moment, and then they’d secretly move me from behind the set to the right spot. They’d keep a black screen so the audience couldn’t see me until I made my first entrance,” she explained.
“It was incredible.” Certainly!
3. A Janice spin-off was almost in the making
The idea of a spin-off based on Janice was entertained, but unfortunately, it didn’t take off. Maggie Wheeler once shared that a British writer friend pitched a comedy show revolving around Janice. She would’ve been a therapist in the show.
Wheeler was totally up for it and loved the idea. However, the creators didn’t want to go ahead with it.
But the actress feels it’s not too late. “If the right circumstance were offered and the people behind Janice asked me to do something, I’m sure I would be there in a heartbeat. It’s not too late for a spinoff!” she said at the time.
4. Wheeler wanted to be on the spin-off series Joey
The actress wanted to appear on the spin-off Joey — which ran from 2004 to 2006. The animosity between Joey and Janice would’ve made for interesting content, plus Wheeler wanted to see if something could happen between the two of them.
“I would have loved to make a little pop-up appearance on Joey,” she said. “That would have been great fun. I did mention it, I suggested it. But it never happened!”
5. The Friends audition came soon after Wheeler was fired from a show
Wheeler worked on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, which was called These Friends of Mine back then.
“I had been on the first season of the Ellen DeGeneres show and I had a great time working on that show,” she said. Unfortunately, Wheeler was fired soon.
She was heartbroken, but she channeled her devastation to do and create something better — Janice. “On any other day, I might have done the (Friends) audition differently, but it came hot on the heels of that,” the star revealed.
6. The cast made Wheeler’s last episode super special
While Maggie Wheeler cherishes every moment of the show, there’s one moment she clearly remembers. “On my final episode, there was a moment where the cast realized that it was my last one,” she shared.
“They all pulled together and by the time I got back to my dressing room there were flowers just everywhere, so that was a really touching moment.”
The actress feels the show-makers gave Janice a beautiful end — with Chandler lying about still having feelings for her. She felt it was the perfect “swansong” for her character.
As for whether she thinks Janice bought this, Wheeler said yes. “She absolutely bought it, hook, line, and sinker. And I’m sure it made her feel great.”
7. Wheeler attended the show finale and it was very emotional
Even though Janice didn’t feature in the season finale, Wheeler was present during its filming.
“I was there for the last episode,” she revealed. “I watched it being filmed and I was part of that experience and it was so emotional to have the show come to an end. We all cried!”
8. Maggie Wheeler still has some of Janice’s stuff
Wheeler kept some of the props from the show as souvenirs. Firstly, she has the keychain the prop department made for her in the episode where Chandler pushes her off the bed — after taking Ross’ advice about cuddling.
She’s also kept some of Janice’s outfits like her gold pants, and the green corduroy pants she wore in the episode where Janice and Chandler run into each other at a store, and she goes, ‘Are you following me?’
We bet you enjoyed reading these little-known facts about Janice and reliving some amazing Friends moments.