Gunther’s unrequited crush on Rachel is a classic element of Friends, leading to all manner of awkward misunderstandings and fuelling a hugely entertaining rivalry with her true love Ross.
Perhaps the character’s most divisive moment came, though, in season three’s ‘The One With The Morning After’, when he took his conflict with Ross (David Schwimmer) to a whole new level by revealing to Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) that her boyfriend had slept with somebody else.
Recalling the scene from the 1997 episode, Gunther actor James Michael Tyler told RadioTimes.com, “Oh my goodness. When I read that script, I had basically just been established as a character and I thought, ‘Man, now Gunther’s gonna be the most despised character in the history of sitcoms’ – and a lot of fans did not like that Gunther did that.”
Tyler argues, though, that is was ultimately Ross who was in the wrong by sleeping with the girl from the Xerox place… even if Gunther might have had his own reasons for breaking the news to Rachel.
“A lot of the fans thought that Gunther did the right thing,” he said. “Ross messed up and Gunther said what he was supposed to, as a good person… but also Gunther did have an ulterior motivation as well!”
Despite their on-screen feud, Tyler has nothing but good things to say about his Friends co-star Schwimmer, who he called “very giving, very gracious”, recalling how the actor would often offer to run lines together before filming.
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“He’s such a consummate actor – he’d come from a theatre background, so we were able to work things out before we got on to the scene… there wasn’t a lot of time because we were on a very tight schedule, but he was always a very giving actor.”
Friends airs on Comedy Central. Fan event FriendsFest will also be coming to London with a festive revamp from 28th November to 21st December.