our favourite gunther moments

As we premiere our documentary on a Chinese FRIENDS obsessive who changed his name to Gunther... we look back at our favourite episodes featuring everyone's favourite barista.

by i-D Staff
08 May 2015, 1:07am

The One With The Cup
The story goes that James Michael Taylor only landed the role as Friends' bleach-haired unsung hero Gunther because he was the only extra who could work a coffee machine. Whatever the reason, he went on to appear in almost every episode (185 to be precise), the unrequited crush he developed on Rachel in the third season becoming one of the show's most endearing and enduring plot lines. Perhaps his defining moment in terms of character comes when he's finally ready to tell Rachel he's in love with her (having informed Rachel of Ross' infidelity - WE WERE ON A BREAK etc - days before) and once again he's thwarted, this time by Rachel's new work colleague and love interest. As you can see it involves a slight tantrum off camera, an amazing red waistcoat clearly worn for what was supposed to be a special occasion and a perfectly executed sad sack line.

The One With The Donkey
To be honest, most of Gunther's best moments focus on his hatred for Ross, a feeling we can all relate to. This scene not only features Gunther in a gorgeous flowery shirt that even Cam from Modern Family would blush at, but also the sight of a grown man accusing another man of sleeping with donkeys in a terrible Ducth accent. What's not to love? Altogether now: "Ezel!"

The One With Phoebe's Boyfriend's Penis
For the majority of the first half of Friends poor old Phoebe just bounces from one useless boyfriend to another. There was that guy who kept shutting down all the restaurants, that police man one who kept shooting at things and then there was gym-bunny Robert. Poor Robert basically couldn't keep his penis in his pants and not in an infidelity sort of way, but in a very real way. So while everyone else tries to skirt around the issue, our hero Gunther spies his little chap and sends it scurrying away with a direct "this is a family place, put the mouse back in the house". Amazing.

The One Where He Kisses Pheobe
Obviously Phoebe Buffay is one of the greatest folk singers the world has ever known, but potential tragedy strikes when she's hobbled by a nasty cold. Only everything works out fine in the end because actually the extra mucus adds a previously unheard sultriness to Smelly Cat and this incredible rendition of My Sticky Shoe is basically Nico. Obviously the cold eventually starts to pass but not before Gunther's grabbed for a quick kiss in an attempt to share some of his toxic germs. That look of bemusement is a thing of wonder and to highlight what a stand out guy he is he later apologises to a confused Rachel for his indiscretion ("so are we cool?").

The One Where Gunther Smokes
Apart from his penchant for dodgy shirts, we never get to see any of Gunther's vices. He's as pure as his bleach blonde locks. There is, however, a slight chink in his purity when it comes to smoking. After telling Chandler he has to leave Central Perk if he wants to carry on puffing away, he asks for one drag, falls into some sort of orgasmic stupor and utters one of the show's most disturbing lines in the form of "oh dark mother, once again I suckle at your smokey teat".

The One Where He Tells Rachel He Loves Her
Obviously this story needed a resolution and this clip features Gunther finally telling Rachel how he feels about her. It also means he gets there just before Ross is about to do the same thing, giving Gunther one final victory (okay, yes, Ross got her in the end but hopefully Gunther never found out about that). Finally aware that perhaps she doesn't feel the same, Gunther's just happy to have it all off his chest and when Rachel replies with "I love you too, probably not in the same way" his little face is a picture of contentment (apparently both actors burst into tears after the scene was finished). When asked what he thought Gunther might be up to now, Michael Taylor joked, "He'd probably have a very traditional marriage, with lots of white-haired babies running around with hair brighter than the sun." I hope so too.

The One With The Chinese FRIENDS Obsessive


Text Michael Cragg