The Escapades of Central Perk’s favourite Barista seems all but forgotten by audiences. Let’s review what made Gunther such an iconic side character in ‘Friends’
Gunther, an exceptionally well-written secondary character who tragically vanished into the oblivion of the audience’s memories shortly after the ‘Friends’ series ended, may finally get his moment in the spotlight in the long-awaited reunion episode. Let’s learn more about the character.
- Gunther’s story explained
- Why didn’t he speak much during the show?
- Gunther & Rachel romance?
- Gunther was the most supportive side character in ‘Friends’
- Will fans see him in the ‘Friends’ reunion?
GUNTHER’S STORY EXPLAINED
One of the most iconic settings throughout the series of ‘Friends’ was the coffee shop, Central Perk, which was pivotal for many of the plots points of the show.
The barista of the shop, Gunther (played by James Michael Taylor), gradually went from being a silent spectator to becoming a moral compass for the show’s main cast as the series progressed.
It’s interesting to note how James Taylor was initially cast for the role of Gunther.
Apparently, during the audition, he and fellow candidates were asked if they could operate an espresso machine (as it would be a pre-requisite for the role of a barista).
As he had prior experience operating one, James was chosen to play the role of Gunther.
WHY DIDN’T GUNTHER SPEAK MUCH DURING THE SHOW?
Gunther was brought on as a quintessential side character in ‘Friends’. Prior to becoming a barista, Gunther was an actor in a soap opera but had to find a new job once his character on the opera was killed off for plot progression. He revealed that personal titbit to Joey in Season 2.
During the majority of Season 1, Gunther’s role was limited to serving the cast coffee during their rendezvous at Central Perk cafe.
It was only during Season 2; Episode 9 that Gunther murmured his first words on the show, which was “yeah”.
Gunther’s role was gradually expanded and given more screen time as he became more integral to the plot.
GUNTHER & RACHEL ROMANCE
It’s interesting to note that Gunther was once a romantic crush of Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Judy Geller (Christina Pickles), Ross (David Schwimmer) & Monica’s (Courtney Cox) mother. However, the main romantic interest for Gunther was predominantly Rachel (Jennifer Aniston).
Gunther’s romance towards Rachel remained platonic & one-sided until the very end of the series. This was evident because despite Rachel being an inefficient waitress and prone to fumbling, Gunther never criticized her for the poor job performance, he was, in fact, quite supportive.
While audiences knew that there was no future for this pairing, his confession to Rachel when she was planning to move to Paris was an emotional milestone.
Rachel inevitably rejected him, stating that her feelings for him were just platonic.
However, it was a moment of jubilant character development for Gunther, as it allowed him to let go of his one-sided crush and move on.
GUNTHER WAS THE MOST SUPPORTIVE SIDE CHARACTER IN ‘FRIENDS‘
Gunther was among many of the secondary ‘Friends’ characters that the show forgot to highlight sufficiently. However, he was consistently shown to possess a strong set of moral principles that he didn’t budge from.
He’d been shown to keep a calm demeanour and also to refrain from passing judgement even when other prominent ‘Friends’ characters were unable to do so.
Gunther had also been willing to call people out on their inappropriate actions. For example, in Season 3, Episode 13, he reprimands Phoebe’s boyfriend for his indecent exposure at his cafe.
Deviating from the general stereotypes of side characters that generally fawn & gush over the main characters, Gunther was quite nonchalant & neutral in the way he treated the other characters.
His last appearance in the show was during Season 10, Episode 17, ‘The last one – part 1’.
Gunther may have become for many that one ‘Friends’ character that the show totally forgot. That being said, he definitely amassed a cult following that admired the portrayal of how a great side character can be a catalyst to the progression of the main characters.
WILL FANS SEE HIM IN THE ‘FRIENDS’ REUNION?
For those who haven’t forgotten this iconic side character, yes, it has been confirmed that James Michael Taylor a.k.a Gunther will appear in the ‘Friends’ reunion, alongside other memorable characters that once featured in the show’s long-running history.