The fifth season had thirteen roles receiving star billing, with eleven out of twelve returning from the previous season. The series is narrated by Brenda Strong, who portrays the deceased Mary Alice Young, as she observes from beyond the grave the lives of the Wisteria Lane residents and her former best friends. Teri Hatcher portrayed Susan Mayer, now separated from Mike and in a relationship with her painter. Felicity Huffman portrayed Lynette Scavo, who deals with her now teenage sons. Marcia Cross portrayed Bree Hodge, who has become a successful business woman and author. Eva Longoria portrayed Gabrielle Solis, who has lost her money and beauty and now looks after a blind husband and two daughters. Nicollette Sheridan portrayed Edie Williams, who returns to Wisteria Lane with a new husband after leaving the neighborhood towards the end of the previous season. Ricardo Antonio Chavira portrayed Carlos Solis, Gabrielle's husband who is still blind but with a chance to recover his sight and his career as a business executive. Doug Savant portrayed Tom Scavo, Lynette's husband who is facing a mid-life crisis. Kyle MacLachlan portrayed Orson Hodge, Bree's husband who feels overshadowed by her success. Dana Delany portrayed Katherine Mayfair, Bree's business partner and Mike's new girlfriend. James Denton portrayed Mike Delfino, Susan's ex-husband and the target of a man who seeks revenge on him. Shawn Pyfrom was promoted from an "also starring" credit to a formal "starring" credit playing Andrew Van de Kamp, Bree's homosexual son who now works with her in her business. Also joining the principal cast was actor Neal McDonough as Dave Williams, whose mysterious arc is the season's main storyline. Andrea Bowen departed from the principal cast but was credited as "special guest star" in the episode "City on Fire" playing the role of Julie Mayer, Susan's daughter, who is now attending college.
The main cast members of Friends were familiar to US television viewers before their roles on the series, but were not considered to be stars. Series creator David Crane wanted all six characters to be equally prominent, and the series was lauded as being "the first true 'ensemble' show". The cast members made efforts to keep the ensemble format and not allow one member to dominate; they entered themselves in the same acting categories for awards, opted for collective instead of individual salary negotiations, and asked to appear together on magazine cover photos in the first season. The cast members became best friends off screen, and one guest star, Tom Selleck, reported sometimes feeling left out. The cast remained good friends after the series' run, notably Cox and Aniston, with Aniston being godmother to Cox and David Arquette's daughter, Coco. In the official farewell commemorative book Friends 'Til the End, each separately acknowledged in their respective interview that the cast had become their family.
Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan (Lisa Kudrow) is an odd, ditzy albeit sweet-natured masseuse who grew up homeless, sometimes telling her friends outlandish tales of life on the street. She is an aspiring musician who plays the guitar and sings songs with somewhat unusual lyrics at the coffee shop. She has an identical twin sister, Ursula Pamela Buffay (also played by Kudrow), who is just as odd as Phoebe and appeared as a recurring character on Mad About You. After a series of dates and relationships with a number of men, Phoebe meets Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd) in season nine, whom she eventually marries in season ten. She also became a surrogate mother for her half-brother Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi), giving birth to his triplets in the fifth season.
Joseph Francis "Joey" Tribbiani Jr. (Matt LeBlanc) is a good-natured but not-so-bright struggling actor and food lover, who becomes mildly famous for his role as Dr. Drake Ramoray on a fictionalized version of Days of Our Lives. Joey is a womanizer, with many girlfriends throughout the series, often using his catchphrase pick-up line "How you doin'?" He develops a crush on Rachel in season eight.
Gina Tribbiani (Drea de Matteo) is Joey's attractive older sister, whom Joey comes to live with in Los Angeles during Joey. Temperamental, promiscuous and not particularly bright but very street-wise, Gina is a caring but over-protective and domineering mother. For years she convinced her genius son Michael that he was born when she was 22 instead of 16 years old, and always says he is the one thing she has done well. She and Joey are friends in addition to being siblings, both having the gift of being extremely appealing to the opposite sex, with numerous lovers. Initially working as a hairdresser, by season two she works as a secretary for Joey's agent Bobbie, having impressed Bobbie with her brash manner. In season two she starts dating Michael's father Jimmy once again. In the season 2 episode "Joey and the Holding Hands", it is implied that Gina may be bisexual.
Alexis "Alex" Garrett (Andrea Anders) is Joey's next-door neighbor, landlady and friend in Joey. She is an educated, but slightly ditzy, blonde lawyer who graduated from Northwestern University and Pepperdine University School of Law. Initially intimidated, but also intrigued by Joey's tough street-wise older sister Gina, the two women eventually become friends and she becomes more bold in the way she dresses and acts, thanks to Gina's influence. She is puzzled but impressed by Joey's intuitive gift at being able to know when she is wearing thong panties and spends most of her time hanging out at Joey and Michael's apartment. She and Joey bond and become close friends. Her husband is a professional orchestra musician and is away from home most of the time and she confides her problems with her marriage in Joey. At the end of season one, she and Joey become romantically involved during her separation from her husband.
Zach Miller (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) is an actor who joins the cast and becomes one of Joey's best friends in the second season of Joey. Zach has an interesting career, going from playing extras on TV, to directing amateur plays. Zach does not appear to have a home; he was seen at one time living in Joey's trailer while working on a major blockbuster movie. In one episode, Zach and Joey, both drunk, get married in Tijuana, in a parody of Ross and Rachel marrying each other in the season-five finale of Friends. Zach's final appearance was in "Joey and the Big Move". Núñez was absent from the last five episodes, including the finale of the series, because he found another job. Zach's absence within the show was not mentioned, nor was the character at all.
Despite each of them having their own quirks, they are occasionally dumbfounded by the crazy antics of their son and daughter, such as Ross' disastrous wedding to Emily and Monica's ridiculous speech at their 35th anniversary party. They are also sometimes bemused by the antics of the other four friends, such as idiotic or crazy comments from Phoebe and Joey, a revolting trifle cooked by Rachel, and Chandler entering a coed whirlpool alongside Jack without wearing anything underneath the towel wrapped around his waist. In the season 10 episode The One With The Cake, the couple record a message for their granddaughter's 18th birthday in which they state they might not be around by then.
Carol and Susan were based on creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane's best friends in New York: "We didn't create them for any particular political reason or because of lesbian chic. It was just an opportunity to tell a really interesting story." The characters were called a positive example of a gay couple on television by GLAAD. Jessica Hecht originally auditioned to play Monica.
Janice Litman-Goralnik (née Hosenstein) (Maggie Wheeler): Chandler's on-again, off-again girlfriend for the first four seasons. Janice is one of the few supporting characters who appears in all of the Friends seasons (along with Gunther and Ross and Monica's parents). She has a distinctive nasal voice, a machine gun laugh, and a thick New York accent, all of which annoy the friends, especially Joey. She first appears in "The One with the East German Laundry Detergent",[e 21] when Chandler breaks up with her (through Phoebe); he then invites her to New Year's in a moment of weakness, only to dump her again before midnight.[e 17] She then shows up as Chandler's blind date the night before Valentine's Day where they sleep together; Chandler breaks up with her the next day but she is fine with it, telling him she knows they will meet again.[e 22] In season two, in the wake of Mr. Heckles' death, Chandler resolves not to die alone and calls Janice, but is disappointed to discover that she is married and pregnant.[e 23] In "The One with Barry and Mindy's Wedding", Chandler arranges a meeting with a mystery woman over the Internet, who turns out to be Janice, who reveals that her husband is having an affair with his secretary.[e 10] To the surprise of the others, and to Joey's indignance, Chandler stays with Janice through the beginning of the third season, having fallen in love with her and no longer finding her annoying. Joey later sees Janice kissing her husband while in the midst of their divorce,[e 24] which leads to the end of their relationship in "The One with the Giant Poking Device", as Chandler urges Janice to go back to her husband, not wanting to destroy her family.[e 25]
Mr. Heckles (Larry Hankin): Monica and Rachel's downstairs neighbor, a domineering, highly unusual elderly man who constantly complains about the noise, even though the six friends are being perfectly decent in volume whenever he claims that they are disturbing him. His reason for this is never revealed, until "The One Where Mr Heckles Dies", in which the group discover that the noises being made in their apartment are apparently amplified in his, and when Chandler hears banging coming from the above room while in Heckles' apartment (although it is never revealed exactly what the people upstairs were doing to cause the banging) it annoys him so much that he inadvertently imitates Heckles by banging on the roof with his broom.[e 23] He appears in "The One with Two Parts, Part 1"[e 33] and "The One Where the Monkey Gets Away"[e 18] before dying in "The One Where Mr. Heckles Dies".[e 23] As a last spiteful act, he leaves all of his junk to "the noisy girls in the apartment above mine". He makes a final cameo appearance in "The One with the Flashback",[e 12] set in 1993, where he complains that Phoebe's noise is disturbing his oboe practice (even though he does not actually play the oboe), and inadvertently (and cruelly) causes Joey to be Chandler's roommate. He usually states that items are his, and when the other person states that he does not have one, Mr. Heckles says that he could have one. For instance, when Rachel and Phoebe are searching for the owner of a lost cat, Mr. Heckles said "Yes, that's my cat." They told him he did not have a cat, to which he responded "I could have a cat."He also likes to bang on the ceiling with a broom when he feels people are being too loud. This appears to be how he dies when, according to Mr. Treeger, Mr. Heckles died of a heart attack, while 'sweeping'.His first appearance in the series was in season 1, "The One With the Blackout", where he is credited simply "as the Weird Man". 2b1af7f3a8