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Sitcom television is a funny thing. Despite being relatively inexpensive to make and somewhat archetypal in nature, they can appeal to wide audiences and become iconic for their time period. Friends is one of the most quintessential 90's pop culture icons of the decade. The series ran for an outstanding 10 seasons and catapulted the starring cast into A-list stardom while they united to increase their pay and rake in the bucks. Friends is so iconic and successful that even the guest actors and source of ongoing jokes are utterly quotable and cemented in history. Case in point: Janice and her trademark laugh.
Janice was the ex-girlfriend of both Chandler and Ross and would appear semi-regularly throughout the show's long tenure. Maggie Wheeler, the actress who played Janice, recently opened up Uproxx as to how she managed to continue returning the show season after season. Apparently, it was all in the ridiculous laugh she invented in order not to laugh at Matthew Perry's comedic brilliance ons set:
I needed a safety net because he was hilarious and he's likely to do things in the middle of the scene that will crack you up so I thought, oh my God, I need somewhere to go if Matthew is going to make me laugh. That's how that was born. It was so profoundly annoying they had to bring me back.
Janice's laugh, as well as her signature opening like "Oh my god!", are the two most iconic aspects of the character. Maggie Wheeler has only recently revealed that she made Janice's laugh to cover her actual joy on set. Matthew Perry's performance as Chandler usually sets the live audience and home viewer into giggles, and Wheeler had the difficult job of keeping it together while Mr. Bing bugged out and attempted joke after joke. Cue the laugh of death.
As a reminder of Janice's brilliance, check out this phenomenal montage her on screen laughs. I dare you to get through it without laughing yourself.
Janice and Maggie Wheeler are both national treasures
Personally, I'm glad that Maggie Wheeler had such a hard time getting through takes with Matthew Perry, as Janice is probably my favorite Friends character besides the main six. In addition to the various tribulations that Chandler and Janice had during their relationship (remember when he flew to Yemen to break up with her?), she would also show up at the most inopportune moments in the main cast's life, like when Rachel was in labor and when Monica and Chandler were at the fertility clinic. Janice would suddenly appear and scream "Oh My God", sending the live audience into hysterics. But her appearances would also usually make the Friends realize something about themselves and move them forward, making her a fairly critical character in the show's overall narrative.
Which Janice appearance is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below.