There are a lot of standout moments from the hit sitcom “Friends” — the “Pivot!”. That scene demands a laugh every single time. That holiday armadillo moment is gold, and the episode where Joey and Chandler refuse to move from their recliner chairs; is always a hit. But what you may not have noticed while watching “Friends” is that; one of the funniest characters in the show isn’t one of the six main characters. But is actually the man with “hair brighter than the sun,” Gunther.
Gunther worked at the Central Perk coffeehouse, and for a lot of the show; he was seen making coffee in the background or ; staring at Rachel with love in his eyes. But when he was on camera, Gunther — who was brought to life by James Michael Tyler. He knew how to deliver a line and deliver it well. His quick quips prompted some of the most hearty laughs from the audience; as his dry sense of humor and blunt facial expressions typically did most of the talking.
But as he was a secondary character, a lot of Gunther’s best moments flew under the radar. But don’t worry because here are the best Gunther moments you may have missed on “Friends.”
The friends spent so much time in Central Perk, but Gunther still didn’t know Joey’s name
If you know anything about Gunther, it’s that he was pretty good at throwing shade when he wanted to. Even James Michael Tyler acknowledged to TV and City that his character; “didn’t take any gruff,” and that was pretty apparent during this Gunther moment. In Season 4, Episode 8, “The One with Chandler in a Box,” Joey is on the hunt for Chandler. They were fighting about a girl, go figure — and Joey asks Gunther if he’d seen Chandler in the coffeehouse. Without pausing, Gunther looks at Joey and says, “I thought you were Chandler.” Five words; that’s all Tyler had to utter to give the audience; one of the best Gunther moments on “Friends.”
Gunther didn’t even need to utter a sound to make this moment one of the funniest on the show
We all know that after Rachel gives birth to her and Ross’ daughter, Emma, Joey; in a way — proposes to her, much to Ross’ dismay. In the aftermath, Joey tells Ross to hit him, and the whole exchange takes place in the coffeehouse. Fans of “Friends” know that Gunther never really took a liking to Ross; presumably because of his romantic relationship with Rachel. So when Ross accidentally punches a pole in the coffeehouse instead of Joey, Gunther’s reaction is priceless. All he does, without uttering a word, is smile. It is possibly the funniest Gunther moment in “Friends,” and it’s one of James Michael Tyler’s favorite moments.
“This was David Schwimmer’s idea in the spur of the moment, actually,” Tyler told Entertainment Weekly. “The way the camera was set up; I was in the background and originally, I was expressing ‘Oh, what just happened?’ shock. Then David turned to me and said; ‘Oh my gosh, you should grin ear-to-ear because you hate me.’ I thought it was brilliant.” What a classic Gunther moment.
Remember when Gunther broke out perfect Dutch?
Oh Ross … he tries so hard, but often comes up short (just think of that sandwich episode). But when he tries to learn Dutch so he can communicate with an old (potentially dying) woman whose apartment he wants to get for Rachel (yes, it’s just as messed up as it sounds), he and Gunther end up having one of the funniest exchanges in the series. Ross comes into the coffeehouse with a Dutch translation book and says a couple words to Gunther, thanking him for the coffee he serves him. Gunther immediately responds with natural ease, but Ross quickly gives up, prompting Gunther to call him an “ezel,” which means donkey. Ross looks up the word and gets offended, which only prompts Gunther to take the insult in Dutch a step further.
“When Ross called Gunther an ‘ezel’ back, Gunther responded, ‘Jij hebt seks met ezels,'” James Michael Tyler told Parade. “That translates, literally, into ‘you have sex with donkeys.’ It really surprised me that it made it to primetime. Fantastic.” The moment stood out to Tyler as one of his favorite interactions on the show, and it’s pretty easy to understand why.
Gunther’s crush on Rachel caused him to lose some customers at Central Perk
Ah, yet another amazing Gunther moment brought on by his undying love for Rachel. After Ross says Rachel’s name at his wedding to Emily, Monica encourages Rachel to find a new guy and move on. While at the coffeehouse in Season 5, Episode 2, “The One with All the Kissing,” Monica points at and suggests Gunther as a guy for Rachel to date, saying, “He’s nice, he’s cute.” Obviously fans’ favorite barista is more than pleased to hear this, but the moment ends quickly when Monica spots a very cute guy across the room with whom Rachel had once flirted. Since Monica was controlling Rachel’s love life at the time, she tells Rachel to go get herself a date — Rachel did just that, but it was what happened afterward that made the scene that much funnier.
Gunther is clearly upset by the exchange that led to Rachel seeing someone who isn’t him, so shortly after Rachel scores her date, Gunther goes up to the handsome patron with a sign that reads, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Then he simply says, “Get out,” to Rachel’s date. Two words, and Gunther stole the show.
This final moment between Gunther and Rachel on Friends was so heartfelt
We all know that Ross and Rachel needed to end up together — it was a series-long journey that only wrapped up right at the end — but their love story wasn’t the only one that received some closure. In the last episode of the series, Gunther finally tells Rachel that he loves her in one of the most heartfelt ways possible, shortly before she leaves for Paris. “Rachel, I know you’re leaving tonight, but I just have to tell you: I love you,” he tells her, right before Ross has the chance to tell Rachel about his own feelings. “I don’t know if that changes your plans at all, but I thought you should know.” Rachel replies, “Gunther, I love you too, probably not in the same way,” noting that she’ll thinking of him every time she goes to a café or sees “a man with hair brighter than the sun.”
The sweet Gunther moment is not one to miss, and filming the emotional scene really took it out of both James Michael Tyler and Jennifer Aniston, with Tyler calling it “bittersweet.”
“[The producers and writers] didn’t have to add that but it was a nice thing for them to do to close out that character,” Tyler told Entertainment Weekly. He went on to share that the scene was “really difficult” for him and Aniston, as they kept crying during the take.
You may have gone Gunther, but we haven’t forgotten you!