'Friends' prepare for 'The Last One'

Jan. 22, 2004 at 4:03 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- "Friends," U.S. television's most popular sitcom for the past decade, will tape its final episode Friday on a closed set with a heavily guarded secret script.

Though the last episode will not air until May 6, the comedy's actors already are lamenting the end of an era, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

"It's just hard, absolutely painful, in the weirdest way," said Jennifer Aniston, who plays Rachel Green, "because it was the most fun and joyous place to be. It was the time of my life."

The cast, which also includes Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), became close friends off screen as well.

What exactly will occur Friday night on Stage 24 of the Warner Brothers sound stage in Burbank, Calif., is unknown. Fans, however, are expecting that Ross and Rachel will finally get together, perhaps even marry, for the hourlong finale, titled "The Last One," on NBC.

A show featuring classic "Friends" scenes will precede the final episode, with the cast appearing later that night on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

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