Friends had a number of guest stars, including George Clooney and Noah Wyle from E.R., but that episode was in no way a crossover. Here’s why.
Friends had various guest stars throughout its ten seasons, and one episode in particular has caused some confusion as some viewers believe it was a crossover with another popular ‘90s show, ER, because of the appearances of George Clooney and Noah Wyle. Friends aired from 1994 to 2004, and followed the lives of six characters (Monica, Phoebe, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, and Ross) living in New York City. ER aired from 1994 to 2009 and followed the inner life of the emergency room of the (fictional) County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
Both shows were very popular in the ‘90s and have been listed as some of the greatest TV shows of all time. Crossovers weren’t as popular back then as they are now, but both series had a lot of memorable guest stars, and two of the main actors from ER paid a visit to Friends in 1995, which has made some people believe it was a crossover – but it really wasn’t.
In the episode “The One With Two Parts, Part 2” from season 1 of Friends, George Clooney and Noah Wyle are part of the supporting cast as Dr. Michael Mitchell and Dr. Jeffrey Rosen, respectively. In the previous episode, Rachel fell off the balcony while trying to take the Christmas lights down, and her ankle got tangled in the wire. “Part 2” catches up with Rachel and Monica at the hospital, where they meet the aforementioned doctors. Rachel and Monica swap names so Rachel can use Monica’s health insurance, and later asks “the cute doctors” on a double-date – of course, things get messy during their date. Although Clooney and Wyle play doctors just like in ER, this was not a crossover, as they were playing entirely different characters.
In ER, Clooney played Dr. Doug Ross and Wyle was Dr. John Carter. Both were part of the show from the very beginning, so they were already quite popular by the time the Friends episode aired, but probably not so much when it was filmed, so you can be sure it was never intended to be a crossover. Besides, their hospital was in Chicago, and the one in Friends was in New York City. Back to ER, Clooney left the series after the fifth season and Wyle after the eleventh, and never went back to the world of Friends, nor were their appearances addressed in any subsequent episodes.
Although Friends and ER aired on the same network and debuted on the same year, with just a three-day difference, the characters never crossed paths and they all stayed in their respective universes. Still, it’s fun to revisit Clooney and Wyle’s appearance in Friends and the similarities with their characters from ER.