We all remember Marcel, Ross’s monkey. Marcel first shows up in the episode The One with the Monkey. Which makes sense. Ross brings Marcel into Monica’s apartment, and Chandler says something like, “hey, that monkey’s got a Ross on his ass.” Then we get the laugh track. Shudder. The laugh track in Friends is brutal. I mean, I know this post isn’t about laugh tracks, but I think that we can all agree that the laugh track they used in Friends was a nightmare. Like a residential plumbers project gone wrong. Sorry … got sidetracked. But I really needed to get that out in the open.
Anyway, so Marcel is in Ross’s life, and kind of acts as a stand-in for a female companion, considering Ross’s marriage broke up relatively recently. This is, after all, season one. Solidifying this idea that this monkey is filling a very sad void in Ross’s life is that he brings him as a date to Monica’s New Years party. This was the episode wherein all the friends agreed to not bring dates, then they all kind of did bring dates, but all their dates ended up leaving or ditching them for one reason or another. And Ross was no exception, as Marcel abandoned him and didn’t pay any attention to him all night.
So that was a bummer for Ross. He really cared about this monkey, even though we hear references to Marcel apparently relieving himself indiscriminately in Ross’s apartment, and we also see him continuously playing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, driving Ross a little insane. In real life, however, apparently the actor who played Ross, David Schwimmer, felt very differently about the monkeys who played Marcel than his character did. I say monkeys, plural, because there were actually two monkeys used to play Marcel, one called Katie, who was used for the more active scenes, and the other called, appropriately, Monkey, who did more of the sitting on the shoulder type stuff.
Apparently the monkeys spent a lot of time vomiting up worms, defecating on the furniture, and basically just making every episode they were in a nightmare to film. It was so bad that the cast demanded that the monkey be written out of the show. David Schwimmer is quoted saying that he hated the monkey and that he wished it were dead. Yikes. I get it, though. That must have been super frustrating. I have enough trouble getting my cats not to claw the furniture.
Marcel did largely get written off the show, but does pop up in a few other episodes, including one where it’s decided he’ll go to live in the San Diego Zoo, and then a few more in which we learn that, though Ross was told that Marcel had died, it turns out he was stolen and was enjoying television and film fame. Turns out, Katie and Monkey actually did achieve film fame in real life when they were cast in the disaster film Outbreak, something that’s satirized in Friends when reference is made to Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan.