'The Golden Girls' and 'Friends' Have Something in Common

At first glance, you might not think The Golden Girls and Friends have anything in common outside of the network that aired the shows. Their shared network isn’t their only or even their most significant commonality. The Golden Girls and Friends actually have the same set designer. Aside from sharing a set designer, fans of both shows were obsessed with a door in each show. 

John Shaffner designed the sets for both ‘The Golden Girls’ and ‘Friends’

The Miami abode belonging to Rose Nylund and her pals and the apartment that housed Monica Geller and Rachel Green are two of the most recognizable properties ever to grace TV screens. Even TV viewers who didn’t regularly watch the shows would recognize them. There is a good reason for that, the same person designed the sets. John Shaffner worked on both shows.

Shaffner has had a long and illustrious career as a production designer. Shaffner didn’t just design the sets of Friends and The Golden Girls. He is also responsible for the look of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. He’s nabbed four Emmy Awards for his work and has been nominated a staggering 33 times. 

Shaffner was responsible for some of the most iconic elements of both sets 

Shaffner didn’t just design the sets; he took pride in personally finding items for the sets that would make a statement. He’s personally responsible for some of the most iconic elements of each set, including the couch from The Golden Girls and the easily recognizable paint color from Monica and Rachel’s apartment. 

According to House Beautiful, Shaffner initially planned to paint Monica and Rachel’s apartment white. He opted for Lilac instead because it was an easily recognizable color for people flipping through the channels. As for the Miami home of the golden girls, Shaffner picked out a large, ratan sectional couch and wired it together. Shaffner was also so attached to the banana leaf bedspread for Blanche Devereaux’s bedroom that he took it home after shooting the pilot. He said he wanted to ensure it wouldn’t get lost. 

Fans of both shows have spent years discussing a door on each set 

Shaffner might not have planned it this way, but both The Golden Girls and Friends fans zeroed in on doors on each show’s set. The Golden Girls viewers were quick to notice that an exclamation point appeared to be etched into the front door of Blanche’s Miami home. While rumor has it that Bea Arthur put it there, that wasn’t the case. Shaffner revealed in Golden Girls Forever that it was just a natural anomaly in the wood. 

Friends fans took a particular interest in a closet door located at the end of Monica and Rachel’s apartment. The door seemingly led to nowhere. Still, it was of such great interest to fans that the show’s writers crafted an entire storyline about it. “The One With the Secret Closet” aired in the show’s eighth season. In the episode, it is revealed that the door led to an incredibly messy storage closet. Monica kept it a secret from her friends. 

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