Throwback Thursday
Reese Witherspoon Friends Guest Star Rachel Sister Jill Green

A Look Back at Reese Witherspoon's Other Great TV Role (on Friends)

She’s getting a ton of Emmy buzz for Big Little Lies — which wraps up this Sunday — but don’t forget: Reese Witherspoon has charmed us on the small screen before. Ever hear of a little show called Friends?

For this week’s #TBT, we’re throwing it back to February 2000 (hey, we survived Y2K!), when Witherspoon guest-starred as Rachel’s spoiled kid sister Jill in Season 6’s “The One With Rachel’s Sister.” Jill shows up at Monica and Chandler’s apartment — and gets a warm “How you doin’?” from Joey — before complaining to Rachel that she’s been cut off by their dad. Rachel sets off to teach Jill how to support herself, but it backfires on her when Jill sets her sights on Rachel’s ex Ross. (To be fair, they were on a break at the time.)

Rachel ends up spying on Ross and Jill’s date in the following episode, “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry,” and then confesses to Jill how uncomfortable it makes her to see them dating. But that just makes Jill more determined to seduce Ross, leading to this classic moment of sibling rivalry:

Reese Witherspoon Friends

Ross eventually breaks things off with Jill, though… and Jill breaks his slide projector in response. She abruptly leaves town, capping Reese’s Friends run at a mere two episodes, which is a shame. (We didn’t even see her again when Rachel’s baby Emma was born. Wouldn’t an aunt want to meet her niece?) But even in just those two episodes, she was funny and adorable, proving that any sitcom would be lucky to have her.

The year after she did Friends, Witherspoon starred in Legally Blonde, and her rapidly ascending star in Hollywood ensured that her only subsequent TV work would be guest voices (The Simpsons) and cameos as herself (The Muppets). Until Big Little Lies, that is. And it’s great to see her sly comic timing back on TV again, this time as BLL‘s overprotective Monterey mom Madeline Mackenzie. Maybe if there’s a Season 2, we might meet Madeline’s long-lost sister… Rachel?

Press PLAY on the video below to relive Reese’s Friends debut, then hit the comments to explain to us why we never saw Jill again. 

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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29 Comments
  1. Ken says:

    Another episode we never saw? All three sisters together. Christina Applegate was the other sister.

    • Pedro says:

      Applegate was cast because Witherspoon wouldn’t return. Witherspoon originally had a longer arc and was being positioned as a replacement for Aniston, who was considering not renewing her contract. Aniston didn’t like that at all, things got heated backstage, Witherspoon’s stint was cut short and she eventually re-upped.

      • Big Mike says:

        Source?

      • Ken says:

        Yes please site your source. I’ve never heard that ever and that is something that would have made entertainment news.

        • Pedro says:

          If you want me to do your research for you, try being nicer. I don’t care if you believe me or not. I just thought it would be interesting, as a Friends mega-fan, some titbits from back in the day. Feel free to skip it if you don’t like behind-the-scenes.

        • Pedro says:

          OK. For the people asking for sources: The New York Post:

          “A top talent agent has even worked out a scenario for how the show might return if Aniston decides to move on.

          “It’ll come back either with Jennifer Aniston in all the episodes or just six or eight episodes,” the insider said. “And if she doesn’t come back for a full season, they’ll get a big feature actress like Reese Witherspoon and pay her $10 million to do six episodes.”

          nypost . com /2002/09/27/friends-again-it-could-go-on-without-jennifer-aniston/

          (Put the spaces together)

          Buzzfeed:

          “Reese Witherspoon was signed up for around six episodes, but apparently Jennifer Aniston disliked her and asked the producers to fire her. Sisterly love ay?”

          buzzfeed . com /dayshamaria/20-things-you-never-knew-about-friends-zwyy

          • Gern Blanston says:

            “This post was created by a user and has not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed’s editorial staff.” From the disclaimer of your second source. And your first source is about a contract issue that took place two years AFTER this appearance. So you’re saying that Aniston got her fired in 2000 because she wasn’t sure that she wanted to keep on making Friends after her contract was up in 2002? Your timeline doesn’t really match up there.

          • Pedro says:

            No. Just that Witherspoon was the person they clearly had in mind as a possible replacement. I’m sorry. I just wanted to share behind-the-scenes. You asked for sources, there you go. You don’t believe it. Feel free. Just stop harassing people online on a comment section. I shared some gossip, I even used Google for you when you proved incapable of finding simple information. Believe it. Don’t. These are not stories that stars themselves will confirm. But the NY Post is quite credible. This happened in 2000. I can’t really find tapes of where I watched or copies of newspapers and magazines where I read it. I did find sources, though, when you were calling me suspect, as if I had made it up. No need for you to be so rude. Next time, just move on.

      • Gern Blanston says:

        This sounds suspect. A quick internet search shows that as of 2015 Aniston and Witherspoon still are pretty close friends.

        • Pedro says:

          Yes, they made up. So?

          • Gern Blanston says:

            I don’t know why I am even responding but, you are saying that everybody is lying in every interview they ever gave to every magazine and website except you?

          • Pedro says:

            Yes. Because celebrities give interviews about behind-the-scenes conflicts and contract disputes on hit shows. They think NDAs are just decor.

      • joe says:

        All the cast signed their contracts together, it was all or none

        • Pedro says:

          If she wanted to leave and they wanted to stay, that wouldn’t be a problem. It would be a problem if they wanted to fire one of them. In that case, the others would support their colleague

          • Ken says:

            Pedro, site your source. There is no information anywhere online that proves your story.

          • Pedro says:

            OK. How much are you paying me? Since you want me to do your research for you? Believe me ore not. I just thought it would be interesting, as a Friends mega-fan, share some behind-the-scenes stories. No need to be rude or confrontational.

          • Anders says:

            I fail to see how people are being “rude” or “confrontational” when they ask you to site sources. Obviously you are not required to do so, but they are allowed to inquire about how you came by this information, otherwise it may need to be considered an “alternative fact.”

          • Ken says:

            I did the research. There is NOTHING on the internet anywhere detailing anything that you’ve posted. I am not being “rude or confrontational” by asking you to site your source since you are the one who started this particular “behind the scenes” story. In 100% of the cases, whenever people can’t site the source, then its a made up story or as Anders says “alternative facts”.

          • Pedro says:

            You are not very good at search if you can’t find news posted by Buzzfeed.

      • Pedro says:

        OK. For the people asking for sources: The New York Post:

        “A top talent agent has even worked out a scenario for how the show might return if Aniston decides to move on.

        “It’ll come back either with Jennifer Aniston in all the episodes or just six or eight episodes,” the insider said. “And if she doesn’t come back for a full season, they’ll get a big feature actress like Reese Witherspoon and pay her $10 million to do six episodes.”

        nypost . com /2002/09/27/friends-again-it-could-go-on-without-jennifer-aniston/

        (Put the spaces together)

        Buzzfeed:

        “Reese Witherspoon was signed up for around six episodes, but apparently Jennifer Aniston disliked her and asked the producers to fire her. Sisterly love ay?”

        buzzfeed . com /dayshamaria/20-things-you-never-knew-about-friends-zwyy

        • Ken says:

          I’ll give you points for digging up on the internet for something to prove you case. But I’d hardly call the NY Post or Buzzfeed. valid sources of information. But kudos for you.

          • Pedro says:

            Again, are you paying me? Do I owe you anything? You were rude to me and implied I made this all up. I gave you sources. I still was kind enough to perform the simple Google search you failed to do. You don’t want to believe it. Then, don’t. I just shared some behind-the-scenes gossip that is known in the industry. If you want an official statement, get a lawyer to nullify all of the involved NDAs.

        • Big Mike says:

          Thank you.

  2. sarah t says:

    I always loved her turn as Rachel’s sister on Friends. You’re right, she was the perfect blend of adorable and selfish. Reese has excellent comedic timing.

  3. missy says:

    Reese is one of my all time fav actresses :D
    Also, considering how Christna Applegate’s Amy treated Lil Emma, I think
    it was all for the best that Jill never got anywhere near her.

  4. SJ says:

    While I liked her in that role, Christina Applegate’s role as Rachel’s other sister was much more memorable. Although Applegate and Witherspoon should definitely play sisters sometime.

  5. Robin says:

    I remember when Witherspoon was a brat on Designing Women way back in the day!

  6. CurlyGurly says:

    If you want to check out one of Reese’s earlier (little-known) movies, check out “Freeway” from 1996. It’s a pretty dark movie, but great acting by Reese and Kiefer Sutherland. It shows how good of an actress she was from such a young age. and Kiefer is just….creepy as hell.