James Michael Tyler James Michael Tyler

Central Perk may not be Gunther's last name, but the two unquestionably go hand-in-hand.

So naturally, that's where we found James Michael Tyler, who played the surly, deadpan, Rachel-obsessed barista with "hair brighter than the sun" on Friends for all of its 10-year run. In honor of the series' 20th anniversary on Monday, Central Perk is real and — not to mix our must Must-See TV sitcoms — spectacular. Located at 199 Lafayette Street in New York City and open through Oct. 18, the pop-up coffeehouse is a must-stop shop for all Friends fanatics. The iconic orange couch is there for photo ops, there are tons of memorabilia, props (including Pat the Dog), souvenirs, a gift shop and free cups of coffee (courtesy of Eight O'Clock Coffee). Gunther himself will make surprise visits.

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"I had no expectation and I don't think anyone expected it [to be so big]," Tyler tells TVGuide.com of the show's mind-boggling success. "I didn't realize it had risen so highly in the ratings or if I was even coming back until the summer [before Season 2]."

As any Friends fan knows, Tyler — who bleached his hair again for the anniversary celebration — was merely a background extra during Season 1 and was tapped to play Gunther in Season 2 because he was the only extra who knew how to work the cappuccino machine. (His first word was, "Yeah," in "The One with Phoebe's Dad.") That's because Tyler was working at a coffeehouse at the time — and stayed there until halfway through Friends' run.

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"You never know in that business. I wanna keep my day job," he says. "This was for fun, and I was only initially working like one or two days a week on the show and you don't wanna give up those shifts when you're a barista. But eventually I felt guilty — they'd have me in all week on the show — so I'm like, 'I have to quit.' It takes a lot of time for Gunther to stalk Rachel, a lot of investment."

"Stalk" might be too strong a word to describe Gunther's infatuation with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). "I like 'obsession," Tyler says. "He genuinely loved her, but it was misguided. I don't think Gunther really had a lot of experience in what true love was. He thought it was true love, but it was really more of an unattainable he was going for. It was sweet in a lot of ways and it was that borderline of, 'This is creepy,' but I think the writers really found that balance between, 'Oh, Gunther's harmless. He actually means well. He has a good heart.' Although he's kind of mean to everybody and he's no-nonsense, but it made him real."

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Besides Gunther's epic line — "Hey buddy, this is a family place. Put the mouse back in the house" — Tyler's favorite moment is when Gunther finally confesses his undying love for Rachel in the finale. "[She] says no once again, but in a very sweet way. So it was nice to have that closure for the character," he says. "Hopefully he would be happy and not obsessed with Rachel anymore. Hopefully he's matured and learned a few lessons and found true love somewhere. Maybe not in New York. I would hope that he would've owned Central Perk by now. He remained not only the manager, but he did everything there, so I hope that he'd be a little better off."

And, we gotta ask, were Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel on a break?

"That is a tough question, specifically because Gunther's the one who had ulterior motives and told them about it," Tyler says. "I think that they were technically on a break."

Watch Tyler play Friends trivia below.