Friends (1994 - 2004) 48 THE ONE WITH THE PRINCESS LEIA FANTASY -- W Curtis/Malins D Mancuso PLOT Monica is still mourning Richard; Ross and Rachel act out his… 1994-09-22 2004-05-06 Jennifer Aniston Courteney Cox Lisa Kudrow Matt LeBlanc Matthew Perry David Schwimmer Charles Thomas Allen John Christopher Allen Hank Azaria Helen Baxendale Paget Brewster Eddie Cahill Anna Faris Cosimo Fusco Adam Goldberg Elliott Gould Jessica Hecht Mitchell Whitfield Paul Rudd Tom Selleck Jane Sibbett Cole Sprouse Lauren Tom Aisha Tyler James Michael Tyler Maggie Wheeler Jason Alexander David Arquette Billy Crystal Jean-Claude Van Damme Laura Dern Jon Favreau Sarah Ferguson Teri Garr Jennifer Grey Helen Hunt Chris Isaak Jon Lovitz Elle Macpherson Gary Oldman Brad Pitt Giovanni Ribisi Denise Richards Julia Roberts Isabella Rossellini Debra Jo Rupp Winona Ryder Susan Sarandon Jennifer Saunders Charlie Sheen Brooke Shields Kathleen Turner Gabrielle Union Robin Williams Bruce Willis Reese Witherspoon Steve Zahn NBC
Review

Friends (1994 - 2004)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Start Date: Sep 22, 1994; With: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry...; Network: NBC; More

48 THE ONE WITH THE PRINCESS LEIA FANTASY -- W Curtis/Malins D Mancuso PLOT Monica is still mourning Richard; Ross and Rachel act out his Carrie Fisher gold-bikini fantasy from Return of the Jedi. BEST LINE ''This guy's so stupid -- it's Count Rushmore!'' (Joey, watching Wheel of Fortune) NEW 'DO Chandler, Joey CRITIQUE The Princess Leia bit is a perfect example of the writers spinning a plot out of a pop-culture touchstone, and Ross' discovery that ''women tell each other everything'' is a relatable, comedically rich concept. But Monica's dragginess is a drag. B+

49 THE ONE WHERE NO ONE'S READY -- W Ungerleider D Mancuso PLOT Ross is the only one dressed a half hour before a museum fund-raiser. Monica gets a ''call me'' message from Richard on her machine. BEST LINE ''I'm not gonna go commando in another man's fatigues.'' (Joey, on why he has to wear underwear with a rented tux) CRITIQUE The episode plays out in real time, revealing that Friends still owes a large stylistic debt to Seinfeld (see ''The Chinese Restaurant''). Even the answering-machine gag feels derivative of George Costanza. C

50 THE ONE WITH THE JAM -- W Wil Calhoun D Bright PLOT Monica tries to get over Richard by throwing herself into jam making, then decides she wants to have a baby on her own -- and discovers Joey's been making deposits at a sperm bank. Phoebe falls for Malcolm, her twin's stalker, but dumps him because he's still obsessed with Ursula. CREATIVE CASTING David Arquette (the future Mr. Courteney Cox) as Malcolm. BEST LINE ''Pheebs, wake up and smell the restraining order.'' (Chandler) CRITIQUE Monica's yearning for a child adds a new emotional layer to her post-Richard recovery. It's one of Cox's best performances. B

51 THE ONE WITH THE METAPHORICAL TUNNEL -- W Junge D Steve Zuckerman PLOT Phoebe poses as Joey's agent, but her brutal honesty about why he's being rejected drives him back to Estelle. Ross is distressed to see his son playing with a Barbie doll. Chandler decides to ''go through the tunnel'' and make a commitment to Janice. CREATIVE CASTING ''Amazing Discoveries'' infomercial host Mike Levey as himself. BEST LINE ''So he plays with a Barbie? Big deal. You used to dress up like a woman.'' (Monica, to Ross) NEW 'DO Monica CRITIQUE Phoebe's fake-agent routine is a riot, and so is Chandler's attempt to settle down with Janice. Sensitive Ross' concern over his son's masculinity seems out of character -- until we learn about his cross-dressing past. B+

52 THE ONE WITH FRANK JR. -- W Scott Silveri/Shana Goldberg-Meehan D Zuckerman PLOT Phoebe reunites with her brother, Frank Jr. The gang discusses who'd be on their ''freebie list'' -- five stars they'd be allowed to sleep with and not jeopardize their relationships. Ross puts Isabella Rossellini on his, then removes her -- only to bump into the star at Central Perk. CREATIVE CASTING Isabella Rossellini as herself. BEST LINE ''She's too political -- she probably wouldn't do it unless you donated four cans of food first.'' (Chandler, on why Susan Sarandon, who later guests on the show, wouldn't be on his list) CRITIQUE The ''freebie list'' is a brilliant concept that had viewers constructing their own. Ribisi is an excellent addition, and Rossellini's scene is priceless. B+

53 THE ONE WITH THE FLASHBACK -- W Kauffman/Crane D Bonerz PLOT Janice asks if the Friends have ever almost hooked up, prompting a flashback to three years earlier, when Chandler is searching for a roommate (enter Joey) and putting the moves on Rachel (who's getting cold feet over her impending marriage). Ross, having learned his wife is gay, makes out on a pool table with Phoebe, who is secretly moving out of Monica's apartment. HISTORIC MOMENT Ugly Naked Guy wasn't always ugly -- during the flashback, Phoebe says, ''Cute Naked Guy is really starting to put on weight.'' CREATIVE CASTING Marissa Ribisi (Giovanni's sister) as one of Rachel's friends. BEST LINE ''Don't worry -- I'm totally okay with the gay thing.'' (Joey, upon meeting Chandler) NEW 'DO Ross, Joey, Chandler, Rachel CRITIQUE Often a corny conceit, the flashback is again used well here to allow us a peek at what the gang was like right before the series began. The romantic tension that develops between Joey and Monica is even funnier now that we know she ends up with Chandler. A-

54 THE ONE WITH THE RACE CAR BED -- W Seth Kurland D Mancuso PLOT Ross dreads a dinner with Rachel's impatient doctor dad, who calls him ''Wethead.'' Joey goes with Monica to return a race-car bed wrongly delivered by the Mattress King, a.k.a. Janice's ex, and sees her cheating on her ''Bing-aling.'' BEST LINE ''If I squint, I can pretend he's Alan Alda.'' (Rachel, on the supersensitive Ross) CRITIQUE The car bed seems a random object on which to hang an episode, but Janice's reunion with her ex is a shocker. B

55 THE ONE WITH THE POKING DEVICE -- W Chase D Mancuso PLOT Joey tells Chandler he caught Janice with her ex-husband. Ross doesn't trust Rachel to babysit Ben, but it's Monica who bumps the tot's head. BEST LINE ''It serves me right for buying a twelve-pack of condoms.'' (Chandler, after his breakup with Janice) CRITIQUE The two-women-and-a-baby physical shtick with Monica and Rachel works surprisingly well, but the one-liners fall flat. And while Chandler's split with Janice was inevitable, she'll be missed. B-

56 THE ONE WITH THE FOOTBALL -- W Ungerleider D Bright PLOT Some Thanksgiving touch football reawakens the sibling rivalry between Ross and Monica. HISTORIC MOMENT We learn of the Geller Bowl, and the Geller Cup -- a troll doll nailed to a 2-by-4 that Mr. Geller supposedly threw in the lake, but Monica actually saved. CRITIQUE Set on a not-very-convincing soundstage, this episode is painfully predictable (Monica and Ross are hyper-competitive, Rachel's a spaz). Appropriately enough for the holiday, it's a turkey. D

57 THE ONE WHERE RACHEL QUITS -- W Curtis/Malins D Terry Hughes PLOT Just before Christmas, Gunther tells Rachel she needs to be retrained as a waitress, and she quits. After landing a job at Fortunata Fashion, she finds herself making coffee again. Former fatty Monica gets hooked on Mint Treasures. HISTORIC MOMENT We learn from Rachel's resume that she was Cheer Squad cocaptain in high school. CREATIVE CASTING Sixties' stand-up star Shelley Berman as Rachel's new boss. CRITIQUE It's a nice gift to James Michael Tyler that Gunther gets to speak more than his usual one or two lines, and a good idea to get Rachel out of working at Central Perk. But there's nothing more depressing than watching a Xmas ep in any month other than December. C+

58 THE ONE WHERE CHANDLER CAN'T REMEMBER WHICH SISTER -- W Junge D Hughes PLOT A tipsy Chandler hooks up with one of Joey's sisters. Rachel meets Mark, who helps her get a job at Bloomingdale's. HISTORIC MOMENT Monica says Chandler stuck his tongue down her throat at the party. Foreshadowing! INTRODUCES Steven Eckholdt (It's like, you know...) as Mark. CREATIVE CASTING Alex Meneses (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Joey's sister Cookie. CRITIQUE This episode titillatingly pushes the sexual envelope (there's even talk of a threesome Joey once had). And watching Chandler try to figure out which sister he fooled around with plays to Perry's strengths (befuddlement being one of them). B+

59 THE ONE WITH ALL THE JEALOUSY -- W Abrams D Benson PLOT Ross gets jealous when Mark takes Rachel to lunch. Monica hooks up with Julio, a hunky coworker at the diner, only to discover his contempt for American women. Joey auditions for A Tale of Two Cities, not realizing the role requires dance experience, which he doesn't have (although his resume lists a stint with Twyla Tharp). BEST LINE ''Everybody lies on their resumes -- I wasn't one of the Zoom kids either.'' (Joey) CRITIQUE The script sheds insight on male-female dynamics, as Chandler and Joey explain how Mark is positioning himself to become Rachel's confidant before making his move. And speaking of moves, Joey's dance scenes are a kick. B+

60 THE ONE WHERE MONICA & RICHARD ARE FRIENDS -- W Borkow D Benson PLOT Monica runs into Richard at the video store. Phoebe's new boyfriend, Robert, has a habit of hanging out of his shorts (as Chandler discovers, to his horror). BEST LINE ''Hey buddy, this is a family place -- put the mouse back in the house.'' (Gunther, alerting Robert to his exposure) CRITIQUE The guys' reaction to Robert's unintentional exhibitionism is side-splitting (they decide not to look directly at it -- ''like an eclipse''). B

61 THE ONE WITH PHOEBE'S EX-PARTNER -- W Calhoun D Benson PLOT Phoebe reunites with former musical collaborator Leslie, but the duo then have a falling out over ''Smelly Cat.'' Chandler meets Joey's ex Ginger, whose artificial leg Joey accidentally burned. Mark leaves his job at Bloomie's (to Ross' delight) but plans to go to a lecture with Rachel (to Ross' dismay). HISTORIC MOMENT Chandler undergoes a ''nubbinectomy'' to remove his third nipple. CREATIVE CASTING E.G. Daily (Rugrats) as Leslie, and Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) as Ginger. BEST LINE ''When we were playing together, that was the most fun I ever had in, like, all my lives.'' (Phoebe, discussing Leslie) CRITIQUE The wooden-leg plotline is tasteless. At least the tension between Ross and Rachel sets the stage for their impending breakup. C

62 THE ONE WHERE ROSS & RACHEL TAKE A BREAK -- W Borkow D Burrows PLOT After Rachel tells Ross she has to cancel their anniversary plans, he surprises her at the office. Later, she tells him they need to ''take a break.'' He winds up sleeping with Chloe, the hottie from the copy store. HISTORIC MOMENT Duh -- Ross and Rachel break up. BEST LINE ''You do not bring a picnic basket to somebody's work -- unless maybe they're a park ranger.'' (Rachel, to Ross) CRITIQUE There's real emotional resonance to Ross and Rachel's split. At the same time, the ep lays the groundwork for one of the series' funniest mantras: ''We were on a break!'' A

63 THE ONE WITH THE MORNING AFTER -- W Kauffman/Crane D Burrows PLOT Ross frantically tries to keep Rachel from finding out he's slept with Chloe, but Gunther spills the beans. BEST LINE ''What were you trying to put it in -- her purse?'' (Rachel, after Ross says his sleeping with Chloe was a ''mistake'') CRITIQUE Schwimmer and Aniston have never been more heartbreakingly believable. Just as they're breaking up, they cement their status as one of TV's greatest couples. A-

64 THE ONE WITHOUT THE SKI TRIP -- W Silveri/Goldberg-Meehan D Sam Simon PLOT Rachel invites everyone but Ross skiing, but when Phoebe's cab runs out of gas, who else are they gonna call? Meanwhile, Chandler takes up smoking again. HISTORIC MOMENT Chandler reveals that his father once kidnapped him after Cub Scouts. BEST LINE ''I can handle it -- handle's my middle name. Actually, it's the middle part of my first name.'' (Chandler) CRITIQUE Ross and Rachel's breakup means a new dynamic among the sextet, but the temporary change of locale (most of the episode is set at a rest stop where they're stranded) takes the show out of its element (and not in a good way). Plus, a plot about Perry battling an addiction doesn't seem so funny in light of later real-life events. C+

65 THE ONE WITH THE HYPNOSIS TAPE -- W Kurland D Benson PLOT Chandler uses a hypnosis tape to quit smoking, but because it's geared toward women, he starts acting more feminine. Frank Jr. announces he's getting married to his home ec teacher, Mrs. Knight. Pete, a millionaire Monica doesn't find attractive, takes her out for an Italian dinner -- in Rome. INTRODUCES Jon Favreau (Swingers) as Pete; Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show) as Frank Jr.'s fiancee/school teacher. BEST LINE ''Monica, last Saturday night, what happened on Walker, Texas Ranger?'' (Rachel, proving to Monica she has no social life) CRITIQUE Frank Jr.'s back -- yay! Rupp brings a mature touch to her role, and Chandler's gender confusion is hysterical, in every sense of the word. A-

66 THE ONE WITH THE TINY T-SHIRT -- W Chase D Hughes PLOT Mark confesses his crush to Rachel and asks her out. Monica goes on another date with Pete. Joey lands a lead in an Off Broadway play opposite the sexy but contemptuous Kate. Rachel begins dating, and she and Ross return each other's stuff (including the title's tee). INTRODUCES Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers) as Kate. BEST LINE ''I know I'm no Jon Bon Jovi. Or someone you find attractive.'' (Pete, to Monica) CRITIQUE Ross' reaction to Rachel's first post-breakup date is uproariously realistic, and when he gives his Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt to her as a peace offering, it's undeniably affecting. B+

67 THE ONE WITH THE DOLLHOUSE -- W Calhoun D Hughes PLOT Monica inherits her Aunt Sylvia's dollhouse; Rachel's insensitive boss expresses interest in Chandler; Joey has a fling with Kate's understudy, which spurs Kate to sleep with him. INTRODUCES Alison LaPlaca as Rachel's boss. CREATIVE CASTING Jennifer Milmore (Jesse) as the understudy. BEST LINE ''I'm not interested in her sweater. It's what's underneath her sweater that counts.'' (Joey to Kate, about her wool-clad understudy) CRITIQUE The guest cast just keeps getting stronger with the addition of LaPlaca (Duet, Tom), but the dollhouse stuff is kinda cloying. B

68 THE ONE WITH A CHICK. AND A DUCK -- W Brown D Lembeck PLOT Moping over Kate, Joey finds solace with a new chick -- a real baby chicken. Chandler tries to dump the chick at a shelter, but winds up bringing home a duck. Pete buys a restaurant and wants Monica to be its head chef. HISTORIC MOMENT Chandler names the chick Yasmine, after Baywatch babe Yasmine Bleeth. CREATIVE CASTING NYC news anchor Sue Simmons as herself. BEST LINE ''Do you guys know how to get a chick out of a VCR?'' (a panicked Chandler, running into Rachel's apartment) NEW 'DO Chandler CRITIQUE It's hard not to quack up at the duck-and-chick gags -- especially when Joey and Chandler have a fight over who's spending more time with them. The Pete-Monica subplot gets a new life, extending the huggable Favreau's stay. B+

69 THE ONE WITH THE SCREAMER -- W Silveri/Goldberg-Meehan D Bonerz PLOT Rachel's new boyfriend, Tommy, turns out to have a raging temper, but only shows it in front of Ross. Joey consoles Kate after a bad review. CREATIVE CASTING Ben Stiller as Tommy; Peter Bonerz (Dr. Jerry Robinson from The Bob Newhart Show and the episode's director) as a theater patron. BEST LINE ''I always have to pick the smartest guy or the most talented guy. Why couldn't I just pick someone like you?'' (Kate, to Joey) CRITIQUE Stiller's a scream -- he may be Friends' funniest guest star ever. Between Stiller, Jon Favreau, Dina Meyer, and June Gable (as Joey's chain-smoking agent, Estelle), this is the rare episode with a supporting roster as talented as its regulars. A

70 THE ONE WITH ROSS'S THING -- W Andrew Reich/Ted Cohen D Shelley Jensen PLOT Ross finds a growth on his lower back and goes to see Phoebe's herbalist. Pheebs juggles two guys, a firefighter and a teacher, who don't know about each other. Monica becomes convinced that Pete is preparing to propose, but what he really tells her is that he wants to become...the Ultimate Fighting Champion? HISTORIC MOMENT Chandler names the duck Dick. CREATIVE CASTING Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall) as Guru Saj. BEST LINE ''What do you know? You married a lesbian!'' (Rachel, after Ross offers Monica marital advice) CRITIQUE Neither of Phoebe's beaux is given enough screen time to do anything particularly interesting. But Rachel's overexcited reaction to Monica's presumed wedding wins laughs, as does Ross' paranoia about his health. B

71 THE ONE WITH THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPION -- W Teleplay by Silveri/Goldberg-Meehan; story by Mark J. Kunerth/Pang-Ni Landrum D Benson PLOT Pete gets whupped in his Ultimate Fighting match but refuses to quit. Chandler is mortified when his new boss slaps his butt. Phoebe asks Rachel if she can set Ross up with her friend Bonnie, who used to be bald. HISTORIC MOMENT Ross uses the name of future guest star Winona Ryder to get reservations at a swanky restaurant. INTRODUCES Sam McMurray (The Tracey Ullman Show) as Chandler's boss; Christine Taylor (The Brady Bunch Movie) as Bonnie. CREATIVE CASTING Robin Williams and Billy Crystal crowd the gang on the couch at Central Perk. BEST LINE ''I don't understand guys. I would never congratulate Monica on a great stew by, you know, grabbing her boob.'' (Rachel, about bottom-smacking) CRITIQUE Luckily, Williams and Crystal (in a blatant plug for their soon-to-flop movie Father's Day) are gone before the opening credits. The episode gets much better, thanks to Chandler's inspired efforts to avoid his touchy-feely boss. B+

72 THE ONE AT THE BEACH -- W Teleplay by Chase; story by Landrum/Kunerth D Fryman PLOT Phoebe and Co. head to the beach in Montauk, N.Y., so she can meet an old friend of her mother's, also named Phoebe, who makes a startling revelation. During the trip, Rachel tricks Bonnie into shaving her head again -- a complete turnoff to Ross. HISTORIC MOMENT Chandler tells Monica, ''If worst comes to worst, I'll be your boyfriend.'' She laughs and tells him that he's not boyfriend material. She'll soon change her tune... INTRODUCES Teri Garr (Tootsie) as Phoebe's biological mom, Phoebe Sr. BEST LINE ''C'mon, Daddy needs a new pair of electromagnetic microscopes for the prehistoric forensics department.'' (Ross, rolling the dice during a strip Happy Days board game) NEW 'DO Chandler CRITIQUE Garr's casting is nothing short of genius (EW had previously suggested she should play the part of Phoebe's mother). Rachel's trick on Bonnie is almost as entertaining as Ross' horrified reaction (''You can feel all the bones in your skull!''). And it's great to see Ross and Rachel kissing again. A

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Originally posted Sep 15, 2001 Published in issue #615 Sep 15, 2001 Order article reprints