Friends 24 THE ONE WITH ROSS' NEW GIRLFRIEND -- W Astrof/Sikowitz D Lembeck PLOT Rachel's big plan to reveal her love for Ross at the airport… Friends 24 THE ONE WITH ROSS' NEW GIRLFRIEND -- W Astrof/Sikowitz D Lembeck PLOT Rachel's big plan to reveal her love for Ross at the airport… 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

24 THE ONE WITH ROSS' NEW GIRLFRIEND -- W Astrof/Sikowitz D Lembeck PLOT Rachel's big plan to reveal her love for Ross at the airport crashes and burns when he arrives on the arm of fellow paleontologist Julie. HISTORIC MOMENT Phoebe directly addresses the viewer, doing a Ross-and-Rachel recap. NEW 'DO Joey, Chandler BEST LINE ''Okay, you have to stop the Q-tip when there's resistance!'' (Chandler, to Joey) CRITIQUE An exquisite story (Rachel's frantic vexation at losing Ross before she even had him) and inspired subplots (Chandler's ''cupping'' by Joey's tailor; Phoebe mixes up her Moores and gives Monica Dudley's, not Demi's, 'do) start the sophomore season on a high note. A-

25 THE ONE WITH THE BREAST MILK -- W Chase/Ungerleider D Lembeck PLOT Ross is thrilled when his sister befriends Julie, but Monica is guilt-ridden for betraying Rachel. The gang dares Ross to taste Carol's breast milk. CREATIVE CASTING Emily Procter (The West Wing's Ainsley) as a Saks employee. NEW 'DO Monica BEST LINE ''You're going to Bloomingdale's with Julie? It's like cheating on Rachel in her house of worship.'' (Chandler, to Monica) CRITIQUE Friends is best at finding the funny in relationship quandaries, e.g., Monica's confession to Rachel of her friendship infidelity (''I was thinking of you the whole time!''), so we'll forgive the occasional lame sitcommery -- like Joey's ''showdown'' with a fellow cologne spritzer at Saks. B+

26 THE ONE WHERE HECKLES DIES -- W Michael Curtis/Gregory S. Malins D Bright PLOT Cranky Mr. Heckles gets posthumous revenge on noisy neighbors Monica and Rachel by willing them an apartment's worth of junk. Chandler is horrified to discover that the lonely Heckles is him in 30 years. INTRODUCES Michael G. Hagerty as the super, Mr. Treeger. HISTORIC MOMENTS Mr. Heckles notes in his ''big book of grievances'' that Chandler is gay. Janice pops up pregnant and married. BEST LINE ''Monkeys, Darwin -- you know, it's a nice story. I just think it's a little too easy.'' (Phoebe, on why evolution is a crock) CRITIQUE It's good to see the boys' quirks under the microscope: Besides Chandler's meltdown over being mayor of ''Bitter Town,'' Phoebe calls Ross on his obsessive need to be right. A-

27 THE ONE WITH PHOEBE'S HUSBAND -- W Junge D Mancuso PLOT Phoebe's got a secret: She married her gay Canadian friend Duncan because he needed a green card. Other skeletons unearthed: Chandler's third nipple, and the fact that Ross and Julie have yet to do the deed. HISTORIC MOMENT Ross reveals that he's been with only one woman in his life -- Carol. CREATIVE CASTING Steve Zahn as Duncan. BEST LINE ''Oh, darn it -- we're all out of milk. Hey, Chandler, will you fill me up here?'' (Ross, holding a pitcher up to Chandler's third-nippled chest) CRITIQUE Poor Phoebe's string of dead-end love affairs continues. And is it just us, or is Rachel's deliberate attempt to break up Ross and Julie just too nasty? B

28 THE ONE WITH FIVE STEAKS, AN EGGPLANT -- W Brown D Ellen Gittelsohn PLOT Joey, Phoebe, and Rachel are nonplussed when Chandler expects them to pony up $62 for Ross' b-day gift, and they accuse their more gainfully employed pals of being insensitive to their money woes. HISTORIC MOMENT Monica gets fired for accepting free steaks from the meat vendor. CRITIQUE At long last, Friends shatters the fantasy that twentysomething New Yorkers with minimum-wage jobs can afford spacious apartments and $200 haircuts. It's also a rare -- and welcome -- treat to see the gang experience realistic tension that goes beyond the standard snappy- comeback repartee. B+

29 THE ONE WITH THE BABY ON THE BUS -- W Betsy Borns D Mancuso PLOT Joey and Chandler are left in charge of baby Ben, and use him as bait to meet women -- but end up leaving the tot on the bus. HISTORIC MOMENT Phoebe's ''Smelly Cat'' debuts. CREATIVE CASTING Lea Thompson, as Caroline in the City's Caroline, who mistakes Joey and Chandler for a gay couple; JAG's Catherine Bell as a bus-riding babe; Chrissie Hynde as Stephanie, Phoebe's ''professional'' Central Perk replacement; Giovanni Ribisi, who will later play Phoebe's half brother, as a guy who drops a condom in her guitar case. CRITIQUE NBC's philosophy must go something like this: If a hit show ain't broke, jam it with stunts and crossovers. Still, LeBlanc, Perry, and Kudrow manage to turn those contrivances into unexpected hilarity. B+

30 THE ONE WHERE ROSS FINDS OUT -- W Michael Borkow D Bonerz PLOT During Rachel's latest dating disaster, she insists she's totally over Ross -- which is exactly what she tells him in a rambling, drunken phone message. HISTORIC MOMENT Ross and Rachel's first real kiss. BEST LINE ''You're over me?...When...when were you...under me?'' (Ross, to Rachel) CRITIQUE This one never gets old: Aniston exhibits an endearing willingness to look foolish (see Rachel's wine-soaked blind date and next-day remorse) and gives her most Lucy-esque (and Emmy-worthy) performance yet. She and Schwimmer bring off Ross and Rachel's Central Perk blowout with sweet, silly perfection. A

31 THE ONE WITH THE LIST -- W Kauffman/Crane D Mary Kay Place PLOT Ross must choose between fulfilling his 10-year fantasy with Rachel and staying with Julie, so he composes a ''pros and cons'' list. Do we really need to tell you that Rachel finds the list? Monica is hired to develop recipes for Mockolate, a ''completely synthetic chocolate substitute.'' CREATIVE CASTING Michael McKean as the Mockolate exec. BEST LINE ''Oh, sweet Lord -- this is what evil must taste like!'' (Phoebe, sampling Mockolate-chip cookies) CRITIQUE Ross' list is an old TV gimmick -- an artificial obstacle designed to keep a happy couple apart -- but it's also a clever example of how boys can be so damn stupid. Still, after the giddy high of the Kiss, this ep comes off as a downer. B

32 THE ONE WITH PHOEBE'S DAD -- W Astrof/Sikowitz D Bright PLOT Phoebe learns that nothing her mother told her about her absentee father (he's a famous tree surgeon who lives in a phoneless hut in Burma) is true. Turns out Frank Buffay is a pharmacist in upstate New York -- so Phoebe enlists Chandler and Joey for a road trip. A broken radiator turns Monica's holiday get-together into a ''tropical Christmas party.'' HISTORIC MOMENTS Gunther speaks! We see Phoebe's apartment with her grandma. CREATIVE CASTING Three's Company's Audra Lindley as Phoebe's grandma. CRITIQUE It's nice to finally get a real glimpse into Phoebe's tragicomic past, and Kudrow tempers the plot's poignancy (''What if he's just still the dirtbag who ran out on my mom and us?'') with her award-winning daffiness. B

33 THE ONE WITH RUSS -- W Ungerleider D Thomas Schlamme PLOT Everybody but Rachel can see that her new boyfriend, Russ (Schwimmer, under a bad wig and a ton of makeup), is just a bigger-chinned doppelganger for Ross. INTRODUCES Joey's agent Estelle (June Gable). HISTORIC MOMENTS Monica reunites with ''Fun Bobby,'' but it turns out he becomes ''Ridiculously Dull Bobby'' without booze in him; Joey lands the role of Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives after a visit to the casting couch. BEST LINE ''See, now they're as different as night and...later that night.'' (Monica, comparing Ross and Russ) CRITIQUE And we thought the Phoebe/Ursula gag was hackneyed. When a show as superior as Friends starts wandering into Brady Bunch territory (everybody remember when Peter met his twin at school?), it is a sad, sad day indeed. C-

34 THE ONE WITH THE LESBIAN WEDDING -- W Abrams D Schlamme PLOT Ross is shaken up when Carol and Susan announce their impending nuptials; Rachel is shaken up by a visit from her mom -- especially when she learns that her parents might separate; Phoebe believes she's possessed by an 82-year-old woman who died on her massage table. INTRODUCES Marlo Thomas as Sandra Green. HISTORIC MOMENTS Our first glimpse of Joey as Dr. Drake Ramoray; the show makes a sly nod to our obsession with Aniston's shag when Rachel quips of her newly independent mom: ''Couldn't she have just copied my haircut?'' CREATIVE CASTING Comedian Lea DeLaria as a wedding guest who hits on Phoebe; Candace Gingrich (Newt's sister) as the minister. BEST LINE ''Why wouldn't I want to come? I had fun at the first wedding.'' (Ross, to Carol) CRITIQUE A slightly overcrowded episode; still, Thomas is parent-perfect casting as Rachel's bubbly socialite mom, and Kudrow somehow makes the goofy poltergeist plot work. B

35-36 THE ONE AFTER THE SUPER BOWL PART 1 & 2 -- W Part I: Astrof/Sikowitz; Part II: Borkow D Lembeck PLOT Friends' second hour-long episode is a Hollywood drop-in extravaganza: Days doc Joey dates his first stalker (Brooke Shields); Phoebe falls for a library employee (Chris Isaak); the gang visits Marcel -- now a monkey thespian -- on the set of Outbreak 2, while Rachel and Monica fight over the movie's star, Jean-Claude Van Damme (guesting as himself); Chandler takes up with a fourth-grade classmate (Julia Roberts) who's still steamed about an undies prank he pulled. HISTORIC MOMENT Shields' frenetic performance as the psycho soap fan led to a TV deal -- which in turn led to the infliction of Suddenly Susan on an unsuspecting America. CREATIVE CASTING In addition to the above, Fred Willard as the administrator of the zoo where Marcel was last seen; The Simpsons' Dan Castellaneta as the zookeeper. BEST LINE ''Sometimes men love women/Sometimes men love men/And then there are bisexuals/Though some just say they're kidding themselves.'' (Phoebe, in a song about sexuality) CRITIQUE Coinciding with the height of Friends hysteria (and a Diet Coke tie-in), ''TOATSB'' shows the writers felt the pressure of producing a megahit: The episode is fragmented, poorly paced, and only sporadically funny. Cramming the already crowded ensemble with celebs may have been a ratings grabber (52.9 million fans tuned in after the game), but the results are forced sitcomedy and stilted acting (that means you, Mr. Van Damme). Roberts comes off the best (no surprise), though her off-screen mini-romance with Perry was more entertaining. C

37 THE ONE WITH THE PROM VIDEO -- W Junge D Burrows PLOT Rachel has a message for Ross: ''We are never going to happen, okay?'' But she hasn't seen the titular video, which shows the geeky genesis of Ross' undying love. Joey, rolling in soap opera dough, repays Chandler for years of mooching with a gold bracelet, which his chagrined pal dubs an ''eyesore from the Liberace house of crap.'' HISTORIC MOMENTS Our first glimpse of teenage Rachel's pre-nose job honker, and of Fat Monica -- though she insists the camera adds 10 pounds. (Chandler's response: ''So how many cameras are actually on you?'') CRITIQUE So nice to see you again, Mr. Burrows. Putting the flashy guest stars and monkey high jinks behind it, ''TOWTPV'' brings the show back to relatable relationship comedy. The prom vid -- a true Friends classic -- is witty character development disguised as a standard flashback. A

38 THE ONE WHERE ROSS AND RACHEL...YOU KNOW -- W Curtis/Malins D Lembeck PLOT It's Ross and Rachel's first date, but their journey from friends to lovers is hampered by Rachel's giggles and Ross' hectic schedule. INTRODUCES Dr. Richard Burke (Tom Selleck) as a Geller family friend. HISTORIC MOMENTS Joey and Chandler acquire black leather armchairs; Monica and Richard hit it off. BEST LINE ''I can't believe two cows made the ultimate sacrifice so that you guys could watch TV with your feet up.'' (Phoebe, about the new chairs) CRITIQUE Schwimmer and Aniston are almost too good at portraying the awkward buddies-to-bedmates transition; it's a little disconcerting seeing Ross and Rachel finally getting busy. The latest champions in the chemistry department are Cox and Selleck, but we already knew Magnum was a charmer. B+

39 THE ONE WHERE JOEY MOVES OUT -- W Borns D Lembeck PLOT Joey and Chandler's blissful cohabitation ends when a Days star offers Joey his posh pad. Mr. and Mrs. Geller learn Richard is dating a twentysomething ''twinkie,'' and they're shocked to discover it's their little Harmonica. HISTORIC MOMENT Rachel gets a tattoo. BEST LINE ''It's not like we agreed to live together forever. We're not Bert and Ernie.'' (Joey, to Chandler) CRITIQUE Yep, the dissolution of TV's cutest quasi-gay couple is a shame, but it's a stellar drop-in from the elder Gellers that makes this episode a success. B+

40 THE ONE WHERE EDDIE MOVES IN -- W Chase D Lembeck PLOT A lonely Chandler takes in new roomie Eddie. Monica tries not to lose it now that Ross is hanging out at her pad 24/7 due to his blossoming relationship with Rachel. HISTORIC MOMENTS Joey and Chandler's fave show, Baywatch, makes its first appearance; a record company asks Phoebe to make a video for ''Smelly Cat.'' INTRODUCES Adam Goldberg as Eddie. CRITIQUE Chandler and Joey's ''breakup'' -- and the resulting tension over ''rebound roommate'' Eddie -- is a pitch-perfect relationship parody. It's also nice to see Ross and Monica act like a bickering brother and sister for a change. A-

41 THE ONE WHERE DR. RAMORAY DIES -- W Teleplay by Borkow; story by Junge D Lembeck PLOT Joey mouths off to Soap Opera Digest about scripting his lines on Days, so the writers put an empty elevator shaft in Dr. Drake's future. Chandler discovers the psycho side of Eddie. HISTORIC MOMENT Richard tells Monica he loves her. BEST LINE ''This game is grotesque! Twenty armless guys joined at the waist by a steel bar, forced to play soccer forever? Ugh, hello -- human rights violation!'' (Phoebe on Foosball) CRITIQUE A pair of standout moments: Eddie's freakishly funny retelling of his recent breakup, and Monica and Rachel's to-the-wire negotiations over the apartment's last condom. B

42 THE ONE WHERE EDDIE WON'T GO -- W Curtis/Malins D Lembeck PLOT Joey faces the harsh reality of unemployment, while the girls get fired up by the feminist book Be Your Own Wind-Keeper. And crazy Eddie won't move out. HISTORIC MOMENTS We learn Gunther used to play ''Bryce'' on All My Children; Joey moves back in with Chandler. BEST LINE ''Joey, you owe $1,100 at I Love Lucite.'' (Ross, surveying Joey's oversize Visa bill) CRITIQUE The Wind-Keeper plot is a smart send-up of flaky New Age jibber-jabber -- and the gals are gamely ''I Am Woman'' -- but the feminism-as-punchline theme is a tad disturbing. The saving grace is guest star Goldberg's twitchy turn as Eddie. B

43 THE ONE WHERE OLD YELLER DIES -- W Teleplay by Chase; story by Curtis/Malins D Lembeck PLOT Phoebe goes on a quest to see the sad movie endings her mom shielded her from; Ross freaks out Rachel by revealing his plans for their future. HISTORIC MOMENT Ross and Rachel say the L-word. BEST LINE ''Okay, what kind of a sick doggie snuff film is this?'' (Phoebe, at Yeller's tragic conclusion) CRITIQUE Kudrow steals another show with Phoebe's cinema-fueled disillusionment: ''It should've been called It's a Sucky Life and Just When You Think It Can't Suck Anymore, It Does!'' A-

44 THE ONE WITH THE BULLIES -- W Sebastian Jones/Brian Buckner D Lembeck PLOT When Ross and Chandler get to Central Perk, there are two mean guys on the couch who won't budge. Phoebe makes another attempt to meet her real dad; a broke Monica gets a job at a '50s theme diner. INTRODUCES Giovanni Ribisi (seen in Episode 29) as Phoebe's long-lost half brother Frank Buffay Jr. CREATIVE CASTING Peter DeLuise and Boston Public's Nicky Katt as the bullies. BEST LINE ''I was a sous-chef at Cafe des Artistes. How can I take a job where I have to make something called Laverne and Curly fries?'' (Monica) CRITIQUE An atypically slapsticky episode, but it works: Perry and Schwimmer do the girlyman thing to spastic perfection, and the final diner scene with Monica dancing to ''YMCA'' while wearing flame-retardant boobs is a howler. A-

45 THE ONE WITH TWO PARTIES -- W Junge D Lembeck PLOT Monica is forced to split Rachel's birthday soiree between apartments to keep the divorcing Greens apart. INTRODUCES Ron Leibman as Rachel's abrasive dad, Dr. Leonard Green. CRITIQUE Chandler's reaction to the wacky premise (''Think -- what would Jack and Chrissy do?'') says it all -- this episode is pure Three's Company, from the hyperphysical comedy to the Jack Tripper-Mr. Roper dynamic between Ross and Dr. Green. But the high-energy shenanigans don't quite mesh with the melancholy divorce theme. B-

46 THE ONE WITH THE CHICKEN POX -- W Brown Mandell D Lembeck PLOT Phoebe's Navy submarine officer boyfriend resurfaces -- but her hopes for a romantic interlude are torpedoed when they both contract chicken pox. Joey creates an alter ego, the irritatingly successful family man ''Joseph,'' for his new job at Chandler's company. CREATIVE CASTING Charlie Sheen as Phoebe's sailor. CRITIQUE A forced setup combined with an out-of-place guest star (the pre-Spin City Sheen was clearly still uncomfortable with TV) equals one disappointing episode. It's notable only for a pair of dirty-by-Friends-standards one-liners in the cold open, including ''That'll teach you to lick my muffin!'' C

47 THE ONE WITH BARRY & MINDY'S WEDDING -- W Teleplay by Mandell; story by Ungerleider D Lembeck PLOT Rachel's duties as maid of honor at her ex-fiance's wedding are made all the more distasteful by her pouffy pink bridesmaid's dress. And Chandler's online love interest turns out to be a lady from his past. (We'll give you a hint: Oh. My. Gawd.) HISTORIC MOMENT Monica and Richard come to an impasse over children -- she wants 'em, he doesn't. CREATIVE CASTING Jennifer Grey must've been busy, because Mindy is played here by Ed's Jana Marie Hupp. BEST LINE ''I'm sorry, we don't have your sheep.'' (Chandler, seeing Rachel in her bridesmaid's getup) CRITIQUE A leisurely paced season-ender with plenty of sharp one-liners, ''TOWBAMW'' is given emotional heft by Richard and Monica's heartrending split -- a bittersweet scene that allows Cox and Selleck one last chance (for now) to show off their superb chemistry. A-

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