By EW Staff
September 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

121 THE ONE AFTER VEGAS — W Chase D Bright PLOT Ross and Rachel wake up hungover — and with no memory of having been married. Chandler and Monica decide to live together. INTRODUCES The newly married Courteney Cox Arquette (the rest of the cast append Arquette to their names in the opening credits in a show of solidarity). HISTORIC MOMENT It’s implied that Phoebe was previously married in Vegas and never got a divorce (she thought it meant that you were married only in Vegas). BEST LINE ”This is not a marriage — this is the world’s worst hangover!” (Rachel, to Ross) CRITIQUE The episode’s biggest yuks come courtesy of Schwimmer and Aniston, who spin new variations on Ross’ and Rachel’s ttwisted romantic fates. B+

122 THE ONE WHERE ROSS HUGS RACHEL — W Goldberg-Meehan D Mancuso PLOT Chandler and Monica break the news to Joey and Rachel that they’re moving in together, and Phoebe urges Ross to tell Rachel that he hasn’t annulled their Vegas nuptials. CREATIVE CASTING Ron Glass (Barney Miller) as Ross’ divorce lawyer. BEST LINE ”We were drunk — I would’ve married Joey with that amount of alcohol.” (Ross, about his marriage to Rachel) CRITIQUE Joey’s emotional reaction to Chandler moving out is both funny and touching — we know how much these guys love being roommates. But Rachel’s emotionless reaction is a little hard to buy: Why would she think Chandler and Monica aren’t really going to shack up? B

123 THE ONE WITH ROSS’S DENIAL — W Kurland D Halvorson PLOT Rachel proposes moving in with Phoebe, but the latter says she has a roommate named Denise. Ross suggests Rachel move in with him, and she accepts — not knowing they’re still married. BEST LINE ”You love her again — you relove her!” (Phoebe, to Ross, re: Rachel) CRITIQUE It’s fun to see Monica and Chandler fight after their lovey-dovey behavior (he wants to put arcade games and his Barcalounger in Monica’s tastefully decorated apartment, or, as he calls it, ”Grandma’s Place”). Joey’s search for a ”non-smoking, non-ugly” female roommate also scores, but it’s Ross’ increasingly desperate attempts to deceive Rachel that make this episode so amusing. A-

124 THE ONE WHERE JOEY LOSES HIS INSURANCE — W Reich/Cohen D Halvorson PLOT Rachel takes a message from Ross’ divorce lawyer and finds out he hasn’t annulled their wedding. Joey’s SAG health insurance expires. A psychic tells Phoebe she’s going to die within a week, but the fortune-teller expires instead. CRITIQUE This hit-and-miss installment mostly misses. The health-insurance subplot is both predictable and icky (Joey develops a hernia as soon as his coverage runs out), and Monica and Rachel’s squabble over a pair of candlesticks is a time waster. B-

125 THE ONE WITH JOEY’S PORSCHE — W Rein/McCreery D Halvorson PLOT Joey finds the keys to a Porsche at Central Perk and pretends that it’s his to attract chicks. Rachel and Ross finally apply for an annulment, where she claims he’s an insane, gay, impotent heroin addict. HISTORIC MOMENTS Phoebe asks Rachel to be her roommate (the still-unseen Denise is out of town until Dec. 26); Rachel admits it was her idea to marry Ross in Vegas. CREATIVE CASTING Conchata Ferrell (L.A. Law) as the judge at the annulment. BEST LINE ”When — after the birth of our first secret child?” (Rachel, asking Ross when he was going to tell her they were still married) CRITIQUE Even though it’s a blatant product placement, the Porsche gives the increasingly confident LeBlanc a chance to strut his comic stuff. B

126 THE ONE ON THE LAST NIGHT — W Silveri D David Schwimmer PLOT On the eve of M&C moving in together, Rachel isn’t packed, so Monica organizes the gang to get the job done. Joey declines Chandler’s offer to lend him money to get by until he finds a new roomie, so he has to come up with ways to give him cash by creating a fake game called ”Cups.” BEST LINE ”Hurry! Monica’s going to make you pack! She’s got jobs for everyone! Now it’s too late for me, but save yourselves!” (Phoebe, to the guys) CRITIQUE Schwimmer shows a sure hand directing the ensemble. Monica and Rachel’s catfight is uproarious, as are Chandler’s schemes to supplement Joey’s income. Plus, Monica and Chandler’s farewells to their roomies are genuinely affecting. A-

127 THE ONE WHERE PHOEBE RUNS — W Sherry Bilsing-Graham/Ellen Plummer D Halvorson PLOT Joey introduces the gang to his new roommate, leggy Australian dancer Janine Lecroix. Phoebe’s loose-limbed jogging style embarrasses Rachel. INTRODUCES Supermodel Elle Macpherson as Janine, a knockout from Down Under (okay, so it’s not exactly a stretch). CRITIQUE Macpherson continues to prove the sitcom’s contention that comedy can be pretty; she’s naturally funny, and LeBlanc’s panicky reactions to her are downright hysterical. B

128 THE ONE WITH ROSS’S TEETH — W Teleplay by Rein/McCreery; story by Reich/ Cohen D Halvorson PLOT Phoebe asks Rachel if she can use the copy machine at her office. Pheebs says she made out with Ralph Lauren (though she’s actually hooked up with a copy boy). CREATIVE CASTING Ralph Lauren as himself. CRITIQUE The repeated references to Ralph Lauren as ”the silver fox” feel like a forced attempt to suck up to him so they can use his name on the show. Schwimmer does what he can with the one-joke subplot about Ross’ overly bleached teeth, but the episode ultimately lacks bite. C-

129 THE ONE WHERE ROSS GOT HIGH — W Malins D Bright PLOT Monica’s parents, who have never liked Chandler, are coming to Thanksgiving dinner, and he’s determined to win them over. Phoebe confesses she had a romantic dream about Mr. Geller, and Janine invites Ross and Joey to join her dancer friends’ feast. If only they could get away from Monica and Chandler’s apartment… BEST LINE ”Whoa — snowin’ out there?” (Chandler, accidentally calling attention to Mr. Geller’s dandruff) CRITIQUE There are many reasons to give thanks for this episode: the always-welcome return of Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles as Monica and Ross’ folks; Perry’s masterful hemming and hawing as he digs himself deeper and deeper with them; and Rachel’s deliciously awful cooking (she mistakenly combines the recipes for English trifle and shepherd’s pie). It’s a comedic cornucopia! A-

130 THE ONE WITH THE ROUTINE — W Boyle D Bright PLOT Janine lands a job dancing at a pretaping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and asks Joey, Ross, and Monica to join her (the Gellers’ dorky dream come true). Phoebe and Rachel recruit Chandler in their annual search for the presents Monica bought for them. CREATIVE CASTING Patrick Bristow (Ellen) as Rockin’ Eve’s fey stage manager. CRITIQUE The Dick Clark plotline rocks — it brings out Monica’s and Ross’ inner geeks, and the retro ”routine” Cox Arquette and Schwimmer perform in an attempt to get onto one of the platforms is sheer genius. But the stuff about the hidden gifts seems kinda juvenile — aren’t these characters, like, in their 30s now? B

131 THE ONE WITH THE APOTHECARY TABLE — W Teleplay by Boyle; story by Zachary Rosenblatt D Bright PLOT Rachel orders an apothecary table from Pottery Barn, unaware that Phoebe hates all mass-produced furniture. Joey and Janine are now officially an item. One problem: She dislikes Monica and Chandler. BEST LINE ”Ah, just like the apothecary tables of yore.” (Chandler, after Rachel said her table holds up to 300 CDs) CRITIQUE The twist of Janine not caring for Chandler (”blah”) and Monica (”very loud for such a small person”) is inspired — didn’t you always imagine that everyone would like the Friends? So is the mockery of the omnipresent Pottery Barn, which almost makes its mailbox-clogging catalogs seem worthwhile. B+

132 THE ONE WITH THE JOKE — W Teleplay by Reich/ Cohen; story by Goldberg-Meehan D Halvorson PLOT A joke Ross says he wrote gets printed by Playboy — but Chandler claims credit for it. Joey gets a job as a waiter at Central Perk. BEST LINE ”I was an actor, and now I’m a waiter. You’re supposed to go in the other direction.” (Joey) CRITIQUE With the Janine arc completed and Chandler and Monica happily cohabiting, not a whole lot happens in this palatable but instantly forgettable episode. C

133 THE ONE WITH RACHEL’S SISTER — W Teleplay by Bilsing/Plummer; story by Kurland D Halvorson PLOT Rachel gets a surprise visit from her spoiled younger sister, Jill, who ends up going out on a date with Ross. Monica comes down with a cold, and Chandler’s grossed out by her phlegmy come-ons. INTRODUCES Reese Witherspoon as Jill. BEST LINE ”I don’t like it when Ross goes out with anyone, but with my sister? Isn’t that, like, incest?” (Rachel) CRITIQUE Witherspoon’s a riot as Rachel’s even-more-princessy sister. If only Cox’s fake stuffy-nose act were as believable — although it is pretty funny when Chandler finally gets turned on by watching Monica rub Vicks on her chest. B+

134 THE ONE WHERE CHANDLER CAN’T CRY — W Reich/Cohen D Bright PLOT Rachel’s beside herself over her sister dating Ross, which only makes Jill more attracted to big sis’ ex-boyfriend. Strangers start recognizing Phoebe Buffay from porno movies — which actually star her sister, who’s been using Phoebe’s name. BEST LINE ”Yes, it was very sad when the guy stopped drawing the deer.” (Chandler, explaining why he didn’t cry when Bambi’s mother died) CRITIQUE Witherspoon and Aniston continue to work together beautifully — too bad Reese didn’t stick around after this episode. The porno subplot will make you scream (among Phoebe’s alleged titles: Lawrence of a Labia and Buffay the Vampire Layer), and Chandler’s attempts to turn on, and eventually off, the waterworks will make you cry — with laughter. A-

135-136 THE ONE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PART 1 & 2 — W Part 1: Malins/Chase; Part 2: Kauffman/Crane D Lembeck PLOT Rachel announces that her ex-fiance, Barry, and best friend, Mindy, are getting a divorce, and she wonders what life would be like if she had gotten married to him. The gang also imagines a parallel universe in which Ross never divorced Carol, Chandler pursued a writing career, Monica was still fat (and a virgin), Phoebe was a stockbroker, and Joey remained as Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives. INTRODUCES Cole Mitchell Sprouse (Big Daddy) as Ben. CREATIVE CASTING Kristian Alfonso as Hope Brady (her Days of Our Lives character) and Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) as Phoebe’s boss. NEW ‘DO Phoebe, Monica, Rachel CRITIQUE Yes, it’s the last refuge of sitcom writers who’ve run out of new ideas: the ”what-if” episode. Which raises the question, What if you never wasted an hour of your life watching this forced groaner? D+

137 THE ONE WITH UNAGI — W Story by Rosenblatt; Teleplay by Chase D Halvorson PLOT Phoebe and Rachel start taking a self-defense class, and ex-karate student Ross teaches them about ”Unagi” — a state of total awareness that prepares you for any danger. Chandler and Monica don’t know what to make each other for their belated Valentine’s Day presents. Joey’s hard up for cash, so he signs up for a medical experiment on identical twins and hires another actor, Carl, to pose as his brother. CREATIVE CASTING Louis Mandylor (Martial Law) as Carl. BEST LINE ”Hey, remember when I had a monkey? What was I thinking?” (Ross) CRITIQUE The word unagi (”Isn’t that a kind of sushi?” Rachel asks) sounds more and more absurd every time Schwimmer says it, but it’s Joey’s attempts to train Carl to behave exactly like him that make this another standout episode for this season’s MVP, LeBlanc. B+

138 THE ONE WHERE ROSS DATES A STUDENT — W Kurland D Halvorson PLOT One of Ross’ students, Elizabeth, calls him ”the hottie of the paleontology department” in her evaluation, and he accepts her offer for a date. Joey gets an audition for a new Al Pacino movie. A fire damages Phoebe and Rachel’s place, so Phoebe moves into Monica’s pad, and Rachel shacks up with Joey. INTRODUCES Alexandra Holden (Sugar & Spice) as Elizabeth. BEST LINE ”It actually is in the handbook. I can’t date you, or have a hot plate in my office.” (Ross, to Elizabeth) CRITIQUE Ross’ relationship with Elizabeth is simultaneously the most boring and the creepiest romance in Friends’ history. The apartment-fire story line comes out of the blue, but pairing up Joey and Rachel in the same apartment will pay big comedic dividends in future episodes. One question: Why no mention that Joey was once Pacino’s butt double? B-

139 THE ONE WITH JOEY’S FRIDGE — W Teleplay by McCreery/Rein; story by Kurland D Ben Weiss PLOT Joey’s flat broke and can’t afford to fix the fridge, so he eats everything before it goes bad. Chandler and Monica compete with Phoebe to find Rachel the right guy. Ross introduces the gang to Elizabeth, whom he’s still seeing on the sly, but he gets jealous when she leaves for spring break in Daytona without him. BEST LINE ”So, I will take one box of the Thin Mints.” (Ross, covering when another professor walks in on him and Elizabeth) CRITIQUE Whenever a major plotline revolves around one of the characters’ appliances, you know the writers are fresh out of material. C+

140 THE ONE WITH MAC AND C.H.E.E.S.E. — W Abrams D Bright PLOT Joey wins an audition for a leading role in a sci-fi TV show, playing detective ”Mac” Machiavelli opposite a Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer, or ”C.H.E.E.S.E.” BEST LINE ”If I don’t get this part, I’m never gonna eat macaroni and cheese again! No, I didn’t say that! That’s a lie.” (Joey) NEW ‘DO Everyone CRITIQUE Don’t be fooled: This is a clip show, and a pretty random one at that. The montages include…the Friends’ various travails at work, Chandler and Joey’s hugs over the years, and the characters’ many fights. While some of the old scenes are still funny, you can’t get around the fact that this is essentially a glorified rerun. D+

141 THE ONE WHERE ROSS MEETS ELIZABETH’S DAD — W Teleplay by Silveri; story by David J. Lagana D Lembeck PLOT Ross is worried about meeting his young girlfriend’s disapproving father, who ends up making out with Rachel. Meanwhile, Joey’s nervous about his big Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. gig, especially after agent Estelle tells him that he’s about to be fired. INTRODUCES Bruce Willis (Perry’s costar in The Whole Nine Yards) as Paul Stevens, Elizabeth’s dad. BEST LINE ”The lead in my own TV series? I’ve dreamed about this for years! Why have I not been preparing?” (Joey) CRITIQUE The female Friends’ drooling over Willis (who won a best guest Emmy for this stint) is distastefully reminiscent of their hard-to-swallow reaction to Jean-Claude Van Damme in the Super Bowl episode. Thank God for LeBlanc, who milks the Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. gags for all they’re worth. C+

142 THE ONE WHERE PAUL’S THE MAN — W Teleplay by Bilsing/Plummer; story by Brian Caldirola D Halvorson PLOT Ross and Elizabeth take a trip to her family’s cabin, unaware that Paul is planning a romantic getaway with Rachel. Chandler seems to freak when he finds out Monica has put their names on a waiting list to get married at a museum. Chuffed about his TV gig, Joey battles to get his picture back on the ”wall of fame” at the local dry cleaner. CREATIVE CASTING Merrin Dungey (The King of Queens) as the museum official. BEST LINE ”Looks like I’m not the only one interested in fossils.” (Ross, teasing Rachel about dating the older Paul) CRITIQUE The show’s lame attempt to stage a door-slamming farce only proves Frasier does it better. Heck, Three’s Company did it better. C-

143 THE ONE WITH THE RING — W Reich/Cohen D Halvorson PLOT While Chandler searches for the perfect engagement ring for Monica, Rachel tries to get the strong, silent Paul to share his feelings. BEST LINE ”No, did he hug you?” (Chandler, after Paul asked if his father had ever hugged him) NEW ‘DO Chandler CRITIQUE Just when you thought Willis’ work couldn’t get any more humiliating, he’s forced to weep uncontrollably for ”comic” effect (a rerun of Perry’s gag from Episode 134). Luckily, more emphasis is placed on Chandler’s plans to pop the question. It’s hard not to get excited about the season finale. B

144-145 THE ONE WITH THE PROPOSAL PART 1 & 2 l W Part 1: Goldberg-Meehan/Silveri; Part 2: Reich/Cohen D Bright PLOT Chandler’s proposal dinner with Monica is marred by the surprise appearance of Richard, who later confesses he still loves her. Ross tires of Elizabeth’s juvenile behavior and calls off the relationship. Rachel invites Joey to join her at a charity auction, where he accidentally buys a $20,000 sailboat. HISTORIC MOMENTS We learn that Phoebe and Joey made a pact that they’ll marry each other if neither one is wed by 40, leading Rachel to sign up Ross as her ”backup.” Monica gets not one, but two proposals — from Chandler and Richard. How much more historic can you get? BEST LINE ”If you’re not careful, you may not get married at all this year.” (Chandler, to the oft-wed Ross) CRITIQUE Although the Richard wrinkle is a blatant deus ex machina, the romantic predicament allows Cox Arquette and Perry to deliver their finest, funniest performances to date (why haven’t these two ever been nominated for Emmys?). If you can watch the proposal scene with dry eyes, you’re made of stronger stuff than we are. Plus, the sight of LeBlanc in a captain’s uniform alone is worth tuning in to see. A

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