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Season 7: 2000-2001

146 THE ONE WITH MONICA’S THUNDERW Teleplay by Crane/Kauffman; story by Calhoun D Bright PLOT Phoebe campaigns to provide the music at M&C’s wedding; Rachel steals Monica’s engagement thunder by kissing Ross; Chandler experiences erectile difficulties. CRITIQUE There’s nothing like a little intra-Friends psychological intrigue, and Monica’s analysis that Rachel can’t stand the fact that her formerly fat friend is getting married first adds some heft to the top-of-their-game comic goings-on. And the wacky Joey subplot — he’s auditioning to play a 19-year-old — provides both a sidesplitting sight gag (Joey in full homeboy gear) and this memorable take on teenspeak: ”’Sup with the whack PlayStation ‘sup.” A [**]

147 THE ONE WITH RACHEL’S BOOKW Reich/ Cohen D Lembeck PLOT Monica finds out that her parents spent her wedding fund. Phoebe moves in with Ross to give M&C some space. Joey finds Rachel’s dirty novel. BEST LINE ”As the groom, all you have to do is show up and try to say the right name.” (Ross, imparting wedding advice to Chandler) CRITIQUE Aside from Ross getting tricked into giving a massage to an old guy and Joey’s goading of erotica-loving Rachel, there’s little to amuse. But you do get to see Chandler give another one of his best-boyfriend-in-the-world speeches to reassure nuptials-crazed Monica. B- [***]

148 THE ONE WITH PHOEBE’S COOKIESW Bilsing/ Plummer D Halvorson PLOT Monica wants Phoebe’s grandmother’s cookie recipe. Rachel offers to teach Joey how to sail. Monica’s dad invites Chandler for a game of racquetball. CRITIQUE Rachel and Joey’s blue-screened sailboat outing is a jarring flight of fancy that generates more huh? than ha. Monica and Phoebe trying to re-create the perfect chocolate chip cookie is a dollop more appealing, but overall this ep is not exactly the tastiest treat. C [***]

149 THE ONE WITH RACHEL’S ASSISTANTW Boyle D Schwimmer PLOT Rachel gets a promotion. ”Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.” debuts (and is canceled), but ”Days of Our Lives” wants Joey to audition to play Drake Ramoray’s twin brother, Striker. INTRODUCES Eddie Cahill (”Felicity”) as Rachel’s new assistant, Tag Jones. BEST LINE ”In my defense, it was dark, and he was a very pretty guy.” (Chandler, who, we find out, had a little ”Crying Game” action in college) CRITIQUE It’s another Friend vs. Friend extravaganza, as Chandler, Ross, and Monica end up dishing each others’ darkest secrets (e.g., Ross used to wear leg warmers; Chandler won a Vanilla Ice look-alike contest; Monica couldn’t tell time until she was 13). What more could you ask for? Well, perhaps more laughs on the Joey front. A-

150 THE ONE WITH THE ENGAGEMENT PICTUREW Teleplay by Patty Lin; story by Earl Davis D Halvorson PLOT Monica and Chandler have their engagement photos taken. Cute Coffee House Guy (Kyle, a.k.a. ”Hums While He Pees”) asks Phoebe out. Ross dates Hums While He Pees’ ex-wife (a.k.a. Whitney). CREATIVE CASTING Julia Campbell (”Seinfeld”) as Whitney. BEST LINE ”Oooh, I could just spread him on a cracker.” (Rachel, salivating over Tag) CRITIQUE Packed with rollicking unprofessionalism from Rachel (whose workplace hormones have run amok), funny faces from Chandler (whose bad-photo poses are priceless), and gut-busting histrionics from caught-between-divorces Phoebe and Ross. Plus, Tag does a great Joey impression: ”How YOU doin’?” A- [****]

151 THE ONE WITH THE NAP PARTNERSW Buckner/ Jones D Halvorson PLOT Monica needs a maid of honor; Chandler’s disgruntled ex pops up; Ross and Joey enjoy napping together. CRITIQUE Mercifully, the lame ”nap partners” story line is given short shrift, allowing more screen time for Phoebe and Rachel to duke it out for M-of-H status (Rachel ultimately gets the nod). The potentially dull plot involving Chandler’s ex turns into a surprisingly moving examination of Monica’s weight issues and whether Chandler would still love her if she got fat again. B

152 THE ONE WITH ROSS’S LIBRARY BOOKW Silveri D Schwimmer PLOT Joey hooks up with a gal Rachel and Phoebe come to adore. Ross finds his doctoral dissertation in the library — in the aisle where people go to have sex. Janice returns! CREATIVE CASTING ”Sex and the City”’s Kristin Davis as Erin, Joey’s intimacy-issue-afflicted new girlfriend. BEST LINE ”Man, do you know what guys want.” (Joey’s sarcastic response to Phoebe when she points out that Erin speaks four languages) NEW ‘DO Rachel CRITIQUE Were they trying to make the most annoying episode ever? Not only does Davis seem wildly out of place, but we have to endure a too-absurd-for-words Ross subplot, and too much of Janice’s whining. Uncle! C- [****]

153 THE ONE WHERE CHANDLER DOESN’T LIKE DOGSW Lin D Bright PLOT It’s Thanksgiving, and Chandler’s got the gang playing a name-all-the-states-in-six-minutes game. Phoebe’s secretly dog-sitting Clunkers. Rachel tells Tag she has a crush on him. BEST LINE ”That is the beauty of this game — it makes you want to kill yourself.” (Chandler, to the geography-challenged Friends). CRITIQUE Although Ross’ inability to ace the states challenge (Delaware provides a huge stumbling block) leads to some amusingly Gelleresque mania, the dog brouhaha (Chandler’s afraid and ”allergic”) is for the birds. Still, stay tuned for Joey’s ”it’s a moo point” malapropism. B

154 THE ONE WITH ALL THE CANDYW Calhoun D Schwimmer PLOT Monica makes holiday candy for the neighbors. Ross buys Phoebe her first bike. Rachel’s pornographic workplace evaluation of Tag ”Sweet Cheeks” Jones accidentally gets sent to Human Resources. CRITIQUE Although Rachel and Tag’s inappropriate behavior continues to entertain, the candy subplot leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Plus, despite Ross’ sweet gesture, the wheels quickly fall off the Phoebe bike-riding story line. C

155 THE ONE WITH THE HOLIDAY ARMADILLOW Malins D Halvorson PLOT It’s Chandler and Monica’s first Christmas as a betrothed couple. Ross gets Ben for the holiday. Phoebe, preparing to move back into her old apartment, hatches a plan (involving drums and a tarantula) to get Rachel to ditch Joey and become her roomie again. BEST LINE ”My favorite part is when Superman flew all the Jews out of Egypt.” (Chandler, about Ross’ Joey-assisted explanation of Chanukah) CRITIQUE Something about the holidays makes the Friends go loopy: Sure, there are chuckles to be had watching Ross dress up — for Ben’s benefit — as the title’s armadillo (the Santa suits were taken), but the rest of the ep is positively Grinch-like with the yuks. C

156 THE ONE WITH ALL THE CHEESECAKESW Goldberg-Meehan D Halvorson PLOT After Chandler steals a neighbor’s cheesecake, he and Rachel become obsessed with the confection. Monica’s peeved she wasn’t invited to her cousin’s wedding. Phoebe’s ex-boyfriend David (a scientist who moved to Russia) returns. CREATIVE CASTING Azaria returns as David, last seen in Episode 9. Gina Belafonte (Harry’s daughter) as a wedding guest. CRITIQUE Not exactly packed with laughs (although an incensed Monica is always a joy to behold), this baby’s main highlight is watching softhearted Joey try to console Phoebe, who’s beside herself because the only guy she’s ”ever been crazy about” is heading back to Minsk. C [****]

157 THE ONE WHERE THEY’RE UP ALL NIGHTW Rosenblatt D Bright PLOT Sleeplessness all around as Ross and Joey get stuck on the roof, Chandler and Monica suffer bouts of insomnia, Phoebe battles a fire alarm, and Rachel and Tag search for some missing contracts she claims she put on his desk. BEST LINE ”I’d prefer not to answer that right now, I’m still carrying a little holiday weight.” (Ross, when Joey — whom he’s using as a human ladder — asks him his weight) CRITIQUE If not for Ross and Joey’s slapstick on a fire escape (and a cute scene between Rachel and slyer-than-he-looks Tag), this ep would be a snooze. As for that annoying fire alarm sound — we’d take a half hour of Janice’s laugh over that sucker. C

158 THE ONE WHERE ROSITA DIESW Teleplay by Buckner/ Jones; story by Bilsing/ Plummer D Stephen Prime PLOT The dead woman in question is actually Joey’s Barcalounger (which Rachel accidentally destroys). Ross and Monica’s parents are selling their home. Phoebe gets a telemarketing job. HISTORIC MOMENT The first of four supersized eps, which ran 40 minutes to combat CBS’ ”Survivor 2.” CREATIVE CASTING Jason Alexander as Earl, the suicidal office manager, whom Phoebe cold-calls. BEST LINE ”Chandler?” (Phoebe, when Earl says ”I’ve been working for 10 years now at this meaningless dead-end job and nobody here even knows that I exist”) CRITIQUE Not much to hang your humor hat on here, unless you think Monica’s moldy childhood tchotchkes (or her newly inherited Porsche) are funny. And what’s with the plug for La-Z-Boy’s (fictional) E-cliner 3000 (which Chandler tells us ”Sit magazine called chair of the year”)? Jason Alexander, call your agent. C [***] [****]

159 THE ONE WHERE THEY ALL TURN THIRTYW Teleplay by Bilsing/ Plummer; story by Vanessa McCarthy D Ben Weiss PLOT Rachel’s 30th birthday gives the gang a chance to flash back to how they all dealt with the milestone — Ross bought a sports car, Phoebe rode a mile on a Hippity-Hop; Joey cursed God; that sort of thing. Oh, yeah, and Rachel breaks up with Tag. BEST LINE ”And girls, this thing is a godsend, if you know what I mean.” (Phoebe, straddling the Hippity-Hop) CRITIQUE Rachel being bummed about being hubby- and childless is predictable, but the part where Phoebe learns she’s really a year older than she thought is a from-left-field hoot. Ditto Monica’s drunken turn at her black-tie birthday party. But the apex comes when Ross enlists the gang to free his new wheels from between two parked cars — ”lift and slide” is the gut-busting descendant of ”Pivot!” B+ [***]

160 THE ONE WITH JOEY’S NEW BRAINW Teleplay by Reich/ Cohen; story by Bilsing/ Plummer D Bright PLOT Joey’s character is coming out of his coma on ”DOOL” (”Days of Our Lives”). In honor of Chandler’s half-Scottish heritage, Ross plans to play the bagpipes at M&C’s wedding. Phoebe and Rachel vie for a date with a guy who left his cell phone at Central Perk. CREATIVE CASTING Susan Sarandon as beverage-throwing, soon-to-be-fired soap diva Cecilia Monroe (whose brain Joey’s character is inheriting). CRITIQUE Monroe and Joey’s romantic fling helps block the pain of Ross’ bagpiping, and bless the writer who came up with the gag about Joey confusing Guadalajara with LaGuardia (Airport). B [****]

161 THE STUFF YOU’VE NEVER SEENW Crane/ Kauffman D Bright PLOT Conan O’Brien hosts what is essentially a ”Friends” blooper special that also milks seven years of nostalgia. HISTORIC MOMENTS We revisit Rachel’s short haircut, Marcel the monkey, the sextet’s fave fart jokes, and the piece de resistance: Monica dancing up a storm in her fat suit. CRITIQUE The Mona Lisa of flashback eps. Along with highlighting the cast’s unparalleled chemistry and the writers’ strokes of genius, this pretty much supplies a half-hour’s worth of raison d’etre for the episode guide you are currently reading. A

162 THE ONE WITH THE TRUTH ABOUT LONDON W Teleplay by Rosenblatt; story by Buckner/ Jones D Schwimmer PLOT Ross asks Rachel to watch Ben. M&C are searching for an officiant. Joey decides to be ordained over the Internet. INTRODUCES Fat Joey (in a what-if-he’d-married-Monica scene). HISTORIC MOMENT We find out what led to M&C’s jumping into the sack: Monica was drunk and needy, and Chandler was — needy. BEST LINE ”Internet ministers can still have sex, right?” (Joey) CRITIQUE Rachel teaches Ben a bunch of practical jokes to play on dad, but the ep’s best parts revolve around M&C’s fateful night in London, including the revelation that Monica was originally looking for a meaningless hookup with Joey. Mr. Tribbiani definitely wins the ep’s MVP award for his surprisingly poignant tribute to M&C’s relationship. B+

163 THE ONE WITH THE CHEAP WEDDING DRESSW Teleplay by Reich/ Cohen; story by Buckner/ Jones D Bright PLOT A gown war between Monica and a fellow bride-to-be results in her having to choose between her favorite dress and Chandler’s favorite wedding band. Joey and Ross date the same girl. CREATIVE CASTING Andrea Bendewald (”Suddenly Susan”) as the bride-to-be. Gabrielle Union (”City of Angels”) as ”Friends”’ first black love interest. BEST LINE ”I have an oily T-zone.” (Ross, to Joey, who makes fun of him for having face cream) CRITIQUE The Good: We get a short but sweet taste of Type-A Monica (before she gives up the gown). The Bad: yet another Friends-vying-for-the-same-date plot? The (delightfully) Ugly: Joey and Ross dish on each other in front of the girl (e.g., Joey tells her Ross slept in the same bed as a monkey, Ross brings up the fact that Joey was literally the poster boy for gonorrhea). C [****]

164 THE ONE WITH JOEY’S AWARDW Teleplay by Boyle; story by Bilsing/ Plummer D Halvorson PLOT Joey is nominated for a Soapie (the third most prestigious soap award). One of Ross’ male students apparently has a crush on him. Monica freaks about all the stuff she’ll have to give up for marriage. CREATIVE CASTING Kyle Howard (”Grosse Pointe”) as one of the students. BEST LINE ”You’re getting married; this is all I have.” (Rachel, vying with Monica to be Joey’s Soapie date) CRITIQUE Oh, the delicious irony of watching the gang (who, aside from Kudrow, have been criminally deprived of deserved Emmys) riff on awards-show craziness, including the gracious-loser face. Kudos to Schwimmer for Ross’ classroom impersonation of a ‘raptor’s high-pitched call. But overall, a middling affair. B [****]

165 THE ONE WITH ROSS AND MONICA’S COUSINW Reich/ Cohen D Halvorson PLOT Joey’s auditioning for a movie that requires full-frontal nudity. M&C swear off sex until marriage. Ross and Monica’s cousin Cassie visits. CREATIVE CASTING Denise Richards as Cassie. Mo Gaffney as one of Joey’s auditioners. BEST LINE ”A no-sex pact, huh? I actually have one of those going on with every woman in America.” (Ross) CRITIQUE The Cassie story is thin but effective: Chandler, Ross, even Phoebe get the hots for her, with Ross’ seduction providing the most tickled ribs. Monica’s attempts to fashion a foreskin for Joey (who needs one to get the part) pay off with a double-sided-tape-and-luncheon-meat joke, and a perfect Silly Putty sight-gag kicker. B+ [****]

166 THE ONE WITH RACHEL’S BIG KISSW Goldberg-Meehan/ Silveri D Halvorson PLOT Rachel kisses a girl. Chandler goes tux shopping at Ralph Lauren. CREATIVE CASTING Winona Ryder, as Rachel’s kissable sorority sis. BEST LINE ”I was Chi Mega Tampon.” (Phoebe, making up sorority roots) CRITIQUE There was some decent competition for best line honors (Monica’s ”A little tight? I could see double 0 and 7 in those” reaction to Chandler’s Pierce Brosnan cast-off tux), but didn’t Roseanne and Ellen exhaust the whole lesbian-buss intrigue long ago? B [****]

167 THE ONE WITH THE VOWSW Abrams D Halvorson PLOT M&C’s wedding-vow writer’s block creates an excuse to flash back to the milestones of their relationship. NEW ‘DO Chandler BEST LINE ”Sweetie, you know I have no sense of humor when it comes to the wedding.” (Monica) CRITIQUE A clip show that manages to amuse and tug at the heartstrings. After all, who can resist another shot of Fat Monica, Chandler’s Flock of Seagulls college hairdo, and that candlelit proposal? B+

168 THE ONE WITH CHANDLER’S DADW Teleplay by Buckner/ Jones; story by Malins D Halvorson/ Bright PLOT Monica arranges a trip to Vegas so Chandler can patch things up with his drag-queen dad and invite him to the wedding. Rachel commandeers Monica’s Porsche. INTRODUCES Kathleen Turner as Chandler’s dad (brilliant). Jake, Phoebe’s date, played by Troy Norton. Actually, he first appeared in Episode 164, but who knew he’d: A) pop back up, B) be into wearing Phoebe’s undies. CREATIVE CASTING Kelly Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos (”All My Children”), as the cop who stops Rachel. Alexis Arquette (Courteney’s bro-in-law) as a snippy waiter at the drag show. BEST LINE ”It’s all very ‘cat’s in the cradle,’ I don’t want to get into it.” (Chandler, on his father-son relationship) CRITIQUE Once you get past the woman-playing-a-man-dressed-as-a-woman concept, and that tender-but-awkward Bing boys reunion, there’s not much left. The Porsche plot (starring scaredy-cat driver Ross and aggressive speedster Rachel) crashes and burns. B [***] [****]

169-179 THE ONE WITH MONICA AND CHANDLER’S WEDDING PART 1 & 2W Part 1: Malins; Part 2: Crane/ Kauffman D Bright PLOT Chandler, who picks the night before his wedding to start flipping out about marriage, goes MIA. Speaking of which: Joey gets a role in a WWI-themed movie. CREATIVE CASTING Gary Oldman as the alcohol-soaked acting legend playing opposite Joey. BEST LINE ”So, are you his mother or his father?” (A confused Jack Geller, to Chandler’s mom, a.k.a. Morgan Fairchild) CRITIQUE It may be M&C’s big day, but Ross (who sweetly coaxes the butterflies out of Chandler’s stomach) and Rachel (who appears to be holding the short end of a positive pregnancy-test stick — genius!) practically walk off with the show. Still, the couple of the hour do goose your tear ducts with their touching wedding vows. All in all an A ep, if not for Joey and Oldman’s maddeningly ludicrous on-set adventures. B+ [***] [****]

[[*] Ugly Naked Guy Sighting]
[[**] Phoebe Song Alert]
[[***] Parental Pop-In]
[[****] Celeb Drop-In (Non-recurring)]

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