|Friends Season 1|
Friends Season 1 DVD cover
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||24|
|Original run||September 22, 1994) – May 18, 1995)|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||April 30, 2002)|
|Region 2||October 25, 2004)|
|Region 4||October 4, 2006)|
The first season of Friends, an American situation comedy created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, premiered on NBC on September 22, 1994. Friends was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The season contains 24 episodes and concluded airing on May 18, 1995.
This season introduces the six main characters: Rachel Green, Monica Geller, Phoebe Buffay, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing and Ross Geller. Rachel, who left her fiancé at the altar on her wedding day, has come to New York and ends up living with Monica. It establishes early on in the season that Ross has been infatuated with Rachel since the two characters attended high school. Several episodes revolve around his attempts to tell her how he feels. Meanwhile, Ross's estranged lesbian ex-wife Carol is pregnant with his baby. This puts Ross and Carol's lesbian life partner, Susan, in an awkward position. Due to the loneliness Ross brings home Marcel, a capucin monkey. When the baby is born at the end of the season, Ross, Carol, and Susan agree to name him Ben: after a name tag on a janitor's uniform worn by Phoebe. The episodic nature of the season sees the characters learning moral lessons about life and having multiple dates, many of which go wrong (Monica dates a minor in one episode), yet each episode still ended happily (think Saved By the Bell and early period Melrose Place). The recurring character of Janice is introduced as a girlfriend Chandler breaks up with in an early episode but frequently returns to through the ensuing ten seasons. Ross leaves for a fossil dig in China at the end of the season, but when Chandler lets it slip about Ross's continuing feelings for Rachel on her birthday, she is shocked to find out. She rushes off to the airport to tell him about her feelings, only to find out that he has a new girlfriend.
In the weeks after NBC's pick up of Friends, Crane, Kauffman and Bright reviewed sent-in scripts that writers had originally prepared for other series, mainly unproduced Seinfeld episodes. Kauffman and Crane hired a team of seven young writers because "When you're 40, you can't do it anymore. The networks and studios are looking for young people coming in out of college." The creators felt that utilizing six equal characters, rather than emphasizing one or two, would allow for "myriad story lines and give the show legs". The majority of the storyline ideas came from the writers, although the actors added ideas. The writers originally planned a big love story between Joey and Monica, as they intended them to be the most sexual of the characters in the series pitch. The idea of a romantic interest between Ross and Rachel emerged during the period when Kauffman and Crane wrote the pilot script.
David Schwimmer was the first actor to be cast. He was in Chicago doing a stage adaptation of The Master and Margarita when his agent offered him the audition. He was not interested in doing television after a bad experience appearing in Monty, but changed his mind when he learned that it was an ensemble script. Unknown to him, Crane and Kauffman had remembered him from when he auditioned for an earlier pilot of theirs; they had written the part of Ross with Schwimmer in mind to play him. Crane and Kauffman wanted Joey to be "a guy's guy" who loves "women, sports, women, New York, women". Matt LeBlanc was given the part after he auditioned using the "grab a spoon" scene. As the Joey character was not developed much in the script, LeBlanc used his experience playing "this Italian, kind of dim character" from Vinny and Bobby.
Courteney Cox was the most well-known of the six main actors. She was called in expecting to read for the part of Rachel. After reading for Monica instead, she won the role. Nancy McKeon also read for the part. Jennifer Aniston read for the part of Rachel after initially being considered for Monica. Her commitment as an actress on the television series Muddling Through left her part in Friends in doubt; Muddling Through was not scheduled to be broadcast by CBS until mid-1994, after NBC's announcement of whether Friends would be greenlit for a series. If Muddling Through became a ratings success, the role of Rachel would have needed recasting, as the producer of Muddling Through would not allow Aniston to be released from her contract. A deal was eventually struck and, within three days of first auditioning, Aniston got the role.
Chandler and Phoebe had originally been written as more secondary characters who were just there to provide humor around the other four. They had become part of the core group by the time casting concluded. Matthew Perry had previously worked with Kauffman and Crane on an episode of Dream On, and requested an audition when he identified with the character. He was turned down at first, but was granted an audition after his new television series LAX 2194 was not picked up by a network. Lisa Kudrow won the role of Phoebe because the producers liked her as Ursula, the waitress in Mad About You.[b] She was second to be cast, though there was about a month between her and Schwimmer being signed on. Many of the actors seen at the auditions were "too theatrical" in performing comedy; Crane described the six successful actors as being the only ones who "nailed" their parts. The six actors met for the first time altogether at the read-through on April 28, 1994.
The first season was shot on Stage 5 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The NBC executives had worried that the coffee house setting was too hip and asked for the series to be set in a diner, but eventually consented to the coffee house concept. The opening title sequence was filmed in a fountain at the Warner Bros. Ranch at 4:00 am, while it was particularly cold for a Burbank morning. At the beginning of the second season, production moved to the larger Stage 24, which was renamed "The Friends Stage" after the series finale. Filming for the series began in the summer of 1994 in front of a live audience, who were given a summary of the series to familiarize themselves with the six main characters, while a hired comedian entertained them between takes. Each 22-minute episode took six hours to film—twice the length of most sitcom tapings—mainly due to the several retakes and rewrites of the script.
Early reviews of the series were mixed. Tom Feran of The Plain Dealer wrote that the series traded "vaguely and less successfully on the hanging-out style of Seinfeld", while Ann Hodges of the Houston Chronicle called it "the new Seinfeld wannabe, but it will never be as funny as Seinfeld." In the Los Angeles Daily News, Ray Richmond named the series as "one of the brighter comedies of the new season", and The Los Angeles Times called it "flat-out the best comedy series of the new season". Chicago Sun-Times' Ginny Holbert found Joey and Rachel's characteristics to be underdeveloped, while Richmond commended the cast as a "likeable, youth ensemble" with "good chemistry" Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Schwimmer, calling him "terrific". He also praised the female leads, but was concerned that Perry's role as Chandler was "undefined" and that LeBlanc was "relying too much on the same brain-dead stud routine that was already tired the last two times he tried it". The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends thought that the cast was "trying just a little too hard", in particular Perry and Schwimmer.
Cast and characters
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production
|1||1||"The Pilot"[a]||James Burrows||David Crane & Marta Kauffman||September 22, 1994)||456650|
|Rachel leaves her fiance, Barry, at the altar and decides to move in with her old friend Monica after meeting the gang in the coffee place 'Central Perk.' Everyone watches Spanish soap operas at Monica's place. Monica, meanwhile, sleeps with Paul the 'Wine Guy' from her work, who turns out to be less than sincere and lies to get her into bed. Chandler and Joey try to get Ross back into dating who is reeling from his divorce from Carol as he found out she is a lesbian. Ross reveals his high school crush on Rachel and mentions asking her out. Rachel discovers independence isn't as easy as she thought and gets a job at the coffee house as a waitress.|
|2||2||"The One with the Sonogram at the End"||James Burrows||David Crane & Marta Kauffman||September 29, 1994)||456652|
|Carol, Ross' lesbian ex-wife, tells him at work that she is pregnant with his child and when he attends the sonogram, is stunned to learn that she wants to give the baby her and her lesbian lover's last names. Monica nearly has a breakdown from stressing when her and Ross' parents come for dinner. Ross and Rachel console each other, as she as to return her engagement ring to Barry and finds out that he and her maid of honor Mindy, went on her honeymoon.|
|3||3||"The One with the Thumb"||James Burrows||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz||October 6, 1994)||456651|
|Monica becomes irritated when everyone likes her new boyfriend Alan, more than she does. Chandler starts smoking again and when the group complains he diverts their attention to their own faults. Phoebe gets money put into her account that isn't hers and when she complains she gets more so she gives it to her homeless friend who buys her a can of soda, only to find a thumb in the can of soda. Phoebe uses the money from the soda company to pay Chandler to quit smoking.|
|4||4||"The One with George Stephanopoulos"||James Burrows||Alexa Junge||October 13, 1994)||456654|
|Ross, upset about it being the anniversary of his first time sleeping with Carol, goes to a hockey game with Chandler and Joey and gets a puck hit in his face so they end up at the hospital. There, Ross reveals Carol is the only woman he's ever slept with. Rachel gets her first pay check but is angry that most of her money went to FICA, and also gets a visit from her old friends, which depresses her further about her new life. To cheer her up, Monica and Phoebe have a slumber party which isn't very fun due to Rachel's depressed state, until the girls spy on the sexy politician across the street (George Stephanopoulos) whose pizza was delivered to them by mistake.|
|5||5||"The One with the East German Laundry Detergent"||Pamela Fryman||Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss||October 20, 1994)||456653|
|Chandler and Phoebe decide to break up with Janice and Tony at the same time, and Phoebe's goes well but Chandler has a harder time requiring Phoebe's help. Ross arranges to do laundry with Monica and Rachel but Monica cancels leaving just the two of them. Rachel reveals she's never done laundry before but Ross helps her stand up to a woman and Ross gets his first kiss with Rachel. Joey wants to go out with his ex-girlfriend (Angela) who now has a boyfriend (Bob), so he arranges for Monica and him to double-date with them by leading Monica to believe that Angela and Bob are siblings and therefore Angela's actual boyfriend is Monica's date. This creates much confusion when Monica sees Angela and her "brother" being 'inappropriate' but it eventually works out for Joey.|
|6||6||"The One with the Butt"||Arlene Sanford||Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||October 27, 1994)||456655|
|Everyone attends Joey's new musical where Chandler meets a beautiful and exotic Italian woman, Aurora, and asks her out. He finds out she is married and already has another boyfriend and is thrilled at the prospect of having "all the fun and none of the responsibility" in this polyamorous relationship. However, when she picks up another he learns that it's not all it's cracked up to be and can't take it. Joey gets picked up at the musical by the 'Estelle Leonard Talent Agency,' which finally gets him a film role as a stand-in for Al Pacino's butt double. However, he loses the job because he overacts. Rachel cleans the apartment by herself for the first time, but when she moves furniture around Monica starts obsessing.|
|7||7||"The One with the Blackout"||James Burrows||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz||November 3, 1994)||456656|
|During a New York City-wide power outage, while the gangs hanging at Monica and Rachel's apartment, Ross tries to share his loving feelings with Rachel but is attacked by a cat. Rachel and Phoebe begin searching for the cat's owner, but when Mr. Heckles tries to claim the cat it spooks it. The cat turns out to belong to Paolo, a dark, attractive Italian hunk who lives in the building and doesn't speak much English and Rachel falls for him immediately. Meanwhile, Chandler is trapped in an ATM vestibule with 'Victoria's Secret' model Jill Goodacre and he desperately tries to impress her. (This episode was tied to the Mad About You season 3 episode Pandora's Box which depicted the cause of the city-wide blackout.)|
|8||8||"The One Where Nana Dies Twice"||James Burrows||Marta Kauffman & David Crane||November 10, 1994)||456657|
|Ross and Monica go to the bedside of their passed grandmother, who momentarily returns to life. Meanwhile, one of Chandler's colleagues tries to fix him up on a date with a man and Chandler finds out that a lot of people think he's gay when they first meet him and so tries to find out why. The gang go to Ross and Monica's Nana's funeral, where Monica confronts her mother about her critical attitude. Ross falls into an open grave and hurts his back, resulting in him getting a bit loopy on muscle relaxers.|
|9||9||"The One Where Underdog Gets Away"||James Burrows||Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss||November 17, 1994)||456659|
|Ross finds out Susan talks to the unborn baby and decides he must too. Monica plans a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving feast for the gang in her apartment because Ross and Monica's parents are away, but her plans go awry. Phoebe joins them because she celebrates Thanksgiving with her grandmother in December. Joey poses for a health poster, but later finds out he's become the V.D. poster boy and so his family thinks he has V.D. and he joins them too. Chandler plans to boycott Thanksgiving because his parents announced their divorce on Thanksgiving when he was younger. The 'Underdog' balloon breaks free during the parade and everyone goes to the roof to watch and get locked out of Monica's apartment meaning the dinner gets burned. Rachel had planned to go skiing in Vail with her family, but misses her flight home and joins them too. Everyone ends up eating Chandler's cheese sandwiches for dinner.|
|10||10||"The One with the Monkey"||Peter Bonerz||Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||December 15, 1994)||456661|
|Everyone makes a pact not to bring dates to their New Years Eve party but everyone breaks the no-date pact except Ross. While performing at Central Perk, Phoebe confronts some noisy scientist guys and ends up dating one of them, David (Hank Azaria), who she brings to the party. Their relationship develops well until he gets offered a grant to go to Minsk and has to choose whether to stay with her or go for career making research. Monica's invites 'Fun' Bobby, but he just lost his grandfather and cries all evening. Joey's date is a single mom, Sandy, who he met whilst working as an elf in a department store and brings her children to the party, but ends up with David's friend. Rachel plans to bring Paulo who was supposed to fly in earlier than expected, but he misses his flight and Rachel gets into a fight at the airport. Chandler snaps and asks Janice to be his date, but he breaks up with her again. Ross arrives at the party bringing his new companion, a monkey named Marcel, who seems to take no interest in Ross at all. No one has anyone to kiss at midnight, so Joey ends up kissing Chandler.|
|11||11||"The One with Mrs. Bing"||James Burrows||Alexa Junge||January 5, 1995)||456660|
|Chandler's flamboyant romance-novelist mother (Morgan Fairchild) comes to New York for a visit, and Joey catches Ross making the mistake of kissing her in a restaurant, after getting himself drunk when he sees Rachel bring Paolo. Monica and Phoebe see a guy who they like who's passing the street when Monica shouts after him the guy turns and is hit by a car. They both fight for him while he is in the coma.|
|12||12||"The One with the Dozen Lasagnas"||Paul Lazarus||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz & Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||January 12, 1995)||456658|
|Everyone knows the sex of Ross' baby except for Ross, who does not want to find out until it's born. Rachel's relationship with Paolo hits a snag when he makes a pass at Phoebe. Monica makes a dozen lasagnas for her aunt, only to discover that her aunt does not eat meat.|
|13||13||"The One with the Boobies"||Alan Myerson||Alexa Junge||January 19, 1995)||456664|
|After Chandler accidentally sees Rachel wandering around topless after her shower, a chain reaction of nudity ensues when she tries to even the score by seeing him naked. She sees Joey naked, who then sees Monica naked, who then sees Joey's father naked. Joey finds himself playing parent when he has to decide whether to hide his father's affair from his mom. And no one can stand Phoebe's new boyfriend, an irritating psychologist named Roger (Fisher Stevens).|
|14||14||"The One with the Candy Hearts"||James Burrows||Bill Lawrence||February 9, 1995)||456667|
|Ross' first date in nine years is on Valentine's Day with a beautiful neighbor. Carol and Susan, also out on a romantic date, end up at the same restaurant where Ross ends up kissing Carol. Joey sets Chandler up on a blind date-with Janice and they end up sleeping together. Chandler ends up breaking up with Janice on Valentine's day. And Phoebe, Monica and Rachel decide to spend the holiday burning mementos of their past boyfriends which causes a fire.|
|15||15||"The One with the Stoned Guy"||Alan Myerson||Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss||February 16, 1995)||456663|
|Monica cooks a gourmet meal for a restaurateur named Steve (Jon Lovitz), who is looking for a new chef. Unfortunately, he's stoned and would just as well eat taco shells as her haute cuisine. After working as a data processing permanent temp for five years, Chandler gets promoted to data processing supervisor, then quits. He takes his job back when he is offered more money. Ross has a date with a beautiful colleague named Celia (Melora Hardin) and gives new meaning to the term "spanking the monkey," when he brings her back to his place to meet Marcel. Celia is willing to have sex with him, but only if he talks dirty to her which he cannot do so he asks Joey for help.|
|16/17||16/17||"The One with Two Parts"||Michael Lembeck||Marta Kauffman & David Crane||February 23, 1995)[b]||456665/456666|
|Joey falls for Phoebe's twin sister, Ursula, making Phoebe feel neglected. Meanwhile, Chandler finds himself between a rock and a hard place, when he is told to fire an employee he is attracted to. Ross has doubts about parenthood when he attends Lamaze classes with Carol and Susan. Meanwhile, Monica tries to fix her TV after Marcel puts the TV on "SAP" function to Spanish, which she cannot turn off. Ursula dumps Joey, but plans not to tell him, so Phoebe disguises herself as her twin sister to dump Joey and make sure he does not get hurt. After weeks of procrastinating, Rachel finally takes down the Christmas lights on their balcony, only to fall off the balcony and sprain her ankle. At the hospital, Rachel, who has no health insurance, convinces Monica into trading identities with her so she can use Monica's coverage. The girls end up trying to date two cute doctors (George Clooney & Noah Wyle). Ross doubts that he will ever feel like a father. Marcel swallows Scrabble tiles and Ross takes care of him making him feel like he would be a good father after that.|
|18||18||"The One with All the Poker"||James Burrows||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz||March 2, 1995)||456662|
|Tired of being referred to by customers as "Excuse me," Rachel interviews for a job as an assistant buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. She also sees another side of the usually docile Ross when the girls face the boys during a not-so-friendly game of poker after some help from Monica's aunt.|
|19||19||"The One Where the Monkey Gets Away"||Peter Bonerz||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz||March 9, 1995)||456668|
|The gang searches frantically for Marcel, who slipped out of the apartment while Rachel was baby-sitting him. Rachel, who does not know that Marcel is an illegal pet, ends up calling Animal Safety. This annoys Ross. The woman to comes to take away Marcel turns out to be an old class-mate of Rachel & Monica. After Marcel is found and safe, Ross finally gets up the courage to try to woo Rachel. But just when it looks like the two might actually spend a romantic evening alone together, Barry, Rachel's ex-fiance, barges into the apartment declaring his love for her.|
|20||20||"The One with the Evil Orthodontist"||Peter Bonerz||Doty Abrams||April 6, 1995)||456669|
|Rachel and Barry start dating again, which is slightly awkward because he's now engaged to Mindy, who wants Rachel to be her maid of honor. But when Rachel finds out that Mindy and Barry had an affair while she was engaged to Barry, the two women decide to call Barry out on it. Meanwhile, Chandler goes nuts when a woman he likes won't return his phone calls. The friends become annoyed after they discover someone is spying on them from the building across the street.|
|21||21||"The One with the Fake Monica"||Gail Mancuso||Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||April 27, 1995)||456671|
|When Monica's credit card is stolen, she, along with Phoebe and Rachel, decide to catch the thief, but Monica begins a friendship with her. Joey enlists his friends to help him come up with a less ethnic-sounding stage name. And when Ross finds out that Marcel has reached sexual maturity and needs to be with other monkeys, he tries to get him accepted into the "Harvard of zoos", with an emotional goodbye.|
|22||22||"The One with the Ick Factor"||Robby Benson||Alexa Junge||May 4, 1995)||456670|
|After losing his virginity to her, Monica's boyfriend Ethan reveals that he's a high school senior, not a college senior. Rachel has erotic dreams about Joey and Chandler, making Ross both disgusted and envious. And when Phoebe temps as Chandler's secretary, she finds out that no one at work likes him anymore.|
|23||23||"The One with the Birth"||James Burrows||Story: David Crane & Marta Kauffman
Teleplay: Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss
|May 11, 1995)||456672|
|Carol goes into labor, prompting Monica to begin thinking about having a baby of her own. When Ross and Susan cannot stop bickering over who gets to help Carol more, Phoebe drags both of them into a closet to settle their differences – but all three end up getting locked in just as Carol is about to give birth to the baby. Rachel flirts with an OB/GYN who has a love-hate relationship with women's private parts due to seeing them every day at work. Joey ends up assisting birth for a single mother (played by Leah Remini).|
|24||24||"The One Where Rachel Finds Out"||Kevin S. Bright||Chris Brown||May 18, 1995)||456673|
|Ross has to go to China for a fossil dig before Rachel's birthday. Chandler tells Ross to find another girl and get over Rachel. Ross tells Chandler to give Rachel his present, and then leaves. Joey's new girlfriend, Melanie (Corinne Bohrer) wants to go to bed with him, but Joey's participation in a fertility study is preventing this. During Rachel's birthday party, Chandler accidentally lets it slip that Ross is in love with her, and a big decision presents itself.|
- Alternate titles given to the pilot episode are "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate", "The One Where It All Began" and "The First One".
- These episodes originally aired as a single double-length episode but are sometimes split into two episodes for syndication, reruns and DVD presentation.
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