The One With George Stephanopoulos (Season 1, Episode 4)
(Original Airdate: October 13, 1994)
The Opening: We open In Central Perk again with everybody, except Joey, discussing what they would do if they were omnipotent for the day. Phoebe wants world peace, no more hunger, good things for the rainforest… and bigger boobs. Chandler ruins everything by saying if he was omnipotent for a day then he want to be omnipotent for life.
Joey enters and Monica asks him what he would do if he was omnipotent:
Joey: “Probably kill myself. If little Joey’s dead then I got no reason to live.”
Ross: “Joey… OM-nipotent.”
Joey: “You are!?”
And straight to the credits. A brisk start to the episode, although a bit of a step down from the previous two excellent openings. This also feels like the first time they have actively portrayed Joey as just being that bit behind the rest of the gang.
Also, omnipotent means that you have unlimited power. Looks like I’m just as behind as Joey.
Finally, the credits now have the hand clapping moment that you can’t resist doing every time you hear that song!
Episode Summary: The episode opens in Central Perk where Phoebe is asleep on the couch and Ross and Monica wonder over how she can sleep in a public place. She’s not getting much sleep because her grandmother has a new boyfriend and they are both insecure in bed. And deaf. Tonight she’s going to sleep at Monica and Rachel’s.
Chandler and Joey enter to give Ross tickets for the New York Rangers game tonight and wish him a happy birthday. His birthday was seven months ago. They had a spare ticket.
Ross notices on the ticket that the date is October 20th. Monica was hoping that he wouldn’t remember. Turns out that today is the anniversary of when he and his ex-wife Carol “first…consummated” their relationship. “Sex”, he clarifies for Joey. Wait, is it weird that Monica knows the exact date?
Ross: “I better pass on the game. I just want to go home and think about my wife and her lesbian lover.”
Joey: “Forget about hockey, let’s all do that!”
The guys eventually convince Ross to go to the game for a guy’s night out.
Rachel comes running from the back with her first paycheck and is very excited until she realises she is on a terrible wage and pays tax. The gang convince her that her wage isn’t that bad and then generously tip her for her no doubt awful service.
Chandler, Ross, and Joey leave for the hockey game and we have a split in the sexes for the rest of the episode.
Three women arrive at the coffee shop and spy Rachel. They all go ecstatic and screech wildly and flail their arms about and it is all so very unbearable. The girls were out shopping New York and Rachel’s mum told them she was now working in Central Perk and “it’s truuuuue”, and they are all so condescending about it. The three girls all have good news for Rachel which involves them being pregnant, new engaged, or a new partner in their father’s firm. And they all screech after each piece of news. Monica and Phoebe think it’s as irritating as I do.
In a later scene at Central Perk, Rachel is still with her friends and asks them for the gossip from back home. The biggest news is still her dumping Barry at the altar. The girls (who remain nameless throughout this torture) then ask Rachel to get serious, when is she coming home? Then they condescend her some more for being a waitress.
Back at Monica’s, Rachel is depressed after her meeting with her friends. The girls are having a slumber party since Phoebe are staying with cookie dough, trashy magazines, Twister, and “Tiki death punch”. Sounds like my kind of party. The Visa-card people phone for Rachel. There’s been unusual activity on her account. She hasn’t used it for weeks. That is the unusual activity. They just want to see if she’s ok and she freaks out about her new station in life after seeing her successful friends. Monica and Phoebe try to bring Rachel back up but she manages to completely depress them when they realise they don’t have a plan in life and everything is “flupie”. Phoebe came up with that word obviously.
Rachel has now ruined their night and they are all depressed at their lack of plans. To make matters worse, the Pizza Guy arrives with the wrong pizza, one for G. Stephanopolous across the street. Monica realises that this is George Stephanopoulos and is very excited about it. He has a sexy smile and really cute butt apparently. And the Pizza Guy reveals he was wearing only a towel. Turns out he is the White House advisor. Would he really be eating pizza across the street from the girls? Anyway, the get binoculars and spy on him. They find a pizza box and a woman who goes for their pizza. Phoebe: “Hey, that’s not for you, bitch!”
The girls continue to spy on George as they presume he is having sex with the pizza thief and fantasise about what he is like. As they drink more “Tiki death punch” they share some home truths from their pasts and Rachel makes the first reference to Monica being a “big girl” when she was younger. George reappears wearing only this towel again. The girls beg for him to drop it. Presumably he does.
Meanwhile, the guys are on their way to the hockey game while Ross is distracted by everything that reminds him of Carol and their first sexual encounter; women’s boots (she never took them off. Raunchy.), peach pits (they eat nectarines. Sexy.), and bus stops (he walked her there afterwards. Gentlemanly). When they are finally at the game, Ross has snapped out of his Carol daze. Then, in a brilliant moment, a stray shot by one of the players sends the hockey puck directly into Ross’s face. The guys at least get to be on the big screen.
The guys arrive at the emergency room and are confronted by an awful nurse who is the worst employee on the show since Rachel. Ross goes back into his Carol daze and begins to drive Joey and Chandler crazy who don’t see what the big deal is about sleeping with her for the first time. Ross eventually caves and reveals to them that his first time with Carol was his actual first time. Wait, so Monica knows the exact date her brother lost his virginity? Joey and Chandler then gradually realise that Ross has only been with one woman in his life. Joey: “Oh, boy. Hockey was a big mistake. There’s a whole bunch of stuff we could’ve done tonight”.
Joey and Chandler marvel over how Ross has only had sex with only one woman. Chandler decides he is “a freak” and judges him. At this point we can already guess that Chandler’s sex life is not his strong point. Ross arrives back with a metal brace on his nose and thinks he looks cool. The brutal nurse tells Ross he’s attractive while laughing at him. Ross is getting roasted hard tonight. The guys want Ross to admit he had fun tonight. He struggles to see where the fun was, but does want his hockey puck back. Some kid has stolen it. Ross tries to grab it back and in doing so it flies out his hand and knocks out the brutal nurse. That’s probably some kind of assault, but at least Ross had fun doing it.
Final Scene: The whole gang is assembled again at Monica’s and they are playing Twister. Phoebe gets into a compromising position with Joey, because what else is Twister good for?
The Visa-card people phone back for Rachel. She tells them that she hasn’t been using her card and that she’s fine. She gazes at her new friends and realises that’s true.
They’ll Be There For You (Best Friend): Ross. All the other friends at different points are pretty horrible to each other, with the guys thinking it’s hilarious he’s only slept with one woman, and the girls revealing the moments they’d either slept with ex-boyfriends or given their vegetarian friend goose for dinner.
Meanwhile, Ross is just having a hard time getting over his ex-wife and just wants to reminisce about his first sexual experience with her. Instead he takes a hockey puck to the face.
With Friends Like These (Worst Friend): This was a big week for Rachel. She finally seems to have accepted the real world, kissed goodbye to her old spoiled life, and is making a living for herself now (although a heavily taxed living). But that screechy mess of a moment when she meets her old friends in Central Perk is irritatingly unforgivable and a sign of the old Rachel that we probably wouldn’t want to be friends with.
Although most of the friends are pretty rotten to each other at moments here. During some tipsy home truths it turns out that Monica gave vegetarian Phoebe goose Pate, Phoebe slept with Monica’s ex-boyfriend hours after they had broken up, and Rachel faked a valentine’s card to Monica in high school because some kid called Tommy wouldn’t send her one because she was a “big girl”.
Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler think Ross is a freak for only having sex with one woman. Ironically, Chandler’s sex life would be a laughing point for most of the show.
Special mention goes to Monica for the creepy factor of not only knowing when her brother first had sex with his ex-wife, but for knowing the exact date when he lost his virginity.
Best Line: Ross is alarmed when the guys arrive at the game and are looking for their seats.
Chandler: “What there was ice there that night with Carol? Plastic seats? Four thousand angry Pittsburgh fans?”
Ross: “No, actually I was just saying it looks like we’re not sitting together. But now that you mention it, there was ice there that night. It was the first frost.
David Schwimmer’s comic delivery with lines such as this are really making him the stand out in these early episodes.
How You Doin? (Love Interest of the Week): None! Although we did learn of some of the groups exploits in their younger years.
Turns out Ross lost his virginity to his lesbian ex-wife who remains the only woman he has slept with. She wore boots, they eat nectarines, and he walked her to the bus stop.
As the girls get tipsy on “Tiki death punch”, Phoebe reveals she slept with Jason Hurley a couple of hours after he had broken up with Monica.
Google It Kids (Dated Reference of the Week): The guys go and see the New York Rangers, “1993-94 Stanley Cup Champions”.
George Stephanopoulos, the White House advisor who eats pizza and sleeps with women across the street from Monica’s apartment. I had to Google him to make sure he was a real guy. If it’s not Joe Biden then we just don’t know about them these days.
Visits to Central Perk: Only two visits this week. A severe drop since last week’s almost life threatening caffeine intake. This episode again continues the tradition of opening at Central Perk with a brief chat about being omnipotent which confuses Joey. The next visit has the guys leaving for the hockey game and Rachel being brutally condescended by her friends for working there.
Ross and Rachel: Nope, nothing. That’s two episodes they’ve just left that storyline for now. Don’t worry though, in an episode where Ross does nothing but reminisce about his ex-wife he never once brings up that she is currently pregnant with his child, which also got left behind in episode two.
Final Thoughts: Quite possibly the best episode so far and feels like the end of the first chapter of Friends with major plot points of the characters being brought up in the first four episodes and Rachel’s finale tonight showing that she now feels like a fully integrated member of the group and is ready to commit to her new life.
This is the first episode that starts to develop the past of the characters and is the first time they make reference to Monica being a “big girl” in her younger years which will be a recurring plot point in the future. This is also the first episode that shows Joey as being a bit behind the rest of the group and not just being cool in the brief moments he’s had so far. This is a common complaint in these early episodes but he still has very little to do. However, this is the first episode that actively tries to give everyone something to do by splitting the group in half and therefore only having three characters per scene than six trying to get attention.
But this episode again belongs to David Schwimmer and his impeccable comic timing. The hockey puck moment alone is such a great laugh out loud moment and completely unexpected if you have watching this episode for the first time.