|Friends Season 1|
Friends Season DVD Cover
|Country of origin||USA|
|Original run||September 22, 1994 – May 18, 1995|
|No. of episodes||24|
|DVD release date||Region 1: April 30, 2002
Region 2: October 25, 2004
Region 4: October 4, 2006
|Next season||Season 2|
The first season of Friends, an American situation comedy created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, premiered on NBC (National Broadcasting Company) 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.
The first season introduces the six main characters: Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross. Rachel arrives in New York after leaving her fiancé at the altar, and begins living with Monica in her apartment. Ross continually attempts to tell Rachel that he loves her, while his lesbian former wife, Carol, is pregnant with his baby. Joey is shown to be a struggling actor, while Phoebe works as a masseuse. Chandler breaks up with girlfriend Janice (Maggie Wheeler), who frequently returns in later seasons. At the end of the season, Chandler accidentally reveals that Ross loves Rachel, who finds that she feels the same way.
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 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 Pheobe 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; a hired comedian entertained the studio audience 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.
The first episode of Friends was the fifteenth-most-watched television show of the week, scoring a 14.7/23 Nielsen Rating (each point represented 954,000 households) and nearly 22 million viewers.
Early reviews of the series were mixed. Tom Feran of The Cleveland 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.
|100||1||"The Pilot (The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate)"||James Burrows||David Crane & Marta Kauffman||September 22, 1994|
|Monica and the gang introduce Rachel to the "real world" by helping her after she leaves her fiancé at the altar.|
|2||2||"The One with the Sonogram at the End"||James Burrows||David Crane & Marta Kauffman||September 29, 1994|
|Ross finds out his estranged lesbian wife Carol and her girlfriend Susan are going to have his baby.|
|3||3||"The One with the Thumb"||James Burrows||Jeff Astrof & Nanthida Ottesen||October 6, 1994|
|Phoebe discovers a human thumb floating in her can of soda and gets a compensation of seven thousand dollars, which goes against all of her beliefs, Chandler starts to smoke and Monica dates a guy who all the friends like, but she doesn't.|
|4||4||"The One with George Stephanopoulos"||James Burrows||Alexa Junge||October 13, 1994|
|The girls spy on the sexy politician across the street (George Stephanopoulos), while the boys convince Ross to go to a hockey game on his and Carol's anniversary which leads to Ross breaking his nose and wearing unattractive headgear.|
|5||5||"The One with the East German Laundry Detergent"||Pamela Fryman||Jeff Greenstein and Svend Ottesen||October 20, 1994|
|Ross and Rachel wash their dirty laundry in public, where Rachel gets into a fight with a woman and Ross gets his first kiss with Rachel. Joey wants to go out with a woman who has a boyfriend, so he sets up a double date, consisting of the woman, her boyfriend, Monica, and himself. He leads Monica to believe that the woman's boyfriend is Monica's date and the woman's brother, and that Joey's date is the woman. This creates much confusion when Monica sees the woman and her "brother" being "inappropriate". Chandler breaks up with Janice for the first time.|
|6||6||"The One with the Butt"||Arlene Sanford||Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||October 27, 1994|
|Joey finally gets a film role as a stand-in for Al Pacino's butt which he never actually does because he "Acted too much". Chandler starts a polyamorous relationship with an Italian woman.|
|7||7||"The One with the Blackout"||James Burrows||Jeff Astrof & Panida Ottesen||November 3, 1994|
|During a city-wide power outage, Rachel falls for the owner of a lost kitten, a dark, attractive Italian guy called Paolo, which occurs at the same time as Ross wanting to profess his love for Rachel. Meanwhile, Chandler is trapped in an automated-teller vestibule with Jill Goodacre and he desperately tries to impress her.|
|8||8||"The One Where Nana Dies Twice"||James Burrows||Marta Kauffman & David Crane||November 10, 1994|
|Ross and Monica go to the bedside of their dead grandmother, who momentarily returns to life. Meanwhile, one of Chandler's colleagues tries to fix him up on a date with a man after she thinks he's gay, this leads Chandler to find out that all the gang thought he was gay when they first met him.|
|9||9||"The One Where Underdog Gets Away"||James Burrows||Jeff Greenstein & Allan Ottesen||November 17, 1994|
|Monica plans a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving feast for the gang in her apartment but her plans go awry. Joey models for an embarrassing poster, Rachel misses her flight home and the food burns when Chandler (who doesn't "do" Thanksgiving) distracts the friends with a break-away balloon which leads to the friends eating sandwiches.|
|10||10||"The One with the Monkey"||Peter Bonerz||Adam Chase & Ira Underleider||December 15, 1994|
|Ross arrives at the New Year's Eve party with his new companion, a monkey named Marcel, who seems to take no interest in Ross at all. All the friends make a pact not to bring dates to New Years, but all except Ross do. Phoebe's date is David, Her Scientist Guy (Hank Azaria), who has to choose whether to stay with her or go to Minsk for career making research. In the end none of the Friends have anyone to kiss at midnight, and Joey and Chandler end up kissing.|
|11||11||"The One with Mrs. Bing"||James Burrows||Alexa Junge||January 5, 1995|
|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 says: Woohoo!! the guy turns and is hit by a car.|
|12||12||"The One with the Dozen Lasagnas"||Paul Lazarus||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz and Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||January 12, 1995|
|Everyone knows the sex of Ross' baby except for Ross, who doesn't want to find out until it's born. Rachel's relationship with Paulo hits a snag when he makes a pass at Phoebe. Monica makes a dozen lasagnas for her aunt, only to discover that her aunt doesn't eat meat.|
|13||13||"The One with the Boobies"||Alan Myerson||Alexa Junge||January 19, 1995|
|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 his penis. 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|
|Ross' first date in nine years is on Valentine's Day with a beautiful neighbor. Susan and Carol, 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 Phoebe, Rachel and Monica 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|
|Monica cooks a gourmet meal for a restaurateur 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. And Ross has a date with a beautiful colleague named Celia 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'll talk dirty to her which he can't do so he asks Joey for help.|
|16||16||"The One with Two Parts, Part One"||Michael Lembeck||Marta Kauffman & David Crane||February 23, 1995|
|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, which she can't turn off.|
|17||17||"The One with Two Parts, Part Two"||Michael Lembeck||David Crane & Marta Kauffman||February 23, 1995|
|Ursula dumps Joey, but doesn't plan to tell him, so Phoebe disguises herself as her twin sister to dump Joey and make sure he doesn't 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 — cajoles Monica into trading identities so she can use Monica's coverage. The girls end up trying to date two cute doctors (characters from the show ER, one played by George Clooney the other Played by Noah Wyle). Ross doubts that he will ever feel like a father. Chandler gets stuck with the task of removing the "SAP" function from Monica's TV.|
|18||18||"The One with All the Poker"||James Burrows||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz||March 2, 1995|
|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.|
|19||19||"The One Where the Monkey Gets Away"||Peter Bonerz||Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz||March 9, 1995|
|The gang searches frantically for Marcel, who slipped out of the apartment while Rachel was baby-sitting him. 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|
|Rachel and Barry start dating again, which is kind of 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 and the gang become annoyed at discovering that a person in Ugly Naked Guy's building is spying on them with a telescope.|
|21||21||"The One with the Fake Monica"||Gail Mancuso||Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider||April 27, 1995|
|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|
|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|
|Carol goes into labor, prompting Monica to begin thinking about having a baby of her own. When Ross and Susan can't 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. The sight of lots of new-born babies makes Monica worry that she may never have one.|
|24||24||"The One Where Rachel Finds Out"||Kevin S. Bright||Chris Brown||May 18, 1995|
|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 gives his present to Chandler and goes. Joey's new girlfriend 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.|