Friends Central

The fourth season of Friends aired from September 25, 1997 and ended on May 7, 1998 on NBC in the U.S.

Season summary[]

In the Season 3 finale, Ross enters a room and says hello to an unseen person. In the season premiere, it's revealed he has entered Rachel's room, and in it he finds Rachel spreading Bonnie's bald head with lotion. Bonnie goes to bed. Ross decides to break up with Bonnie to get back together with Rachel, who writes a letter to him. Rachel is willing to reconcile with Ross only on condition that he accepts what the letter says he must. In other words: he has to accept full responsibility for everything that went wrong during their relationship. Ross was too tired to read a 36-page letter in the early hours of dawn ("Eighteen pages - front and back!"). When asked whether he can accept what the letter says, Ross says he "does" and they get back together; however, later when he reads the letter, he realizes he can't accept it and they break up again.

Meanwhile, Chandler and Joey are with Monica at the beach, where she gets stung by a jellyfish. Joey, who saw a feature on the Discovery Channel, suggests peeing on the sting. Monica can't reach, so Joey volunteers. However, he gets stage fright, so Chandler does it. In doing this, he ends his continuous speculations of a relationship with Monica. Despite defining Chandler as a cute, great guy, Monica calls him, "the guy who peed on me." Not long after, Chandler and Joey are robbed in broad daylight after Joey climbs into the cabinet he made and gets locked inside by the thief, who takes almost everything from the apartment. For a while, they fill the apartment with rusty patio furniture and a canoe ("The One With The Cat").

Having learned the truth about her birth mother, Phoebe Abbott, Phoebe is extremely disappointed. She storms off, never wanting to see her birth mother again. Abbott tracks her daughter down and starts an uncomfortable, moderately friendly rapport with her daughter. Phoebe is later visited by Frank Jr. and Alice, now married, who ask her to be a surrogate mother for them (the storyline being created when Lisa Kudrow became pregnant).

Joey dates an actress named Kathy, who Chandler has a crush on. Chandler and Kathy fall for each other, sharing a kiss while she is still seeing Joey. Kathy breaks up with Joey, not wanting him to find out about the kiss she shared with Chandler. Chandler's guilt is so great that he buys new furniture for their empty apartment, finally telling Joey about his romantic encounter with Kathy. Joey becomes so angry that he refuses to use the stuff Chandler bought, until Chandler resolves the issue by spending Thanksgiving in a box ("The One With Chandler In A Box"). Chandler and Joey make up, and Joey encourages Chandler to date Kathy. After Chandler erroneously accuses Kathy of sleeping with a co-star, she actually does so, and after Chandler finds out, he and Kathy break up.

Thanksgiving this year is awkward for Monica when she invites Dr Timothy Burke, Richard's son, to dinner. She is open to the idea of dating him, despite her friends telling her that getting involved with her ex-boyfriend's son is a terrible idea. The two kiss, but the brief lip contact reminds Monica of Richard and brings her to her senses. Monica also starts a catering business with Phoebe, but that partnership ends when Monica accepts a job as head chef at Alessandro's. Monica's subordinates hate her, because she replaced the previous chef that was dearly loved and a family member to many of the kitchen staff. Following Chandler's suggestion, Monica hires then fires Joey in a set-up and gains control of the kitchen.

Monica and Rachel lose their apartment to Joey and Chandler, a result of a bet that they had made. To make matters worse for Rachel, her boss (Joanna) dies. As a result, Rachel is shunted into Personal Shopping at Bloomingdale's, a job she hates. Things improve for her in the dating department when she meets Joshua Bergin, who is a customer at Bloomingdale's. Several incidents occur which prevent Rachel from expressing her true feelings to him. In an attempt to meet him at an event he will be attending, Rachel begs Ross to take her boss's niece, Emily Waltham, to Die Fledermaus. This backfires on Rachel, as Ross and Emily get along great and experience a whirlwind romance, running off to a Vermont bed-and-breakfast on the night they meet which leads to them getting engaged mere weeks after meeting. Upon seeing Ross' happiness, Rachel's feelings for him start to re-emerge.

Rachel eventually starts dating Joshua but, her head in a spin upon seeing Ross get engaged so quick, decides to propose to Joshua. Still in the process of finalizing his divorce, Joshua turns down Rachel's proposal and is eventually scared away after she opens the door to her apartment wearing a wedding dress. Ross sends out the invitations for his London wedding ("The One With The Invitation"), struggling with the idea of inviting Rachel. He finally decides to invite Rachel, who turns down the invitation due to the fact that she can't bear the thought of seeing Ross marry someone else. She tells Ross that she won't be able to take the time off of work.

The friends, with the exception of Rachel and Phoebe, travel to London to witness their friend's wedding ("The One With Ross' Wedding, Part 1"). Monica helps Ross with the preparations for his wedding. Due to numerous issues, Emily decides to postpone the wedding. Ross insists that there is no point in postponing the ceremony, not understanding how important a beautiful wedding is to Emily, and the engagement is nearly called off. Monica helps Ross solve the problem by decorating the partially torn-down wedding hall, and the ceremony is back on track.

The rehearsal dinner is a disaster for everyone: Ross can't convince his parents and future in-laws to settle their differences over the wedding finances; Chandler delivers a terrible toast; Joey is homesick, (until he meets one of Emily's bridesmaids); and Monica's mother makes cynical comments, while a drunken guest mistakes Monica for Ross' mother. Monica and Chandler both become depressed, resulting in them sleeping together. Both are initially awkward around each other, but quickly make plans to get together again while in London.

Ross' wedding day contains a few surprises: Ross almost catches Monica and Chandler in bed together; Rachel rushes off to London to tell Ross that she still loves him, only to realize that Ross is happy with Emily. However, in the last scene of the season, Ross says "I take thee Rachel" instead of Emily during the ceremony.


Main Cast[]

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay/Ursula Buffay ("The One With The Jellyfish")
Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer as Ross Geller

Recurring Cast[]

Paget Brewster as Kathy
Helen Baxendale as Emily Waltham
Tate Donovan as Joshua Burgin
Giovanni Ribisi as Frank Buffay Jr.
Debra Jo Rupp as Alice Knight
Michael G. Hagerty as Mr. Treeger


  • On the Season 4 DVD disk set, the box is missing the number "4" on the side of the disk casing.
  • The Season 4 DVD disk set is the only season of Friends to be rated "15".
  • Many fans of the series consider this and the fifth season to be the best seasons of the show.


Visual effects comparisons[]

See also[]

Episode List[]

# Total Image Title Writer Director Original Airdate
1 74 TOWTJellyfish "The One With The Jellyfish" Wil Calhoun Shelley Jensen September 25, 1997
Ross falls asleep while reading Rachel's 18-page letter. When confronted by her, he pretends to agree with what she wrote. Monica gets stung by a jellyfish and must resort to drastic measures.
2 75 TOWTCat "The One With The Cat" Jill Condon & Amy Toomin Shelley Jensen October 2, 1997
Phoebe believes her adoptive mother's spirit inhabits a stray cat. Joey finds the experience of selling his entertainment center not entertaining at all. Monica finally gets to date the big man on her high school campus.
3 76 TOWTCuffs "The One With The Cuffs" Seth Kurland Peter Bonerz October 9, 1997
Monica "pulls a Monica" when she caters her mother's party. Chandler gets himself locked into a compromising position with Rachel's boss.
4 77 TOWTBallroomDancing "The One With The Ballroom Dancing" Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen Gail Mancuso October 16, 1997
The girls get an eviction notice and Joey comes to their rescue by agreeing to give the building superintendent dancing lessons.
5 78 TOWJoey'sNewGirlfriend "The One With Joey's New Girlfriend" Michael Curtis & Greg Malins Gail Mancuso October 30, 1997
Ross and Rachel continue their power games to make each other jealous. Chandler falls hard for Joey's new girlfriend Kathy.
6 79 TOWTDirtyGirl "The One With The Dirty Girl" Scott Silveri & Shana Goldberg-Meehan Shelley Jensen November 6, 1997
Ross's beautiful new girlfriend has a disgusting secret. Chandler gets closer to Kathy and buys her a pricey birthday gift. Rachel proudly completes a crossword puzzle without help.
7 80 TOWChandlerCrossesTheLine "The One Where Chandler Crosses The Line" Adam Chase Kevin S. Bright November 13, 1997
Chandler kisses Kathy after thinking Joey has lost interest in her. Encouraged by an awed Phoebe, Ross debuts his keyboard "sound" in public.
8 81 TOWChandlerInABox "The One With Chandler In A Box" Michael Borkow Peter Bonerz November 20, 1997
Still angry over the Kathy kiss, Joey punishes Chandler by shutting him in a box on Thanksgiving. Monica gets a surprise when she visits the eye doctor.
9 82 TOWThey'reGoingToParty "The One Where They're Going To Party" Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen Peter Bonerz December 11, 1997
When the guys try to be wild and crazy, they reluctantly realize they'd rather act like adults. Monica writes a scathing restaurant review - and gets a job offer as a result.
10 83 TOWTGirlFromPoughkeepsie "The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie" Scott Silveri Gary Halvorson December 18, 1997
Ross debates whether to date a faraway beauty or a less desirable woman who lives nearby. Chandler tries to set up a date for Rachel with some co-workers.
11 84 TOWPhoebe'sUterus "The One With Phoebe's Uterus" Seth Kurland David Steinberg January 8, 1998
Phoebe's half-brother Frank Jr. returns with exciting news - and asks a huge favor of Phoebe. Ross gets Joey a job as a museum tour guide.
12 85 TOWTEmbryos "The One With The Embryos" Jill Condon & Amy Toomin Kevin S. Bright January 15, 1998
Phoebe's uterus is put to the ultimate test. A seemingly harmless game between the guys and the girls escalates into a full-blown contest to see which pair knows more personal data about the other.
13 86 TOWRachel'sCrush "The One With Rachel's Crush" Shana Goldberg-Meehan Dana De Vally Piazza January 29, 1998
Rachel schemes to get a handsome client to ask her on a date. Chandler's jealousy causes problems with his girlfriend.
14 87 Joey meets Heston "The One With Joey's Dirty Day" Wil Calhoun Peter Bonerz February 5, 1998
On Joey's first day on a major movie, one of Hollywood's legendary stars finds him in a compromising position in his trailer. Rachel regrets asking Ross for a favor when it sparks a new romance.
15 88 TOWATRugby "The One With All The Rugby" Teleplay by Wil Calhoun, Story by Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen James Burrows February 26, 1998
Chandler's abrasive ex-girlfriend Janice reappears. Monica finds a mysterious switch in Joey and Chandler's old apartment. Ross tries to impress Emily by playing rugby.
16 89 TOWTFakeParty "The One With The Fake Party" Teleplay by Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Scott Silveri, Story by Alicia Sky Varinaitis Michael Lembeck March 19, 1998
To become better acquainted with her crush Joshua, Rachel inadvertently thwarts Ross's plans. Phoebe's pregnancy cravings evoke a sympathetic response from Joey.
17 90 TOWTFreePorn "The One With The Free Porn" Teleplay by Richard Goodman, Story by Mark J. Kunerth Michael Lembeck March 26, 1998
Chandler and Joey are glued to their TV after discovering an unscrambled adult cable channel. Monica helps Ross tell his girlfriend he loves her. Phoebe gets some surprising pregnancy news.
18 91 TOWRachel'sNewDress "The One With Rachel's New Dress" Teleplay by Jill Condon & Amy Toomin, Story by Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen James Burrows April 2, 1998
Rachel takes a provocative pose to get Joshua into a romantic mood - but her plans go awry. Chandler and Joey are at odds to persuade Phoebe to name one of her triplets after them.
19 92 TOWATHaste "The One With All The Haste" Wil Calhoun & Scott Silveri Kevin S. Bright April 9, 1998
Drastic developments blight Ross's relationship with Emily. Monica and Rachel try to win back their old apartment, much to Chandler and Joey's delight.
20 93 TOWATWeddingDresses "The One With All The Wedding Dresses" Teleplay by Michael Curtis & Greg Malins, Story by Adam Chase Gail Mancuso April 16, 1998
Distraught over Ross's engagement, Rachel takes Joshua aside and suggests they also get married. Chandler forces Joey to go to a sleep clinic to stop his loud snoring. Monica and Phoebe get obsessed to wedding dresses after trying on Emily's wedding dress.
21 94 TOWTInvitation "The One With The Invitation" Seth Kurland Peter Bonerz April 23, 1998
Rachel and Ross each reminisce about when they used to date each other. Everyone is disappointed when Rachel decides not to attend the wedding in England.
22 95 TOWTWorstBestManEver "The One With The Worst Best Man Ever" Teleplay by Michael Curtis & Greg Malins, Story by Seth Kurland Peter Bonerz April 30, 1998
When Joey's duck swallows Ross' wedding ring, he is worried he'll have to sacrifice his beloved fowl to retrieve it.
23 96 TOWRoss'Wedding1 "The One With Ross' Wedding, Part 1" Michael Borkow Kevin S. Bright May 7, 1998
Ross tries to encourage Rachel to come to his wedding. Arriving in London, Joey and Chandler go sightseeing but Joey's overly enthusiastic behavior compels Chandler to go off on his own.
24 97 TOWRoss'Wedding2 "The One With Ross' Wedding, Part 2" Teleplay by Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Scott Silveri, Story by Jill Condon & Amy Toomin Kevin S. Bright May 7, 1998
Back in New York, Rachel realizes her feelings for Ross are stronger than ever and rushes off to the airport as wedding time nears. After a drunken guest mistakes Monica for Ross' mother, She and Chandler console each other and start their romantic journey.