Friends Central
Friends Central
The One At The Beach
Season 3, episode 25
73rd overall episode of Friends
Phoebe and Phoebe Abbott, her birth mother, talking about Phoebe's dad.
Episode Information

May 15, 1997

Written by

Pang-Ni Landrum, Mark J. Kunerth & Adam Chase

Directed by

Pamela Fryman

Alternate titles
Episode Guide

The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion


The One With The Jellyfish


"The One At The Beach" is the twenty-fifth episode and season finale of the third season of Friends, which aired on May 15, 1997.


Phoebe finds a photo with her mother's writing and tracks down a woman in Montauk who may know where her father is. Because of this, everyone heads to the beach with Phoebe for the weekend. Ross' girlfriend Bonnie, however, has to stay behind and not go as she is working.

At the beach house the gang discovers the floor has been completely covered in sand and Phoebe casually mentions that the massage client who loaned her the house "might have said there was some flood damage." There's no source of entertainment, so the guys resort to playing "Strip Happy Days." Monica notices that Rachel is flirting with Ross—attempting to paint his nails and serving him margaritas. Rachel confirms that she is hoping they will be back together. Rachel's plans, already interrupted by Phoebe's entrance earlier, are again interrupted with the sudden, unexpected arrival of Bonnie at the beach house.

Phoebe finds her namesake, Phoebe Abbott, who according to her mother Lily's writing, is her late parent's best friend. She seems to know Frank, Phoebe's father, but is reluctant to give Phoebe any more information about him. When Phoebe breaks in Abbott's house to look for information about Frank, she wakes Abbott up. Abbott finds Phoebe's thirst for knowledge uncanny and reveals a very important secret to her - she is, in fact, her birth mother.

At the house, Chandler keeps nagging Monica into considering him to be her boyfriend; Monica, however, can't find enough "boyfriend material" in Chandler to take the offer seriously. Meanwhile, Bonnie takes advantage of the now-clear weather to have a swim but is annoyed by the sand she has in her hair. Rachel takes the chance to suggest to Bonnie to shave her head, which Bonnie does, reducing her head to a round, shiny, hairless dome. Everyone is shocked by Bonnie's new appearance, especially Ross. He asks for an explanation to this, and Bonnie reveals Rachel as to being behind the whole shave-the-head idea. Ross is angry at Rachel, but his anger dissolves into nothing when he learns that Rachel did this because she's still in love with him. The two kiss, but are interrupted by Joey and Chandler. The guys point out to him that it's his chance to get back together with Rachel; but Ross likes Bonnie too much to dismiss her in such a crude manner. Ross later finds himself standing between Rachel and Bonnie's rooms. Making his choice, the season ends with him opening one of the two doors although it is not revealed whose room he has entered.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast

Christine Taylor - Bonnie
James Michael Tyler - Gunther
Teri Garr - Phoebe Abbott


Directed By:
Pamela Fryman

Written By:
Pang-Ni Landrum, Mark J. Kunerth & Adam Chase


  • With this episode, all of the six friends' mothers have appeared at least once.
  • Chandler says, as a joke, that he was abducted by Rachel's hat and can't have children. As we find out in the season nine episode "The One With The Fertility Test", he actually is infertile.
  • This is the second time that Chandler brings up the possibility to be with Monica. The first time, in "The One With The Birth", is when Chandler suggests to Monica they be each other's back-up spouses. In 12 months time they sleep together marking the start of their relationship. They marry in four years time in "The One With Monica And Chandler's Wedding".
  • This is one of the few episodes that doesn't start with "The One With..." or "The One Where...".
  • No shots of Monica's apartment are featured in this episode - this is one of the rare times this happens.
  • This is also the last of season finales with normal episode length. As of Season 4, the final episode of each season is lengthened to 1 hour (including commercials).
  • 12 months after this episode, Ross marries Emily and Rachel realizes she's still in love with Ross.
  • Ross asks Rachel if she's trying to get him drunk. Two years after this episode they will both get drunk, wake up in bed together and married in Las Vegas.
  • This is the last time Ross will openly admit to Rachel to still being in love with her (though it's hinted in many episodes he still does love her) until The Last One, Part 2 (S10E18). However Ross does tell Rachel's father that he loves and cares about her when he confronts Ross about not marrying Rachel when she's pregnant with his child and admits to Phoebe that he still loves her after the birth of Emma.
  • This is the last time Rachel tells Ross she loves him until "The One With All The Kissing" but by then he's married to Emily.
  • Bonnie is seen with a towel over her neck after shaving her head. This is because Christine Taylor is wearing a skull cap and the towel hides her long blonde hair.
  • Visible on the fridge door of Phoebe Snr. is a "got milk" fridge magnet. Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston took part in the "got milk" campaign during the filming of Season 2. Later on, in Season 9, Ross unsuccessfully argues that he was the originator of the phrase himself.
  • Bonnie is the second of Ross' girlfriends whose hair Rachel deliberately sabotages. The first was Julie who's hair Phoebe cut in the style of Roddy McDowell in "The One With Ross' New Girlfriend".
  • As Ross sees the now bald Bonnie, Jennifer can be seen covering her mouth with her hand to hide her laughter but Rachel would find it funny too.
  • This is the only episode in which Phoebe's taxi enters facing to the right, in all other episodes it faces the other way. This is clearly to show Ross loading the luggage.


  • When the six friends arrive at the beach house, the sand inside is all wet due to "flood damage". A few seconds later the sand's dry.
  • When Joey wakes up covered in sand, his "right boob" has a big crack. However when the camera angle changes, the crack is gone.
  • When Rachel is telling Ross that she is still in love with him, her hair keeps changing from behind her ear to down when the camera changes angles.
  • You can see the door Phoebe Abbott walked in through open again when Phoebe Abbott and Phoebe Buffay are talking after she broke into her house. It opened by itself during their conversation, suggesting the door catch wasn't fitted properly when the set was set up.
  • When Phoebe Senior says "There's cookies on the counter", Phoebe Junior goes to the counter, opens a porcelain dog and takes out a cookie. She couldn't have known that the cookies would be inside the dog.
  • While Phoebe and Phoebe Abbot are talking about Phoebe, Lily and Frank at high school, at one point the lid of the cookie jar (the dog's head) is back on top even though neither of them moved but at all other times it's off.
  • In the uncut DVD episode showing Monica sitting at a table outside Central Perk, Chandler goes to sit down twice.
  • In the same scene, the angle of the handle on the blue cup in front of Monica goes from being parallel to the edge of the table to a slight angle and back again between shots.
  • When Rachel and Ross are lying down facing each other on the sofa, Phoebe enters the beach house and Rachel starts to sit up. However when the angle changes in the next shot, Rachel can be seen sitting up again.
  • When Rachel is talking to Bonnie outside the beach house, Rachel's grip on her book changes between shots.
  • In the scene when Ross chooses which room to enter, he says "hi" and closes the door. However when the same scene is shown in the first episode of next season ("The One With The Jellyfish"), Ross enters the same room but leaves the door open.


External links

Episode Navigation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Preceded by
"The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion"
Series Three Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Jellyfish"