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"The One Where Old Yeller Dies" is the twentieth episode of the second season of Friends, which aired on NBC on April 4, 1996.


When Monica, Richard, Ross, and Rachel are watching Old Yeller, Phoebe believes the film ends happily with Old Yeller having babies, therefore being horrified to find out it actually ends with the dog catching rabies and getting shot. Phoebe finds out that her mother never showed her the ends of sad movies to shield her from the pain, "you know, that was before she killed herself". Phoebe rents all the movies her mother didn't let her see and watches the actual endings. Phoebe is left traumatized, and starts to look at the world far more cynically.

Ross and Rachel - TOW The Old Yeller.png

When Joey and Chandler have an extra ticket for a Knicks game, Monica convinces them to take Richard, but they agree to it only because they can go to the game in his Jaguar. Joey and Chandler start really liking him, so much that Chandler starts growing a moustache and Joey starts smoking cigars, and Richard himself starts to spend all of his free time with the guys rather than Monica. During a foosball game, Joey accidentally let it slip that they see Richard more as a dad to them than as a friend, which hurts Richard a lot, who thought of himself as "one of the guys".

Ross is so upset that he misses so many of Ben's 'firsts', that he wants him for a whole weekend. Rachel isn't very good with babies, but Ross says that it's going to be totally different when it's their baby, which freaks Rachel out because Ross has planned their future living with two children in the suburbs. When Ross goes to fetch Ben's things, Rachel finishes diapering Ben and says hi to him, and is surprised when Ben says hi back.

Ross is disappointed in having missed Ben's first word, but when Carol and Susan come to pick Ben up and he says bye gloomily, to everyone's surprise, Ben says bye back, with Ross finally happy that Ben spoke to him.

In the closing credits, Phoebe is seen watching Sesame Street with Ben, telling Ben not to worry that Bert is gone, because Ernie would find him later on and also sing the alphabet, while lamenting that she is glad he is here. Ben then says "bye Phoebe" as the episode comes to an end.

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

Jessica Hecht - Susan Bunch
Tom Selleck - Dr. Richard Burke
Jane Sibbett - Carol Willick


Directed By:
Michael Lembeck

Written By:
Michael Curtis, Gregory S. Malins & Adam Chase



  • Ross talks about him and Rachel having children: maybe two: a boy and a girl and hopefully, the girl would come first so Ben won't feel too competitive. And surprisingly enough, in "The One Where Rachel Has A Baby, Part 2", Rachel gives birth to her and Ross' baby girl.
  • In this episode Ross tells Rachel they'll have two children. Years later, already having had Emma, in "The One Where Rachel's Sister Babysits", Ross tells her that "we'll call the next one Ella" after Rachel's sister Amy mistakenly calls Emma by that name.
  • Ross states 'Emily' as a possible name for their future daughter but winds up passing up that name, possibly due to the fact that Ross was married to a woman named Emily. They end up naming their daughter Emma, which Monica was saving for her own child, but she let Ross and Rachel use it instead. Emily is also one of the names that Rachel's sister Amy misnames Emma later in the series.
  • In this episode, Ben says his first word, "Hi", which is the first thing that Ross says in the series. (The Pilot)
  • In this episode, Rachel’s hair begins to grow from the “Rachel” haircut, which lasted up until the episode before this.
  • Rachel hears the first word of Ben, Ross' son in this episode. Seven years later Rachel will hear her and Ross' daughter Emma speak for the first time in "The One With The Lottery". (S9E18).
  • This is the first appearance of Chandler's mustache. The next time we see this is in "The One With The Flashback" (S3E6), (where he also has a beard), set 12 months before The Pilot.
  • When Monica says Chandler's mustache reminds him of Aunt Sylvia, this is the same "Aunt Sylv" who was mentioned in "The One With The Dozen Lasagnas" and whose dollhouse Monica inherits next season in "The One With The Dollhouse".
  • When Phoebe is talking about the movies she watched, she says: "Oh, murder, cancer, soccer teams eating each other in the Andes", Actually they are Rugby players, from the movie "Alive", which is based on a real story of Uruguayan rugby players who had to eat each other when their plane crashed in the Chilean Andes, in 1972 so Phoebe was wrong.
  • Ross and Rachel say "I love you" for the first time.
  • Monica mentions the name "Florence Henderson". Florence Henderson played Carol Brady, the mother of six children, in the show The Brady Bunch, which ran on ABC from 1969-1974. 
  • Monica lends Phoebe a copy of It's A Wonderful Life in an attempt to show that not all movies end sadly. There was a poster for this film when we saw Chandler's bedroom after he'd slept with Aurora in "The One With The Butt".
  • It's A Wonderful Life (1946) is a film starring James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore set at Christmas time. It is traditionally broadcast by NBC every Christmas and features in several films and TV series to indicate it's Christmas Eve. 
  • Old Yeller is a 1957 film set in the late 1860s about a family of cattle farmers who adopt the apparently stray dog and who protects the family from a group of wild hogs and later a wolf. Unfortunately the dog is severely bitten by the wolf and Travis (mentioned in this episode) is persuaded that the dog has to be shot because he has contracted rabies. However there is a happy ending as the family takes in one of Old Yeller's puppies.  


  • When Richard is playing foosball with Chandler and Joey, you can briefly see the edge of the set of their apartment.
  • When Carol and Susan tell Ross it'll be great for him to have Ben for the weekend, Susan picks up a blue container. When she says "that'll be great" she picks up the blue container again.
  • Rachel said she hasn't been around babies since she was one. However, she has two younger sisters, but probably meant she hasn't been around babies who are not in her family.
  • Rachel's hands are rubbing together as Ross starts to say "secondary caregiver" but as he completes the line her right hand is under her left elbow when the shot changes.
  • When Ross and Rachel are talking in Central Perk about his plans for their future, an extra can be seen in the background struggling to finish his drink. This may be because of number of retakes needed as the actor playing Ben kept talking, as shown in the Bloopers.
  • When Monica tells the guys she's wearing nothing but rubber gloves, they storm into her apartment. However, the door to their own apartment is still closed. (Counter argument; the guys could have shut the door to their apartment while asking Monica what she was wearing.)
  • When Joey tells Monica they will bring Richard to the game Chandler is looking down. However when it cuts to Monica immediately after Joey says "but only if he brings the Jaguar", Chandler is looking straight ahead and mouthing "well, what am I supposed to say?", even though there was no time to do so. When it cuts back to Chandler and Joey, Chandler is looking down and then up at Joey as if he had never looked up before.
  • Just after Ross puts his arm around Rachel's waist after Ben, Carol and Susan have left, he looks straight into the audience as the scene ends.
  • The way in which Phoebe holds the video of It's a Wonderful Life after Monica has given it to her changes two thirds of the way through their conversation. 

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One Where Eddie Won't Go"
"The One Where Old Yeller Dies" Followed by
"The One With The Bullies"