The One Where Rachel Smokes
Season 5, episode 18
115th overall episode of Friends
Rachel smokes along with her co-workers.
Episode Information

April 8, 1999

Written by

Michael Curtis

Directed by

Todd Holland

Episode Guide

The One With Rachel's Inadvertent Kiss


The One Where Ross Can't Flirt


"The One Where Rachel Smokes" is the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of Friends, which aired on April 8, 1999. Rachel takes up smoking at her new job as a way of making inroads with the boss. Joey joins Ross's son Ben on an audition for a soup commercial.


5x18 Rachel smokes

Rachel smokes.

Phoebe and Monica organize a surprise party for Rachel one month ahead of her birthday, but organizing freak Monica takes responsibility over everything, leaving nothing for Phoebe, who points this out to her. To try and spare something, Monica gives Phoebe duties on cups and ice, and Phoebe vows to "make her rue the day she put [Phoebe] in charge of cups and ice."

Ross' son Ben has been offered the chance to become a star in a soup commercial, which an envious Joey finds hard to accept. When he learns that the soup commercial also calls for the role of a dad, he volunteers himself for the audition. Both he and Ben are chosen for the callback, but the lack of similarity in looks makes the director cast them opposite to each other, so only one of them can be chosen for the commercial. As things end up, Joey has to audition with a famous commercial child actor. He talks to Ross about the callback, but only to make Ben back out of the whole thing, which Ross finds crazy as it was Ben's audition and Joey merely invited himself along. The two end up fighting about it, but there's no time to hold grudges as the callback is held. Joey screws up the two-word line he has, which loses him the part.

5x18 Cups

Phoebe is put in charge of cups and ice.

On the first day at her work, Rachel tries to get along with her new colleague and boss Nancy and Kim. The latter two are smokers, and go out on a cigarette break every morning, which Rachel can't join as she doesn't smoke. However, to try and bond with them, she joins them and tries to smoke a cigarette with them. But Rachel's not very enthusiastic to fall into the bad habit, which is bad for her as Kim and Nancy bond during cigarette breaks and Nancy advises Kim on the executive decision. Rachel fears for her position, as Kim and Nancy have more time to spend together, and tries to talk Kim and Nancy into quitting, but fails when she catches them smoking behind her back. Kim warns Rachel that she'll fire her if she catches her with a cigarette, and Rachel has no choice but to do so - just as Kim invites Nancy on a trip to Paris with her.

Determined to make a good impression with cups and ice, Phoebe rises to the occasion spectacularly, and practically decorates the apartment with nothing but cups. As for the ice, she brings a whole variety for everyone to enjoy: crushed, cubed and dry ice, together with snow cones. Monica is almost inexistent in the party, and she realizes that she has underestimated Phoebe. Rachel arrives home, and is very surprised to find the party, especially since Chandler's birthday is before hers. Everyone tries to pass the party off as a surprise for Chandler which, unsurprisingly, doesn't work. Meanwhile, Ross tries to talk to Joey, who is still sad at losing the part at the callback. He ends up telling Joey that the real reason he messed up the part is because, deep down, Joey wanted Ben to get it, which Joey finds as a good excuse. When he asks Ross how Ben did, Ross tells him that Ben didn't get the part, and Joey replies: "Eh, what are you gonna do?", showing how little he cares about Ben's acting career.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

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

Supporting Cast

Allen Twins - Ben Geller
Joanna Gleason - Kim
Judy Kain - The Casting Director
Jane Sibbett - Carol Willick
Megan Ward - Nancy
Matt Weinberg - Raymond
Jim Wise - Kyle
James Michael Tyler - Gunther


Directed By:
Todd Holand

Written By:
Michael Curtis



  • One of the casting agents has the same blue coffee mug with a gold moon and stars as exists in Monica's apartment.
  • This is the only appearance of Carol at Central Perk. Her wife Susan never appears in Central Perk.
  • The magna doodle reads "Joey : Candis wants you to call her".
  • This is the final appearance of Charlie and Jack Allen as Ben Geller. It's also Ben's final appearance in the fifth season.
  • Ironically, when this episode was filmed, Jennifer Aniston was a smoker who wanted to quit (She quit in 2011).
  • When the casting director asks most of the actors to leave, you can see Harry Van Gorkum playing one of the fathers taking his son out of the room. Harry Van Gorkum plays Don, Monica's "soulmate" in "The One Where Joey Tells Rachel".
  • During the party, the songs "Never There" by Cake and "Jammin" by Bob Marley can be heard in the background.
  • The laughter when Joey replies "you've lost me" to Ross's comment "subconsciously" is because in a blooper Joey replied "you love me".
  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode, when Ross sarcastically says goodbye to all the unsuccessful applicants from the audition, Carol says, "I'm not married to him anymore, he's my ex-husband, I'm totally gay!"

Continuity Error

  • Rachel's year of birth is inconsistent. Her 30th birthday in The One Where They All Turn Thirty (2001) implies that Rachel was born in 1971. However, her 29th birthday in The One Where Rachel Smokes (1999) implies that she was born in 1970. Also, Rachel says she is 28 in The One With The Fake Party (1998) implying she was born in 1970. But 15 months earlier in The One Where Rachel Quits (1996) Chandler says Rachel is 28, implying she was born in 1968. Also they celebrate her birthday a month early (making her birthday in May) but in a later episode she states her birthday is February 8th.


  • When Joey is talking to Ross at the party, the flavoring on Joey's snow cone keeps changing between shots.
  • In this episode Joey says that he had to teach Ross his bummed out bit, but Ross has been doing this bit since "The One With The Thumb".
  • When Joey is watching Ben and he is stacking Lego, the colors change between shots. Also the Ben takes the tower down but when the camera angle changes it is standing tall again. When the camera angle changes again the tower is on its side and when the camera angles changes yet again the tower is straight up.


Rachel: Look at all these cups. This is so weird!
Phoebe: I was in charge of cups!
Rachel: Oh, okay, not so weird.

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One With Rachel's Inadvertent Kiss"
"The One Where Rachel Smokes" Followed by
"The One Where Ross Can't Flirt"