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"The One Where They All Turn Thirty" is the fourteenth episode of the seventh season of Friends, which aired on NBC on February 8, 2001. It's Rachel's thirtieth birthday and she is depressed about aging. In a series of flashbacks, each of the friends' equally depressing thirtieth birthdays are shown.



NBC Promotional Image

The episode opens with the friends gathered around in Rachel's apartment, decorated with birthday paraphernalia. As Rachel walks out, they all wish her a 'Happy Birthday', to which she slams her bedroom door angrily. Her boyfriend, Tag comes out of the room and informs the friends of a few ground-rules regarding the celebration. These include not teasing Rachel about growing a year older. They then proceed to try and coerce her out and it is eventually Ross who lures Rachel to the party with the promise of presents. Joey then tries to tell her that turning thirty is not a big deal, however Ross reminds Joey how Joey felt when he turn thirty. A flashback to his thirtieth birthday reveals that he feels very differently, pleading with God that they had a deal to not let him age.

Rachel awake

Rachel wakes up to find her surprise birthday party.

Rachel then informs everyone that she is still twenty-nine in Guam. Chandler tells her that his thirtieth birthday wasn't great either, a flashback shows that Joey got upset at Chandler's birthday party as well, fearing that everyone was getting 'so old'. They try to convince her that her life is pretty good, but Rachel is still upset that she feels everyone around her has accomplished so much. Phoebe then tells her not to compare herself to her.

The scene cuts to Phoebe's thirtieth birthday, in which she is on a hopping ball. She states that she has bounced one mile on it and all of her goals before she is thirty are complete, except making up with her sister. Phoebe shrugs that goal off and runs away cheering with the other friends. Rachel hangs back and grabs the ball, which Phoebe described as "a god-send for girls".


Rachel opens Tag's gift, a scooter.

Tag asks Rachel what she wants to do, to which she replies 'nothing'. Monica then remarks that doing nothing is 'better than doing something stupid like Ross'. Ross is shown to have bought a red MGB sports car. He claims that he is a sports car enthusiast, despite not even knowing what the horse power is. Both Phoebe and Rachel reveal that they are attracted to Ross because of the car and Phoebe gets in for a ride, however Ross has been locked in by the car in front and behind him.

Rachel then tells everyone that she isn't going to sit around all day and that she wants to get a piercing, however she is deterred by Phoebe who pinches her. Tag tells her that he is also worried about aging, but to a younger age of 25. Monica tells Rachel that no one handles their birthday well, to which Phoebe replies 'least of all you'.

Chandler has thrown Monica an amazing birthday party at their apartment. He is thanked by Jack and Judy Geller. Rachel runs in and tells them she heard Monica coming. Everyone ducks down and turns the lights off. However after a short while, Monica doesn't enter and they can hear banging from outside. Chandler leaves to check everything is OK. However, he finds a drunk Monica collapsed in front of Joey and Rachel's apartment door. Her speech is slurred and she is very over-excitable. She tells Chandler that the bus-boys took her out for drinks as she was nervous about turning thirty. Chandler comes up with a plan of sneaking Monica in and fooling everyone into thinking she is sober. However upon her entry to the apartment, Monica overreacts to the surprise.

Joey is shown in Ross' car, still wedged between the other two cars. He tries desperately, under Ross' command, to move it out, but the car is trapped. A beautiful woman walks pasts and asks Joey if it is his car. He attempts to reply but Ross interrupts and scares the woman away. Phoebe returns to the group and tells them she will break into the van in front of Ross' car and put it into neutral, while the others push it forward. Phoebe pulls a slim-jim bar from beneath her jacket and slides it down the window. The car door opens but sets off the alarm. Phoebe runs away with the others yelling 'Haul ass'. Ross is left trapped in his car with nowhere to go.

Phoebe visits her sister Ursula, who informs her that they are now thirty-one and not thirty as Phoebe had previously thought. Ursula shows Phoebe a list of stuff she received when their mother died, including her birth certificate. Phoebe asks if Ursula has her birth certificate, but she says she sold it to a 'Swedish runaway'. She also asks if Ursula knows her middle name, which she incorrectly thinks its Phoebe, her first name.

Chandler helps Monica through her party, despite her obvious drunk nature, she gets a party-goer's name wrong, to which Chandler has to correct her. Chandler tells the others that Monica is drunk and that she doesn't want her parents to notice. Phoebe decides that she should get twice as drunk as Monica, so no one will even notice her. Chandler then asks Rachel to help Monica get changed into her party dress.

Tag hands Rachel her birthday gift, which is revealed to be a scooter, something which the other friends disapprove of. Chandler then hands Rachel the card and present from him and Monica. However the inside message, which was supposed to be a joke, upsets Rachel. She runs into her room crying. However, Rachel returns to the group with a plan. She tells them she wants three children and she wants the first one before she is thirty-five. However her calculations show her that she must already be with the guy she wants to marry.

Tag is then shown riding along on the scooter, with Joey trailing behind breathlessly, asking him not to keep hogging it.

Monica is now in her party dress and is being helped through the party by Chandler and Rachel. Chandler tells them Monica just has to stay quiet and not talk to anyone. However, Phoebe, who is very drunk by this point, calls for Monica to make a speech. Monica gets up reluctantly and makes a typical speech. However, part way through, Monica decides she wants to express her true feeling and tells her parents that she is drunk and has smoked a cigarette. She then tells them that she is a grown up and that she can do whatever she wants, before passing out. Phoebe then rushes to get Joey to help her get her top off to distract the crowd.

Phoebe is then shown in the coffee house with the others. She is bummed out at not having reached any of her goals before she is thirty-one, including; meeting Portuguese people, having the perfect kiss and going to sniper school. Monica offers to take Phoebe upstairs to have some cake, but she is too upset and leaves to be alone. Joey follows after her and kisses her. It is quite obvious it was Phoebe's definition of the perfect kiss. He also tells her he is one 1/16th Portuguese, so that is something else she can cross off of her lists. Phoebe leaves looking happy.

Ross tries to get everyone to lift his car out of the tight space. Each friend is positioned around the car, with the hands gripped tightly to it. On Ross' command they attempt to move it, but are deterred by the weight.

Rachel goes to talk to Tag, but is interrupted by Joey who wants the scooter. She lets him away with it and sits down to talk seriously with Tag. After one final kiss, Rachel tells Tag that it's just not going to work and the two break up. Ross then has the realization that in ten years, they will all be forty, to which Joey bursts out in tears and sobs in Ross' arms.

Ross' car is revealed to be free from its trapped parking position. He and Joey eagerly climb in and drive down the block, to find that a particularly unattractive man has the same car. Ross sits dejected and asks Joey if he wants to buy the car.

Cast and Crew[]

Main Cast[]

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

Supporting Cast[]

Elliott Gould - Jack Geller
Eddie Cahill - Tag Jones
Christina Pickles - Judy Geller
Wayne Edward Sherwood - The Man in Sportscar
Vanessa White - Woman (uncredited)
James Michael Tyler - Gunther (uncredited)


Directed By:
Ben Weiss

Written By:
Vanessa McCarthy, Ellen Plummer & Sherry Bilsing



Joey ruins Chandler's thirtieth birthday party.

  • This was the second of the 4 "super-sized" episodes (40 minutes long with ads) this season that was longer than usual as a promotional stunt by NBC in order to counter-program against Survivor: The Australian Outback.
    • The DVDs present these episodes as first aired, however, the Blu-ray presents them in their edited syndicated cuts (though the original super-sized versions are available as a special feature).
  • Despite the fact that this episode is comprised of flashbacks, no previous material is shown. All flashbacks were specially made for the episode.
  • The real ages of the main cast when this episode first aired were:
    1. Lisa Kudrow: 37
    2. Courteney Cox: 36
    3. David Schwimmer: 34
    4. Matt LeBlanc: 33
    5. Jennifer Aniston: 31 (turned 32 three days later)
    6. Matthew Perry: 31
    • This means Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox had already turned 30 in 1994 when the show started.
  • Jennifer Aniston wears hair extensions in all of the birthday flashbacks to keep with continuity as Rachel's hair was cut short before the events of "The One With Ross' Library Book" (S7E7) and remains short until "The One Where Rachel Tells..." (S8E3) in which her hair returns to mid-length. Not for Ross' birthday flashback which occurs two days after the events depicted in "The One With The Ballroom Dancing".
  • Joey's birthday flashback is the shortest, at 10 seconds long. Chandler's flashback is similarly short, but slightly longer at 13 seconds long.
  • Joey says: "But it hurts my Joey's apple." and Chandler replies that it isn't named after each individual. But in "The One Where Heckles Dies" (S02E03) Joey emphasizes: "When I first moved to the city, I went out a couple of times with this girl, really hot, great kisser, but she had the biggest Adam's apple." which implies that he does know that 'Adam's apple' is a global term.
  • A scene was edited out in the televised version, in which Rachel mocks Joey's appearance on Days of Our Lives. He then tells them that he 'promised he wouldn't cry at this one'. However recent runs on Channel five show this.
  • The approximate horsepower of the MGB mark II - the car Ross bought - would have been about 130 for the North America model.
  • Ursula's middle name is revealed to be Pamela in this episode.
  • Phoebe's mother killed herself when Phoebe was around 14. It is unclear why a 14-year-old would not know their middle name or their real age.
  • On the show, Rachel says that her birthday is May 5, while she turns thirty in this episode, which aired on February 8. Also, she should be born in 1971, but in various other episodes it is said that she was born in 1970.
  • By this episode, all of the friends are shown (or stated) to have smoked at least once during their lifetimes.
  • According to this episode the oldest of the group is Phoebe (after learning she is a year older than she thought) and the youngest is Rachel. Additionally, it is revealed that Joey is older than Chandler.
  • This is the last episode where Tag is Rachel's assistant. After Rachel and Tag break up in this episode, Tag is only seen once more in "The One With The Red Sweater" (S8E2), where it is clear that Tag is no longer working for Rachel. It can be assumed that Tag quit or was fired sometime after they broke up. No assistant for Rachel is ever mentioned again.
  • This was the first episode to be created in the super-size format, although at least two super-size episodes aired first. According to the show's producers, they had already filmed the other shows as 30 minute episodes and then expanded them with the extra footage they had. In this episode, all acts were designed specifically for this super-size show.
    • The DVD presents these episodes in their original super-sized format, however the Blu-ray presents them in their edited syndication versions. (but you can still watch the original super-sized versions on the special features section of the season 7 Blu-ray)
  • This episode appears on the Friends - The One with All the Birthdays DVD.
  • When playing both Phoebe and Ursula, Lisa Kudrow's older sister, Helene, doubles for the shoulder shots.
  • The Magna Doodle in this episode reads: "Happy Birthday RACH"
  • Joey has kissed Phoebe before in "The One With Two Parts, Part 2", where Phoebe, pretending to be Ursula, breaks up with Joey, and they end up giving a last kiss. If Joey indeed gives the best kisses, then Phoebe had already been given the perfect kiss before she was 31. It is possible though, that Joey got even better by this time.
  • In one of the flashback scenes, Monica wears the same dress as she does in "The One With The Jellyfish".
  • The events depicting Ross turning 30 must take place a couple of days after "The One With The Ballroom Dancing", (air date October 16th, 1997), based on Ross being born on October 18th, 1967.
  • Tag is Rachel's last sexual partner before getting together with Ross as she and Joey are unable to get beyond the kissing stage during their brief relationship. 
  • Rachel states that she should be with the guy she wants to spend the rest of her life with and should have her first child. Although not planned, she becomes pregnant with Ross' and her daughter at the end of the season. 


  • When Rachel opens Tag's present, she has a white bow stuck to her shirt (by her right breast), when she opens Chandler & Monica's card, it disappears.
  • Rachel was incorrect when she said that she is "still twenty-nine in Guam". The time zone of New York City is UTC-5 while the time zone of Guam is UTC+10. Thus she would have turned 30 earlier if she was in Guam.
  • In this episode Rachel is turning 30, but at the end of "The One With The Fake Party", she is sitting in the hall and says to Ross: "And you are sitting here with a 28 years old cheerleader". Also, in "The One Where Rachel Smokes", she celebrates her 29th birthday, implying she was born in 1970 and in "The One Where Rachel Quits", she's turning 28, implying she was born in 1968.
  • Monica was 26 in season 1, so by now she would be at least 32-33. And Ross is one year her senior, which would make him 33-34. This would be correct if Ross turned thirty shortly after the Season 4 episode "The One With The Ballroom Dancing".
  • Phoebe asks Joey "How would you feel if you found out you were 31?" Joey says it won't happen because he made a deal with God. In "The One With Monica's Thunder" Joey was 31. Although Chandler and Rachel had to remind him of that.
  • Phoebe's birthday is inconsistent. In "The One With Frank Jr." Phoebe tells her half-brother that her birthday is February 16th. Also, in "The One With Two Parts, Part 2" Phoebe has a birthday party in February. However, in "The One Where Nana Dies Twice" Rachel talks about Phoebe's last birthday party. Since Rachel first met Phoebe earlier that season, this implies that Phoebe's birthday must have occurred since September, when Rachel first joined the group. Also, in "The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner", Phoebe's birthday is close to Halloween, consistent with Rachel's statement. Furthermore, in "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", the flashbacks of Phoebe's 30th birthday imply her birthday is in the summer.
  • When Monica is at her party and sitting in the Barcalounger next to Chandler, her left hand is in the air. When the camera angle changes, her hand is in her lap with no time to do so.
  • When the group is about to lift Ross' car and slide it out, Ross says "Lift" and you can see someone running behind him but in the next shot when Ross says "Slide" there is no one in the background, when the runner should still be in the shot.
  • The hopper disappears from view when Phoebe enters Ursula's apartment.
  • In the flashback to Monica's birthday, the French poster has disappeared from the wall and been replaced by a birthday banner.

External links[]

Episode Navigation[]

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Preceded by
"The One Where Rosita Dies"
Season Seven Episodes Followed by
"The One With Joey's New Brain"