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"The One Where Underdog Gets Away" is the ninth episode of the first season of Friends. It premiered on November 17, 1994. It was written by Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss and directed by James Burrows.



Joey's VD poster

With their parents away, Monica and Ross decide to have Thanksgiving dinner at Monica's apartment.

Rachel plans to go to Vail to spend Thanksgiving with her family, but, with her waitress' salary, can't raise the money for the plane tickets. However, her friends all chip in and buy her one.

Joey wants to spend Thanksgiving with his family, but a poster featuring him as a man with VD makes them, as well as a number of women, think that Joey is actually infected with the sexual disease when he does not. It becomes more humiliating when posters of him are put up over the city and on the Times Square big screen. This leads him to opt to have dinner at Monica's place, as he has been uninvited from his family's Thanksgiving dinner.

Chandler is boycotting "all the pilgrim holidays" because when he was a child, his parents told him they were getting divorced during Thanksgiving dinner, which then caused him to vomit up all his food. He instead plans to stay in and eat what Monica calls a "traditional holiday feast": tomato soup, grilled cheese, and a large bag of Funyuns.

Phoebe is celebrating two Thanksgivings, one in December with her grandmother's boyfriend, who uses a lunar calendar, and one with Monica on actual Thanksgiving.

While Monica cooks the meal, Ross decides to spend some "talking time" with his baby but finds it difficult to talk to Carol's uterus. When Carol reminds him not to do this to be in competition with Susan, he gets over it and starts recounting the story of his life to the fetus.

Meanwhile, dinner preparations are going great, with Monica preparing everyone personalized versions of their favorite dishes. This includes three types of potatoes: lumpy mashed potatoes, like Ross and Monica's mom Judy makes; mashed potatoes with peas and onions, like Phoebe's mom used to make; and tater tots, a Tribbiani holiday tradition.

Chandler interrupts with news that the Underdog balloon has escaped the Thanksgiving Day parade, hence the episode's title. This puts a hold on the preparations, and everyone rushes to the roof to watch. As they leave Monica shouts to Rachel "Got the keys?" While Monica meant it as a question, Rachel thought it was a statement and, assuming Monica has the keys, leaves them behind.

After the excitement on the roof, everyone returns to the apartment and find that they're locked out of the apartment, which has Monica's Thanksgiving dinner and Rachel's plane tickets inside. Monica and Rachel fight over who should have had the keys. Chandler and Joey happen to have a drawer full of dozens of extra keys, one of which eventually works. By the time they get in, however, everything's burned and Rachel has missed her flight. Ross comes in to smell the burning ruins, just in time to set off a fight between the whole group, with Chandler saying that "now this feels like Thanksgiving."

By now, Thanksgiving is pretty much ruined for everyone, but Phoebe spots Ugly Naked Guy with his Thanksgiving turkey, and a surprise - Ugly Naked Gal. Seeing the ugly naked couple makes everyone realize how their friendship is more important than missed flights, STDs, and ruined dinners.

An alternative meal is prepared: grilled cheese and tomato soup, as donated by Chandler. He notes that through everyone else's misfortune, he actually had a great time as he got to spend it with all his friends, and everyone ends up making a toast - literally - to a bad, but nonetheless nice, Thanksgiving.

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[]

Jane Sibbett - Carol Willick
Max Wright - Terry
Jessica Hecht - Susan Bunch
Lara Harris - Obsession Girl
James Michael Tyler - Gunther (uncredited)


Directed By:
James Burrows

Written By:
Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss


  • The title is a reference to Underdog, a cartoon superhero dog, best known for his catchphrase, "There's no need to fear – Underdog is here!". In this case, it is a parade balloon of Underdog.
    • This is one of two episode titles with the format "The One Where [noun] Gets Away", the other being the later Season 1 episode "The One Where The Monkey Gets Away".
      • Both episodes involve something running loose.
  • This is the first Thanksgiving episode in the series.
  • At the start of the episode, Rachel uses air quotes when describing her job. The next person to use air quotes is Ross.
  • Lara Harris who plays the Obsession Girl, was previously the face of various perfumes including Gio, Ulitima II and Oil of Olay. She is also a psychotherapist.
  • This is the first of two appearances of Max Wright as Terry, owner of the coffeehouse. His final appearance is in "The One With The Baby On The Bus" (S2E6) but is mentioned in "The One Where Rachel Quits" (S3E10).
  • Phoebe suggests that Ross put his head in the turkey. In "The One With All The Thanksgivings" (S5E8), to scare Chandler, Joey actually does it although that is seen in a flashback to 1992.
  • Chandler tells Rachel about the moment his parents told him they were getting divorced, which is shown in "The One With All The Thanksgivings". (S5E8)
  • This is one of the very rare times when Ugly Naked Guy has someone at his apartment (in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" (S5E14), he has Ross over).
  • This is the first appearance of Jane Sibbett as Carol in the series, replacing Anita Barone who played her in "The One With The Sonogram At The End" (S1E2).
  • Carol's occupation as a teacher is mentioned in this episode.
  • Although it reminds him of his parents' divorce, Thanksgiving becomes one of Chandler's most significant holidays during the course of the series:
  • The song that plays when Joey's posters are seen is "Don't Stand So Close To Me" (1980) by The Police. The B-side of the single in the UK was a song called "Friends." The lead singer of The Police is Sting whose wife Trudy Styler appears later in the series. The drummer of The Police is Stewart Copeland whose uncle Hunter Copeland is married to Courteney Cox's mother.
  • Right after this sequence, Chandler mentions Blossom, a sitcom about an Italian-American teenager that aired on NBC from January 1991 to May 1995.
  • In this episode, we see Ross talk to his child in Carol's uterus. Many years later he would be seen doing the same when Rachel's pregnant with their child except with Rachel he does so in the coffeehouse.
  • The locked door is recalled by Chandler when he moves in with Monica later in the series.
  • In "The One With The East German Laundry Detergent", the story of how Underdog got away is mentioned; the only way this is possible is that this episode was originally due to be recorded before that episode but the order was changed pre-production. Note that the former episode doesn't feature the 'Rachel' haircut unlike this episode.
  • Ross sings the theme tune to the 1960s TV show The Monkees, which is credited to the band of the same name. Ross introduces his pet monkey, Marcel, to the group in the next episode. He names himself "Dr. Monkey" in "The One With The Joke".
  • This episode was used as "U is for Underdog" in the Nick at Nite Friends A-Z Event (January 2023).


  • When Ross leaves the apartment to "talk to his unborn child", he turns left instead of right towards the stairs.
  • When Rachel is saying bye to everyone, she's standing behind Joey on Monica's right but when Chandler bursts in a second later, Rachel is to Monica's left. She couldn't have moved that quickly.
  • When Ross is trying to talk to his unborn child, the position of the hardbook book between Carol's feet changes position between shots.
  • Monica turns off the gas under the saucepans and then in reply to Ross saying "you burnt dinner", picks up a metal spoon by the handle. If the heat had really been on then the handle would still be red hot. However if you look carefully, there was no heat on under that saucepan.
  • When Rachel is sitting next to Ross on the sofa, Phoebe who says "Oooh" and the shot returns to Rachel who turns to her left. However the DVD edition also includes Rachel watching skiing on TV and saying "oh skiing, shoop, shoop shoop" at which point Monica then turns off the TV and Rachel turns to her left before repeating the same turn after Phoebe's line.
  • When Chandler is giving the toast, the glass changes from his right to left hand in an instant.
  • In the tag scene when Joey is tearing off the bottom of the posters, he looks straight into the camera but this may have been deliberate.
  • When Rachel flops down on the sofa in the apartment, the strap of her bag is upright resting against the back cushion but after a brief shot of Monica, when the shot returns to Rachel, the handle is down even though she didn't move.
  • When Susan and Ross are looking for the skull Ross let Carol borrow, there is a calendar on the wall that shows the month of December but it should be November since Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet.

Memorable Quotes[]

  • Chandler: And this is from the Cry for Help Department: Are you wearing make up?
    Joey: Yes I am. As of today, I'm officially Joey Tribbiani, actor slash model.
    Chandler: That's funny. I was thinking you look more like Joey Tribbiani, man slash woman.
  • Monica: Rach, do you still think you are gonna make it to Vail?
    Rachel: Absolutely. Shoop, shoop, shoop. Only $102 to go.
    Chandler: I thought it was $98.50?
    Rachel: Yeah, well, it was, but I, I broke a cup, so...
  • Ross: Wow, you guys sure have a lot of books about being a lesbian.
    Susan: Well, you know, you have to take a course. Otherwise they don't let you do it.
  • Phoebe: Okay, Ross, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but back off.
  • Chandler: I prefer to keep a safe distance from all this merriment.
  • Monica: Chandler, here you go, got your traditional holiday feast, you got your tomato soup, your grilled cheese fixings, and your family size bag of Funyuns.
  • Joey: Hey, hey! That tone won't make me go any faster.
    Monica: Joey!
    Joey: That one will.
  • Phoebe: Look, I'm trying to cheer you up, but you have to meet me halfway.
  • Joey: I got one keyhole and about a zillion keys. You do the math!
  • Monica: Potatoes are ruined. Potatoes are ruined. Potatoes are ruined.
  • Phoebe: Oh hoo, you get the bigger half! What did you wish for?
    Joey: The bigger half.
  • Chandler: I'm very thankful that all of your Thanksgivings sucked.
    All: That's so sweet. [They touch glasses.]
    Ross: And hey, here's to a lousy Christmas.
    Rachel: And a crappy New Year.
    All: Hear, hear!

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
Preceded by
"The One Where Nana Dies Twice"
"The One Where Underdog Gets Away" Followed by
"The One With The Monkey"