Friends Central

"The One With George Stephanopoulos" is the fourth episode of Friends. It premiered on October 13, 1994. It was written by Alexa Junge and directed by James Burrows.


Ross and Monica notice that Phoebe has fallen asleep on the couch in Central Perk. Phoebe wakes up and explains that she didn't get any sleep last night, as her grandmother's boyfriend was staying over. Apparently, they're both deaf and insecure in bed, so they kept her up all night. Monica offers to let her sleep over, and Phoebe accepts.

Chandler and Joey enter the coffee house and greet Ross with tickets to that night's Rangers and Penguins hockey game. They pretend that the tickets are a birthday present, but Ross remarks that his birthday was seven months ago, realizing they had three tickets and could not decide on which one got to bring a date. Ross, looking at the tickets, then realizes that it is the anniversary of when he and Carol first slept together. He becomes depressed and tells the guys that he won't attend the game, opting to spend the night thinking about his ex-wife and her lesbian lover. Ross is about to go home, but Joey is able to convince Ross to attend the game by promising that they will buy him a big foam finger for him to wear.

Rachel comes over, excited after receiving her first-ever paycheck. However, her excitement is short-lived when she discovers that she has earned very little after taxes. Her friends try to cheer her up, saying that they are good earnings for a first job and that she will easily be able to live off of them. There is a pause, and they try to not-so-subtly help her by tipping generously. The guys leave for the hockey game. Leslie, Joanne, and Kiki, Rachel's old friends from Long Island, enter the coffee house. The four women reunite by hugging each other, screaming, and jumping up and down. Rachel's old friends are shocked to see her working; Joanne comments on how her waitress' apron makes her look like she is in a play. Rachel becomes wistful as she notices how heavily pregnant Leslie is, how thin and glamorous Kiki is, and when Joanne reveals that her father has made her a partner in his firm. They all scream excitedly again, and Kiki shows off her huge engagement ring. Phoebe and Monica are slightly startled by this side to Rachel, and they mock her and her old friends.

The guys walk to Madison Square Garden for the hockey game. Ross keeps noticing things that remind him of Carol, and it begins to annoy Joey and Chandler. At the game, Ross continues to reminisce. However, the game begins, and Ross starts to forget about Carol and root vigorously for the Rangers. All three guys are having a great time, until Ross is hit in the face with the hockey puck and they are forced to head to the emergency room. Back at Central Perk, Rachel wants to hear all of the gossip from back home. Kiki tells her that everyone is still talking about how she left Barry at the altar. This makes Rachel feel uncomfortable, so Joanne changes the subject by asking her when she is coming back home. Rachel laughs and tries to clarify that she is staying in the city for good. Her friends clearly disapprove, convinced that she would rather be an effortlessly rich Long Island girl back home.

Ross in his nose cast

In the hospital waiting area, Ross waits to be seen. A tense Chandler approaches the snippy receptionist, Nurse Sizemore, to inform her they have been waiting for over an hour. However, she shuts the glass panel on him, so Chandler talks into the glass instead. Ross reveals that he actually lost his virginity to Carol, so he has only ever been with one woman. This comes as a shock to his friends, and Joey mentions how hockey was the wrong idea. Eventually, Ross finally gets to see a doctor, while Joey and Chandler discuss the fact that Ross has only ever been with one woman. Chandler starts off by saying that he thinks it is sweet and romantic, but he then admits that he thinks Ross is a freak. Ross returns to the waiting room with a piece of steel bandaged to his nose. The receptionist looks at him and laughs at how unattractive he looks. Ross wants the hockey puck as a souvenir, but a bratty child in the waiting area has it. Ross asks to have it back but the kid refuses. Ross tries to snatch it away, but it flies out of his grasp and knocks the receptionist out, which finally puts a smile on his face.

The girls look at George and his date

Back at the apartment, Monica and Phoebe are preparing for their slumber party. Rachel enters, and starts drinking "Tiki Death Punch" straight from the blender after learning that it contains rum. The phone rings - it is Rachel's credit card company. Apparently, they have noticed some unusual activity on her account: she hasn't used her card for weeks. This sets Rachel off on a rant about her low income, her old friends' success and happiness, and how her life is falling apart in general. Monica and Phoebe try to her cheer up. None of their efforts work, and instead, Rachel manages to depress them, too. Monica eats a bowl of cookie dough and Phoebe drinks "Tiki Death Punch". Rachel apologizes for bringing them down with her, and answers the door as their pizza has arrived. She learns the delivery boy has brought them the wrong pizza; the one that he has brought was meant for George Stephanopoulos. Hearing this, Monica leaps up from the couch and runs to the door. The girls begin to swoon over President Clinton's gorgeous press secretary.

They take the pizza and head to the balcony with binoculars, hoping to see George. They spy on George and his date. The lights go out and they assume that the couple has gone to have sex. The girls get drunk and start telling secrets. Monica announces that a vegetable pâté that she had once made for Phoebe, a vegetarian, was actually made from goose. Phoebe is disgusted and triumphantly tells Monica that she doesn't feel bad about sleeping with a guy a couple of hours after he and Monica had broken up. This upsets Monica, but Rachel takes it further by revealing that the valentine that she received from a boy was actually from her. She tells Phoebe that Monica was overweight when they were young. Monica retaliates by announcing that Rachel once peed her pants in seventh grade while she was laughing. Rachel and Monica start squabbling, but Phoebe stops them by spotting George through the binoculars. The girls beg him to drop his towel, and they are very happy when he does.

In the closing credits, Joey and the girls are playing Twister. The credit card company calls Rachel again, so Chandler takes her place in the game so that she can speak to them. When asked about her not using her card in a while, Rachel tells them that she is fine, and saying it out loud finally makes her confident in her independence.  

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

Mary Pat Gleason - Nurse Sizemore
Benjamin Caya - Bratty Boy
Michele Maika - Kiki
Leesa Bryte - Leslie
Sean Whalen - Pizza Guy
Marianne Hagan - Joanne


Directed By:
James Burrows

Written By:
Alexa Junge


  • This is the first time that Monica, Rachel and Phoebe are seen drunk in the series.
    • Although not much featured, Monica's drunkenness becomes a running gag with the rest of the gang in future episodes. Chandler, in particular, uses it as an excuse with other people when he and Monica don't keep plans.
  • Monica's relationship with Jason Hurley is later referenced in "The One Where Eddie Won't Go" (S2E19).
  • Kiki appears for the first time in this episode. She makes her second and final appearance in "The One With The Flashback" which is set 12 months before "The Pilot".
  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode, the girls also discuss what Chandler, Joey and Ross (much to Monica's protest) are like in bed.
  • In 2002, the National Hockey League added protective nets at all arenas in order to prevent injuries similar to Ross'. This came after a 13-year-old girl was struck by a puck and died two days later due to a ruptured brain artery. (There was a fatal incident of this sort in the UK in 2018).
  • When Monica says "Rachel has left the building", it's an obvious reference to Elvis Presley, and the saying, "Elvis has left the building".
  • Rachel comments that everyone she knows is getting married or pregnant or promoted. Over the course of the series Rachel will accidentally get married to Ross (when both were drunk), unintentionally get pregnant by Ross and get promoted to executive at Ralph Lauren.
  • The show's intro sequence is slightly modified in this episode, where some of the shots that are taken from this episode have been replaced. This is the only episode where this version is used.
  • Rachel uses the name "Monica Stephanopoulos" when Joey is late in "The One With Monica And Chandler's Wedding, Part 2".
  • Ross states that the first time he slept with Carol, "she never took off her boots". Rachel mentions in her answering machine message to Barry in "The Pilot" that you "always made love with your socks on".
  • [Maybe a goof as well]: The season 1 DVD calls this "The One With The George Stephanopoulos.
  • Leslie walks into Central Perk carrying shopping bags. Among these are bags from Bloomingdale's where Rachel will start work in two seasons time.


  • In the beginning of the episode, when Phoebe is describing her grandmother being loud with her new boyfriend, Ross crosses his legs. When the camera angle changes his legs are uncrossed and he crosses them again.
  • During the same scene the way Ross holds the magazine changes with each shot.
  • While Rachel is talking to Kiki, Leslie and Joanne at the start of their scene, the servlet dispenser has the red side facing us but when Rachel says "this is what I'm doing" the silver side is facing us and a plate of cookies which weren't there at the start has appeared.
  • Joey and Chandler want to take Ross for the game on October 20, which is 2 days after his birthday, but he says his birthday was 7 months ago.
  • When Rachel first enters the coffeehouse waving her envelope, its not sealed. Phoebe talks about the cave in in the mine and then we cut back to Rachel and the envelopes now sealed.
  • During the first scenes in the coffeehouse, Rachel wears just a watch on her left wrist but when she stands up after her friends less than subtly tip her, she now has a bracelet too.
  • The Rangers did not host the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 20 for a hockey game at Madison Square Garden - in fact, the NHL was in the middle of a labor dispute that canceled many games at the start of the season including all of October's games. This is actually seen on an electronic notice in a transition shot in two episodes time. (The One With The Butt)
  • When Rachel throws out the Twister sheet, she throws it on top of the punch she left on the coffee table.
  • In one scene, Ross's foam finger is there, in the next scene it is missing.
  • Monica's balcony is depicted as bigger than it usually appears in later episodes
  • On their way to the Ranger game at Madison Square Garden, the boys pass an M15 bus stop. The M15 runs down 2nd Avenue and up 1st Avenue, much farther east than Ross (who lives near 6th Avenue), Chandler, and Joey (who live near 7th) should be if they're going to the Garden (which is on 7th).
  • Ross says he told everyone including Monica that he'd slept with Carol and later claims this was his first time ever. However in the next episode Monica tells Angela that Ross never told her when he lost his virginity. (Later in the series it emerges that Monica was actually right as he'd slept with the librarian at school and with the cleaning lady in the college dorm.)
  • Joey says it's less than 100 steps from his and Chandler's apartment but since it's on the third floor, this can't be correct.
  • When Ross, Chandler and Joey are standing in the street, a man in a cream suit can be seen walking with a newspaper and briefcase in his hand. A few seconds later he's walking back and draws level with the box on a parked truck but when the shot changes he's walking towards the truck again.
  • Rachel tells Kiki that she does her own laundry but in the next episode Ross has to help her.
  • The image on the screen at the hockey game doesn't match the seating arrangement as the lady in the red coat has moved two places to the left.


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 With The Thumb"
The One With George Stephanopoulos Followed by
"The One With The East German Laundry Detergent"