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Friends Central
The One With Joey's Big Break
Season 5, episode 22
119th overall episode of Friends
Monica trying to put eye-drops in Rachel's eye.
Episode Information

May 13, 1999

Written by

Wil Calhoun (teleplay)
Shana Goldberg-Meehan (story)

Directed by

Gary Halvorson

Alternate titles
Episode Guide

The One With The Ball


The One In Vegas, Part 1


"The One With Joey's Big Break" is the twenty-second episode of the fifth season of Friends, which aired on May 13, 1999.


Joey is excited to get the lead in a thriller, Shutter Speed, so he and Chandler decide to take a road trip to Las Vegas where it's being shot, in Phoebe's late grandma's cab. Joey doesn't know how to decide between the northern and southern road, so Phoebe teaches him an instant answers-technique to pick a road. However, Chandler doesn't really believe that it's going to be Joey's big break, as he isn't paid for it and just gets a penny for every dollar the movie makes. When he blurts this out to Joey, the indignant star-to-be throws him out on New York's George Washington bridge. Chandler feels terribly guilty, but when Joey arrives it turns out that he was right: the movie has been shutdown because there's no money. Joey, wanting to save face, claims to his friends that everything is going fine but in reality is forced to take a job as a centurion in Caesar's Palace.

Rachel's left-eye is a getting a little itchy and really red. Monica wants her to see an eye-doctor, but Rachel is terrified and freaks out every time someone touches an eye. Rachel spills some cornflakes over the floor in a try to freak Monica out and reschedule the eye-appointment until later, but she demands Chandler to clean up so she can go with Rachel. Rachel freaks out because of the necessary eye-drops, which she refuses to take, leading to Monica desperately trying to put them into Rachel's eye by sitting on her and holding her arms back while she tried spraying it with the drop bottle in her mouth while keeping her pinned down which doesn't work. In the tag scene, they finally get them into Rachel's eye, but it takes all the other members of the gang tackling her and holding her down while Monica gives her the drops.

Phoebe is mad at Ross, but she can't remember why. He doesn't know it either, but Phoebe doesn't want to make up. Using her own instant answer-technique, Ross finds out that he called her boring. Phoebe then remembers the setting: they were playing chess on a frozen lake, and he took off his energy mask and then he was Cameron Diaz, realizing that it was a dream while telling it.

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

Michael Monks - Dr. Miller
John Kassir - Stanley
John C. McDonnell - The Grip
James Michael Tyler - Gunther


Directed By:
Gary Halvorson

Written By:
Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Wil Calhoun


  • The movie set scene was filmed at Vasquez Rocks in California.
  • The song that plays when Joey arrives on set is "A Horse With No Name" by America. The B-side is "Everyone I meet is from California" which is where Friends was filmed.
  • This is the first episode to show Chandler's envy of Richard.
  • While Monica was wrestling Rachel to the ground Rachel says tells Monica "you really are freakishly strong". Chandler previously stated this in "The One With The Cop".
  • When Monica is trying to get Rachel to take her eye drops, she gets on top of her and Rachel replies "If Joey and Chandler were here, we could make a fortune," implying girl-on-girl action. This is similar to when Rachel and Monica actually kissed for a minute to get their apartment back from Joey and Chandler. It's also a call back to the season 1 episode "The One With The Evil Orthodontist", when Joey walked in on Rachel and Monica hugging, having already seen Rachel and Mindy hugging. And also to when Joey saw Monica lying on top of Rachel outside Central Perk in "The One With A Chick And A Duck".
  • The plot of Joey's film is very similar to that of an urban legend/ghost story.
  • The season 2 premiere of the spinoff Joey begins with a two-part episode with an almost identical name to this episode, called "Joey and the Big Break, Part 1". Unlike this episode, where Joey's movie gets delayed and later cancelled, Joey does succeed in getting his "big break" in the spinoff.
  • Prior to this, when Phoebe and Joey are playing the game, Phoebe asks "who would you rather sleep with, Monica or Rachel?" Years later Joey and Rachel would try to sleep together when they're dating but break up because they're unable to get past kissing. "The One With The Flashback" revealed that Joey wanted to have sex with Monica when he first moved in.
  • The picture on the cover of the health magazine Rachel's reading in the coffeehouse is of Andie McDowell. In "The One With Ross' New Girlfriend", Julie wanted her hair in the same style as Andie McDowell but Rachel told Phoebe Andie McDowell was in Planet of the Apes, instead of Roddy McDowell.
  • The name of the magazine Phoebe reads is Today's Collectibles.
  • This is the first appearance of the Caesar's Palace set. To make way for it, the Central Perk set was taken down.


  • When Joey and Chandler are driving the cab to Las Vegas, all interior shots show them on the Queensboro Bridge, but the exterior shot after Chandler is kicked out shows them on the Manhattan Bridge, both of which are East River crossings that would be taking them east from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and not West towards Las Vegas. When Chandler arrives back at the coffee house, he says Joey kicked him out on the George Washington Bridge, which would have taken them the right direction, west across the Hudson River. In actuality, the Holland Tunnel is the closest Hudson River crossing to Greenwich Village.
  • Chandler is afraid for his safety due to the fact that there are no sidewalks where Joey kicks him out. However, in reality, the George Washington bridge not only has plenty of sidewalk space, but also space for bicycle riders.
  • Despite Rachel's irrational fear about her eyes, in "The One With Chandler In A Box" (S4E8), Rachel joked about stabbing a pen in her eye to meet a cute doctor. This could be a testament to how cute the doctor is compounded by the ongoing gag about Rachel's obsession with doctors, making the joke that much more ironic (irony of course being a mainstay of humor).
  • Ross says Rachel has a dislike of anyone coming near her eye but she let Ross do her eye makeup in "The One With A Chick And A Duck".
  • When Rachel and Monica leave their apartment to go to the eye doctor, Rachel turns left instead of right while the door is closing (Although this may be an attempt at delaying the appointment as it is clear she doesn't want to go).
  • When Joey first arrives in the desert, there is a lot of equipment sitting out. When the director gets into his car to leave, the equipment is still sitting out. A minute later when Joey gets the balloons, all the equipment is gone and the vans are leaving.
  • In the same scene, as Joey's cab pulls onto the movie set, two fake saguaro cacti are seen - saguaro cacti do not grow in Nevada (and they also do not grow at the shooting location, Vasquez Rocks in California).
  • In the first scene after the opening credits when Ross is saying goodbye to everyone, the camera shoots to Phoebe and you can hear the door opening. When the camera shoots back to Ross, the door is closed and then he opens it.
  • After taking a few pieces of cereal out of the box, he puts the cereal box on the table but in the next shot, it's not there and then the next shot shows Joey putting the box on the table in a repeat of the first shot from a different angle.
  • In the same scene, how far open the flap on the cereal box is changes between the shots facing Joey and those facing Chandler.
  • When Rachel knocks the cereal box off the counter it moves between shots. When it first falls it is next to the kitchen counter. But when it is shown in the next shot, it has moved about a foot to the left and is now in front of the blue counter.
  • When the exterior of the bridge is shown the cars and vans are all moving backwards
  • When Joey calls Monica while she and Phoebe are playing cards, you can see when Monica first answers the phone a face card is at the bottom of her pile, but later while she's talking to Joey she has a card at the bottom that clearly is not a face card.
  • The shots showing Joey and Chandler crossing the bridge clearly use green screens as in the final shot when Joey slams on the brakes to let Chandler out, the Chrysler Building is seen first on Chandler's side and then on Joey's side. Also there's no traffic flowing in the opposite direction when looking out of Joey's window.
  • When Ross and Phoebe are in Monica's apartment discussing about why she's angry with him, the bathroom light goes from on to off and back on again during their conversation.
  • If Phoebe is truly unable to remember why she is mad at Ross, the instant answer technique would not have helped her think of the reason.
  • When Monica reads off the chart, Dr. Miller's arms are on his waist but in the next shot they're instantly folded.


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 Ball"
Series Five Episodes Followed by
"The One In Vegas, Part 1"