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"The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner" is the fifth episode of the ninth season of Friends, which aired on October 31, 2002. This is one of the 10 episodes directed by actor David Schwimmer.


Phoebe plans to celebrate her birthday by having a dinner with her friends at a fancy restaurant, as Mike has to work. Joey arrives quickly, but the rest of the friends have their own problems. Chandler learns that it's legal to smoke in offices with 15 people or less in Oklahoma, during a work meeting in Tulsa. As he permits everybody to smoke, he can't resist it himself anymore and smokes a cigarette. That soon gets out of control, as he ends up smoking three big fat cartons. As Monica is ovulating, she wants to try to have a baby with Chandler, but then she finds out that Chandler did smoke and gets upset about it. Rachel has problems leaving Emma alone for the first time. When Ross insists on her leaving, he accidentally locks himself and Rachel out of their apartment, with Emma still inside.

As the others are already running 40 minutes late, the waiter wants Joey and Phoebe to move to a smaller table so that other customers can take the big table. Meanwhile, Monica and Chandler have a big fight, ending in Monica forbidding Chandler to smoke and demanding that he have sex with her, but Chandler refuses: he doesn't want to have sex when they are fighting. As Monica still wants to have a baby with Chandler, she acts like she has forgiven him and tricks him into having sex, but when she tells him that afterwards, he feels used and they start fighting again.

Ross and Rachel are still standing outside the door, waiting Emma's babysitter for tonight, Judy, to arrive, as she has a key. Rachel is too worried about Emma and wants Ross to knock the door down, leading to a funny argument between the two of them. When they get in, Rachel doesn't want to leave Emma alone again, so they decide that Emma and Judy have to come to the restaurant.

As it's again 20 minutes later, nobody has arrived yet and Joey becomes hungry, they agree to move to a smaller table and just order. A moment later, Ross and Rachel enter, so Joey has to postpone the ordering again. When the second time they order Monica and Chandler arrive, they have to postpone the ordering again, leading a very hungry and annoyed Joey going after the waiter. As they make up with Phoebe, Rachel interrupts her toast as she sees that Emma dropped a sock. Just as Phoebe can't take it anymore and starts screaming at them in the middle of the restaurant, Mike calls: he got off work early and wants to spend it with Phoebe. As their dinner is already ruined, Phoebe leaves. Ross and Rachel then also leave, as Judy just ordered another chardonnay. As Joey convinces Chandler that having sex with Monica isn't that bad, even if he's tricked into it, they also leave and they leave Joey alone at the restaurant, having to eat all their orders - which he does with great pleasure.

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

Dan Bucatinsky - Waiter
Elizabeth Davidson - Emma Geller-Greene
Genevieve Davidson - Emma Geller-Greene
Monique Edwards - Claudia
Brian Chenoweth - Ken
Kevin Farrell - Maitre d'
Christina Pickles - Judy Geller


Directed By:
David Schwimmer

Written By:
Scott Silveri


  • This episode appears on the Friends - The One with All the Birthdays DVD.
  • This is the third time Phoebe's birthday is shown. The first time was in "The One With Two Parts, Part 2", and the second time was in a flashback in "The One Where They All Turn Thirty".
  • In the DVD version, Joey says, "Let's go baby, it's food time. Bring it bitch!" and apologizes to the waiter.
  • When Phoebe and Joey are waiting for the gang, the posh accent she uses is the same she uses when she meets Mike's parents.
  • In this episode Ross' mother babysits Emma. When Rachel prepares to leave for Paris, her mother looks after Emma and would be flying out to Paris with her on the following Sunday.
  • Ross' mother describes a situation that Ross tucking his thing away and saying he was a girl is a callback to "The One Where Nana Dies Twice" when Rachel and the gang saw a photograph of Ross "trying something".
  • In the uncut DVD episode, Rachel says she and Ross "should have been stronger" and when Ross tries to say she was the one who couldn't leave Emma, threatens to tell the gang about some adult willy stories. (The gang already know the childhood willy story, much to Ross' embarrassment.)
  • Phoebe asks Joey "where is everybody, they're 40 minutes late?" This line is used again in "The One With The Late Thanksgiving" when Monica says the same thing to Chandler.
  • Chandler claims to have smoked "three big fat cartons in two days." Assuming he slept 16 hours, he would have smoked those 600 cigarettes at the rate of about 1 every 3 minutes.
  • For unknown reasons this is one of the few episodes along with this, The One Without the Ski Trip, The One with Joey's Dirty Day, The One Where Rachel Smokes, The One Where Chandler Can't Cry, The One with the Stripper, and The One with the Sharks, to not air on Nick @ Nite.


  • In "The One With Frank Jr.", Phoebe tells her brother that her birthday is on February 16th, but in this episode, she is celebrating her birthday on Halloween due to the fact that she couldn't get a reservation for the actual date.
  • Ross says that Rachel has not cooked since 1996. However in "The One Where Ross Got High" (1999), Rachel did prepare a trifle. Aside from preparing custard, this dessert normally does not require much technical cooking (with heat). But Rachel misinterpreted the recipe and included a layer of beef sautéed with peas. Perhaps Ross meant properly cook, like she did with the brownies in "The One With The Giant Poking Device".
  • When Phoebe says "Judy! Bye." in this shot, Judy waves to Phoebe with her left hand and holds a glass on her right hand. In the next shot, she waves with her right hand and the glass is gone.
  • When the waiters are singing "Happy Birthday" to Joey in the restaurant, the key they are singing in changes in the middle of the song when the camera angle is switched, and then changes back to the first key they were singing in when the camera angle is switched back.
  • There isn't time for new people to sit at the original table between the time Phoebe is reseated and Joey returning from the bathroom.
  • Chandler says he gave up smoking but we know that he still smokes in secret (he thinks) and Monica asks him if there's a packet of cigarettes taped to the back of the toilet in "The One With The Home Study".


Ross and Rachel are locked out of the apartment, with baby Emma inside.
Rachel: Oh, no! What if she jumped out of the bassinet!?
Ross: Can't hold her own head up... but yeah, jumped.
Rachel: Oh, my God! I left the water running!
Ross: Rachel, relax. You did not leave the faucet running.
Rachel: Did I leave the stove on?
Ross: You haven't cooked since 1996!
Rachel: Is the window open? Because if the window's open, a bird could fly in there and —
Ross: Oh, my God, you know what, I think you're right! I think — you know what? Listen, listen: a pigeon... no, no, wait, an eagle flew in, landed on the stove, and caught fire! The baby, seeing this, jumps across the apartment to the mighty bird's aid! The eagle, however, misconstrues this as an act of aggression and grabs the baby in its talons! Meanwhile, the faucet fills the apartment with water! Baby and bird, still ablaze, are locked in a death-grip, swirling around the whirlpool that fills the apartment!
Rachel: Boy, are you gonna be sorry if that's true.
Phoebe: Oh, for God's sake, Judy, pick up the sock, pick up the sock, PICK UP THE SOOOOOOOOOCCCCCKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!

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Preceded by
"The One With The Sharks"
Season Nine Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Male Nanny"