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"The One With Phoebe's Dad" is the ninth episode of the second season of Friends, which aired on December 14, 1995.


It's Christmas time and Monica and Rachel are giving cookies as Christmas tips. The cookies, apparently, go down only well with Treeger. Ross is still trying to make peace with Rachel and buys her a Slinky, which she doesn't appreciate at all. He ends up giving it to Gunther. On Joey's insistence, Ross shows everyone his presents. Phoebe is stunned to find a picture of her father in Ross' photo frame, but the others explain to her that he is just the model for the guy-in-the-frame shot.

She goes to ask her grandmother about her father and demands pictures of him, but all Grandma has are pictures of guys in frames. When Phoebe asks for the truth, she admits to her that she doesn't know anything about him - except for the fact that he's a pharmacist upstate and his home address. She also hands Phoebe a real picture of him. Phoebe takes Chandler and Joey with her for support, as the guys still have to do their Christmas shopping. At Monica's, Ross asks Rachel to make a list of cons he has to try and make her feel better, and then obsesses about them. When Monica asks him to turn off the heat, Ross breaks the knob off, causing the heat to leak. They end up having a Christmas summer party. As Rachel thinks he's incapable of seizing the day, Ross tips Treeger twice to try and get the radiator fixed, but Treeger explains how the store won't be open in time to fix anything.

Meanwhile, Phoebe tries to go knock at her father's door but can't, because she's worried that he might shut her off and she's not prepared to lose him like that. The amount of time she spends trying to go up to his house is such that Chandler and Joey don't manage to finish their shopping, but the guys support her decision and promise her that one day she'll be ready.

The guys and Phoebe make their way to Monica's apartment where the heat hits them - to everyone's surprise, Joey manages to turn off the heat by telling Monica that since the knob was broken, he turned the heat off from underneath. After, the group begins gift-giving, and Chandler and Joey start giving out theirs. Theirs were plainly bought from a gas station - Rachel gets wiper blades and a bottle of car smell; Phoebe gets toilet seat covers; Ross obtains a cola drink and a lemon-lime; while Monica receives a packet of ribbed condoms. Ross and Monica gladly exchange their gifts.

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

Audra Lindley - Frances
Mike Hagerty - Mr. Treeger
James Michael Tyler - Gunther


Directed By:
Kevin S. Bright

Written By:
Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz


  • Gunther has his first line in this episode: "Yeah".
  • This is the only episode to feature Phoebe's grandmother, but she mentions her several times in the following seasons.
  • This is the first appearance of Phoebe's grandmother's taxi. It will appear several more times in the show. Its final appearance is when Ross and Phoebe chase Rachel to the airport in "The Last One, Part 2".
  • In "The One With Joey's Big Break" (S5E22), Frances' ashes are in a box in the taxi Joey drives to Las Vegas.
  • At this point, Phoebe is yet to know that her real mother is still alive. They meet at the end of the Season 3 finale, "The One At The Beach".
  • This is the first time Ross reveals that he celebrates Hanukkah, implying that he is Jewish (and since he and Monica were raised together, this would count for Monica too). Further evidence for this is in the episode "The One With The Holiday Armadillo" when Ross tries to teach Ben about Hanukkah. However, Monica has Christmas decorations up in the apartment so it is likely that she is not a practiced Jew and celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah.
  • Phoebe's naiveté is such that she tells a picture of her granddad to wish her luck. This would have been perfectly normal were it not for the fact that she does so to a picture of Albert Einstein.
  • The song playing in the background when Phoebe runs from outside where she believes her father lives is The Christmas Song sung by Nat King Cole.
  • Phoebe says to the friends that her father left her mother before she and Ursula were born, but Frank Buffay Sr. later tells her he used to sing her to sleep. However, it could be another thing that her mother told her.
  • Joey turns down Monica's radiator from underneath but in "The One Where The Monkey Gets Away", he wasn't able to turn down Tia and Samantha's radiator. However he most likely asked his dad or Mr Treeger how to do it.
  • Phoebe mentions her father Frank Buffay Sr., who she almost meets, but decides against it. She then meets him 3 years later in "The One With Joey's Bag".
  • On this occasion Joey and Chandler accompany Phoebe to find her Dad. The next time Joey and Rachel go with her but bring cushions following Joey and Chandler's incident when they banged their head on the decency screen. On that occasion Phoebe learns her father left this family too but she does meet her half brother Frank Jr.
  • The pack of condoms Ross exchanges with Monica are likely those he uses when he sleeps with Rachel in a few episodes time.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Phoebe's apartment.
  • This episode also marks the first appearance of Monica's "Cookie Time" cookie jar.


  • This is the first appearance of Gladys, a 3D picture that Phoebe made. However in this episode she is wearing a red dress and appears to have more hair. When we see her in "The One With Ross' Grant" she is wearing a blue dress and it appears that her head has been shaved more than it is now.
  • Although we only catch a fleeting glimpse of the apartment number, it's number 163. Later in the series the number changes to 14 and then 16.
  • Phoebe's grandmother is crossing out a name in the phone book after reading it from the obituaries but on the Blu-Ray/Netflix/Channel 5 version of the episode, the name she says isn't on the list on the obituaries.
  • When Phoebe and her grandmother are discussing her father, Phoebe's right hand changes position between shots.
  • When Rachel says "and you wear too much of that gel in your hair" she's leaning against the counter. Ross says one line and then the shot switches back to facing Rachel and her right arm has moved further over the blue counter, despite the side on shot showing Rachel didn't move.
  • When Monica and Ross return from shopping and Ross asks if anyone's heard from Phoebe.  Monica starts to unpack and takes one dish out.  Cut to Rachel who says "no"  then back to Monica and she has 4 dishes in her hand without time to unpack them.
  • When Rachel is on the phone to Mr. Treeger, she says "yes it's hot enough to bake cookies" and we get a shot of Ross turning to Monica the bathroom door is closed. A few lines later Ross turns to Monica again and says "tip the man" and the bathroom door is wide open yet nobody moved. Then when Ross says "live like bacon" the door's closed again. This is only seen in the uncut DVD episode.
  • When Phoebe arrives in the cab to take Chandler and Joey, the cab is dragging a cable. 
    • This is obviously to provide power to the taxi as safety regulations don't allow fueled vehicles on stages although normally this cable can't be seen on screen.
  • When Joey and Chandler are waiting for Phoebe outside Central Perk, a woman crosses the street and draws level with Chandler but the next shot shows her drawing level again.
  • Phoebe's grandmother says that she didn't want to go along with not telling her who her father was but when Phoebe's mom died it was harder to argue with her. This implies that she was in contact with Phoebe before her mom died. However, Phoebe says she used to live on the streets but her grandmother didn't take her in.
    • Phoebe's grandmother may have meant it was harder to argue with her mom after she died implying that Lily (who Phoebe believes to have been her birth mom at this time) and her grandmother disagreed over telling Phoebe and Ursula about their father.
  • Just after Ross has tipped Mr. Treeger for a second time, Rachel moves from behind Monica's right shoulder to directly behind her but after Ross says his line, Rachel's back to her previous position then repeats the move to behind Monica indicating Rachel had moved too soon.
  • It is unlikely that Treeger wouldn't have known to turn the radiator off from the bottom, as he is the head of maintenance in the building, and likely deals with heating or cooling issues daily.
  • Rachel puts her present of wiper blades down twice.

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 List"
"The One With Phoebe's Dad" Followed by
"The One With Russ"