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"The One With The Ball" is the twenty-first episode of the fifth season of Friends, which aired on May 6, 1999.


Gary wants to ask Phoebe to move in with him, which he tells Monica, who can't keep it for herself as a secret and tells Phoebe about it. This freaks her out, because she thinks it's too soon, and she asks Chandler make him afraid of commitment so that Gary won't ask her. However, Chandler finds out that Gary is a nice guy who really loves Phoebe a lot, so he tells Phoebe she should move in with him. Phoebe agrees to move in with Gary, at first because it made him so sad when she initially disagreed, but later because she likes the idea of spending more time with the guy she loves. As the two wake up on their first morning together Gary casually shoots a bird that's chirping outside the window, bringing the relationship to an abrupt end.

Joey and Ross throw a ball back and forth without dropping it for two hours, Joey even missed lunch for the first time, claiming his pants feel loose. They continue throwing the ball for another two hours when Monica joins them, making the game a lot more competitive, leading to problems with the guys who like it being just a casual game. When Chandler also wants to join the game, they agree hesitantly because he has a reputation as a "dropper", as shown in the tag scene, something Chandler has not recognized. The game finally ends on the next day, when they throw the ball to Phoebe, who, unaware of the whole game and distraught over her breakup, just puts it on the table. Monica attempts to reinvigorate everyone to keep going, but having lost interest because of her, everyone else decides to quit.

Rachel buys a very expensive naked cat, which the guys all make fun of, for $1,000 dollars. It turns out that the cat isn't as sweet as the cat she imagined: she has scratches over her whole body. Rachel decides to sell the cat, but no one wants to buy it on the street. She finally manages to sell it to poor Gunther for $1,500, making a profit of $500. Gunther bought the cat in the hopes that Rachel would come to visit the cat (and, in turn, him), but didn't even know what the cat was, asking Ross if it was a snake.

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 Rapaport - Gary
James Michael Tyler - Gunther
Victoria L. Kelleher - Woman #2
Antoinette Spolar - Woman #1


Grey DeLisle - Mrs. Whiskerson


Directed By:
Gary Halvorson

Written By:
Scott Silveri & Gregory S. Malins


Phoebe: I like him a lot, but I don't think I'm ready.
Chandler: So, what are you gonna do?
Phoebe: I don't know, I'll just handle it. I'll ask you to talk to him.
Chandler: Me? Why me?
Phoebe: Because you are so afraid of commitment. You talk to him! Make him scared like you, make him a man!



  • When Rachel says she's bought something she's always wanted, Ross says "you've bought Shaun Cassidy". There's a poster of Shaun Cassidy on Rachel's childhood bedroom wall in "The One Where Joey Speaks French". (S10E13)
  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode, Rachel is also shown throwing the ball. Ross also wakes up and says he dreamed that he was "drowning and not throwing this ball".
  • The drawing on the magna doodle has the image of an UFO on it.
  • This is the final appearance of Michael Rapaport as Gary
  • When Chandler visits Gary at his precinct, the blackboard behind Gary's desk has names written on it in blue chalk. All of the names are references to or characters from Stanley Kubrick films.
  • The tag scene illustrates Chandler's reputation as a dropper.
  • Monica's competitive streak emerges in this episode again when she calls everyone team Monica and then when she runs out of her apartment first causing the others to turn around and remain in the apartment for breakfast.
  • Rachel spends $1,000 on her cat while she owes Monica $300. By selling the cat for $1,500 to Gunther, she can not only get her money back, but pay Monica back her $300 and keep an extra $200 to herself.
  • Running Gag: Joey saying" It's not a cat".


  • When Ross and Joey are playing catch, Ross is boring Joey with paleontology stories. He says " when they found the remains of the Mesozoic Mastodon they discovered what appeared to be the remains of a Paleozoic Amphibian in its jaws! How did it get there?" However, there were no Mastodons in the Mesozoic Era. The Mesozoic lasted from 252 million years ago to 66 million years ago. The earliest Mastodons appeared only about 5.3 million years ago.
  • In the coffeehouse when Monica is telling Phoebe about Gary asking her to move in, the position of Monica's coffee mug changes between the start and end of the scene even though she hasn't touched it.
  • When Rachel enters the guys' apartment holding the cat on the cushion with the red oven mitt, her hand is on the cat. In between shots, her hand changes to being on the pillow with no time to do so and back again.
  • Monica starts sneezing and says it's because of her allergy but she was fine when Phoebe was holding the cat in "The One With The Cat".
  • When the gang moves their game of catch to Monica's so they can eat pizza, Joey is holding the ball. When the camera angle changes, Chandler is holding the ball and he throws it to Joey.
  • When Gunther enters the apartment for the red cushion, the scratches on Rachel's arms seem to have disappeared but after Gunther has left, they're visible again.
  • When Phoebe is in the interrogation room with Gary, the blinds on the door change from closed to open between shots.
  • When Gary and Phoebe first enter Joey's apartment, the door is partially closed but when Gary turns to leave, the door is fully open.

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One With The Ride Along"
"The One With The Ball" Followed by
"The One With Joey's Big Break"