Friends Central

"The One With The Blackout" is the seventh episode of Friends. It premiered on November 3, 1994. It was written by Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz and directed by James Burrows.


A power outage blacks out most of New York City (due to a mishap on Mad About You). Chandler, to his delight finds himself trapped inside an ATM vestibule with the Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre. She lets him use her cell-phone, and offers him gum which he instantly regrets refusing. He accidentally spits out her gum which he finally accepted, then picks up some to put back in his mouth and begins to choke when he realizes it wasn't the original gum. After she saves his life using the Heimlich maneuver, the two get to talking and play with a pen on a chain. Once power is restored, she kisses him and leaves, which leads Chandler to talk to the bank security camera, requesting and wanting a copy of the security tape.

The others kill time in Monica's apartment, lit by the light from a Menorah, telling stories of the weirdest places they ever had sex. Joey tells Ross he waited too long to make a move on Rachel and is now in the 'friend zone.' Ross still tries to make a move on Rachel while stargazing on the balcony. Joey keeps the other girls inside by pretending Ross prepares a surprise birthday party for Monica. A wandering cat jumps on Ross' shoulders before he can tell Rachel his feelings, and there is an amusing scene where he panics and flails about, trying to throw the cat off of him, causing the cat to dig its claws into his shoulder as it desperately holds on. This all happens while Phoebe, Monica, and Joey sing, oblivious to Ross' struggle. Rachel and Phoebe go knocking on their neighbor's doors to find the cat's owner, and when a neighbor named Mr. Heckles lies about being the owner, they see through his bluff. On their mission, they bump into the hunky, and actual cat-owner, Paolo, who only speaks Italian. Rachel brings him back to the apartment where he outstrips Ross' flirting, despite not being able to speak English.

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

Larry Hankin - Mr. Heckles (credited as "Weird Guy")
Cosimo Fusco - Paolo
Jill Goodacre - Herself


Directed By:
James Burrows

Written By:
Jeff Astrof & Mike Sikowitz


  • Along with "The One With The Sonogram At The End", David Schwimmer received his only Emmy nomination of the series for this episode.
  • This is the first appearance of Phoebe playing at Central Perk.
  • Monica asks her mom "who am I going to meet in the blackout?". While she doesn't meet someone, Rachel meets her new boyfriend Paolo later in the episode who she dates for the next five episodes.
  • This could easily be considered a bottle episode as the gang does not leave the apartment during the blackout
  • Chandler is absent for the majority of the episode as he is trapped in the bank as a result of the blackout.
  • The blackout in this episode is the result of an event seen in the Mad About You episode "Pandora's Box", where Jamie causes a city-wide power blackout in New York City. The effects of the blackout are seen in this episode of Friends and in the episode "Birthday in the Big House" of the short-lived NBC sitcom Madman of the People. All 3 episodes originally aired during the evening of November 3, 1994, alongside a Seinfeld episode which did not incorporate the blackout premise.
  • Ross states that after he and Carol were busted having sex at Disneyland in 1989, they were asked never to return to the Magic Kingdom again. However, the Magic Kingdom is at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, not the Disneyland resort in California. (Counter argument: The terms "Disney World" and "Disneyland" are often interchanged, although technically the former is in Florida and the latter in California.)
  • This is the first appearance of Mr. Heckles in the series, although he was credited as simply "Weird guy".
  • This is the first appearance of Paolo in the series. Rachel dates Paolo until "The One With The Dozen Lasagnas" but also has a one night stand with him when Ross returns from China with Julie in the season 2 premiere.
  • Paolo's lines in this episode translate into the following:
    • When he introduces himself to the guys: "Hi guys, I just moved in and I live in the floor below this so I'll guess we'll see quite a lot of each other."
    • When Rachel introduces Paolo to Phoebe: "Phoebe, you're gorgeous too! If you're all this beautiful I'll move right here!"
    • When serenading Rachel: "Look at the moon, look at the stars, look at everything that's beautiful."
  • Phoebe lets it slip to Joey that Monica had a crush on him when he first moved in, something which Monica wanted to keep a secret. This is shown in "The One With The Flashback" (S3E6), where Joey is actually seen moving in.
    • In the uncut DVD version of this episode, Monica ends up confessing to Joey that she liked his arms when she first saw him. This leads to Joey flirting with Monica using his arms; Monica, now over her crush, makes him shut up.
  • When Rachel is walking down the hall meeting Paolo for the first time, she has a candle and her shadow is visible. This is physically impossible as the candle is the only light.
  • In a later episode, Phoebe is seen speaking fluent Italian to Joey's Nana. When asked about whether she speaks Italian by a shocked Joey, she stated that she "guessed so". This brings up the possibility that Phoebe, in fact, understood everything that Paolo said, as, at a stretch, "You betcha" is an acceptable response to Paolo's compliment.
  • The song the friends sing while Paolo's cat is on Ross is "Top of the World" by The Carpenters (video).
  • This is the only time in the series when Phoebe plays and sings a song not written by her, although she does join in a Lionel Richie song with Chandler.
  • The Hanukkah menorah that Joey brings in during the blackout only has seven candles. This is a mistake, as an actual Hanukkah menorah has nine candles: four on each side and one in the middle. A seven-branch menorah (like the one in this episode) was the type of menorah that stood in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. However, the branches of the menorah in the Temple were straight and rose diagonally from the center branch, while the branches on the menorah in this episode are curved.
  • This episode coined the term "friend zone", although it didn't enjoy widespread use until 2011.
  • Rachel mentions having sex at the foot of the bed.
  • The friends laugh at Rachel for not having had sex in a weird place. Later in the season, in "The One With The Evil Orthodontist", she will have sex in an orthodontist's chair with her former fiancé Barry, cheating on Mindy, Barry's, current fiancé and Rachel's ex-best friend.
  • A running gag in the episode is Phoebe being the last to know.  A running gag in the series is Ross being the last to know.
  • According to, Joey mumbles to Chandler "See if you can tell what kind of underwear she wears."


  • When Ross is running around the balcony with the cat on his back it is obvious to tell it is a stuffed animal.
  • When Rachel and Ross are sitting at the table discussing about "putting the poor little tootie in the hall", Joey's candle goes from about 6 inches long to 2 inches instantly.
  • It would have been impossible for Joey to use the phone as phone service was likely shut down due to the blackout.
    • It is likely that he is using a battery powered phone.
  • When Rachel is in the hall with a lit candle, the candle's shadow is projected left of it on the wall. This shadow can only be cast if there is a light source much stronger than the candle itself right of the camera.

Memorable Quotes

  • Phoebe: Can I borrow the phone? I want to call my apartment and check on my grandma. Wait...What's my number? [explaining] Well, I never call me.
  • Joey: You waited too long to make your move and now you're in the 'friend zone.'
    Ross: No no no, I'm not in the zone.
    Joey: No, Ross. You're the mayor of the zone.
  • Jill Goodacre: Would you like some gum? 
    Chandler: Oh, is it sugarless?
    Jill Goodacre: Sorry, it's not.
    Chandler: Oh, then no, thanks. [voiceover, to himself] What the hell was that? Mental note: if Jill Goodacre offers you gum, you take it. If she offers you mangled animal carcass, you take it!

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 Butt"
"The One With The Blackout" Followed by
"The One Where Nana Dies Twice"