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"The One With The Cuffs" is the third episode of the fourth season of Friends, which aired on October 9, 1997.


Things at Chandler and Joey's aren't really going well, as all they've managed to obtain since the robbery is a set of rusty patio furniture, which doesn’t really compliment the canoe well. Chandler finds some solace in Rachel's boss Joanna, with whom he sleeps. Rachel is not too thrilled about this, especially since he previously agreed to set it up and then broke up with her. Rachel fears that this relationship can get too complicated without ending with serious consequences which could jeopardize her job position, so she demands Chandler to break it up. This falls on deaf ears, however, and Chandler and Joanna end up making out in her office. Joanna is suddenly called into a meeting with her boss, which she leaves for, leaving Chandler half-naked and locked in her office, handcuffed to her office chair. Chandler does not appreciate it at all, especially when Rachel and Sophie end up unlocking the door and walking in on him. He asks Rachel for help in escaping the office. Rachel doesn't agree to this as in doing so, Joanna will know that she has total access to her office. Chandler agrees to remain locked up when Rachel promises him to pass on a rumor that will make him a male legend with the ladies (a promise which lasts two hours, which then Joey blows the rumor off).

In desperate need of money, Monica agrees to cater a party her mother's having, with Phoebe's help. When she asks for the reason of such employment, her mother indirectly reveals that she thinks that Monica is good at her job. Unfortunately, Monica contradicts her mother some time later, when she drops a fingernail in one of the quiches she prepared. This turns out to be pretty bad, not only because of the cuisine fiasco but also because the occurrence of it spurs Monica's mother in pulling out lasagnas from the freezer and revealing to Monica that she had a bet with her father that she'd screw up. Monica is deeply depressed by this and walks out of the kitchen. Phoebe finds her in her old bedroom, which is now a gym, and encourages her not to lose self-faith and prepare something else herself instead of serving the lasagnas. This Monica does, preparing casserole and keeping the lasagnas unserved. Much to her pleasure, her mother is impressed by this and pleads guilty to the crime of not believing in her daughter.

Busy with the tedious job of removing gum from the patio furniture, Joey is interrupted in the middle of the day by a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. Joey, who has never shown much interest in books, is yearning for knowledge that brings him on par with his friends' difficult subjects, so he lets the salesman in. A few basic questions asked by the salesman is all that is needed to show that Joey is not educated, which is the critical point the salesman uses to sell the encyclopedia to Joey, who starts really digging in the V volume. When the salesman reveals the price of the entire set to be $1,200, Joey laughs in his face, thinking he's stupid for believing that an unemployed man with only patio furniture at home has that kind of money. When he starts showing his possessions to the salesman, however, Joey finds a $50 note in his pocket, enough to buy him a book. He sticks with the V volume, but when he starts to pursue subjects containing words starting with V, such as the Vietnam war, the friends find it hard to play along and change the subject to the Korean war, about which Joey knows absolutely nothing.

In the tag scene, Joanna is handcuffed to her chair in her underwear, courtesy of Chandler tricking her and asks Rachel to tell him they've definitely broken up.

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

Alison La Placa - Joanna
Penn Jillette - The Salesman
Laura Dean - Sophie
Christina Pickles - Judy Geller


Directed By:
Peter Bonerz

Written By:
Seth Kurland


  • Ross is the only one of the gang who isn't involved in a storyline in this episode (Rachel and Chandler are in Joanna's office, Monica and Phoebe are catering for Monica's mom and Joey is with the salesman at his apartment).
  • Chandler is handcuffed by Joanna, Rachel's boss, in this episode. When packing up Monica and Chandler's apartment in the series finale, a pair of handcuffs are found in Rachel's former bedroom which are later found to have belonged to Monica's grandmother.
  • The external shot of Monica's parents' house is used again during the shot of Rachel's parents home in "The One Where Joey Speaks French".
  • Monica mentions Dr. Weinberg. Mr. and Mrs. Weinberg were guests at Barry and Mindy's wedding.
  • In the second of Joey's flashbacks, Rachel is sitting on Ross' lap in the coffeehouse wearing similar clothes to those she wore in "The One With The Jellyfish".
  • If the edition of the New York Times that Joey was reading was the same day's paper, then the events of this episode occurred on August 25, 1997. The headline "Mariners Give Yanks a Familiar Send-Off" is clearly visible on the backside of the paper. However this is inconsistent with Sophie stating that Joanna had the Christmas bonus list in her office.
  • The salesman is played by Penn Jillette an American magician perhaps best known for his presenting partnership with fellow magician Teller.
  • Rachel mentions Milton Berle (July 7th 1908 - March 22nd, 2002). He was born in New York and was a comedian and actor who was married 4 times and allegedly had a large penis, hence Rachel's statement about boosting up Chandler's reputation.


  • When Chandler and Rachel are talking about Joanna, Joanna enters Chandler's room and closes the door behind her, but at the end of their conversation when Chandler says "but I hope you know what I'm giving up for ya", the door to Chandler's room is open.
  • When Rachel and Chandler are tugging at his pants in Joanna's office, the belt falls onto the floor, but in the next scene after she throws the pants on the chair, the belt is back on his pants.
  • When Monica arrives at her parents' house to cater their event, her mother comments disapprovingly on her blue nail polish, saying "it's what your grandmother's hands looked like when we found her." However, neither of Monica's grandmothers were "found" after passing away. Monica's maternal grandmother died at the hospital with the family present in "The One Where Nana Dies Twice", so she was not "found" dead. Monica's paternal grandmother is still alive at this time, because she attends Monica and Chandler's wedding in Season 7; (this is assuming Monica's mother meant they found her dead, people's hands can turn blue when they are alive, just considerably cold)
  • In Joanna's office when Chandler and Rachel are pulling on his pants, Rachel says "What if I clean your bathroom for a month?" and she throws the pants onto a chair. But when Chandler later says "Freedom. I want my freedom. Why won't you hear me?" he opens the door to yell to Sophie and they are both holding the pants again.

Chandler retrieving his pants in front of the cabinet

  • In Joanna's office there is a framed photo of a topless woman in one of the cabinets clearly visible when Chandler retrieves his pants after first being released by Rachel.
  • When the door-to-door salesman shows Joey the V book while asking him about van Gogh, he shows him a painting by the artist in the book. But the camera clearly shows the salesman pointing to a block of text and not a painting.
  • When Joey buys the V book, he snatches the book from the salesman while still holding the $50 note in his fingers. In the next shot, the salesman is pocketing the note without Joey handing him the money.
  • The salesman says the entire set of encyclopedias is $1,200 and that it equals $50 per book, yet since there are 26 letters of the alphabet, if each book is $50, the set of encyclopedias should be $1,300. Unless some book(s) contain 2 or 3 sections.

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One With The Cat"
Series Four Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Ballroom Dancing"