Friends Central

"The One With The Fake Monica" is the twenty-first episode of the first season of Friends, which aired on April 27, 1995.


Monica's credit card is stolen, and along with Phoebe and Rachel, she decides to catch the thief. The thief turns out to be so charming and inspiring that, instead of reporting her to the police, she hangs out with her, gatecrashing parties, auditioning for Broadway musicals, and getting drunk. When the fake Monica is arrested, Monica tells her everything, including who she really is, and confides in her how she doesn't want to go back to being who she was before. The fake Monica makes the real Monica see that she can't change her personality now.

When Marcel starts to hump everything in sight and in reach, Ross finds out that the monkey has reached sexual maturity. He submits several applications to zoos, none of which are accepted. Just as he's on the verge to give up Marcel to an animal-fighting ring owner, Dr. Baldharan, Joey and Chandler bring news - Marcel has been accepted to the San Diego Zoo. Ross prepares everything he needs, and shares a last moment at the airport with Marcel, who gives him a sad goodbye by humping his leg.

Joey as "Holden McGroin"

Joey enlists his friends to help him come up with a less ethnic-sounding stage name. Chandler sarcastically comes up with Joseph Stalin. Joey misses the sarcasm and chooses it as his stage name. Of course, this does not get him far, and he eventually discovers the true story of Joseph Stalin. Not long after, he presents himself to a Romeo & Juliet audition for the role of Mercutio as Holden McGroin ("holding my groin"), another joke name.

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

Claudia Shear - Fake Monica
Karla Tamburrelli - The Teacher
Harry Shearer - Dr. Baldharan
Anthony Backman - Coffee shop patron
Kevin Bright, David Crane, Marta Kauffman - Casting directors
Kerrie Clark - Attendant at airport (uncredited)


Directed By:
Gail Mancuso

Written By:
Adam Chase & Ira Ungerleider


  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode, the opening scene is different. Monica is having lunch with her mother and asks her not to talk about her career, love life and that she is doing fine. Monica insists on paying for lunch and hands the waiter her credit card, who returns to say that it's been declined. Judy then gleefully pulls out her credit card to pay.
  • This was the first time, Monica was shown drunk. The next time she was shown drunk was in "The One With Ross' Wedding" (S4E24). She was then shown drunk again in "The One Where They All Turn Thirty" (S7E14).
  • This is the first episode with one of the main characters' names in the title.
  • The casting directors at Joey's audition for the role of Mercutio in the closing scene are the three writers of the show - David Crane, Marta Kauffman and Kevin Bright.
  • When Ross tells Joey and Chandler he has to give away Marcel, the three of them are shown covering their eyes, ears, and mouth, respectively, a reference to the Three Wise Monkeys of the Japanese popular culture.
  • When Fake Monica and real Monica are in the kitchen, Fake Monica mentions Dead Poets Society and Monica Mrs Doubtfire. Both of these starred Robin Williams who makes a cameo later in the series.
  • The fake Monica speaks Dutch, asking Monica "Mag ik deze dans van u?", or, "Would you like to dance with me?"
  • Just before a drunken Monica walks in, the interior of her secret closet can be seen and unlike in "The One With The Secret Closet", it is clean and tidy.
  • Anthony Backman plays the same character in the next episode. Like Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Anthony has appeared on Mad About You.
  • As an emotional Ross says farewell to Marcel, in the background Rachel can be seen on the verge of tears.
  • Ross tells Monica that Fake Monica probably stole the essence from "some cheerleader". In "The One With The Fake Party", Rachel dresses in her old cheerleader costume in a final bid to impress Joshua.
  • The dressing gown Monica wears is the same one Ross wears in "The One Where Old Yeller Dies" and Rachel has worn it a few episodes earlier. Carol wears a similar one in "The One Without The Ski Trip".
  • When Chandler suggests Joseph Stalin, he gives "Bye Bye Birdie" as a example of film Joseph Stalin could be in. Bye Bye Birdie was the first film title the gang were trying to guess in "The One With All The Poker".
  • This is the second time Rachel has been seen cleaning the apartment. She previously cleaned it in "The One With The Butt".
  • The attendant holding the animal box at the airport is the same one who stops Rachel at the gate in "The One Where Rachel Finds Out".
  • When Rachel, Monica and Phoebe first enter the dance class, the words "New York City Ballet" can be seen on the wall. In "The One With Christmas In Tulsa", Chandler gives his staff and then the gang letters stating "a donation has been made on your behalf to the New York City Ballet" as presents.
  • Rachel dances properly in the dance class. In the video for "I'll Be There For You", at the start David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston waltz across the studio floor.


  • In the apartment scene where Rachel, Ross and Monica are talking about the humping, the studio lights can be seen reflected in the T.V.
  • Just after Monica hangs up the phone after saying "I'm going to tap class", the top two buttons on Rachel's sweater are unfastened but when the camera focuses on Rachel again after Monica says "I want to see what she looks like", only the top button is undone.
  • In the scene in the airport, after Chandler has said "bye champ", he turns away and passes Rachel who turns towards Chandler as he passes by and then turns back towards Ross. The next shot then switches to Joey coming to say bye to Marcel but on the left of screen Rachel can be seen turning back towards Ross again.
  • Dr. Baldharan would face legal trouble as he was operating an illegal animal fighting ring and would face up to three years in prison if convicted
  • In the scene when Monica tells Rachel "I told them we were the Garstons", at the edge of the screen Rachel can be seen raising her right hand to her eye but in the next shot her hand is in the same position before Monica started speaking. (In the blooper for this scene, Courteney accidentally spits into Jennifer's eye causing hysterical laughter).
  • When Rachel answers the phone and hands it to Monica, the aerial is extended about 2 inches but when she hangs up it's extended about 8 inches.
  • Rachel complains that Marcel has been humping her Curious George doll, but years later in Barbados, Joey must explain to her who Curious George is before she understands his reference.
  • On the 2004 release DVD case this episode is titled "The One With Fake Monica".

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 Evil Orthodontist"
"The One With The Fake Monica" Followed by
"The One With The Ick Factor"