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  "The One With The Giant Poking Device" is the eighth episode of the third season of Friends, which aired on November 14, 1996.


Still in shock by what he saw in the previous episode, Joey and Monica reveal to the group that he witnessed Janice kissing her ex-husband. Joey tries not to tell Chandler about it, but when he sees him considering buying pearls for Janice's birthday, he can't hold it any longer. Chandler confronts Janice, who admits to having kissed her ex-husband at least twice. She also claims to be in love with both men, but can't bring herself to choose one. After talking to Joey, Chandler tells Janice he doesn't want to be the reason for splitting up a family. He soon changes his mind; nonetheless, she leaves to be with her ex-husband.

Ross leaves Ben with Monica and Rachel. Monica plays airplane with Ben, but she accidentally bumps his head. They attempt to cover the lump with a teddy bear's hat. When Ross calmly confronts Rachel about the bump, she reveals that it was Monica who bumped his head. Ross tries to make Monica feel guilty, but instead ends up bumping his own head.

Chandler breaking up with Janice.

Phoebe is reluctant to go to the dentist as she thinks it's a fatal mistake - to others, because every time she visits, someone she know dies. Her tooth is in too much pain for her to bear it anymore, so she goes to the dentist. When she comes back, she starts calling everyone she knows to check if they're still alive. When Joey points out how Ugly Naked Guy is unusually still, she thinks the curse killed him. After Joey constructs a giant poking device with chopsticks, the guys poke all the way from Monica's apartment to Ugly Naked Guy's. Phoebe is overjoyed to see that he's still alive.

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

Charles Thomas Allen - Ben Geller
John Christopher Allen - Ben Geller
James Michael Tyler - Gunther
Maggie Wheeler - Janice


Directed By:
Gail Mancuso

Written By:
Adam Chase


Rachel (after banging her head a few times): Okay I'm stopping now.
Monica: Are you okay?
Rachel: Oh yeah. You know, if it's not a headboard, it's just not worth it.


  • Rachel bakes brownies in this episode. In "The One With Phoebe's Birthday Dinner", Ross remarks to Rachel: "You haven't cooked since 1996!". However, Rachel did cook the disgusting English beef-trifle in "The One Where Ross Got High", three years after this episode. Presumably in the later episode he meant properly cook, i.e. without messing up.
  • Phoebe mentions Albino Bob. This may have been the "albino guy" she said she once lived with in "The Pilot" (S1E1).
  • The book that Chandler is holding as he waits for Janice in the apartment is On The Road by Jack Kerouac, the cover's distinctive photograph of the author and Neal Cassady can just be seen as he anxiously turns the pages.
  • When Chandler asks Joey what he would do if he were in Chandler's same situation, Joey says: "if it was me [...] I would bow out. [...] They have a kid together, y'know. They're like [...] a family, and if, I don't know, there's a chance they could make that work, I know I wouldn't want to be the guy who stood in the way of that". Curiously enough, Joey actually comes into this exact same situation in Season 8 when he falls in love with Rachel, who by then is pregnant with Ross' baby, and follows his own advice by trying to hide his feelings in order to not stand between them despite they being separated for six years. However, after several plot twists they start a brief relationship anyway in Season 10, with Ross' (reluctant) pass. Rachel later states their relationship lasted a week. However unlike Janice and Chandler, Joey and Rachel never sleep together. 
  • This is the last time Chandler breaks up with Janice. However, he does it compassionately while being still in love with her.
  • Pat the dog has a face painted on, the first time this has been seen. He also has a lead, the only time this is seen.
  • Although Janice returns to her husband Gary after this episode, she later reveals that they have gotten divorced in "The One With All The Rugby" (S4E15). She then has short-lived relationships until settling down with a new husband, Sid, when she appears in "The One Where Rachel Has A Baby" (S8E23/24).
  • A poking device built to the size and length of the one the gang uses would require approximately 14,372 chopsticks. Even if they had this many, it's unlikely that they could build one long enough to reach Ugly Naked Guy's apartment.
  • When Rachel bangs Ben's head he says "Monica bang" which foreshadows Monica becoming Monica Bing.
  • Chandler mentions a guy who made his father happy but who he blames for his parents divorce. This may be a reference to Mr. Garibaldi who we see playing the piano at his father's Las Vegas show in "The One With Chandler's Dad" whom Chandler tells Monica about in that episode.
  • The carton of fruit juice on the kitchen table in front of Ben has the brand name "Minute Maid" but with the "d" obscured.
  • When Chandler goes to get a bag for Janice to breath in, she spins around. When her back is to the camera she slips the receipt into her mouth, having been holding it in her right hand since the scene began.
  • This is the only episode where the dartboard is used.


  • When Monica and Rachel are discussing the bump on Ben's head, there's a blur from the studio lights visible in the TV. Also when they first discuss Rainy Day Bear, Rachel is facing the kitchen but when the shot changes she's facing the window.
  • When Phoebe is leaving to go to the dentist her bag turns around when she's talking to the others.
  • The phone in Joey and Chandler's apartment rings quieter than normal.
  • In the scene where Joey comments on how Ugly Naked Guy looks awfully still, you can see that the speed of the clip has been increased from when Phoebe starts running up to the window and ends right before she gasps.
  • When Monica tell Ross and Phoebe that Joey saw Janice kissing her ex-husband, Ross is holding a red mug which disappears from his hand in the next shot.
  • When Monica says "That's what I'd sound like if I exploded," she is holding ice cream with her right hand and fixing her hair with her left hand. In the next scene, the ice cream is now on her left hand and she is fixing her hair with her right hand.
  • In the credits scene when Chandler is singing "Endless Love," both his arms are wrapped over the Lionel Richie record jacket, but after Phoebe joins him, Chandler's left hand is covered by the record jacket.
  • Chandler and Phoebe try to harmonize "Endless Love" several times but Chandler is supposedly listening to the album on his headphones.
  • When Ross holds Rachel, he asks Monica if "she noticed anything strange about Ben today" as "we were doing the alphabet and the letters e and f seemed to have dropped out of his head". Rachel turns her back from the camera, buries her head in Ross' shoulder laughing and then as Ross walks towards Monica can be seen putting her hand over her mouth to cover her laughter.
  • When Joey and Chandler are talking outside the jeweler, in the final scene a woman with dark hair draws level with Joey but in the next shot she's drawing level with him again.
  • Rachel picks up Ben's toys including a red pot which she drops on the floor. In the wider shot which follows it's not visible despite it falling on the side nearest the camera.

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One With The Race Car Bed"
Series Three Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Football"