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"The One With The Jellyfish" is the season four premiere of Friends, which aired on NBC on September 25, 1997.


4x01 Joey Recap

Joey recaps last season's finale.

Picking up from Season 3's cliffhanger finale, Ross is revealed to have entered Rachel's room, and ultimately choosing Rachel over Bonnie. As he enters the room, he sees both women. Bonnie has shaved her head, and it has consequently gotten sun burnt, Rachel is helping her apply sunblock onto it. Bonnie leaves the room when Ross is seen, and after sharing a kiss with Rachel, Ross goes to break up with Bonnie. When he returns to Rachel's room and informs her that he has ended his relationship with Bonnie and she has left, he is bemused to then learn that while he was doing this Rachel had written him a letter that is eighteen pages long, front and back. Understandably tired after breaking up with Bonnie, Ross falls asleep at the kitchen table reading the letter, and when he wakes up the next morning, he lies and claims that he has read the letter thoroughly and carefully when he has not finished it. Believing him, Rachel asks him "Does it?" Unsure of what she wants him to say, Ross takes a guess and says "It does." It immediately becomes clear that this is exactly what Rachel was hoping he would say  - she is overjoyed and they get back together. When he later gets a chance to actually read the letter however, he discovers that Rachel wants him to take full responsibility for all that went wrong in their relationship, and is outraged.

At the beach, Monica and Chandler are still debating why he should be her boyfriend, when she gets stung by a jellyfish. Joey remembers a documentary from the Discovery channel that suggested urinating on a jellyfish sting to make the pain go away. He "steps up" to help her, but gets stage fright and cannot go through with it, so Chandler is forced to do it instead. The three are traumatized by this event and though initially unwilling to admit to the their curious friends what the matter with them is, eventually give into the group's pressure when they ask what happened and confess.

Phoebe is shocked to learn the truth about Phoebe Abbott being her birth mother, and is very angry at her for never trying to track her down. She leaves her house saying that she never wants to see her again, but Phoebe Senior finds her at the Central Perk. Although her anger is still bubbling for her birth mother, Phoebe realizes that Phoebe Senior is her family and tries to get a rapport going on, albeit with some difficulty.

When the friends return to the city, Chandler, Monica and Joey confess what really happened at the beach. Ross and Rachel enjoy their reunion after four months apart and have sex, but Ross is privately still angry about the fact that Rachel expects him to take full responsibility for all that went wrong in their relationship, and is refusing to take any responsibility herself despite the fact that she was the one who suggested that they "take a break" from their relationship (which is what caused Ross to have sex with Chloe, interpreting this suggestion as a break-up.) Afterwards, Rachel infuriates Ross by telling him how happy she is with how much he has "grown". The camera switches to Monica, Joey and Chandler hearing Ross yell, "WE WERE ON A BREAK!" and storming out of Rachel's bedroom, correcting the grammar in her letter as he leaves. Rachel responds with, "Just so you know, it's NOT that common, it DOESN'T happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!", implying that Ross had suffered with erectile difficulty and she had lied to reassure him. This results in Chandler emerging from behind the front door and exclaiming, "I knew it!" (Chandler would have a similar erectile dysfunction on his engagement night.) 

The credits scene shows Monica and Chandler playing gin rummy. Chandler still refers to him and Monica as a potential couple, and Monica admits how he's sweet and smart and she loves him as a friend, but he will always be the man who urinated on her.

Cast and Crew[]

Main Cast[]

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Ursula Buffay/Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast[]

Christine Taylor - Bonnie
James Michael Tyler - Gunther
Teri Garr - Phoebe Abbott


Directed By:
Shelley Jensen

Written By:
Wil Calhoun


  • Treating a jellyfish sting by urinating on it may actually cause someone in Monica's situation even more pain because urine can actually aggravate the jellyfish's stingers into releasing more venom. [1]
  • This is the last appearance of Christine Taylor as Bonnie.
  • This episode marks the second time Ross breaks up with someone for Rachel, the first being Julie in "The One With The List" (S2E8), and the second being Bonnie in this episode. In both instances Ross and Rachel argue and don't get together. In just over 12 months time, Rachel will tell Ross she still loves him despite Ross being married to Emily at the time (even though that wouldn't last long).
  • Exactly one season later, Monica and Chandler would begin their secret relationship.
  • Near the end of the episode, when Rachel and Ross are in bed, just before he yells "We Were On A Break!" the camera switches to Monica in the dining room. In the clip show "The One With The Invitation" the same scene is shown with a different cut: the camera doesn't switch and you can see Ross yelling and Rachel covering her ear.
  • This episode is the first one in which the creator credits in the opening sequence are computer-generated rather than hand-written.
  • This episode was used as "J is for Jellyfish" in the Nick at Nite Friends A-Z Event (January 2023).


  • Ross and Chandler's hair is longer than in the previous episode. Also, Phoebe's mother, Phoebe has a different hairstyle than the previous episode, in which her hair is long, shoulder-length, while in this episode, it is much shorter with even shorter layers.
  • In the opening shot of Chandler and Monica lying side by side on the beach, the camera pans up from the water and there are only footprints in the sand around them, but when Joey appears, his hole is right at their feet.
  • The last scene of the previous episode, and the first scene of this one, supposed to be the same, differ greatly. In the previous episode, Ross opened Rachel's door, said "Hi," and closed it, finishing the scene. When the same scene is shown at the beginning of this episode, Ross opens Rachel's door, says "Hi," but doesn't close it. He stays talking to Rachel and Bonnie with the door opened.
  • Rachel applies sun cream to Bonnie's head as she got sunburnt. However Bonnie has not yet been out during the day since shaving her head so there's no way she could have got sunburnt.
  • This episode marks one of the uncredited appearances of comedian Samuel Lincoln Seder, who is seen drinking nearby on the beach.
  • When Chandler, Joey, and Monica tell the jellyfish story, Chandler says sometimes at night he still hears Joey's voice screaming "Do it! Do it!". Joey says he yells it through the wall at night to freak Chandler out, but no nights have passed since this incident happened. They tell the story the same day the jellyfish sting occurred. Notice Rachel, Ross and Phoebe are wearing the same clothes they had before they left the beach house.
  • The jellyfish stings Monica in her right leg, as can be seen in the beach scene. But when they tell the story and Monica tries to show how difficult it was to pee on herself, she's using her left leg.
  • When Rachel and Ross say "why don't we make this an annual thing", they are holding hands just in front of the armchair. We get a brief shot of Monica, Joey and Chandler and then return to a shot of Ross and Rachel and they're to the right of the TV. They couldn't move that quickly.
  • In the previous episode Rachel was wearing a ring on her left hand but not in this episode.
  • The beach house is close enough to the ocean to get flooded and full of sand at high tide, but when Chandler offers to help Monica get home from the beach she says the house is 2 miles away.
  • While Chandler is supposed to have lost a toe, in a scene from this episode he is barefoot and it looks as if he has all his toes.

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Episode Navigation[]

Preceded by
"The One At The Beach"
Season Four Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Cat"