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"The One With the Lesbian Wedding" is the eleventh episode of the second season of Friends, which aired on January 18, 1996. In this episode, Carol and Susan prepare for their wedding with help from an uncomfortable Ross.


Carol and Susan announce their wedding plans to Ross, who is very unhappy about his ex-wife getting remarried to someone else. Monica caters the wedding after the original caterer is in an accident. Monica plans the food preparation badly, with very little time for everything to be ready on schedule, so she has everyone helping except Ross who refuses to play any part in the event. Reflecting the larger controversy surrounding gay marriage, Carol's parents refuse to attend the wedding, causing Carol to have second thoughts about her decision, which almost leads to calling the wedding off. This causes Ross to reverse his earlier stance, allowing his feelings to dissolve, and instead finds himself encouraging her to go ahead with the ceremony despite their opposition if she really loves Susan. Carol knows he's right, so the preparations resume.

Joey makes his first appearance on the soap opera Days Of Our Lives as Dr. Drake Ramoray. Meanwhile, Phoebe is going through a work problem: the old lady she was massaging died on the table, and Phoebe believes the woman's soul went inside her body. As a result, Phoebe occasionally blurts out old-lady-sounding phrases, and complains about the stuff being said in her head. Following a meeting with her late client's husband, Phoebe learns that Mrs Adelman always stated to want to see "everything" before she died. Phoebe feels challenged, stating "that's a lot of stuff."

Rachel's mother, Sandra Greene, visits, and has news for Rachel - she's divorcing her father. Rachel is devastated to say the least, and feels guilty believing her exerting her independence influenced her mother into making this decision. Her mother confides in her that, unlike Rachel, she married her 'Barry', implying that she never really loved her husband. Rachel is still upset, but accepts her decision.

Sandra stays for the lesbian wedding, where Ross substitutes for Carol's parents and gives her away. Carol and Susan are married, after which Phoebe loudly exclaims: "Now I've seen everything!" causing Mrs. Adelman's spirit to finally depart. At the reception, Ross can't help looking over at Carol and Susan on the happiest day of their lives. Although he feels regret for how things turned out, he understands it worked out for the best and Susan thanks him for what he did for them and asks him to dance. Ross at first declines, but changes his mind after Susan allows him to lead. While Joey feels powerless in a room full of lesbians and Chandler keeps trying his luck anyway, Phoebe is asked for drinks by a woman.

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

Marlo Thomas - Sandra Greene
Jane Sibbett - Carol Willick
Jessica Hecht - Susan Bunch
Phil Leeds - Mr. Adelman
Candace Gingrich - Minister
Symba Smith - Chrissy
Lea DeLaria - Woman
James Michael Tyler - Gunther (uncredited)


Directed By:
Thomas Schlamme

Written By:
Doty Abrams


As a result of its portrayal of a lesbian couple marrying, the episode attracted some controversy across the United States. Two network affiliates refused to air the episode - KJAC-TV in Port Arthur, Texas and WLIO in Lima, Ohio - citing objectionable content, although the decision drew little press attention, partly due to the small size of the markets in question. Gay and lesbian groups - notably GLAAD - decried the censorship of the episode.

While the episode was one of the first mainstream portrayals of gay marriage on US television, it was the second gay marriage on a sitcom that season; the show Roseanne had aired an episode just five weeks before in which the title character coordinated a wedding for her co-worker Leon and his lover Scott. The New York Times claimed "The biggest news about the wedding on Friends was that it was almost no news at all." However, the fact that Carol and Susan's ceremony was officiated by Candace Gingrich, a gay-rights activist and sister to conservative Congressman Newt Gingrich did draw some media attention, as the casting was perceived as a comment on the Republican Party's anti-gay rights stance and the "Contract with America" platform.

A writer with the Associated Press noted in an article that week that the ceremony would not include a kiss by the newlyweds, including the episode as part of an observed trend of portrayals of gay characters while skirting controversy by avoiding or minimizing physical contact.

The episode was the highest rated television program for the week, with 31.6 million viewers.


Sandra: Oh my god! There's an unattractive nude man playing the cello.
Rachel: Well, just be glad he's not playing a smaller instrument.

Phoebe: Can you think of any unfinished business she might have had, any reason she'd be hanging around?
Mr Adelman: She always used to say that before she died, she wanted to see everything.
Phoebe: Everything? Wow, that's a lot of stuff.
Mr Adelman: Oh wait, I remember, she also said she wanted to sleep with me one last time.
Phoebe: I'm sorry, there's laughing in my head.



  • This is the first appearance of Marlo Thomas as Sandra Greene in the series.
  • This is the first on-screen wedding in the series:
  • In one scene, Rachel jokes that if her mother wants to be like her, why not she copy her hair style. It is reference to 'The Rachel haircut', which was actually popular then.
  • In the final scene, the friends discuss who is likely to be married first and last. Despite everyone thinking it will be Chandler to marry last, Chandler (along with Monica) is actually the first of the group to enter a marriage that doesn't end just a few episodes later. Ross and Emily are married for a month, Rachel and Ross are married for six months while Phoebe marries Mike in the final season. Joey is actually the last to marry, being the only cast member to not have a wedding during the series although he does get engaged to Alex in the spin-off series Joey.
  • Phoebe mentions her Green Card wedding to Duncan from whom she started divorce proceedings in "The One With Phoebe's Husband". It's later hinted that she got married in Las Vegas too.
  • In one of the Days of Our Lives scenes Joey says "Dammit Braverman it's on the chart" a likely reference to Mrs. Braverman whose cheesecake Chandler steals in The One with All the Cheesecakes.
  • This is the first wedding Rachel attends since running away from her wedding to Barry. At the end of this season she and Ross attend Barry and Mindy's wedding and in a little over two years time, Rachel will attend Ross' wedding to Emily.
  • The uncut DVD version includes extra lines such as Mrs. Greene asking if there's any pot and suggesting she could get a Chandler. This edit causes Sandra's position to jump from being by the bathroom door to standing by the kitchen sink.
  • The music playing when Monica pushes Ben down the aisle is Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke. The background music when Carol and Susan dance is Strangers in the Night sung by Frank Sinatra.
  • Phoebe (as Mrs. Adelman) mentions Soupy Sales, then (as Phoebe) asks who that is. Soupy Sales was an American comedian and actor, best known for a children's television show Lunch with Soupy Sales (1953–1966).
  • When Monica first asks for help, Rachel begins to peel a lemon. Later in the episode Monica asks Ross to help with another fruit, bowling a melon.
  • Despite Susan and Carol getting married in this episode, gay marriage was not legalized in New York until 2011. But, it could have been a personal commitment ceremony.


  • When the ceremony begins and Phoebe (as the deceased woman) says "Oh, my god!" her arms are loose. In the next shot, as she says "Now I've seen everything!" her arms are together. Rachel's face also changes in these shots and her arms swap over position on her face.
  • When Ross closes the apartment door after Phoebe enters, the sound of the door closing is heard but the next shot shows the door partly open.
  • At the beginning of the episode when Ross, Carol and Susan are talking, the toddler playing Ben changes mid-way through their conversation.
  • During the scene where the group is watching Joey's part on Days of Our Lives, Joey gets excited and turns apparently knocking Chandler's glass of milk with his knee. You can see Ross look down and reach for the glass. In the next shot, you can see where the milk spilled on the coffee table and Monica doesn't seem to mind at all.
  • The glass of milk on the coffee table moves further away from Joey's knee between shots while he's describing and demonstrating the "smell the fart" acting technique, but it hasn't yet spilled as described above. This is most likely from another cut, possibly from the blooper take of the scene which saw Jennifer bursting out laughing when Joey mentions smell the fart acting.
  • When Joey first mentions "smell the fart acting", Rachel's right hand is close to the wrap presumably holding her sandwiches but when the shot changes her hand has moved several inches away from the wrap.
  • Days of Our Lives is shot in Burbank, CA. (however, one could argue that the "real world" Days of Our Lives doesn't feature Dr. Drake Ramoray either - this is clearly a different DOOL that is filmed in New York)
  • In the opening scene when Ross' finger is caught in the chair, his grip changes between shots which wouldn't be possible if his finger was caught.
  • Ross and Susan's hands switch between shots as they start dancing together.
  • When Rachel and her mom are looking at old photos, the picture in Rachel's magazine changes between shots.
  • When Joey is saying "damn it Braverman, it's right there on the chart", Ross is putting on his coat. Joey finishes his line and Ross is putting his coat on again.
  • When Phoebe (in Mrs. Adleman's voice) says "you know in my day, divorce wasn't an option", on the right of the screen, Rachel can be seen turning her head towards Phoebe but in the next shot Rachel's turning towards Phoebe again. (This is visible in the HD version.)
  • When Susan and Ross start dancing, Carol and Chandler can be seen talking in the background but in the next shot he's by the drinks table in the foreground.
  • In the tag scene Rachel sits cross-legged on the coffee table but Monica doesn't say anything.
  • When Carol and Ross go to talk, the gang get up and Joey can be seen opening the fridge and start drinking from a bottle of beer. However when Carol actually starts to talk, Joey can be seen opening the fridge for the beer bottle again. (This is visible in the HD version.)
  • Rachel's mother hands Rachel her wine glass which she holds in her left hand, her own being in her right hand. However in the next shot they've swapped hands.
  • When Monica is rushing the food preparation in the second kitchen scene, a jar of herbs appears in her hand and then vanishes in the next shot even though she hasn't moved.

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 Russ"
"The One With The Lesbian Wedding" Followed by
"The One After the Superbowl, Part 1"