"The One With The Prom Video" is the fourteenth episode of the second season of Friends, which aired on NBC on February 1, 1996. The episode focuses on the main characters watching Monica and Rachel getting ready for their high school prom in the titular video. A subplot sees a now-wealthy Joey buying roommate Chandler an unusual gift.
The episode was directed by James Burrows, written by Alexa Junge and guest-stars Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles as Jack and Judy Geller, and Patrick Kerr as the restaurant manager. It frequently ranks among the series' best episodes in polls.
After he starts making more money playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives, Joey gives Chandler an extremely tacky gold, engraved bracelet as thanks for paying for head shots and food. However, Chandler mocks it when it costs him a date, greatly upsetting Joey when he overhears. Chandler apologizes to Joey and promises to never take it off again, though later loses it. He reluctantly buys a replacement, but the original is found shortly afterwards. When Joey sees Chandler holding two bracelets, he gives one to Joey, repairing their friendship and making up for it.
Ross continues to seek forgiveness from Rachel for the list, but she tells him that they together as a couple will never happen. Phoebe thinks otherwise, however, calling Ross and Rachel lobsters. When she receives blank looks, she explains: "It's a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life. You can actually see old lobster couples walking around their tank, holding claws." Monica returns from a bad interview at a restaurant where the chef tries to come onto her. She mulls over her options now that her funds are dwindling, but is anxious of whether to borrow from her parents. Jack and Judy Geller bring boxes of Monica's possessions to her apartment because they are turning her room into a gym. Monica eventually tells them that she was fired from her job. However, Jack reminds Monica that 10% of her paycheck goes to her bank account and encourages her to use her savings, assuring them that they will be there to lend money to her whenever she needs it. Ross also lends her money to help pay for her rent.
While looking through the box of possessions, Monica finds a video of her and Rachel getting ready for their senior prom. The friends decide to watch the video although Ross objects to everyone seeing the tape. The video reveals that Monica was previously obese, and that Rachel had a large nose. Rachel seems to be stood up by her prom date, Chip Matthews, so after some persuading from Judy, Ross plans to take her to prom instead. He dresses up in his father's tuxedo, and finds a makeshift flower bouquet, but Rachel's date shows up before she learns of Ross' plans. The video ends with Ross looking disappointed and rejected. Rachel, touched by Ross' gesture, gets up and passionately kisses Ross, forgiving him for what happened between them. The episode ends with Phoebe exclaiming "See, he's her lobster!"
During the end credits, Monica finishes watching the tape, and inadvertently finds a recording of Jack and Judy having sex.
Cast and Crew
- Phoebe: (pulling out Monica's high school swimsuit) What's this?
Monica: That was my bathing suit in high school. I was a little bigger then.
Chandler: Oh, I thought that that is what they cover Connecticut when it rains.
- Joey: Some girl ate Monica.
Monica: Shut up, the camera adds ten pounds.
Chandler: Okay, so how many cameras are actually on you?
The producers had kept Ross and Rachel from being together throughout the first season, eventually bringing them together in the second season episode "The One Where Ross Finds Out", only to split them up in the following episode. Writer Alexa Junge incorporated many of her own experiences into the script, in particular Phoebe's line about Ross and Rachel being "lobsters", something Junge's husband once said. Aniston wore a false nose for the scenes in the video while Cox wore a "fat suit". While a previous episode had already established Monica as being overweight as a child, this was the first on-screen appearance of "Fat Monica" (the fat suit made frequent return appearances). Rachel's large nose was added because Junge believed that the characters "were so good-looking, you wanted to feel they had some realness in their past".
At first, Schwimmer did not want to wear the afro wig and mustache because he thought he would look like Gabe Kaplan in Welcome Back, Kotter (a similarity referenced in the episode). He relented because it enabled him to "tap into a part of himself that was very vulnerable and shy" and incorporate it into his performance. An early script draft featured a scene in the prom video in which an episode of All My Children is on in the background. The scene was intended to feature the character "Bryce", played by Gunther (as it was revealed that Gunther had once had a role as this character in this sitcom in "The One Where Eddie Won't Go").
Entertainment Weekly rates the episode "A", welcoming the return of Burrows as director and calling the prom video "witty character development disguised as a standard flashback." The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends write that it is "a watershed in the history of the show" and "It's the sign of a good show that they can switch so effortlessly from comedy to pathos to romance in one short scene." Robert Bianco wrote in USA Today in 2004, "If any one outing can take credit for moving Friends from good to great, it's Prom Video" and describes the resolution as an "ingenious, unexpected twist."
The episode is popular among fans of the series. It appeared on one of the first region 1 "Best Of" DVD releases and is one of the two episodes to feature an audio commentary on the region 1 DVD release of the complete second season. In a poll conducted shortly before the series finale, "The One with the Prom Video" was voted the best episode of Friends, with 1.6 million people polling on the Internet. The episode is the favorite of Schwimmer, who liked the comedic and emotional origins of the Ross/Rachel relationship, as well as the exchange between Monica and Chandler as she defends her weight on the video.
- The dressing gown Monica was wearing is the same one worn by Carol in "The One Without The Ski Trip" (S3E17). Rachel was also seen wearing it in "The Pilot" (S1E1). Ross also wears it in "The One Where Old Yeller Dies".
- This is the first appearance of Fat Monica. According to Matthew Perry, Courtney Cox was so well characterized in the fat suit that he passed right by her without recognizing her.
- Although he's supposed to be about the same age as Monica, in reality Michael Ray Bower is 9 years younger than Courteney Cox. In fact he's younger than any of the main cast.
- This is also the first appearance of Rachel with her deviated septum. Jennifer Aniston wore a prosthetic nose in the prom video scenes.
- The commentary for the episode states that far more prom video scenes were shot than were used as it wasn't until editing that the current and past scenes were mixed.
- Ross re-discovers the passion for playing his keyboard in "The One Where Chandler Crosses The Line" (S4E7).
- Patrick Kerr, the actor who portrays the perverted restaurant manager with a salad fetish who interviews Monica, later appeared in an episode of Joey as a TV producer at an awards show. Whether or not the two characters portrayed by Kerr are the same person is unknown, but a possibility given the number of years that took place between the episodes. According to the commentary, he was a friend of Matt LeBlanc's having appeared in a movie together but was known to the Friends producers having appeared in one of their other shows.
- Monica is informed that her old room will become the new Geller gym. Her room/gym can be seen in "The One With The Cuffs" (S4E3).
- Ross and Rachel finally become a couple until they break up in "The One With The Morning After" (S3E16).
- This episode is one of the few times you hear about the friendship between The Geller Family and The Greene Family. As Jack mentions that he was not surprised about Rachel's parents breaking up, even mentioning a Hawaii incident. This is a friendship never shown onscreen, and only mentioned a few times in the whole series. In fact, you never see Jack or Judy interact with Sandra or Leonard.
- The scenes depicted in the prom video must take place between the 1987 and 1988 Thanksgivings as Rachel is still with Chip in the 1987 Thanksgiving scene but isn't in the 1988 Thanksgiving as shown in "The One With All The Thanksgivings". Also Monica has dramatically lost weight in 1988 and Ross has started dating Carol, his first wife.
- In this episode Ross doesn't pass on the phone message from Casey. Years later he would do the same with the phone message from Bill in "The One With Rachel's Phone Number". However unlike that episode, Rachel never finds out.
- The extra laugh after Phoebe says her first line in the coffeehouse stems from her cut line "I'm ready for my penis".
- The bloopers for the scene when Chandler enters the coffeehouse with Phoebe reveal it took about a dozen takes to get it right.
- Ross being cheap is referenced in this episode when Monica says "you're a cheapasaurus", a running gag in the series.
- Although this episode aired in 1996, the end credits say©1995 Warner Bros. Television; however it was possibly produced in 1995.
- This episode is/was mentioned in a recent 'real' Days of our Lives episode; specifically the 'braclet buddies' scene. The episode originally aired on December 20th 2021.
- During the prom video, Monica, Rachel, and Monica's date Roy are standing in the living room. When Roy leaves the room saying, "I'm gonna kick Chip's ass," the camera follows him out, but as it's turning the boom mic operator is visible. He's kneeling on the floor sliding the mic toward the girls.
- In the scene where Mr. and Mrs. Geller are watching tennis Mrs. Geller says "Look! It's that bank commercial that always corrects you." But in the next scene the TV still shows tennis. The background TV audio changes while the TV is off camera.
- When Rachel tells Ross they'll never be a couple, she goes on to state "I fell for you and got clobbered, then you fall for me and I get clobbered again". However it was established last season that Ross has been in love with Rachel for far longer than she has him.
- In the video Ross trips as races up stairs to get ready to take Rachel to the prom. The shot changes to show the gang watching as Ross turns the stairs in the video but the playback is in slow motion.
- When Chandler is on his knees holding the couch cushions, Joey exits his room and leaves the door open but when he turns around to return to his room, the door is closed.
- Immediately after the video pans round to show younger Ross, we see the shot of current Ross turning to his left raising his right hand. Joey says "looking good, Mr. Kotter" and Ross repeats the movement.
- In "The One Where Chandler Crosses The Line", Monica says that no one was allowed to hear Ross' "sound" but Ross plays the keyboard on the stairs, right by Monica, Rachel, Roy, and Mr. and Mrs. Geller.
- When Chandler presents Joey with the gold bracelet in the coffee shop, Joey begins to take his coat off. In the next shot, with no time having passed, his coat is now completely off.
- When Phoebe and Chandler are in Central Perk, she tells him that there's a "hot babe checking him out" at 11 o' clock. The woman is actually behind Chandler, which would make it 5 o' clock. The mistake is probably because it would be 11 o'clock from the audience perspective.
- Chandler expresses surprise when he learns that Monica was fat during her high school. However it's later seen that Chandler knew Monica when she was fat.
- Transcript of the episode including the deleted scenes
- "The One with the Prom Video" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The One with the Prom Video" at Wikipedia
"The One After the Superbowl, Part 2"
|"The One With The Prom Video"||Followed by |
"The One Where Ross and Rachel...You Know"
|<< Season 1||Season 2||Season 3 >>|
|#01||"The One With Ross' New Girlfriend"||#09||"The One With Phoebe's Dad"||#17||"The One Where Eddie Moves In"|
|#02||"The One With The Breast Milk"||#10||"The One With Russ"||#18||"The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies"|
|#03||"The One Where Heckles Dies"||#11||"The One With The Lesbian Wedding"||#19||"The One Where Eddie Won't Go"|
|#04||"The One With Phoebe's Husband"||#12||"The One After The Superbowl, Part 1||#20||"The One Where Old Yeller Dies"|
|#05||"The One With Five Steaks And An Eggplant"||#13||"The One After The Superbowl, Part 2"||#21||"The One With The Bullies"|
|#06||"The One With The Baby On The Bus"||#14||"The One With The Prom Video"||#22||"The One With The Two Parties"|
|#07||"The One Where Ross Finds Out"||#15||"The One Where Ross And Rachel... You Know"||#23||"The One With The Chicken Pox"|
|#08||"The One With The List"||#16||"The One Where Joey Moves Out"||#24||"The One With Barry And Mindy's Wedding"|