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Friends Central
The One With The Ride-Along
Season 5, episode 20
117th overall episode of Friends
The guys ride along with Gary.
Episode Information

April 29, 1999

Written by

Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Seth Kurland

Directed by

Gary Halvorson

Alternate titles
Episode Guide

The One Where Ross Can't Flirt


The One With The Ball


"The One With The Ride-Along" is the twentieth episode of the fifth season of Friends, which aired on April 29, 1999. As Emily's wedding nears, the group do their best to distract Ross. A gunshot and a meatball sandwich take center stage when the guys go out on the beat with Phoebe's cop boyfriend.


Ross' ex-wife Emily is getting married to someone else, so the group do their best to distract Ross from thinking about it. Monica decides to organize some photos, but Rachel accidentally drops a box of other pictures on it, ruining all of Monica's work. Due to being upset, the two decide to make margaritas, but they do not have the ingredients, so they decide to steal them from Ross' apartment, where Rachel listens to a message from Emily, who is having second thoughts about her wedding and the divorce with Ross. Monica thinks that they should erase the message as it might hurt his feelings, but Rachel thinks Ross deserves to know the truth. In the discussion, they accidentally erase the message.

Rachel convincing Ross to not call Emily.

Phoebe talks about a ride-along that she has recently gone on with her cop boyfriend, Gary, in Central Perk, and Ross, Chandler and Joey get very excited about it. Gary offers to take them out on a ride-along, so they head out in the evening. Joey buys himself "the best sandwich in the world" but Gary tells him that he cannot eat it in his car. Joey continues to talk about the sandwich, and the other three men begin to get irritated. After Ross accidentally turns on the beacon ray, he is not allowed to sit in the front seat anymore, as they are undercover. During the ride, a car backfire scares them all, leading to Joey diving over Ross in an attempt save him, which causes problems between Chandler and Joey because Joey apparently wanted to save Ross instead of Chandler. However, it turns out that Joey had no intention of saving Ross, but wanted to save his sandwich. In order to prove how much Chandler means to him, he lets him have a bite of the sandwich.

After the believed "near-death experience", Ross is filled with a "new found respect for life", which he reports to his own answering machine, resulting in the message being heard by Rachel and Monica, who are still at his apartment. Rachel tells Ross about the message from Emily, but Ross wants to call her back, because "he wants to seize every new opportunity". Rachel talks the idea out of Ross' mind by convincing him that it isn't the day of seizing stuff, but escaping from stuff, and that he should escape from a future of being hurt by Emily.

Back in Central Perk, the gang contemplate how they would react in a real conflict. Monica speculates that she would make general before any of the others (if, Chandler points out, she didn't get killed by her own troops first), while Ross notes that Joey would be down in the trenches protecting them all. Phoebe states that, as a pacifist, she doesn't believe in war, but leaves with the observation that she would have to destroy them all in the revolution (with the exception of Joey).

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

Michael Rapaport - Gary
Helen Baxendale - Emily Waltham (voice)
James Michael Tyler - Gunther


Directed By:
Gary Halvorson

Written By:
Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Seth Kurland



  • This is the last appearance of Helen Baxendale as Emily Waltham.
    • She is credited as a "Special Guest Caller".
  • When Rachel and Monica are listening to Ross' answering machine, they use each other's catchphrases. Monica says "Noooooo" and Rachel says "I know!"
  • Its not clear how Emily has obtained Ross' telephone number at his new apartment unless he gave it to her cousin and Emily got it from there, otherwise there's no way she could know it. It seems unlikely from his conversation with Rachel that Ross would have given it to Emily himself, but he may have given it to her parents and other relatives when he repeatedly called them. It is also possible that Ross had the phone company transfer his old number to the new line.
  • In the uncut DVD version of the episode there is an extra scene at Ross' apartment where Rachel is trying to recreate the message she deleted from Emily. While recreating it, Rachel jumbles up the names 'Emily' and 'Rachel'. Ross mixed up Rachel and Emily after his return from London when he said "Rachel is my wife".
  • Phoebe says she knows when Ross will die. In a later episode, she hints that he'll die before her.


  • When Rachel enters Ross' apartment the carriage clock by the kitchen door shows 6:15 pm but when Monica is there with Rachel it shows 6:10 pm. Also despite Ross and Rachel talking for several minutes, the time remains at 7:10 pm throughout the scene from when Ross enters the apartment to when Rachel leaves.
  • While Rachel is on the telephone to Monica, her grip on the blender changes between shots.
  • When the guys are sitting in the car with Gary, he removes the "cherry" but there is no reason why it would be on the roof if he wasn't pursuing anyone.
  • During the slow motion sequence in Gary's car, the front on shot shows him turning towards Joey and Ross but when the angle changes he's turning towards Joey again.
  • When Rachel breaks Ross' statue it is already in two parts before hitting the ground.
  • In the scene where Rachel tells Ross that Emily called we see the glue on the side table, which Rachel used to fix Ross' horn statue, standing on straight up, then it is laying down, and then it is standing upright again.
  • When Rachel takes Ross' money from the basket she drops it onto the table when the phone rings, but when Monica takes it, it is in the basket. Although Rachel could have put it back in the basket so it doesn't look like she was going take it.
  • Rachel puts the broken horn statue away from sight by stuffing it into the light fixture. Clearly there are two things the horn and its holder. However, when they are listening to Emily's message only the horn appears to be in the fixture and not the base of the statue.
  • In the uncut version, when Rachel is preparing to emulate Emily's message you hear hands being rubbed together, but no such thing is visible from the characters.
  • When Rachel is urging Ross not to call Emily, at one point she puts her left hand on Ross' leg but in the next shot her hand is in the air palm up.
  • When Rachel drops the photos onto the coffee table, the box remains square but in the final scene when Monica tells her where Ross' keys are, it's flattened even though Rachel never moves.
  • When the guys are on the ride-along, a shot shows a scrolling advertisement for a show starting in November even though this episode aired in April.

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One Where Ross Can't Flirt"
The One With The Ride-Along Followed by
"The One With The Ball"