Friends Central

"The One With The Soap Opera Party" is the twentieth episode of the ninth season of Friends, which aired on NBC on April 24, 2003.


Joey gets tickets for the five friends to see a one-woman show, saying he won't be able to go because he has to start working early the next morning. But Rachel finds out that he is planning a big party for all his co-workers from Days of our Lives up on the roof, and that he had hid that from them because he's afraid they would all (especially Rachel) act too crazy and excited if they are around famous stars. She ends up telling everyone else, except for Chandler, who because he's not here, goes to the one-woman show all alone. In the final scene, Chandler gets his revenge by leaving Monica and Phoebe at the one-woman show.

Meanwhile, Ross meets a colleague, professor Charlie Wheeler and invites her to the party, thinking about dating her. At the party, Monica and Rachel act a little crazy with all the actors but Rachel can't hide her feelings for Joey, leading to some embarrassing moments. Ross is getting a little depressed after learning that Charlie only dated geniuses and Nobel Prize winners and feels below average with his PhD. But while Rachel is searching for Joey, having decided that that she would go and kiss him, Ross approaches her asking if she'd seen Charlie (probably to ask her out) and the two see Joey and Charlie kissing.

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

Matthew Ashford - Himself
Alex Borstein - Woman on Stage
Ethan Erickson - Dirk
Farah Fath - Herself
Ken Lerner - Dr. Spafford
Kyle Lowder - Himself
Heather Sims - Jan Rogers
Alexis Thorpe - Herself
Aisha Tyler - Charlie Wheeler
James Michael Tyler - Gunther


Directed By:
Sheldon Epps

Written By:
Shana Goldberg-Meehan, Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen



  • This is the first appearance of Aisha Tyler as Charlie Wheeler in the series.
  • It's not known what happened to Dr. Spafford as he is never seen or mentioned again.
  • This is the third and final appearance of the roof on top of the apartment building; it was previously seen in "The One With The Ballroom Dancing" (S4E4) and "The One Where They're Up All Night" (S7E12).
  • Monica says "Have Mercy!", one Uncle Jesse's catch phrases from Full House. Jesse is played by John Stamos, who later appears in the episode "The One With The Donor" (S9E22) as Zack, Chandler's co-worker.
  • Two stars of the real version of the NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives (1965) had cameos, attending Joey's rooftop 'Soap Opera' party as themselves; Kyle Lowder who played Brady Black from 2000 to 2005 and Matthew Ashford who played Jack Deveraux from 1987 to 2012.
  • The end of the episode features the song 'Thrown Down' by Fleetwood Mac from their 2003 album 'Say You Will'
  • The cafe set where Ross, Charlie and Dr. Spafford are conversing is the same one seen in "The One Where Rachel Goes Back To Work" (S9E11) when Joey and Phoebe are shooting a scene for Days Of Our Lives.
  • Despite Monica's warning, Rachel starts a brief relationship with Joey anyway next season. This is the second time Rachel decides to ignore her friend's advice and begin a relationship with someone. Previously she had an affair with Tag, her assistant, despite her friends warning.
  • The hilarious laughter that follows Joey opening his robe is because in the blooper for this scene, he'd stuck a picture of Ross on his boxer shorts.
  • Gunther shows his jealousy of Ross by denying knowing him.
  • When Joey's acting colleague speaks to Rachel, he tells her she looks familiar. This might be because she went on a date with another cast member, Kash Ford, while she was pregnant.
  • Rachel alludes to her drunken marriage to Ross when she and Monica are discussing things they did when drunk.


  • There are two errors in Phoebe's line "Renyard's new theory of species variegation in segmented arthropods". First, "variegation" is a term for different color zones in leaves and stems of plants, and has nothing to do with arthropods. Second, all arthropods are segmented (that's what defines them as a group), making "segmented arthropods" redundant.
  • Newcastle disease actually can infect humans, with influenza-like symptoms.
  • In the first scene when Monica and Rachel are talking about fooling around with Joey in the hall, Rachel begins talking about not doing anything and gets interrupted when Joey walks into the hall. When he opens up the door you can see the lighting above the apartment.
  • When Chandler arrives at the party and asks Monica about her first period, she says she got it when she was 13 and then says it was very difficult. But if you look at her lips, she is mouthing something else.
  • When Joey says "and I don't feel any different" in the scene where he is talking to Rachel in the party, Rachel's hand is on the cup on the table, but when the camera angle changes she's holding a napkin.
  • When Ross brings Charlie back to the apartment and she takes a call on the phone, as the shot widens, the stage lighting can be seen above the bathroom door.
  • When Rachel enters Monica's apartment, Charlie is standing behind the door on the phone but in the next shot, she's next to Ross.
  • At around 17:09, you can clearly tell that the New York City skyline behind the people is a set backdrop.
  • Phoebe states that Charlie broke up with Benjamin Hobart but next season Charlie tells Ross he broke up with her, which is later confirmed when Benjamin tells her he should never have let her go.
    • It is highly possible that Phoebe only assumed this because Ross did not know or tell her who broke up with whom.
  • When Ross is talking to Rachel at the bar, he's holding a bottle as he pours wine for him and Charlie but in the next shot the bottles on the table and he's holding the wine glasses.
  • In "The One With Rachel's Other Sister ", Joey says he does not know how to lie properly. He keeps making complicated excuses involving raccoons. But in this episode, Joey lies effortlessly; and reveals he has been doing this for several years.
  • When Ross is talking to Charlie at the party he says "It probably be hard for you to leave Boston, huh?" Harvard University is located in Cambridge, MA. While there a few campuses located in Boston, the main campus is located across the Charles River in the separate town of Cambridge.

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 Rachel's Dream"
Series Nine Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Fertility Test"