Friends Central

"The Pilot" (also known as "The One Where It All Began", "The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate" and "The First One") is the first episode of Friends. It premiered on September 22, 1994. It was written by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, and was directed by James Burrows.


The episode begins with 4 friends; Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe, sitting in their local coffee house Central Perk, discussing Monica's date for the evening. Monica's brother Ross soon arrives at the coffeehouse, looking miserable. It is revealed that his ex-wife, Carol, has moved her things out of their apartment, due to the fact that she is a lesbian and no longer has feelings for Ross. Joey unhelpfully suggests that and desperate Ross take advantage of the fact that he is now single by going to strip joints, and an exasperated Ross cries out, "I don't want to be single, okay? I just want to be married again!" As soon as Ross says this, a woman enters the coffee house wearing a wedding dress, causing Chandler to remark on the coincidence of it, saying: "And I just want a million dollars!" It turns out the woman is Rachel Greene, who was Monica's best friend in high school, and has arrived to ask Monica for help, as she has just left her fiancé at the altar after realizing that she does not love him.

1x01 Runaway Bride

Rachel explains why she ran out on her wedding.

At Monica's apartment, the group watches a Spanish soap opera and pretends to translate the lines. Rachel talks on the phone with her father, trying to explain why she ran away, declaring that she does not love her fiancé, Barry. She also tells him that she will stay with Monica. Ross asks the guys to help him set up his new furniture, and he asks Rachel if she would like to join them, but she wants to stay by herself. While she spends the night alone in Monica's apartment, Phoebe busks in the subway and Monica goes on her date with Paul. Meanwhile, the guys attempt to construct Ross' new furniture. The apartment is practically empty, as Carol has taken all of the furniture, the stereo and the good TV. Ross confides in his friends about his sadness at being divorced at 26. In an attempt to comfort him, Joey advises him to get a grip on his life and go out with other women in order to get over Carol. He reminds Ross that there are many different women in the world, just like there are many different flavors of ice cream in the world, and encourages him to metaphorically "grab a spoon."

At Monica's apartment, Rachel attempts to leave a number of messages to Barry in order to apologize to him, and sobs to herself as she watches Joanie loves Chachi in the living room. On her date, Monica is getting to know Paul, who reveals to her that it has been two years since he last performed sexually after a painful breakup. Shocked, Monica spits her drink on him and quickly apologizes. She is touched that he has told her, and the pair end up going home together and having sex. After Joey leaves to go out on on a date with a woman whose name he has trouble remembering, Ross asks Chandler, "Even if I could get it together enough to ask a woman out...who am I gonna ask?" He gazes out of the window, and in the next clip, we see Rachel sitting on the window seat at Monica's apartment with a saddened, lonely expression.

The next morning, Rachel is determined to turn over a new leaf and makes coffee for the first time in her life. Unfortunately, it tastes disgusting. Rachel, Chandler and Joey overhear Monica making plans to see Paul again and kissing him goodbye at the door. Monica, Chandler, and Joey tell Rachel that they all have jobs. Monica then goes to work, where a colleague tells her that she too had slept with Paul, and that she was his first sexual partner for two years. Monica then realizes that Paul lied to her to get her into bed. After Monica tells the group that Paul had used her, Joey cannot believe that she did not see it coming. Rachel arrives after buying herself a pair of fancy boots with her father's credit card. This prompts the gang to drag her into the real world, and they encourage her to cut all her credit cards in half.

Later that night, Monica, Ross and Rachel watch TV. Monica goes to bed, stamping on Paul's watch on her way. Ross tells Rachel that when they were teenagers, he had a major crush on her, and she reveals that she knew. A surprised Ross states that he believed that she had always thought of him as "Monica's geeky older brother" and nothing more, which Rachel did. Ross takes the opportunity to ask her if it would be okay for him to eventually ask her out, and Rachel tells him that that would be okay. She leaves the room, and Ross tells Monica that he has "grabbed a spoon." During the closing credits, it is revealed that Rachel has gotten herself a job at Central Perk. When the gang ask her if she has made the coffee, she tells them that she is just serving it - so they feel safe to drink it.

Cast and Crew[]

Main Cast[]

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

Supporting Cast[]

Clea LewisFranny
Cynthia Mann - Jasmine (Waitress)
Barry Hine - Guy in the Coffee House (deleted scene)
John Allen Nelson - Paul the Wine Guy


Directed By:
James Burrows

Written By:
Marta Kauffman & David Crane



David Schwimmer was the first to be cast. Having already auditioned for a different pilot for Kauffman and Crane in 1993, the part of Ross was written with him in mind. Lisa Kudrow's role as Ursula on Mad About You attracted the producers to her (later episodes would establish Ursula as Phoebe's twin sister). Courteney Cox was considered for the role of Rachel, but after reading the script, she read for Monica. Matt LeBlanc was cast as Joey because the producers wanted "a guy's guy". LeBlanc auditioned over eight times, and his final one was a reading with Jennifer Aniston and Cox. Matthew Perry had previously worked with Kauffman and Crane in an episode of Dream On, and requested an audition after identifying with Chandler. He was denied the audition because he was "off the market" after appearing in a pilot called LAX 2194. Jon Cryer auditioned for Chandler while appearing on stage in London. He read for a British casting director who sent a video tape of his audition to the casting executives in Los Angeles, though the tape did not arrive in time. Perry was eventually cast when the network and producers decided his other pilot would not be commissioned for a full series. Jennifer Aniston was cast last, having originally been eyed for Monica. She was already in another series called Muddling Through on CBS but this was cancelled after one season, the last episode airing 2 weeks before The Pilot.


Once the six had been cast, James Burrows, the director of the pilot episode, decided to take the cast to Las Vegas for dinner. "It's really important for me that the cast bond," he explained. "You knew from the instant we shot the pilot how electrifying the six of them were together. So we got on a plane to Vegas and we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant there. And I remember telling the cast, 'This is your last shot at anonymity.' And it was true. I also remember they all needed money to gamble. So a couple of them wrote me checks, because I had some cash. The biggest check I got was $200. So times have changed."

Writing and Filming[]

When the pilot was first pitched the producers intended Phoebe and Chandler to be secondary characters who provided humor around the other four main characters, though by the time filming began they were a part of the core six. Ross was originally to be younger than Monica and Phoebe didn't live with her grandmother. There was also a discussion about Monica taking in a young pregnant woman. NBC also wanted an older character whom the series creators nicknamed Pat the cop. Joey and Chandler were originally written similarly but at the request of Burrows, Joey was "dumbed up a bit". NBC Entertainment president Don Ohlmeyer was worried that the audience would see Monica as "a slut" because she slept with Paul on the first date, but the producers did not share the concern. A questionnaire was issued to the audience after the taping and the results sided with the producers. The same questionnaire was issued to focus groups, whose response was the same as Ohlmeyer's, but the episode went out unaltered. The series was known as Friends Like Us during casting and Six of One at the time of the pilot, but was re-titled Friends before broadcast. Several scenes that were cut from the episode were restored when the series went into syndication, bringing the running time to 37 minutes.


  • This is the only episode whose title did not use the word "One". The alternate titles, however, did.
    • It is also the only episode whose title did not begin with the phrase "The One…", the other being the series finale, fittingly titled "The Last One". Likewise, it was one of four episode titles not to use the format "The One [preposition]…" or "The One Where…", the others being "The One Hundredth", "The One That Could Have Been", and "The Last One".
    • The alternate title "The First One" is one of only three episode titles referring to the show's episode count, the others being "The One Hundredth" and "The Last One". This is almost certainly a retroactive title to parallel "The Last One".
    • The alternate title "The One Where It All Began" refers to the beginning of the characters' adventures, paralleling the alternate title of "The Last One".
  • The episode was watched by approximately 22 million viewers, making it the fifteenth-most-watched television show of the week.
  • It is revealed that Monica, Rachel, and Ross all attended Lincoln High School together.
  • This is the only episode with the full fountain dancing sequence.
  • This is the first reference to Phoebe's mother's suicide.
  • The wooden beam seen in several episodes this season was the idea of director James Burrows and became a signature of episodes he directed.
  • Although Monica is Ross' younger sister, in reality Courteney Cox is 2 years older than David Schwimmer.
    • In fact, the only two actors who were actually 25 in 1994 when this aired were Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry. Matt Le Blanc was 27, David Schwimmer was 28, Courtney Cox was 30, and Lisa Kudrow was 31.
  • According to the producers, a questionnaire regarding Monica's promiscuity was passed out to the studio audience at the taping of "The Pilot" at the request of NBC who considered Monica a slut for sleeping with Paul the Wine Guy on their first date. The studio audience disagreed with NBC.
  • As Monica goes to get Ross his coffee, a glimpse of Rachel can be seen passing the doors to the coffeehouse, presumably on the way to Monica's apartment.
  • The orange sofa has tears in it (visible behind Monica) which are only seen in this episode.
  • The Spanish-language soap opera that the Friends watch at Monica's apartment is the very successful "Tres Destinos (1993)". The lady that doesn't seem to be too happy about the pipe organ is Puerto Rican actress Angela Meyer. In a later episode Marcel, Ross' pet monkey, changes the TV to Spanish language.
  • The dressing gown Rachel wears was the same one worn by Monica in "The One With The Prom Video" and "The One With The Fake Monica". Carol was also seen wearing it, or one that looked just like it, at the end of "The One Without The Ski Trip" (S3E17). Ross also wears it in "The One Where Old Yeller Dies".
  • Shortly after Rachel storms in, Jasmine asks Rachel "Can I get you some coffee?". Jasmine is seen working with Phoebe at the massage parlor in future episodes.
  • Rachel wears a similar wedding dress in "The One With All The Wedding Dresses".
  • John Allen Nelson also appeared in Baywatch, which is later established to be Chandler and Joey's favorite show.
  • Rachel doesn't eat her half of the Oreo.
  • The ex-wife of Monica's date, Paul, was having an affair with a dentist. In the next episode we discover that Monica's future sister-in-law, Rachel, was engaged to Barry who is an orthodontist and we later learn was having an affair with Mindy, Rachel's Maid of Honor at her aborted wedding to Barry and Amy Greene, Rachel's sister.
  • The large globe seen by the window of Monica's apartment would later be seen in the closet by the bathroom in "The One With The Secret Closet".
  • Joey and Chandler pour Rachel's coffee down Monica's plant pot. Then, when everyone told Rachel to cut all her credit cards, the plant obviously wilted. It does not appeared in later episodes.
  • In repeats [especially those on TBS] the show's theme is shortened and the first couple scenes on the DVD version are cut from the TBS one. Additionally, the tag scene is different and credits begin when Ross eats the Oreo. Also on the TBS version it says "Color by CFI"; on the DVD it says "Color by Foto-Kem Laboratory".
  • Also the ending on TV airings have applause; the DVD ones have just laughter.
  • When Rachel is on the phone to Barry, she says "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry". In "The Last One, Part 2", after Ross has told her he loves her and pleads with her to stay, as Rachel heads back towards the gate, she says "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" to Ross (although much more emotionally and on the point of tears).
  • Phoebe sings a version of "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. In "The Last One", Phoebe discusses having the same amount of children as the Von Trapp family.
  • Ross and Rachel drink from identically colored cups in Central Perk.
  • Chandler asks sarcastically "Paul is it?" This line is reused when Paul Stevens, the father of Ross' then girlfriend Elizabeth, is introduced to the group.
  • The boots Rachel buys are similar to those she wears when she sets off for Paris in "The Last One".
  • Although Rachel would prove to be an incompetent waitress, in reality Jennifer Aniston had previously worked as a waitress when she was a struggling actress in her teens.
  • In the transition to Iridium on the DVDs there is a different music cue than on the TV versions.
  • This episode was used as "C is for Central Perk" in the Nick at Nite Friends A-Z Event (January 2023).
  • Matt LeBlanc had a fever and flu the first day. He was at 102 degrees during the pilot and had to repeatedly use a variety of remedies to attempt to cure it.


  • Joey's wristwatch appears and disappears during the whole episode.
  • When Chandler says "And I just want a million dollars, "captions at least on TBS say "And I just won a million dollars."
  • After Monica pushes Joey off the sofa, a female extra can be seen looking through the newspapers in the background. However when Rachel bursts in a second later she is sitting at a table near the door. Ross and Rachel say one line each and the woman has taken a newspaper and is sitting down again. Rachel and Chandler then say a line each the same extra is reaching for a newspaper again.
  • Barry's surname is Finkle during this episode. In later episodes, his last name has been changed to Farber.
  • When Chandler offers Ross a cookie, Jasmine can be seen in the background who breaks the fourth wall by looking directly at the camera.
  • When Monica is discussing Paul, Phoebe says "OK, give me your feet" and the red pen is on top of the blue notepaper but when Monica goes to sit down it's not on the paper any more.
  • When Ross is asking Rachel if she wants to help assemble his furniture, studio lights can be seen reflected in the pan behind his head.
  • In the extended version of the episode, Chandler says he and Joey haven't had a relationship that lasted more than a Mento but it is later established that Joey dated Angela Delveccio for 3 years.
  • When Chandler dances out of the apartment, he turns left to go off-stage rather than straight on towards his apartment or right to the stairs.
  • Chandler says "you've had the love of a woman for 4 years" but in "The One With All The Thanksgivings" Ross is telling his parents about his new girlfriend, Carol, in a flashback to 1988.
  • It can be clearly seen that the apartment numbers are 4 (Joey and Chandler's) and 5 (Monica and Rachel's). Being situated too high to have such low numbers, they are later re-numbered to 19 and 20 respectively. (Although they are back to 4 and 5 in "The One With The Dozen Lasagnas".)
  • After Rachel runs into the coffee house, Monica introduces her to Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe and says "Remember my brother Ross?". In "The One With All The Thanksgivings" (S5E8), Chandler met Rachel at Monica's house at least twice in two years during Thanksgiving; in "The One Where The Stripper Cries" (S10E11) it is revealed Chandler kissed Rachel for about 5 seconds; and in "The One With The Flashback" (S3E6) they met once when she was engaged to Barry (12 months before the pilot of the series), when he tries to hit on her with little success. It should be noted that Rachel should have remembered Chandler when she got to the coffeehouse instead of being introduced for the first time there; however, she shows no sign of previous acquaintance with him (although it could be argued that having run out on her own wedding she had more on her mind than remembering people).
  • Similar to her younger sister Amy after seeing Ross and Monica in "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" (S9E8) and Ross again in "The One Where Rachel's Sister Babysits" (S10E5), Rachel acts as if she does not know Chandler when they first meet at Central Perk. However, they have met in 1987 and 1988 according to Monica's account of the events that occurred in "The One With All The Thanksgivings". Rachel describes herself being a lot like Amy when she moved to the city in 1994 and continually throughout the series, she has a habit of forgetting who people are, especially considering the close relationships she has with these people at work and in her apartment building.
  • When Monica ask Ross if it was ok for her to go on a date with Paul the Wine Guy, the bedroom door closed by itself. In fact it changes from open to closed throughout this scene.
  • The blue bowl with napkins on the kitchen table changes position several times between Rachel pouring the coffee and Paul leaving the apartment.
  • Rachel is seen and heard cutting up her library card and then, at the prompting of Monica and Ross, a credit card. Chandler says one line and then we return to Rachel whose now cut up the remaining three cards. She didn't have time to do so.
  • At the end of the episode when Ross picks up his jacket, there is a blue bowl on the small table by the pillar and nothing on the main kitchen table. In the next shot, the blue bowl has moved to the large table.
  • When Phoebe is touching Ross' hair, his hand moves position at another scene, instantly.
  • When Paul takes a seat, Phoebe jumps from the kitchen table to the couch.
  • After Rachel says "Are you in trouble!" to Monica, her facial expression instantly changes.
  • At just over one minute in, after Phoebe says "Just 'cause I don't want her to go through what I went through with Carl", the camera angle changes and you can clearly see that Phoebe's lips are moving, but you cannot hear her.
  • Rachel doesn't wear an engagement ring at any point in the episode yet returns it in the next episode.
  • When Rachel goes to bed, Ross eats his half Oreo and picks up his jacket but when he leaves the apartment, he turns left instead of right towards the stairs (although the stairs have yet to be seen).
  • When Rachel enters the coffeehouse, the fuller coffee pot is on right on the counter, then when Chandler says "and I just want a million dollars" it's on the left but when Jasmine asks "can I get you some coffee", it's on the right again.
  • When Rachel goes to bed, Ross eats his half of the Oreo, stands up and passes the wooden pillar as he goes to pick up his coat. The shot changes and he is walking towards the pillar again.
  • In the tag scene, the newspaper in front of Ross and Phoebe disappears and reappears depending on the shot used along with the green mug.
  • The scene in which Ross, Chandler and Joey are talking about "one woman for everybody", Joey says "you got married, you were like, eight" with his arms around Ross' neck. When Chandler is shown in the next frame, Joey isn't there and you can see Ross right next to Chandler in the left of the screen talking, but the previous frame is shown again with Joey and Ross again.
  • After Chandler runs out of the apartment, a glimpse of the stairs to the next floor can be seen as Joey follows him. However there are only two steps then a long flat step which is clearly wrong as each step should be the same.
  • Ross references the song "Billy Don't Be A Hero" when he says that was the last time he was single but the song by Paper Lace was released in 1974 when Ross was five years old. However it's probably Ross emphasizing how long it's been since he dated.
  • Just after Phoebe says 'come here, gimme your feet', she[Monica] clearly has a large hole in her sock. This is inconsistent with the OCD Monica we know in later episodes.


Rachel – I know that you and I kinda drifted apart, but you're the only person I knew who lived here in the city.
Monica – Who wasn't invited to the wedding...?
Rachel – Oh, I was kinda hoping that wouldn't be an issue
[Rachel is supposed to be cutting up her credit cards]
Everybody – Cut, cut, cut, cut.
Rachel – [cuts a card] You know what? I think we can leave it at that. It was kind of a symbolic gesture...
Monica – Rachel, that was a library card.
[Everybody cheers her on, and she reluctantly cuts a credit card]
Chandler – You know, if you listen closely, you can hear a thousand retailers scream.
Monica – [to Rachel] Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're gonna love it.
Joey – OK Ross, you're getting a divorce... you're angry, you're hurting... can I tell you what the answer is?... STRIP JOINTS! Come on! You're single! Have some hormones!
Ross – But I don't want to be single... I just want to be married again
[Rachel walks in wearing wedding dress]
Chandler – And I just want a million dollars!
Joey – Hey, Phoebs, do you wanna help?
Phoebe – Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to.
Chandler – All right, kids, I've got to get to work. If I don't input those numbers-... Doesn't make much of a difference.
[as Ross sits down on the sofa, Phoebe begins "cleansing his aura"]
Ross – Oh, no, no. Stop cleansing my aura.
Phoebe – But...
[she continues to "cleanse his aura"]
Ross – No, just leave my aura alone, okay?
Phoebe – Fine. Be murky.
Ross – I'll be fine, really, you guys. I hope she'll be very happy.
Monica – No, you don't.
Ross – No, I don't! To hell with her! She left me!
Joey – You never knew she was a lesbian?
Ross – [stares at Joey] No! Okay? Why does everyone keep fixating on that? She didn't know. How should I know?
Chandler – Sometimes I wish I was a lesbian.
[everyone stares at Chandler]
Chandler – Did I say that out loud?
Ross: – Grab a spoon. Do you know how long it's been since I grabbed a spoon? Do the words "Billy, don't be a hero" mean anything to you?
Joey – Great story, but I gotta go. I got a date with Angela... Andrea... Oh, man!
Chandler – Andrea's the screamer, Angela has cats.
Joey – Right, thanks. It's Julie. I'm outta here!
Rachel – Guess what?
Ross – You got a job?
Rachel – Are you kidding? I'm trained for nothing! I was laughed at in 12 interviews today.
Chandler – And yet you're surprisingly upbeat.
Rachel – Well, you would be too if you got new boots with 50% off!
Chandler – Oh, how well you know me.
Rachel – It's like all my life everybody keeps telling that I'm a shoe. You're a shoe, you're a shoe, you're a shoe! But what if I don't want to be a shoe anymore? Maybe I'm a purse, or a hat... I don't want you to buy me a hat, I'm saying I am a hat! It's a metaphor, daddy!
Ross - I can see where you have trouble.
Phoebe - Wait, does he eat chalk?
Monica - Relax, this isn't even a date, it-- it's not, It's just 2 people going out to dinner and not having sex.
Chandler - Sounds like a date to me.


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 Pilot" Followed by
"The One With The Sonogram At The End"