Season 1 Episode 1

The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate (a.k.a. Pilot)

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Sep 22, 1994 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (80)

Write A Review
out of 10
766 votes
  • We're introduced to 6 people who whine about their dates!

    We meet our heroes (?) in the coffee shop Central Perk. Monica (Courteney Cox) is trying to dispel rumors that she's dating a coworker, that they're merely going out to dinner. I honestly wonder what "date" meant in 1994. Time elapses and now Chandler (Craig Beirko.. Uh, I mean Matthew Perry) is telling a dream he had where he's naked in school, and instead of his… well… manhood there's a phone, and it's his mother calling him. Foreshadowing any parental issues Chandler may encounter in the future. Monica's older brother Ross (David Schwimmer) comes in depressed as ever. His wife Carol left him for…. another woman. Ouch! Joey (Matt LeBlanc) suggests he should go to some strip joints and have some hormones. Ross doesn't want that, he just wants to be married. A woman in a bride's dress runs into the coffee shop frantically (Chandler: "And I just want a million dollars!"). It's Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), and she has just walked out on her wedding to… Mr. Potato Head. Damn she passed up an opportunity to be Mrs. Potato Head! She could have been famous, for reasons I can't figure out yet. Actually, she says her fiancé only LOOKS like Mr. Potato Head. At Monica's apartment, Rachel tries to speak with her father on the phone, but that doesn't work out. Meanwhile, the others are playing an arousing game of "Foreign Film Dub". Later Rachel has an anxiety attack and does that thing where she breathes into a paper bag (hope she made sure there wasn't a receipt in there to accidentally choke on). Monica's date Paul the Wine Guy buzzes the apartment and then awards it 1,000 points. Well, I wish he did anyway. And how is it that I've made two references to "Whose Line is it Anyway?" in just one paragraph? Everyone gets excited for Monica that Paul has asked her out, including Rachel, even though she just got here and shouldn't have any idea who Paul is. Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) has a question about Paul: "Does he sell it, drink it, or just complain a lot?" Paul finally enters the apartment and we see that Paul is played by Baywatch's John Allen Nelson. Well, at least Monica won't have to worry about being in trouble on the beach. He'll be ready... Chandler and Joey head to Ross's apartment to watch porn. Well, that would have been ideal, but instead they're just helping him put up his new furniture. Useless fact: Ross has a poster promoting a Speed Racer animated film. The poster was designed by animation historian Jerry Beck. It's funny how we're all connected in some way. Now we have a bunch of scene transitions. Monica is at dinner with Paul, discussing smashing watches and shredding bath towels for no particular reason. Then, we see Rachel on the phone, talking to Barry… via the answering machine. Also, I love how when Rachel redials the number, it takes one second for the machine to pick up. In the late 90's that would have indicated he was home, and was using AOL. Back at Ross's apartment, Ross is moping about Carol leaving him. Chandler tries to console him by saying this is why Joey and him "don't do it". Whatever that means, I really don't want to know. Ross then ponders the possibility that there really is only one woman for every man, and once you lose her, that's it. Joey then introduces the analogy, that it's like saying there's only one flavor of ice cream for him: "Let me tell you something, there's lots of flavors out there. There's rocky road, and cookie dough, and BING cherry vanilla. This is the best thing that's ever happened to you! Grab a spoon!" By the way, all Friends fans know that "Bing" is Chandler's last name, so I think Joey saying "Bing" must have been a joke, but we never find out Chandler's last name until much later, so why the reference to "Bing" was added here is a mystery to me. We're back to Monica and Paul who is now depressed and talking about his ex-girlfriend, which in my opinion is something you really shouldn't be discussing on a date, but then, what do I know? I've never been on a romantic date before. Paul wines (oh, so THAT'S why he's called "Paul the wine guy"!) about his old girl leaving him (Dude! Chill! You're now with a woman who looks like Courteney Cox! Buck up!), and how since then he has not been able to perform sexually. This causes Monica to spit her drink out onto him. Ah, nothing beats a good old spit take. Paul reveals he's been impotent for two years, but Monica strangely doesn't care. She seems ready and willing to get in bed with him now. By the way, it's this subplot that NBC had a problem with when this pilot was being filmed. They felt that the storyline made Monica look like a slut, and make audiences dislike her. Now, I normally don't agree with network executives and their over-accusations, but here I kind of agree. If you're a fan of Friends, and have never seen the pilot, when you do see it, Monica's persona here is wildly out of place, and very different from subsequent episodes where she's more refined and obsessed, as opposed to man-hungry. That trait would be given to Rachel. Monica appearing to be a slut does make her a little unlikable, but I'm glad that personality flaw was thrown out by episode 2. Now, Rachel is seen watching an old rerun of "Happy Days". Or maybe it's the spin-off "Joanie Loves Chachi", I really don't know. On what series did Joanie and Chachi get married? Ross is still moping in his apartment. Joey and Chandler are quite tired of it, and Joey bails out, claiming to have a date with a girl. Now we get into a mercifully short montage that's supposed to make us sad. It features both Ross in his apartment, and Rachel at Monica's, and the song "Sky Blue and Black" plays. During this scene, Jennifer Aniston looks awkwardly like Cyndi Lauper. Probably the lighting. The next morning, Rachel has made coffee for Joey and Chandler, but I'm guessing it tastes terrible, because after one sip, they both pour the coffee into a potted plant when Rachel isn't looking. Poor, unlucky plant, I'm sure this isn't the first time it's had to consume a distasteful liquid. Monica comes out of her bedroom, and we get another Happy Days-related reference. She calls Joey and Chandler "Lenny and Squiggy". Paul comes out of Monica's bedroom as well (oooooh!), and everyone seems surprised that Paul spent the night. I don't know why Rachel is surprised, as she spent the night too, and surely would have heard the constant squeaky mattress throughout the night. Also, don't you think it's a little tacky that Monica had sex while her old friend Rachel is sleeping in the other room depressed about love? Monica walks Paul to the door, and he rambles on about how this was better than all his birthdays, and graduation, and he repeatedly thanks her, but doesn't say for what (I know, I know….). Chandler announces he has to go to work: "If I don't input those numbers… doesn't make much of a difference." Rachel asks if they all have jobs, and Monica says they do, that's how they buy things. Hey, you can buy things without a job! You just need a load of Monopoly money, and a really stupid sales clerk! Not that I've ever tried that… Joey proudly mentions that he's an actor. Rachel asks if she's seen him in anything, and Joey says he's mostly done just regional work, which I assume means foreign films. Monica spills out that he's actually a stage actor, and Chandler ranks on him for his apparently bad Pinocchio performance. Chandler demonstrates his own crappy Pinocchio by dancing wildly out the door [!]. Joey tells the girls he's going to go kill Chandler, and chases after him. Then, we have a really girly scene with Monica glowing and everything, and Rachel offering her friend her "hardly-used" wedding dress. Really, it'd only be "hardly-used" if she wasn't going commando. Monica says she has to go to work, and Rachel decides to get one of those "job things" as well. She tells Monica to wish her luck, even though Monica never actually does. Also it's interesting that she leaves the apartment in her night dress, plus the fact that she clearly didn't shower after making out with Paul. Monica is a chef, and she's violating health codes here! This definitely isn't the obsessive-compulsive Monica that we become familiar with later in the series. Monica cooks something up in the restaurant's kitchen when a coworker of her's Frannie returns from Florida, and she somehow senses that Monica has had sex. Perhaps she's a descendant of Anakin Skywalker. Monica reveals she's getting nailed by Paul the wine guy (and it's obvious at this point that even though Monica is seeing the guy, she has no clue what his last name is). Frannie comments about how she is the woman who "takes credit for Paul", and how before her there was "no snap in his turtle for two years." Okay, show of hands. Who here DIDN'T see this coming? Anyone? Um… *raises hand slowly and nervously* So, um… anyway, back at the coffee house, Monica is expressing her frustration and anger, and asks why a guy would do such a thing. Ross comments, "I assume we're looking for an answer more sophisticated than, to get you into bed." Rachel comes in wearing some spiffy clothes, and it's unclear if they're Monica's clothes, or if she bought them. The only thing she claims to have bought are a pair of fancy boots. And about he "job thing", she didn't get it. She says she was laughed at 12 interviews. Heh, you gotta love those arrogant managers who only look for people who have had "experience". If all managers were like that, NOBODY would have a job now! Rachel reveals she bought them using her dad's credit cards, which for some reason she has possession of. Monica takes her upstairs and makes her cut up her dad's credit cards, so she won't be tempted to use them again. Of coarse, Monica doesn't seem the least bit concerned that Dr. Green may show up at her front door one day, asking her daughter for his Visas and MasterCards only to find out, they have long since been recycled. That never happens, I'm just saying. Later that night, Monica leaves to get ready for bed, and Ross and Rachel have their first moment alone. Ross admits he had a crush on her in high school and asks her if it'd be alright if he asked her out sometime. Rachel says that'd be nice, but there isn't much sincerity in her tone. Rachel leaves, and Ross gulps down an Oreo and then grabs his coat to go home. Monica comes out of her bedroom in a robe and asks why he's smiling. Ross tells her he just grabbed a spoon. Monica just stands there not knowing what that meant. Maybe she should check the script. Back at the coffee house, Joey is finding out from Monica what she really thinks of his butt. Joey tells her she wouldn't know a great butt, if it came up and bit her. And just how would a butt bite a person? With it's crack? Ross puts it nicely, "There's an image." It's revealed now that Rachel is working as a waitress for the coffee shop. After it's confirmed that Rachel didn't make the coffee, everyone asks for a cup.