The show opens, pre-credits, with the entire gang hanging out at Central Perk. Phoebe enters and Ross asks how her date went. Not well. She tells everyone that he told her "We should do this again," which is dating lingo for goodbye forever. Rachel was the only one out of the loop, she thought it was a good thing when a guy said that.
After the intro, the first scene takes place at Chandler & Joey's apartment where Joey is rehearsing his lines for an acting job, using Chandler as the person to speak the other role. Joey is acting as a death row inmate who tells the warden that he is innocent and that the law will send an innocent man to die. Joey, in the character of the prison inmate, takes out a cigarette packet & a lighter. He fumbles around with lighting the cigarette and when he goes to take a drag, he coughs. Obviously Joey has never smoked before. But Chandler has and gives Joey tips on how one smokes. Joey follows through but Chandler tells him to give him the cigarette and he will show how to do it correctly. Joey doesn't want to give Chandler the cigarette because he used to be addicted to them, but he gives in and hands the cigarette over so he can better his acting. Chandler pretends its no big deal when he takes his first puff, but by the third puff it is obvious his desire for nicotine is back.
Next scene is at Central Perk. Everyone is there except for Rachel & Phoebe. We enter into an already existing conversation that has a strong sexual innuendo. Monica says, "They say it's the same as the distance from the tip of a guy's thumb to the tip of his index finger" to the 3 guys; implying the length of their penis can be predicted based by her method. Nevertheless the guys are stretching out their fingers and feeling disappointed with the results.
Rachel, dressed in her waitress uniform, goes over to the couch and has drinks in hand. She gives each of the friends their drink and is pleased with herself. The gang cheers her on and once she leaves to serve other tables, they immediately swap the drinks around. Phoebe enters, muttering to herself and sits down without saying hi. She is upset, which is unusual for her.
Joey asks if she is alright, and she replies that her bank has messed up; they gave her an extra five hundred dollars in her account. She is stressed out because she has to go down to the bank and "deal with them." The group looks at her strangely. They encourage her to say nothing and keep the money. But Phoebe can't, it would be stealing in her mind.
At this time, Chandler trying to look inconspicious, leans over the back of the couch so he is out of sight from the gang. But Rachel and Monica notice him and ask what he is doing. He tries to shrug like nothing is the matter, until he is forced to exhale and a mouthful of smoke comes out, making him admit that he is smoking again for the first time in 3 years. The group persuades him to put out the cigarette and so he does, by dropping it in Phoebe's coffee.
Monica gets up to leave, announcing she has to go change for her date with Alan. Her friends want to know when do they get to meet this guy. Not going to happen, especially after what they did to Steve, the last guy Monica introduced to the gang. Chandler makes fun of Monica by imitating the lisp that Steve had.
The next scene is at the restaraunt where Monica works. Monica and her coworker Paula are at work. Monica is confiding to Paula the reason why she won't introduce Alan, or any guy for that matter, to her friends is because they will pick him apart within the first five minutes. Paula responds by saying, "they're your friends, they're just looking out after you." Which leaves Monica to feel a little guilty and just wants her friends to like the guy she brings home, for once.
Scene cuts to Monica & Rachel's apartment where Chandler is out on the balcony, smoking. Everyone is there except Phoebe. Monica is getting ready to introduce her friends to Alan, and she is very nervous. She makes the gang promise to me good. She shouts to Chandler if he will be good and he makes a sign of crossing his heart. Monica is thankful and looks away but doesn't see that it is starting to rain outside and Chandler is tapping on the window to be let in. Joey says he can only come in if the cigarette stays outside. Chandler stays out in the balcony, placing a garbage can lid over his head as an umbrella.
Phoebe enters the apartment and ardently strides to Monica's couch, sits down & begins to read. Again, another entry without a greeting from Phoebe. She is definitely perturbed. She reads the letter from the bank aloud. The bank apologises for their error and have credited her account with five hundred dollars, and they a free football phone as an additional gift. Phoebe is furious because now she has a thousand dollars. Rachel's ears perk up and wants to find out what bank Phoebe is going to.
The door buzzer rings, Alan is here. Joey shouts to Chandler to let him know the new guy is here, Chandler comes in soaking wet. Monica pleads with her friends to be nice before opening ther door to let Alan in. She introduces everyone. Alan does a perfect imitation of Steve's lisp, Monica's last boyfriend, causing everyone to fall in to hysterics.
Cut to the same apartment, just later in the evening. Monica is at the door, letting Alan out. Once she closes the door, she looks at her friends and wants them to get the bashing over with. But no one talks, complete silence. No one can find anything wrong with Alan, in fact they like him a lot. Monica is in shock. Rachel says "And did you notice...?" as she spreads her thumb and index finger apart. The guys, downtrodden, noticed. All in all, the gang loved Alan. Ross says Alan is the one to measure all future boyfriends against while Rachel states he could be the one. Monica is surprised, possibly a little let down.
The next scene is at Central Perk. Monica is by herself, sitting on the couch as Ross, Rachel, Chandler, & Joey enter, saddened, wearing softball uniform. Monica asks them how the game went... and they pretend to be miserable, but only for a trick as they won. Monica is amazed and wonders how in the world could they have won. Because of Alan. The group goes on and on about how wonderful Alan was during the game, how many positions he could play, how he made everyone feel special, etc.
Monica, a little hesitant, wants to ask her friends if they ever think, just for a brief moment, that Alan is "a little too Alan". They vehemently deny it, saying he can never "be too Alan". They love him... causing Monica to get a bit weary as her affection for the man is clearly dwindling.
Cut to a street, Phoebe is walking down it. She goes up to a homeless looking woman, a friend, called Lizzie. Lizzie calls Phoebe "Weird Girl", but that doesn't bother Phoebe. She brought the lady alphabet soup without the vowels. And she also told Lizzie she has something else to give to her, and she searches in her purse to find it. She asks Lizzie if she would like to have a thousand dollars & a football phone. Lizzie looks into the envelope and flips out at the sight of the cash, but wants to know why she is doing this. Phoebe tells her she wants to give it away. Lizzie feels obligated to give something to Phoebe. Phoebe tells Lizzie she can buy her a soda and then they can call it even.
Next scene is at Chandler's office cubicle. A bit tense and agitated; he looks around before opening his desk drawer to take a puff of his cigarette. He immediately sprays air freshener and uses breath spray. He goes back to work, typing for a moment before he opens the drawer to take a puff. But this time, he is not paying attention and he sprays the room with breath spray and takes a squirt of air freshener and gags.
Next scene is with Phoebe & Lizzie at a soda stand. Lizzie buys Phoebe a can of soda and leaves. Phoebe opens the can and has an emotional reaction.
Cut to Central Perk with Phoebe surrounded by the entire gang. Turns out a human thumb was floating in the soda can that Lizzie bought for her. Everyone is grossed out. Phoebe asks if anyone wants to see the thumb in the can. They don't. Chandler lights a cigarette, upsetting the group. This causes Chandler to go off and say that everyone is accepting of the flaws of each person in the group, but when it comes to his smoking, it is suddenly an issue. This causes a big uncomfortable silence. Followed by each member getting into a tiny argument over their own fallibilities. The scene just goes further and further down into bickering as Chandler happily starts to puff away.
Next scene is at Iridium. Monica is talking to Paula, again about Alan. She tells her coworker that all her friends love Alan. However when it comes to her own feelings for Alan, she doesn't have any. Paula urges Monica to dump Alan. Monica agrees but notes it will be very hard on her friends.
Next scene is back at Central Perk. Joey & Ross are harassing Chandler about his smoking. But he doesn't give in. He doesn't care about the health consequences, he likes how it makes him feel. Rachel calls Chandler, the phone in her hand, Alan wants to speak to him. Chandler, excited, goes to the phone. Alan found out about Chandler's smoking and is making Chandler feel guilty over it. He hangs up the phone and puts out the cigarette, without one shred of anxiety.
Next, the gang, except for Monica & Joey, have gathered at her apartment to watch Lambchop. Chandler is in a foul mood, the lack of nicotine in his system is affecting him as he makes a mean statement about the sock puppet. Causing Ross to change the patch on Chandler's arm.
Phoebe is in another foul mood because she received seven thousand dollars from the soda company for finding the thumb in her can. And, to top it off, she stepped in gum on her way over to the apartment. Needless to say, she is ticked off with the universe.
Joey is dragged into Monica's apartment by Monica. He has just come out of the shower, still in his towel. Monica dragged Joey back to her place so the entire group was together. Monica turns off the TV, causing the group to mourn for Lambchop.
She takes a deep breath and tells her friends that she has broken up with Alan. They gasp and hold each other, as if they heard they were all going to be homeless. Ross wonders if she broke up with him because of someone else. Monica states that she just didn't have feelings for Alan and she could either go on pretending she liked him, for the sake of her friends or break it off and find someone whom she likes. Rachel becomes tearful because she thought he would be able to meet her family with the upcoming holidays. Each member takes the break-up personally, as if Monica has broken up with each of them.
Next, we see Monica & Alan in a restaurant. She just officially broke up with him. He tells her that he is a little relieved, to be honest. He loved spending time with Monica, he just couldn't stand her friends.
Final scene, the gang is moping around with ice cream at Monica & Rachel's apartment. Each friend is talking about their favourite memory of Alan, reminiscing. Monica enters. They ask how the break-up went. Monica lies and says that Alan will miss them all very much. Ross sees the look on her face, mistaking it for stress, and strokes her forehead as she sits down. Chandler gets up and goes for a cigarette. Without Alan, he can't go on with life without nicotine. Phoebe shouts to him as he leaves that she will give him seven thousand dollars if Chandler never smokes again. Chandler enters and happily accepts.