We'll Be There For You: The One With The Embryos

There are a hundred great episodes of FRIENDS, and a million great jokes. But the scene that stops me in my tracks every time is the "apartment quiz" scene from "The One With The Embryos." If you recall, it's the part where Monica bets Chandler and Joey - much to Rachel's chagrin - that the women know more about the men than the men know about the women. If Chandler and Joey win, they get Monica and Rachel's apartment. Ross puts together a trivia quiz, complete with a game board made of index cards, push pins and corkboard. Ross gets a lot of guff from the other characters, but nobody can simultaneously channel Alex Trebek and Leslie Knope like Dr. Geller can.

What follows is one of the most incredibly thorough displays of this-is-why-these characters-are-funny on any sitcom in history. The episode's writers, Jill Condon and Amy Toomin, use the quiz to spotlight what's hilarious about each character, from Joey's weird love of sandwiches to Monica's... let's call it fastidiousness. This is the twelfth episode of the fourth season, and by that point we knew the character so well that watching a scene like this was like living something similar with our own groups of friends.

What's truly amazing, though? This is the B story. The A story - as the title implies - deals with Phoebe's impending pregnancy. It's a good story, but it can't match the quiz scene for sheer comedy power. In fact, the only thing I don't like about the scene is that Phoebe didn't get to play.

Here are a few chunks of the final draft of the episode, dated November 13, 1997. Note in this first segment that Monica's field hockey nickname was originally "the turtle" - not "Big Fat Goalie" as it was in the final cut of the episode. The joke about Rachel's pretensions is also gold:

one_with_embryos_25

...and the categorization of Monica's towel collection:

one_with_embryos_26

If you haven't seen the episode in a while, I'd recommend going back and watching it again, because Matthew Perry's delivery of the line "Thanks, man" really captures the pacing of the scene:

one_with_embryos_27

And finally, Rachel's thoughts on Chandler's job title:

one_with_embryos_28

But there's more - check out some of our other FRIENDS posts: A page from the original pitch An amazing YouTube video with the entire first season of episodes running at once Pages from "The One With All The Thanksgivings"