FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: A Closer Look at 'The One Where Everybody Finds Out' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRIENDS’ 25th Anniversary: A Closer Look at ‘The One Where Everybody Finds Out’

September 7, 2019 by  

FRIENDS The One Where Everybody Finds Out

Credit: NBC

[On Thursday, September 22, 1994, NBC debuted the pilot of FRIENDS. The sitcom, about a group of six 20-something friends, went on to become a pop culture touchstone. In honor of the milestone, we’re doing 25 Days of FRIENDS, looking back at the show in big and small ways.]

FRIENDS’ “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” is among my favorite episodes of the show—which is probably true for most fans of the show—but it also stands as the episode I really wish I had been able to see tape live.

It’s an odd distinction, I imagine, but one I think about almost every time I watch “Everybody Finds Out.” Yes, a good episode to watch film live is one that is done well, of course, but the thing about this one is the shock of A) everyone finding out and B) the war between Phoebe and Chandler combusting (as she was trying to get him to admit his relationship with Monica and he was desperately trying to not crack)…it would have been incredible to witness live.

The episode itself is a pretty insane marvel. It’s probably most remembered, in hindsight, for Phoebe’s “My eyes!” and the “They don’t know that we know that they know” back and forth, but it was the culmination of nearly two-thirds of a season of secrets coming to a boiling point. And with the writers parceling out the truth about Monica and Chandler’s tryst, even the order helped make things so explosive. Who would have guessed Joey would be the first one (and only one, frankly, because the others all saw/heard things which made it clear) to realize the friends were sleeping together. But he kept the secret. And then Rachel overheard the truth and also opted to not rat out her roommate. But with Phoebe seeing the coupling for herself, and having the least at stake for revealing the truth, it pushed everything forward.

It makes sense the non-coupled friends would want to have some fun at Monica and Chandler’s expense since they had kept them in the dark for so long; Phoebe was never overly flirty with Chandler, but it wouldn’t have been entirely out of character for her to decide to ask him out. It also makes sense Monica’s super-competitive streak would kick in, and even with her back up against the wall (at least in terms of her relationship no longer being a secret), she’d want to win more than anything. And poor Chandler just was going along with it to make Monica happy.

As Phoebe and Chandler had their fake date, with each determined to make each other crack/back down, the tension of the season of secrets was apparent. Phoebe wanted to make Chandler confess and used all of the tools at her disposal; he finally just couldn’t take it anymore and confessed the truth—and that he loved Monica. The release of pressure felt earned, as was the couple’s first real “I love you” being in front of their friends. After hiding so much of their relationship from the people they spent nearly every moment with, of course they’d have to overshare a bit. (Though, if Ross hadn’t found out almost instantly after, I have no clue how Monica and Chandler thought they’d be able to hide their relationship from only Ross.)

But part of the fun of the scene is watching Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry walk the very thin line as their character try to outplay each other. To this day, I have no clue how they managed to get through that sequence without cracking. Even after seeing it dozens of times, it still makes me laugh and wish I had the chance to experience that moment for the first time all over again. And, yes, I’m still jealous of everyone who actually got to be there for that episode’s taping.

*As a note, all pieces focusing on episodes and the content in the episodes is based on what originally aired on NBC, which is what is currently streaming on Netflix/how the Blu-Ray set is formatted. As fun as the extended episodes are on DVD, this makes it a bit more streamlined for people who only know the show via its original/more recent releases.


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