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The One With The Flashback

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The One With The Flashback
Season 3, episode 6
54th overall episode of Friends
The friends hang out at the bar.
Episode Information

October 31, 1996

Written by

Marta Kauffman & David Crane

Directed by

Peter Bonerz

Episode Guide

The One With Frank Jr.


The One With The Race Car Bed


"The One With The Flashback" is the sixth episode of the third season of Friends, which aired on NBC on October 31, 1996. After the friends reminisce about a time three years ago where the original cast; Monica, Ross, and Phoebe, meet poster boy Joey for the first time as Chandler's new roommate. At this point, the friends hang out at a bar that will later be turned into Central Perk. The news of the conversion of the bar is revealed during the episode. 


The episode begins with the friends sitting in the coffeehouse talking to Janice. Janice asks whether any of the group have slept together, and if so, who. When they deny that any of them have, she asks if any of them have "almost...", leading to the flashback.

The flashback takes place three years ago, exactly one year before the premierePhoebe has just moved out of Monica's apartment, but has not told her. She has been sneaking out every night and sneaking back in every morning, spending the past week at her grandmother's apartment. Chandler is trying to find a new roommate with little luck. Ross and Carol are having problems in their marriage. Ross thinks that this is because Carol does not have any other friends, but he is optimistic because she just met a woman at the gym, Susan Bunch.


In 1993, Central Perk was a bar.

The gang discovers that the bar is being turned into a coffee house.Rachel enters the bar for drinks with her friends. They celebrate the fact that in a year she will marry Barry. Rachel feels hesitant, saying that she wants one last fling with the next guy that she sees. Chandler overhears this and immediately interrupts her conversation by dropping a pool ball next to her table. Rachel shows no interest. Monica and Rachel briefly catch up, and make vague plans to get together in the future.

Chandler interviews Eric, a fashion photographer who informs Chandler that models would be at the apartment from time to time if he was to move in, and that his sister is a porn star. Chandler decides that Eric will be his new roommate and rushes through his interview with Joey. Mr. Heckles shows up and when Eric informs Heckles that he is moving in with Chandler, Heckles claims that he is Chandler's roommate and sends Eric away. Chandler thinks he just never showed up, and accepts Joey as his new roommate. They bond over Baywatch and beers.

Monica is attracted to Joey and invites him into her apartment for some lemonade. Joey misinterprets her invitation, and strips naked.

Monica notices that Phoebe's bed is missing from her bedroom. After a poor attempt to cover her tracks, Phoebe admits that she has moved out. She says that Monica is too uptight about being neat and that she needs to "live in a land where people can spill". Phoebe says that she loves Monica and wants the two of them to stay friends, but she does not think it will be possible if they continue living together.

Ross meets up with Phoebe at the bar. Ross reveals to Phoebe that Carol is a lesbian. Phoebe consoles him, and they start kissing which leads to them attempting to have sex on the pool table. After a few obstacles they realize that it would be a bad idea and laugh about it. The gang then walks in and they act like nothing had gone on.

Ross tells the rest of the group that Carol is lesbian. Having never met Ross before, Joey responds with, "Cool!". Chandler then introduces Ross and Joey.

The episode ends with Rachel driving a car with her friends in the back seats. She is fantasizing about going back to the closed bar and having sex with Chandler. After missing the exit, one of her friends asks her what she was thinking about, and she responds with, "Barry."

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Green
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast

Michele Maika - Kiki Leslie Grantham - Chris Marissa Ribisi - Betsy Christy L. Medrano


Directed By:
Peter Bonerz

Written By:
Marta Kauffman & David Crane


  • The dress Monica wears at the end of the episode is also worn by her in "The One With The Ick Factor" (S1E22) and "The One With The Birth" (S1E23).
  • Phoebe states that Cute Naked Guy has been starting to put on weight, thus becoming Ugly Naked Guy.
  • Monica points out that Ross is keeping his feet on the table and tell him not do it anymore. However in The One with Evil Orthodontist she, as well as Chandler and Pheobe are doing the same thing and she doesn't notice it.
  • It is revealed that the coffee shop used to be a bar where the gang used to hang out.
  • Rachel is sending back drinks and make joke that it can't be that hard to get a couple drinks right (ironically she wasn't the best waitress herself). However she said in The One With The East German Laundry Detergent that she isn't able to send back soup.
  • When Chandler is hitting to Rachel in the bar, she could recognize him as they know each other from Thanksgiving at Geller's. (He could recognize her and remember they were kissing at the student party and this is why he wanted Rachel to notice him)
  • When he is introducing himself to Chandler, Joey says that he is fairly neat; which is later proved to be untrue, as his lack of hygiene becomes a running gag in the series.
  • In this episode, we find out why Chandler and Joey live together. Mr. Heckles told the roommate Chandler choose that he live is Chandler's new roommate.
  • In this episode, we see that Monica had a crush on Joey when he was first moving in, something Phoebe had mentioned in "The One With The Blackout" (S1E7)
  • Rachel's friend Kiki, played by Michele Maika, also appeared in "The One With George Stephanopoulos" (S1E4).
  • This is the final appearance of Larry Hankin as Mr. Heckles in the series. This is the only character whose last appearance takes place posthumously.
  • Marissa Ribisi is the sister of Giovanni Ribisi, who plays Phoebe's half-brother Frank Buffay Jr.
  • Rachel hitting the jukebox to make it play is a reference to Fonzie from Happy Days.
  • This episode was used as a testing ground for potential couples who had not previously been romantically linked (Monica and Joey, Rachel and Chandler, Phoebe and Ross) however none of these pairings gained a positive reaction from audiences and as a result none went any further than this episode - except of course Chandler and Monica and their moment of heart to heart talk.
  • This is the second time we see Chandler with a mustache, after "The One Where Old Yeller Dies" (S2E20), when Chandler grows it to emulate Richard Burke.
  • This is also the second time an erotic dream of Rachel with Chandler is addressed, as it was one of the storylines in "The One With The Ick Factor". However, in this case it acts only as the post-credits scene without major relevance. It also happens chronologically one year before the other.
  • Friend of Rachel say that she will have a wedding one year from today. The same day Ross find out that Carol is lesbian. In the Pilot it is told that Carol moved out today. It's hard to believe that between those two events a year came by.


  • At the beginning of the episode, the gang unanimously say that they have never slept with each other - but, Rachel and Ross have slept with each other as they are dating. However, since everybody knows of this, it's possible that they didn't feel the need to bring it up. (Actually, there is a line that Rachel sarcastically says indicating that if the fact that they haven't slept together doesn't change soon, she will dump Ross. )
  • Although it is seen in this episode that Joey moved in with Chandler in 1993, a year before the show began, in "The One With All The Thanksgivings" (S5E08), it is shown that Joey was with the rest of the gang back in 1992.
  • When Rachel comes back into the bar at the end of the episode, although he's in shadow you can see that Chandler has shaved his beard. Although technically as it's a day dream it could be what Rachel prefers.
  • In this episode, Joey says that he's "okay with the whole gay thing" when he meets Chandler. However, in "The One Where Nana Dies Twice" (S1E8) Joey says he didn't think Chandler was gay when they first met. This is not necessarily a continuity error, as Joey could have been lying to Chandler when he told him he'd never thought he might be gay.
  • Ross is not wearing a wedding ring in any of the flashback scenes despite being married to Carol at the time.
  • Rachel and Chandler had met several times in the past before this episode's story, such as shown in The One With All The Thanksgivings and The One Where The Stripper Cries. Except since they live very different lives and haven't seen each other in a very long time it is reasonable that they don't remember each other.
  • When Joey is supposed to be naked when Monica has invited him in for lemonade, you can clearly see that he is wearing underwear.
  • In this episode Ross finds out that Carol is a lesbian a year before the show technically starts. However in The Pilot, Ross is incredibly bummed because Carol had just moved her stuff out. If their marriage was over a year before the show started, it says something about them being together for 7 years.
  • Continuity Error: If Joey was introduced after Carol realized that she was a lesbian, that would mean that in the pilot, they have only been friends for about a week.


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 25
Preceded by
"The One With Frank Jr."
"The One With The Flashback" Followed by
"The One With The Race Car Bed"

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