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The One With The Flashback

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"The One With The Flashback"
Friends episode
The Friends at the bar
Season 3x06
Episode no. 54
Written by Marta Kauffman
David Crane
Directed by Peter Bonerz
Guest stars John Lehr - Eric
Michele Maika - Kiki
Marissa Ribisi - Betsy
Christy L. Medrano - The Waitress
Original airdate October 31, 1996
Episode List
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"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. He claims to have interviewed a guy with multiple ferrets, a 'spitter', and a guy who mocked his last name. He then states that the only two people he has left to meet are a photographer named Eric (not to be confused with Ursula's fiancé from Season 8), and Joey, who he describes as "this actor guy who I'm not sure about because when he called and I answered the phone 'Chandler Bing', he said 'Whoa, short message'." Meanwhile, 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.

At the time when the majority of the episode is set, the gang usually hung out at a bar, owned by someone named Chris. They find out that the bar is about to be closed down and turned into a coffee house (Central Perk), which upsets them. 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 to get the feeling out of her system and wants to have sex 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 that she thinks he is a loser, but later has a fantasy about having sex with him at the closed bar.

Chandler interviews Eric, who turns out to be a fashion photographer and informs Chandler that models would be at the apartment from time to time if he (Eric) moved in with Chandler. He also tells him that during the summer he spends most weekends at his sister's (who is a porn star) beach house, which Chandler is welcome to use. Chandler decides that Eric will be his new roommate and rushes through his interview with Joey. But then Mr. Heckles shows up and encounters Eric in the hallway, and when Eric informs Heckles that he is moving in with Chandler, Heckles claims that he is Chandler's roommate and sends Eric away, causing Chandler to believe that Eric just never bothered to turn up, failing to realize that Heckles had just sent Eric away when the old man wandered into his room. This leaves Joey as his only option for a roommate, which he is annoyed about at first - but when Joey introduces him to Baywatch, he rethinks his negative opinion of Joey and they become firm friends.

Monica is attracted to Joey and invites him into her apartment for some lemonade. Joey thinks that this is a euphemism and strips naked, believing that she wants to have sex with him. This shocks Monica, who really only invited him in for a glass of lemonade. They are both thoroughly embarrassed, and even after Joey dresses himself, Monica tells him that she can "still see it".

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". A hurt Monica responds with, "You can spill! ... In the sink." 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. Monica accepts this, but is still upset about it, thinking that the reasons Phoebe moved out are the same reasons that she does not have a boyfriend. Chandler consoles her with a hug, telling her that she should have a boyfriend. He says that she is one of his favorite people and the most beautiful woman he has ever known in real life.

Ross meets up with Phoebe at the bar, where they are the only two people there after Chris had given Phoebe the keys to lock up. 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 (Ross hitting
his head on the hanging lights, the pool balls getting in the way, Ross' foot getting stuck in one of the pockets) 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 gay. 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 CrewEdit

Main CastEdit

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 CastEdit

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


Directed By:
Peter Bonerz

Written By:
Marta Kauffman & David Crane



  • Phoebe states that Cute Naked Guy has been starting to put on weight, thus becoming Ugly Naked Guy.
  • The gang hangs out at a bar that is closing down to become a coffee shop. This upsets them and Chandler wonders where they will hang out from now on.
  • 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).
  • When Chandler informs Monica that he picked Eric as his new roommate, she is upset saying "but he's so cute!" (referring to Joey). Chandler replies "That's what I want. A roommate I can walk around with and be referred to as 'the funny one'."
  • A waitress at the bar messes up Rachel and her friends' orders. Rachel says to her friends "I mean how hard is it to get a couple drinks right, huh?" poking fun at the running joke that Rachel always brings the wrong order to customers.
  • After Rachel suggests that she and Monica have lunch the next time she's in the city, Monica comments to Chandler "ten bucks says I never see that woman again in my life."
  • 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 (i.e. after his death).
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Although it is seen in this episode that Joey moved in with Chandler a year before the show began, in 1993, 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.
  • 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 isn't unreasonable that they don't remember each other.
  • Phoebe and Ross are in the soon to be closed bar sitting on the pool table. He clears it of everything, but a few seconds later he stops making out because the "damn balls are in the way" and picks up a couple of cue balls as if by magic. If you look closely when he's clearing the table, there are two dark balls at the side which he studiously ignores, and which Lisa Kudrow then surreptitiously grabs and takes onto the table with her so David Schwimmer can grab them later. Also, she may have grabbed them (not just to move them for Schwimmer) but so she wasn't going to lay on them.
  • In this episode, Rachel is seen sending back some drinks. However, in The One with the East German Laundry Detergent, she tells Ross that "I [she] can't even send back soup". However, her personality was different in this episode, as she was much more outgoing and snobbish - when she moves to New York in the Pilot, she becomes much more down-to-earth and shy.
  • Towards the beginning Rachel says that in a year she will marry Barry. Towards the end Ross says that he found out his wife was a lesbian. As we know from the first episode, Rachel appears after leaving Barry and we also know that Ross finds out his wife is pregnant. This meant that within the year that Ross' wife told him she was a lesbian they conceived a baby so the conception of the baby occurred after his wife came out about being a lesbian, which is highly unlikely. However, Ross does tells Phoebe in The One With The Boob Job that he and Carol had sex once after she came out as a lesbian. This is likely when Ben was conceived, based on the timeline of the series.
  • When Joey is supposed to be naked when Monica has invited him in for lemonade, you can clearly see that he is wearing underwear.

Episode NavigationEdit

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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