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Friends Seasonal Analysis: Season 7


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#1

MartyD82

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 7:45 AM

If Friends ever had a "Jump The Shark" moment for me, this season is it...

This, to me, is where the plots became more dopey, the characters became more cartoonish and annoying, and at this point in the series' run, it's pretty clear the actors were growing tired of doing it. They just don't have the energy or enthusiasm they had during the prior six seasons. This is where, for me, Ross's buffoonery finally crossed the line from amusing to just-plain-annoying ("Whatever dude, you kissed a guy!" - ugh!). Joey's stupidity and perversion were as annoying as ever. Phoebe was a mean bitch for the most part. And so on.

To be fair, though, I can't lay the blame entirely on the actors or writers for this. There were alot of internal problems going on when this season began (hence, the fact that it didn't begin until mid-October of 2000, whereas every other season began in late-September). Matthew Perry had gotten really sick over the summer and was battling drug addiction once more, Courtney Cox's relationship with David Arquette was in pretty bad shape, Aniston married Brad Pitt, and most significantly, NBC spent a ridiculous amount of money renewing the cast for two more seasons ($750,000 per episode!).

Plus, unlike every other season, the writers didn't have a cliffhanger to work with. So they obviously struggled with finding ways to really get this season off the ground. Hence how bad the first batch of episodes were (in fact, I'd go as far as to say TOW Monica's Thunder is the worst episode ever).

Mention must also be made of Matthew Perry, particularly at the beginning of this season. You can tell his personal problems were really affecting his performance, as he just doesn't sound or act like his usual self. He seems very distracted and uninvested for the most part. And he looks REALLY old at the beginning of the season. Fortunately, however, he starts to get some of that spark back towards the end. But it's really hard not to notice how disinterested he seems during probably the first 3/4 of the season.

IMO, this is a pretty lousy season throughout. But it does have a few gems. TOW The Holiday Armadillo has to be my favorite Christmas episode (and one of the funniest episodes, period). I also like TOW They All Turn 30, TOW They're Up All Night (despite the poor set design for the roof), TOW Joey's New Brain, and of course TOW Monica And Chandler's Wedding. Sadly, however, the remain episodes are average at best (TOW All The Cheesecakes) and horrendous at worst (TOW The Engagement Picture). And, overall, this is my least favorite season of the series.

Edited by MartyD82, Dec 23, 2011 @ 7:49 AM.


#2

Readster

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 11:51 AM

The Holiday Armadillo was fantastic! I love that episode and I also agree, I love Monica and Chandler's wedding, even the lead up to the the finale. I do agree, the rest of the season was so-so. You could tell that Mathew Perry to Lisa Kudrow were really trying to make the season work despite off set problems. I really think that once they got back into season 8, they were more themselves, but that's when the writing was just sufforing. I also hate how a lot of set up for the episodes were, especially at the end with Rache's pregnancy revealed. I mean, she wanted to do it in secret, so let's do it in her best friend's apartment and then just cover the test up with a few things of tissue. Come on, that should have been done in a more private place, then put in the bathroom trash and then emptied out and then placed in the garbage shoot. End of story, and of course this season was pretty much the end of seeing Ben and his two moms, which I think the producers blew it after their argument with the parents over the kids' Disney work.

#3

MartyD82

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 12:16 PM

ITA about how the Friends, at this point, had also gotten a little "too close for comfort." In fact, that's one of the things I miss from the earlier seasons: The actors, being less used to each others' company, brought an admirable amount of excitement and novelness to their performances. Whereas, by now, they were so used to each other that their time together just felt like "business as usual."

It's sad, really, that things had to drop off so much this season due to off-set problems (ironically, however, the writers in the episode commentaries talk about how "this season was so much better than S6" - but I guess that's why everybody skips the commentary tracks for the Friends DVD sets). They didn't have a cliffhanger to work with, and they were obviously under a lot of personal stress and writer's block, so the best they could come up with was:

- Monica screaming "I'M ENGAGED!!!!" at the top of her lungs (which apparently was supposed to be funny...).

- The incredibly exciting and original plot of Chandler not being able to perform in bed.

- The long-broken-up Ross and Rachel trashily thinking about having a night of sex to make Monica jealous (seriously, what was up with the writers making Ross into a complete sex fiend during the last four or five seasons? Isn't this the same guy who deliberately had sex with only one woman before Rachel, because he wanted it to actually mean something?).

- The plot with Joey playing a 19 year old had the potential to be funny, but Perry basically ruined it with his bored and disinterested reactions to LeBlanc.

I really think the writers should've waited until maybe early-January of 2001 before starting work on this season, as it's obvious nobody was ready to do yet another season of Friends at this time. Hence how pitiful the episodes were before TOW The Holiday Armadillo.

Edited by MartyD82, Dec 23, 2011 @ 12:17 PM.


#4

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 12:50 PM

I didn't think this season was bad at all, it did admittedly take a little while to really get going, but i'd hardly call it the worst season. Like others have said, there are some not-so-great episodes, but the good definitely outweighs the bad, some of my favorites eps were TOW Joey's New Brain, TOW Where They All Turn 30, TOW Rachel's Big Kiss, and TOW Ross And Monica's Cousin.

#5

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 1:36 PM

I think the first half of season 7 is extremely good. I especially love episodes like TOW Rachel's Book and TOW The Nap Partners. I didn't like the second half of the season when MP was in rehab and barely on, imo the show suffers without him. Also hated how Rachel had to steal the focus at Mondler's wedding. Pisses me off every time I watch it. Do love TOW The Vows, love the fact that it's a Mondler flashback episode.

#6

mwolf

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 9:34 PM

To be fair, though, I can't lay the blame entirely on the actors or writers for this. There were alot of internal problems going on when this season began (hence, the fact that it didn't begin until mid-October of 2000, whereas every other season began in late-September).


That was actually because of the Olympics, which were from Sept. 15-Oct.1 (which NBC carried). All of the major networks held their premieres until October so they wouldn't have to compete with it. Though I'm sure the cast and crew didn't mind the extra time given the issues.

Season 7 is also my least favorite season. The jokes were weak and felt forced, and watching Perry at times was painful. I still cringe when I see a rerun of the premiere. Ugh. Just uninspired and all over the place. I also loathed "TOW the Truth About London." While the sentiment was sweet at the end (and I did enjoy the visual gag of Joey in the fat suit), I hated how they had to throw an unnecessary wrench into Mondler's relationship and once again hammer home the tired plot point that "everyone wants to sleep with Joey and no one wants Chandler!"

Edited by mwolf, Dec 23, 2011 @ 9:37 PM.


#7

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Posted Dec 23, 2011 @ 10:34 PM

I think the first half of season 7 is extremely good. I especially love episodes
like TOW Rachel's Book and TOW The Nap Partners. I didn't like the second half
of the season when MP was in rehab and barely on, imo the show suffers without
him. Also hated how Rachel had to steal the focus at Mondler's wedding. Pisses
me off every time I watch it. Do love TOW The Vows, love the fact that it's a
Mondler flashback episode.



Technically, Phoebe's the one who stole the attention. Rachel was keeping quiet about it and tried to downplay it as much as she could but Phoebe wouldn't let it go.

#8

MartyD82

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Posted Dec 24, 2011 @ 8:22 AM

ITA with MWolf about TOW The Truth About London. I like the tag scene with Joey looking (and acting) like Fred Flintstone/Ralph Cramden, but otherwise, I can't stand that ep. It really didn't gel with the actual London plot IMO (especially given Chandler's sporadic flirting with Monica during S4) and was very sloppily paced. Like the writers were out of ideas, so they decided, "Hey, let's revisit the London ep AGAIN and retcon the M/C moment, so that we can make Chandler even more of a pathetic mess."

Plus, Perry looked way too different by then for the flashback to really be believable. And the hotel room set in the episode was inferior to the one used in the actual London eps.

Edited by MartyD82, Dec 24, 2011 @ 8:23 AM.


#9

MartyD82

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Posted Dec 31, 2011 @ 7:15 PM

Anybody have anything more to add about this season? Such as, say, Joey's weird stint with the more-than-twenty-years-older Susan Sarandon?

#10

TimeMonkey

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Posted Dec 31, 2011 @ 10:13 PM

I liked that, we could tell that Joey really likes her.

#11

VyrginiaW

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Posted Dec 31, 2011 @ 10:42 PM

Many people seem to have an issue with that but, while I've never been much for Susan Sarandon, I liked it. It was disappointing that it only lasted one episode, but I liked that Joey had a moment of humanity in this season where he was mostly a perv who didn't have enough IQ points to make a spark.

#12

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 7:57 AM

I liked that Joey had a moment of humanity in this season where he was mostly a perv who didn't have enough IQ points to make a spark.


I was annoyed that they went to the "Susan Sarandon says something about 'owning a room', Joey doesn't get it" well what felt like about 37 times. He misunderstands other things she says, stupidly (he really thinks she's breaking up with him because she has to go film a movie at the nearby airport?), but the 'own the room' thing bothers me because it's about sex, and when sex is involved, Joey is usually Rain Man. For him to misunderstand obvious come-ons as being about real estate...ugh. I agree that it gave him a moment of humanity, but if anything, he's dumber in this episode than in most. Can't-learn-French level dumb.

I also don't get Susan Sarandon's much-ballyhooed sex appeal---even when she was young, she always looked like somebody's grandma to me, and I can't imagine anyone wanting to have sex with her, least of all Joey---but I agree she did a good job in this episode. Is Susan Sarandon the biggest-name guest star they ever got without a personal connection to one of the cast members (like Brad Pitt's or Bruce Willis's)? I'd say she's right up there with Sean Penn.

On the other hand..."You're not mad at the room." His British accent. His fight with Ross about how a brain transplant would work. ("Why is this so hard for you to get? I thought you were a scientist!"), and, of course, Ross's plot in that episode, which is one of my favourites ever. "Why is your family Scottish?" / "Why is your family Ross?"

#13

VyrginiaW

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 12:00 PM

I love 'You're not mad at the room!'

I never thought the over did the misunderstanding of 'owning the room', I thought it was rather amusing. Except I do agree that it was odd he didn't get it the time she used it as a sexual reference.

#14

MartyD82

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 1:26 PM

I agree that Sarandon's acting was actually quite good during her whole arc. I also love, "Why does your family have to be Scottish? | Why does your family have to be Ross?" This is one of those rare post-S4 moments where Ross's overblown geekiness actually made me laugh instead of getting on my nerves.

On the other hand, I can't stand the Nap Partners episode. Mostly because Ross really irritates me in it. Plus, given how un-guyish he usually is, it seems a little uncharacteristic of him to be that excited about Die Hard.

I also can't stand the Joey/Ross/Crystal plot in [I forget which episode]. It was totally embarassing to see two 30+ year old men act like jealous 13 year olds at that restaurant. And why did the writers keep pushing the "Ross married a lesbian" jokes?

Not to mention that this season hosts the dullest Thanksgiving episode ever. The other Thanksgiving eps usually have interesting plots and more carefully-crafted comedy (or, at least, a cool guest star like Brad Pitt). This, on the other hand, just seemed like another random "What Episode." With the main plot (Chandler not liking dogs) being ridiculously boring. Though, to be fair, I guess I can't really hold this episode's quality against the cast and writers, given how burned out they were at this time. Plus "1450 SAT's | 1250! | Damn, I forgot you were here" was admittedly funny.

Edited by MartyD82, Jan 1, 2012 @ 1:31 PM.


#15

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 4:01 PM

Plus, given how un-guyish he usually is, it seems a little uncharacteristic of him to be that excited about Die Hard.


I understand that these kinds of holes and overlaps can be tough to avoid in such a long-running series, especially one that likes to stunt-cast, but something rubs me the wrong way about them loving Die Hard, starring a certain neat guy. The Die Hard thing is established before Paul shows up, I believe, but it shouldn't have been brought back for TOW The Nap Partners---they should've used a movie that didn't star someone who'd been on their own show.

#16

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 4:49 PM

Even if this season was corny I still prefer it over the first two.
This season also gave us this awesome scene, one of the best ever.
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=IQicfUjVVqU

Edited by blaase, Jan 1, 2012 @ 5:25 PM.


#17

MartyD82

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 9:15 PM

I understand that these kinds of holes and overlaps can be tough to avoid in such a long-running series, especially one that likes to stunt-cast, but something rubs me the wrong way about them loving Die Hard, starring a certain neat guy. The Die Hard thing is established before Paul shows up, I believe, but it shouldn't have been brought back for TOW The Nap Partners---they should've used a movie that didn't star someone who'd been on their own show.


Let alone the fact that this "neat guy" was Ross's mortal enemy for a while. It actually would've made for a funny inside joke if Joey and Chandler were big into Die Hard, and Ross said something like, "Eh, I used to love that movie. But, during these last couple months, I just kind of grew tired of it."

Getting into Phoebe's renovated apartment, to be honest, I actually liked her original color scheme better. Also, I don't think the renovation was entirely a creative decision by the writers. I think what happened was:

In S6, the writers decided they wanted to show Phoebe's apartment more often, being that we always saw M/R C/J and Ross's apartments, but had to deal with the problem that it hadn't been shown since S3's TOW The Hypnosis Tape (and was only shown, I think, one or two times before that). So they probably felt weird reusing that dusty old set in its original form (ie. it probably seemed worn and stale). The Pottery Barn episode was probably made, because the writers figured sprucing up her apartment with all that fancy furniture would make it seem a little more "fresh." It didn't, so they decided, "What the heck, let's just repaint her whole apartment, get her all new furniture, and start off on a clean slate." And, hence, that awful pale-yellow paint job.

Edited by MartyD82, Jan 1, 2012 @ 9:17 PM.


#18

VyrginiaW

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Posted Jan 1, 2012 @ 10:12 PM

In S6, the writers decided they wanted to show Phoebe's apartment more often, being that we always saw M/R C/J and Ross's apartments, but had to deal with the problem that it hadn't been shown since S3's TOW The Hypnosis Tape (and was only shown, I think, one or two times before that). So they probably felt weird reusing that dusty old set in its original form (ie. it probably seemed worn and stale). The Pottery Barn episode was probably made, because the writers figured sprucing up her apartment with all that fancy furniture would make it seem a little more "fresh." It didn't, so they decided, "What the heck, let's just repaint her whole apartment, get her all new furniture, and start off on a clean slate." And, hence, that awful pale-yellow paint job.


See, I never saw it like that, I saw it as a little cheaper than that. To me I always felt that it didn't really have anything to do with the set, rather the placing of the Friends. Just like bringing in Phoebe's invisible roommate and then suddenly getting rid of her to bring in Rachel, I felt that burning the apartment down and then having it remodeled was their way of forcing Rachel into living with Joey. I always figured that they decided using Phoebe's apartment so often wasn't working because there were too many sets involved so they moved Rachel in with Joey and just never showed Phoebe's new apartment again until basically Mike showed up.

#19

MartyD82

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Posted Jan 2, 2012 @ 9:03 AM

Even if this season was corny I still prefer it over the first two.
This season also gave us this awesome scene, one of the best ever.
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=IQicfUjVVqU


Love that scene! Although one thing I can't help noticing is how scruffy David Schwimmer was starting to look at around this time.

#20

MartyD82

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Posted Jan 3, 2012 @ 5:45 PM

I really like Phoebe's plot with David in TOW All The Cheesecakes. I thought that was really sweet, and a nice break from the mean/selfish Phoebe of most of the other episodes this season. Although I agree with most that David was a much better match for S1-S4 Phoebe than he was for S5+ Phoebe. Hence the more snarky and confident Mike stealing his thunder two seasons later.

#21

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Posted Jan 7, 2012 @ 12:46 PM

Despite my love of Paul Rudd, I never liked Mike and always wanted Phoebe to end up with David. TOW All the Cheesecakes has to be one of my favorite episodes ever--and not just because I think the Phoebe/David stuff is really wonderful. I also enjoy the Joey/Phoebe dynamic, and I love the Rachel/Chandler story.

As a whole, I think season seven is pretty entertaining (though I haven't seen it in its entirety in quite some time). I like the lead-up to Mondler's wedding, and the lack of Ross/Rachel drama (with the exception of the season premiere, I guess). It's not my favorite season by any means, but it's not the worst, either.

#22

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Posted Jan 13, 2012 @ 11:30 PM

This season started off really shaky, but it settled back in quickly to me and I like it a lot. I agree that the Mondler wedding lead-up was good, and I like all the episodes with Rachel and Joey as roomates. This is the only season where I like Ross the whole way through, too.

"TOW The Cheesecakes" is great, I agree. Kudrow was so good in it, especially the scene when she was crushed that David left. I also like Chandler and Rachel's scenes and am curious to what they talked about whenever they had lunch!

This season was great for Rachel. Aniston looked like she was really having fun, she got rid of the extensions,a nd she was practically glowing in every episode. I sort of liked Rachel/Tag because Tag was IMO more interesting than Joshua, but I reallly wish Rachel hadn't picked Tag as her assistant, then dated him later. I get why she did it and the writers obviously did that for mroe drama and episode ideas, but I would've preferred if Rachel had picked the woman, then told Tag she could help him job hunt and that would lead to them hanging out and/or dating. It would have been better than seeing Rachel be territorial over Tag in the office and sniffing his clothes, at least to me.

Something I noticed while watching "TOW Joey's Award" (one of my favorites in the season) was that while Rachel and Joey were getting ready for the show, they both looked very relaxed, and they took time out to talk to Ross and joke around about his problem when he came in. It was the polar opposite of R/R stressing each other out in "TOW No One's Ready". That's more proof to me that Rachel/Joey were much more compatible than R/R. I like the rest of the episode too, since it showed that Rachel was always supportive of Joey's career and I love how comfortable and honest they were with each other.

"TOW Monica and Chandler's Wedding" had a great mix of comedy and drama. Chandler leaving before the wedding doesn't bother me because his parents got divorced when he was young and his upbringing might have been one of the things that made him closed off to relationships, because he knew that getting married to anyone would mean he'd risk becoming either of his parents. So the finale was an interesting exploration of his character, IMO, and it all worked out in the end (Phoebe's line that Monica might not even notice Chandler was missing had me rolling, but unfortunately that became true in two seasons.) I also like that Ross was the one to bring Chandler back, and how he did it. It showed his parenting/teaching skills and showed us how much Ross cared about Chandler and Monica. Phoebe digging through the trash to hand Rachel tissues was gross-out humor, but I thought that was hilarious, and a good lead in to the pregnancy reveal. Then the wedding itself was lovely and I LOVE Mondler's vows, very touching and they were a perfect blend of great acting and writing. It was a great way to end the season, though it was kind of a nnoying that we had to cut over to Rachel's face for another cliffhanger. I would have revealed her as the pregnant one before the wedding started, then ended the season with a wide shot of the group celebrating Mondler's marriage.

Edited by manbearwig, Jan 13, 2012 @ 11:37 PM.


#23

MartyD82

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Posted Jan 14, 2012 @ 3:47 PM

Phoebe digging through the trash bugs me, because it seems so odd even for her.

#24

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Posted Jan 14, 2012 @ 6:10 PM

Phoebe grew up on the street, digging through trash is probably second nature to her.

#25

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Posted Jan 25, 2012 @ 3:42 AM

Watching Matthew Perry in that first episode after the proposal was just so sad.....he really looked sick and was so not there. I wonder if he's ever mentioned anything about his performance in that episode? I know he mentioned he was sick....but it's painful to watch him. That scene where Monica and Chandler are making out, Courteney Cox actually looks bigger than him. It's such a hard episode to watch and then later on when he was in rehab....I wish the show had explained some reason that Chandler wasn't there when it seemed like it would have been a good scene for him to be in. My first thought is the scene with Monica and Ross' cousin. Monica is helping to uncircumsize His fiancee is making a "turtleneck" for his best friend....I really wish they had waited on that storyline for when Matthew Perry was healthy because I could see Chandler having some awesome lines. I'm glad he's healthy now and he looked very good during the wedding. It's just that first episode of the season was painful.....

#26

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 3:16 AM

I'm sort of lukewarm on season 7. There were a couple episodes I liked, Monica and Chandler's wedding and TWWT engagement picture were standouts, but overall this was sort of a forgettable season to me.

I have to chime in on the reason the season got started later. I know there was some questions about the show continuing but it started in mid October becuase of the Olympics. They were held in Australia and becuase of that were held in late september - early october. Most of television began later than usual that year.

#27

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Posted Sep 25, 2012 @ 10:13 PM

So, TOW Chandler's Dad is on Nick at Nite right now, and I had forgotten how much I didn't like the B plot with Rachel with Monica's Porsche. I know Monica could be controlling and anal, but it was proven she was right about Rachel, in terms of driving. And she drove the car without a license, to boot.

Yeah, yeah, comedy. I know. But it brought out the entitled streak that Rachel had and I never ever liked that. While it may be unfair the rest of the gang got to drive her car and Rachel didn't, Monica had her reasons, but Rachel did what she wanted, anyway.

#28

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Posted Sep 26, 2012 @ 1:54 AM

I think the first half of season 7 is extremely good.

Surprised there was no mention of the one in which Chandler, Monica, and Ross all spill each other's secrets. That's one of my favorites for season seven.

#29

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Posted Sep 26, 2012 @ 10:52 AM

So, TOW Chandler's Dad is on Nick at Nite right now, and I had forgotten how much I didn't like the B plot with Rachel with Monica's Porsche.


I watched that episode too, and I feel the same way. I never liked flirty Rachel; she just makes my skin crawl, and I really hated all of her scenes with the police officer. Ross was almost as annoying.
That said, I really liked Chandler in this episode. Matthew Perry was always so good with those poignant scenes, as when he's inviting his dad to the wedding. I could have watched an entire episode just with Chandler and Helena Handbasket.

#30

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Posted Sep 28, 2012 @ 8:18 AM

Ross was definitely justified in his freaking out over Rachel driving, but he acted soooooooo obnoxious that I actually was fairly satisfied when he got his come-uppance at the end.