Warner Bros. // 1992 // 156 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 26th, 2006
"Every day is lesbian lover day!"
For the rabid Friends completist, this baby's for you.
Ahhh, Friends, how my reactions to you are mixed. One part of me enjoys settling into one of the syndicated shows rerunning on any one of a three quarters of a million networks and bask in the sharp writing and casual sex. After prolonged exposure, though, the other part of me grows annoyed with the cutesy mannerisms, the syrupy soap opera-ness, and the over-exuberant studio audience. That's my full disclosure aspect of the review.
Friends -- The One With all the Babies is a compilation disc featuring five episodes pulled from the 10-season run that deal with giving birth and babies and all that fun, schmaltzy sitcom fodder that goes with it.
Here's the breakdown:
* "The One with the Birth"
Season One -- 5/11/95
Ross (David Schwimmer) is tripping out as his son, Ben, is about to be born to his ex-wife Carol and her lesbian lover, Susan. He and Susan clash repeatedly, and their incessant bickering leads to an intervention by Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), who, haplessly, ushers them into a janitor's closet where they find themselves locked in. Meanwhile, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) helps a single mother (Leah Remini) give birth and Chandler (Matthew Perry) makes some smartass remarks.
An okay show, though the locked-in-the-janitor's-closet was pretty
unoriginal. Joey's gig with Remini was entertaining enough and the
Rachel-flirting-with-doctor routine paid off some solid yuks.
* "The One with the Baby on the Bus"
Season Two -- 11/2/95
When Ross has to go to the hospital, Joey and Chandler are left to watch Ben. They soon find out that a baby is an instant babe magnet, and while sitting on a city bus, they catch the eyes of two beautiful women, one of whom is Catherine Bell. Understandably distracted, the guys realize they left the baby on the bus and scramble to the department of child services to track Ben down.
This is actually one of my favorite episodes of the series, with the frantic dialogue between Joey and Chandler in child services hilarious. E.g. "What kind of scary-ass clowns came to your birthday parties?" A
* "The One-Hundredth"
Season Five -- 10/8/98
For the 100th episode, Phoebe gives birth to the triplets she's been carrying for her brother (Giovanni Ribisi) and his wife (Debra Jo Rupp). While Phoebe deals with the pain and the overall discomfort of squirting three watermelon-sized human beings out of her cervix, Chandler and Monica (Courtney Cox) have a clandestine lovers' quarrel, and Ross helps Joey pass a kidney stone.
You know, there sure are a lot of births in this series, and to the writers'
credit, they manage to find crazier and crazier things to do in the confinement
of a hospital. Lots of wackiness here makes for an entertaining show.
* "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby"
Season Eight -- 5/16/02
The big seventh season cliffhanger finds its resolution here, on a two-part hour-long with Rachel finally relinquishing her baby (after hours and hours and hours) and Ross fretting about his future with her. Chandler and Monica debate their own plans for children, and Joey helps Phoebe land a date with an invalid.
The highlight of this mega-episode is Joey and Phoebe's subterfuge (Joey
portrays his soap-opera doctor persona). Chandler and Monica's baby talk
provides the necessary relationship grist, while the ever-present Ross/Rachel
tension makes a comeback. Weirdly, this is all culminates in one of the most
awkward and forced cliffhangers ever.
* "The One with the Male Nanny" (super-sized)
Season Nine -- 11/07/02
Freddie Prinze Jr. guest stars as an over-sensitive male nanny, hired by Ross and Rachel to watch Emma (that'd be the baby that was birthed in the above episode). Despite the nanny's impressive qualifications, Ross is uncomfortable with a man watching Emma and must risk uncontrollable weeping and fire him. Meanwhile, Chandler is jealous of Monica's coworker, who she dubs the "funniest guy in the world."
Yeah, this is probably my least-favorite episode on the disc. The crying
male nanny gag wears thin fast and the writers missed a great opportunity to
bring Chandler and his humor-nemesis together for what could have been a
supernova of sarcasm. No thanks.
What's nice about this disc is the inclusion of three commentary tracks, delivered by showrunners Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. They do their thing on "The One-Hundredth," "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby," and "The One with the Male Nanny" and talk about, among other things, the inspirations for the episodes, casting the guest stars, and formulating the stories. The only other aspect of note is the sound mix, an odd but appreciated Dolby Digital 5.0 surround mix.
If you have to possess every single Friends release ever, or, if you don't want to buy season sets and are content with picking up samplings like this, I'd recommend the disc. With the two extended offerings, you get a pile of Friends minutes to sift through, and there are some certifiable classic moments. Plus, the three commentary tracks are a most excellent addition. The series finale is conspicuously missing.
Not guilty. Back to the fountain with all of you.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 156 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Producers' Commentary