Warner Bros. // 2001 // 506 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Elizabeth Skipper (Retired) // February 2nd, 2005
That's it? You call that a fight? C'mon..."We were on a break." "No, we weren't!" What happened to you two?
We can thank Phoebe for that concise summary of exactly what went wrong in this eighth season of Friends: Ross and Rachel were not together, which is when they're cute and silly, but they were having a baby together, so neither were they apart, which is when they bicker hilariously. Instead, they were in some in-between place that just left the audience bored. And with Chandler and Monica married and Joey falling in love with Rachel, somewhere along the way the relatable and quirky humor that made Friends so famous got lost.
Season Eight of Friends takes place over 23 episodes:
* "The One After I Do"
You are both so lucky...you both said the right names, and nobody was drunk, and nobody was gay...and on your first try!
After the wedding, Monica squelches rumors that she's pregnant. And Rachel admits she is.
* "The One with the Red Sweater"
Joey, what would you do if someone that you slept with told you that she was pregnant?
Who called here? Did she sound blonde? Did she have an accent? I gotta make a call...I should've never walked into that Sunglass Hut!
Chandler loses the disposable cameras from the wedding, so he and Ross try to recreate the photos. Meanwhile, Monica tires of waiting for Chandler and opens all the presents without him. Rachel contemplates how to tell the father she's pregnant, and the gang discovers that it's Ross.
* "The One Where Rachel Tells..."
Ross: I think we should get married.
Rachel: Why, because that's your answer for everything?
Monica and Chandler go on their honeymoon. Rachel finally tells Ross she's pregnant.
* "The One with the Videotape"
Ross: It's not all bad. I'm learning to appreciate the small things, like the sound of a bird and the color of the sky.
Joey: The sky's blue, Ross, and I had sex yesterday.
Ross and Rachel disagree about what happened during their night together and Ross reveals that he recorded the whole thing.
* "The One with Rachel's Date"
Chandler Muriel Bing...Boy, your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?
Phoebe dates one of Monica's employees, making it difficult for Monica to fire him. Rachel dates one of Joey's costars and Ross is jealous.
* "The One with the Halloween Party"
Rachel: Monica, we need more candy.
Monica: What? There's been like four kids.
Rachel: I know, but one of them just said she loved me, so I gave her everything.
Monica: No wonder you're pregnant.
Phoebe runs into Ursula and learns she's getting married. When Phoebe meets her fiancé (Sean Penn, Mystic River), she's alarmed to realize she's attracted to him.
* "The One with the Stain"
Joey: Ross, you wanna go see that new IMAX movie on tide pools?
Joey: No...but I got Knicks tickets for you, me, and Chandler.
Ross: Sweet...and then afterwards, we can go to a strip joint.
Chandler hires a maid, but Monica thinks she's stealing from them. Ross tries to get Rachel an apartment in his building, although Joey doesn't want her to move. Phoebe dates Ursula's ex-fiancé.
* "The One with the Stripper"
All right, rock, paper, scissors who has to tell the whore to leave.
Chandler discovers Monica had a bachelorette party, so Monica makes it up to him by hiring a stripper. Rachel tells her dad she's pregnant and he confronts Ross in front of his girlfriend, Mona, who didn't know about the baby.
* "The One with the Rumor"
That's right, 'cause I'm a Tribbiani. This is what we do. We may not be great thinkers or world leaders. We don't read a lot or run very fast. But dammit, we can eat!
Monica invites a high-school friend (Brad Pitt, Troy) to Thanksgiving dinner, but it turns out he hates Rachel. Joey accepts Monica's challenge to eat an entire turkey.
* "The One with Monica's Boots"
She's the smartest of the Tribbiani children. You know the SATs? She took 'em.
Phoebe finds out Ross's son goes to school with Sting's son. Monica spends too much on a pair of boots. Joey learns his sister is pregnant.
* "The One with the Creepy Holiday Card"
I like things just the way they are. I'm finally in a relationship that's not moving too fast. Ordinarily, I'd be divorced by now.
Rachel's hormones are out of control. Mona asks Ross to send a joint holiday card.
* "The One Where Joey Dates Rachel"
Besides, I think I figured out a much faster route. I'm sure I can make it this time. I just can't be afraid to get a little bit hit by cars.
Rachel misses dating, so Joey takes her out. Phoebe buys Monica and Chandler an arcade game. Ross has trouble being on time for the new class he's teaching.
* "The One Where Chandler Takes a Bath"
Ross: I like 'Ruth.' What about 'Ruth'?
Rachel: Oh, I'm sorry, are we having an 89-year-old?
Joey has feelings for Rachel. Ross and Rachel debate names for the baby. Monica convinces Chandler to enjoy baths.
* "The One with the Secret Closet"
No uterus, no opinion.
Monica has a closet that Chandler has never seen. Phoebe finds out Monica has another masseuse. Ross is upset that he's missing out on parts of Rachel's pregnancy, so he asks Rachel to move in with him.
* "The One with the Birthing Video"
Gunther: Do you want anything?
Joey: You know what I want? I want a lot of things: I want to be with the woman I love on Valentine's Day. And I want her to love me back. And I want just one moment of relief from the gut-wrenching pain of knowing that's never gonna happen.
Gunther: We have red bagels.
Chandler accidentally watches a video of a birth. Joey misses Rachel. Mona finds out Rachel is living with Ross and she dumps him.
* "The One Where Joey Tells Rachel"
Ross: Sure, 'cause women never like Joey. You know, I think he's a virgin.
Ross freaks out when he finds out Joey likes Rachel. Phoebe meets Monica's soul mate. Joey tells Rachel he has feelings for her.
* "The One with the Tea Leaves"
I'm not great with advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?
Rachel tells Joey about a work problem to break the tension between them. Phoebe thinks the universe is telling her to date a creep.
* "The One in Massapequa"
Phoebe: Well, his name is Parker, and I met him at the dry cleaner.
Chandler: Ooh, did he put a little starch in your bloomers?...Who said that?!
The gang goes the Gellers' anniversary party, along with Phoebe's date (Alec Baldwin, The Cat in the Hat). Ross and Rachel pretend to be married.
* "The One with Joey's Interview"
Joey: You guys have to be at the next table so you can stop me if I start to say something stupid.
Ross: Just then, or all the time? Because we have jobs, you know.
Joey agrees to be interviewed by "Soap Opera Digest," which leads to a clip show.
* "The One with the Baby Shower"
I just bamboozled Chandler!...That's not a sexual thing.
Monica and Phoebe throw a baby shower for Rachel. Joey auditions to be a game-show host. Rachel's mom wants to move in with her to help with the baby.
* "The One with the Cooking Class"
Man, this is bad! And I've had my share of bad reviews. I still remember my first good one, though. "Everything else in this production of Our Town was simply terrible. Joey Tribbiani was abysmal."
Monica's restaurant receives a bad review. A woman flirts with Ross in front of Rachel and her jealousy makes him agree to stop dating. Phoebe helps Chandler prepare for a job interview.
* "The One Where Rachel is Late"
Ross: This is insane! I'm not gonna make love to you just so you'll go into labor!
Rachel: Make love? What are you, a girl?
Ross: A great way to get into a man's pants.
Rachel is anxious for the baby to be born. Joey takes Chandler to his premiere and Chandler falls asleep. Monica and Phoebe bet on when the baby will come.
* "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby"
Rachel: How many centimeters am I dilated? Eight? Nine?
Dr. Long: Three
Ross: Just three? I'm dilated three!
Rachel goes into labor and has to share a room. Monica and Chandler decide to start trying to have a baby. Phoebe meets a cute patient. Joey accidentally proposes to Rachel...and she accepts.
Some say it happened years ago when Ross and Rachel first got together or first broke up or got back together or broke up again. Others will tell you it happened when Chandler and Monica started their relationship. But I think it happened when Rachel got pregnant with Ross's baby. Yep, this eighth season is when Friends finally jumped the shark.
Now don't get me wrong, it was still funnier than most sitcoms being aired at the time, but it just wasn't the same. The moments of ridiculousness and hilarity were fewer and farther between and just couldn't compete with the moments of the past seasons. Sure, Ross and Chandler helping Joey rehearse for his audition as a game-show host made us laugh, but it can't even compare to Ross's game to decide if the boys or the girls knew each other best ("Rachel claims this is her favorite movie...Dangerous Liaisons...Correct. Her actual favorite movie is...Weekend at Bernie's"). And Thanksgiving dinner with Brad Pitt? Sure, he's cute, but he can't make up for a lack of "Geller Ball."
Of course, let's not forget that this season began belatedly after the tragedies of 9/11 and that we were all so glad to get back to a little normalcy that our previous standards were thrown out the window. We just wanted the warm fuzzies that Friends gave us. But when I watch the DVD now, far removed from the emotions of the time, I realize it really wasn't that good. At the time, I thought, like so many others said, that Friends was back to its glory days, here to help us heal. Now I realize I would have clung to anything that made me feel a little less stunned, and, while it served its purpose at the time, the season was nothing special.
"Nothing special" pretty well sums up the transfers for this DVD set as well. Though, that may sound a little harsher than I intend it to. What I mean is that the transfers don't stand out in any way, good or bad. They're "nothing special," but they're also perfectly adequate. The full-frame picture is crisp enough; the 5.0 Dolby Digital surround sound is clear enough; it's all good enough to ensure that your viewing experience won't be affected in any way by the audio and video tracks.
Fortunately for us fans, the extras on season eight fare a little better than "nothing special." Since the sixth season, they've taken my advice and included gag reels, which are, of course, quite funny. And the standard three audio commentaries with the producers are, as usual, informative enough that they're worth a listen. But the absolute best of the features included in this set is, surprisingly, "Joey's Game Show Challenge." I'm not sure why this is one is so much more entertaining than past trivia quizzes, but I couldn't stop playing. Maybe I just need to get out more.
How can you possibly complain about Friends after watching the drivel that passes for a sitcom otherwise? Even at its worst, it's still one of the few consistently entertaining and humorous shows in recent memory, so stop nitpicking!
There's not much here that would convince me to recommend you purchase this set instead of just enjoying the episodes in syndication. There is some additional footage, but nothing that wasn't rightfully cut in the first place. Unless you're collecting all the seasons, don't bother with anything more than a rental.
For serving its country in a time of mourning, season eight of Friends is granted an honorable discharge and is free to go.
Review content copyright © 2005 Elizabeth Skipper; 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: 506 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio Commentary with Executive Producer and Co-Creator Marta Kauffman, Executive Producer and Co-Creator David Crane, and Executive Producer Kevin Bright for "The One Where Rachel Tells...," "The One with the Videotape," and "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby"
* "Friends of Friends Part III"
* Gag Reel
* "Gunther Spills the Beans"
* "Joey's Game Show Challenge"
* Additional Footage
* Episode Previews
* Cast and Crew List