The One Hundredth
|"The One Hundredth"|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Kevin S. Bright|
|Written by||David Crane & Marta Kauffman|
|Original air date||October 8, 1998|
"The One Hundredth" (also known as "The One With The Triplets") is the third episode of Friends' fifth season and 100th episode overall. It first aired on the NBC network in the United States on October 8, 1998. Continuing from the previous episode, the group arrive at the hospital after Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) goes into labor. Meanwhile, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) tries to set Monica (Courteney Cox) and herself up with two male nurses, which causes problems between Monica and Chandler (Matthew Perry).
The episode was directed by Kevin S. Bright and co-written by series creators David Crane & Marta Kauffman. The producers wanted to mark the landmark episode with a major event, choosing to bring a culmination to Phoebe's surrogacy storyline. Earlier scripts had the character insistent on keeping hold of the babies, with the writers later deciding it would be better off having a sendoff, to keep it dramatic. In its original broadcast on NBC, "The One Hundredth" acquired a 17.7 Nielsen rating, finishing the week ranked second and received good reviews since airing.
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Ross (David Schwimmer) arrive at the hospital, where Phoebe tells the nurse at the desk that she is in labor. In Phoebe’s hospital room, Ross and Rachel enter with bad news: her doctor fell and hit her head in the shower, meaning she's unable to make it to the birth. The replacement doctor, Dr. Harad assures Phoebe that she's in good hands, until he spontaneously declares his admiration for Fonzie, from Happy Days several times. Phoebe demands that Ross goes and find her another doctor, but when the replacement is too young for her liking, Dr. Harad returns. She moreover begs Rachel to talk to her brother Frank, and convince him to let her keep one of the triplets, after having second thoughts over the surrogate process. In the delivery room, Phoebe gives birth to two girls and a boy. Rachel breaks the news to Phoebe that she won’t be able to keep one of the babies. She asks her friends to leave, in order to have a moment alone with the triplets.
Rachel informs Monica (Courteney Cox) that she has managed to find two male nurses who would be willing to go out on a date with either of them. Monica declines the offer at first, not wanting to jeopardize her secret relationship with Chandler (Matthew Perry) but when he assumes she is willing to go out with nurse Dan, Monica decides to date him after all. Chandler in response asks a female nurse to go out on a date with him; she declines immediately, adding to his embarrassment. After Phoebe gives birth, Chandler approaches Monica in a hallway to ask if she is really going to date Dan. She replies to him that since both of them are just "goofing around", she figured why not "goof around" with Dan too; Chandler asks if Monica had checked up the term in the dictionary, noting the technical definition is “two friends who care a lot about each other, and have amazing sex, and just want to spend more time together”. Monica, smitten by Chandler's words, kisses him and goes to call off her date with Dan.
Meanwhile, Joey is in a hospital room of his own, where a doctor informs him that he's suffering from kidney stones. As they're too close to his bladder, Joey is given two options: wait until he passes them naturally, or have a procedure, which he finds too invasive. Opting for the former, he gives 'birth' to the kidney stones, concurrent with Phoebe’s birth.
"The One Hundredth" was co-written by show creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman and directed by Kevin S. Bright. The episode takes place in a hospital, meaning none of the usual filming sets were used, thus surprising several members of the audience. Crane commented that the hundred episode was a "big milestone" for the series and to mark the major event, Lisa Kudrow's character Phoebe would give birth to triplets. This brought a culmination to the surrogacy story arc, which began in the fourth season; it was developed to accommodate Lisa Kudrow's real life pregnancy. When Kudrow accepted the surrogate mother storyline, the idea of having more than one baby was "comically funny" to Kauffman, and giving birth to triplets or "their brother's children" was something never seen on television. Phoebe's pregnancy gave the writers incredible license for her to "be just outrageously mean and still have it be funny". In order to prepare for the labor and birthing scenes, Kauffman watched a video of her cousin giving birth.
In earlier drafts of the episode, the idea of Phoebe keeping one of the babies was more extreme. The writers decided instead they were better off having the character saying goodbye to keep it dramatic. The birth scenes were recorded in advance to deal with light sensitivity and noise issues. Heidi Beck, a professional nurse was retained; she acquired a stop watch for every minute the baby was under the light. Real life triplets were used and coated with grape jelly as an alternative to vernix. In the final scene, dolls were employed as it was filmed in front of the studio audience.
The main subplot involved Monica and Chandler discussing their relationship. The writers felt they needed an additional subplot, involving Joey going through a parallel experience to Phoebe's pregnancy—the difference being him "giving birth" to a kidney stone. This meant doing research on the condition, finding it "really disturbing stuff". Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry had a difficult time filming the prognosis scene as actor Iqbal Theba, who played Joey's doctor, pronounced 'kidney stone' in a humorous manner.
In its original American broadcast, "The One Hundredth" finished second in ratings for the week of October 5–11, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 17.7. It was the second-highest rated show on the NBC network that week after ER. In the United Kingdom the episode premiered on Sky1 on January 21, 1999 and was watched by 2.17 million viewers, making the program the most watched on the channel that week.
Entertainment Weekly rated the episode "B", in its review of the fifth season. It criticized the "Arthur Fonzarelli-obsessed obstetrician," plot, though going on to praise Phoebe's "sweet interaction" with the newborn babies. Robert Bianco of USA Today felt the episode made use of the entire ensemble, noting "Phoebe's predictably and humorously off-center response to labor" being the highlight. Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide disapproved of Ribisi's performance, adding "Ultimately, “One Hundredth” had some good moments, but it wasn’t a great episode."
"The One Hundredth" was Kudrow's favorite episode of the series. She liked the episode as "it was nice that Phoebe could play such a big part in something as momentous as the 100th episode".
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- Bright, Kevin S. (July 15, 2003). Commentary for "The One Hundredth" [Friends: The Complete Fifth Season] (DVD). Warner Home Video.
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