The One Where No One's Ready
|"The One Where No One's Ready"|
|Directed by||Gail Mancuso|
|Written by||Ira Ungerleider|
|Original air date||September 26, 1996|
"The One Where No One's Ready" is the second episode of the third season of the American television situation comedy Friends and 50th overall, which aired on NBC on September 26, 1996. The plot centers on Ross's (David Schwimmer) anxiety as his friends take too long getting ready for a function that evening.
The episode was written by Ira Ungerleider and directed by Gail Mancuso. It is a bottle episode, featuring only three speaking roles besides the central cast; occurs in real time; and takes place almost entirely in the living room of Monica and Rachel's apartment.
In the teaser segment, Chandler (Matthew Perry) encourages Joey (Matt LeBlanc) to drink from a glass in Monica (Courteney Cox)'s fridge that appears to contain cider. In actuality, it contains rendered chicken fat. After the credits, Ross (David Schwimmer) arrives to gather everyone together for an important function at his museum. No one is ready, despite only 22 minutes remaining for them to don their formal attire.
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) arrives at Monica's apartment fully dressed and ready to go, much to Ross's delight. However, during Joey and Chandler's argument, Joey accidentally flings hummus onto Phoebe's dress. She tries to ask Monica what gets out hummus, but Monica is too distracted with her own problems. Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) then tries to find something else for Phoebe to wear, but is unsuccessful. Phoebe eventually finds a Christmas ribbon meant to garnish a present in Rachel's room and wears that on her dress to cover the stain.
After Chandler comes back from the bathroom, he is dismayed to find that Joey took his chair while he was up. They argue over the chair until Ross orders Chandler to get dressed. When he does, Joey surrenders the chair but takes its cushions with him. Unbeknownst to him, Chandler has already taken his revenge by hiding all of Joey's underwear, forcing him to go commando in a rented tux. Joey promises to do the "opposite" of Chandler hiding his underwear, and emerges wearing everything Chandler owns (and still sans underwear). Ross finally steps in and bans them, and indeed everyone, from the function. Matt LeBlanc actually dislocated his shoulder when trying to jump into the chair. That is why he is wearing an arm sling in the next couple episodes.
When Monica returns, she checks her answering-machine messages and hears a message from her ex-boyfriend Richard (voice of Tom Selleck). She is unable to determine whether the message was left before or after they broke up (as depicted in the 2nd-season finale, two episodes ago). In a fit of insecurity, she breaks into his voicemail, and hears a message left by another woman, leading her to believe that Richard has already begun seeing someone else. Chandler suggests the woman might be Richard's daughter Michelle (uncredited voice role), and Monica confirms this by prank-calling her. Michelle calls her back, and Monica admits her indiscretions. She is unable to secure Michelle's silence on the matter, so she breaks into Richard's voicemail again to erase all his messages and record a new one. However, she deletes and re-record his outgoing message, humiliating herself.
Rachel is the only one almost ready to go, but she cannot decide on what to wear, trying Ross's patience. Eventually he snaps and yells at her in front of everyone, demanding that she pick out any outfit at all so that they can go. In response, Rachel emerges in sweats, having lost interest in attending the function. Ross, apologetic, asks what he can do to make it up to her, to which Joey suggests that he drink the glass of chicken fat. Ross agrees, but Rachel stops him just as the glass touches his lips. Overwhelmed by the depths of his love for her, she dresses in record time while Ross sorts out Joey and Chandler's argument, and Monica makes her final disastrous access to Richard's answering machine. Finally, she and Ross are the only ones in the apartment, with five seconds to spare. They kiss, but Rachel chivvies them out the door to make sure they are not late... but not before letting something slip: "I'm going commando too."
Over the credits, Prof. Sherman Whitfield (Peter Dennis) joins Ross's table to congratulate him. When Chandler returns, he declares that Whitfield is in his seat, culminating in his demanding the professor's underwear.
The bottle episode format of the series was conceived by executive producer Kevin S. Bright as a way of saving money for other episodes by using a single set and no guest stars. The success of this episode led to the format being used at least once per season thereafter, with episodes including "The One with Monica's Thunder" and "The One on the Last Night" being based solely around the six core cast. Bright believes these episodes were some of the best of the series. This is also the only episode of Friends to take place in "real time". The episode was filmed on September 5, 1996.
Entertainment Weekly notes that the episode "owes a large stylistic debt to Seinfeld", specifically citing the 1991 episode "The Chinese Restaurant", which also plays out in real time. It rates the episode C and calls the answering machine gag "derivative of George Costanza". The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends call it "forgettable"; "The script is dull and the performers seem to know it, with none of them trying particularly hard to make it work". Allmovie says it "stands out for the way it realistically portrays how group inertia can slow you down".
Popular reaction is more positive; the episode appeared on one of the first region 1 "best of" DVD releases and it was voted the third most popular episode in an NBC poll in 2004. Joey's use of the phrase "going commando," which originated in the U.S. on college campuses in the early 1970s, became a popular catchphrase, especially with sports-related media.
Part of this episode was recreated, line for line, in the video for Moonlight, a song from 4:44 by Jay-Z, featuring an all-black cast. The recreation is detailed - the setting, the shots and the costumes are the same - but the theme song is Friends by Whodini instead of I'll Be There for You by The Rembrandts. Jerrod Carmichael is Ross, Issa Rae is Rachel, Tiffany Haddish is Phoebe, Lakeith Stanfield is Chandler, Lil Rel Howery is Joey, and Tessa Thompson is Monica.
- Sangster, Jim; David Bailey (2000). Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends (2nd ed.). London: Virgin Publishing Ltd. pp. 135–137. ISBN 0-7535-0439-1.
- Bright, Kevin S. (2005). Friends: Final Thoughts (DVD). New Wave DVD and Warner Home Entertainment.
- Visual reference (2005). Friends: Final Thoughts (DVD). New Wave DVD and Warner Home Entertainment.
- Staff writer. (2001-09-15). "Review: Season 3 (1996–1997)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- Collar, Matt (n.d.). "Friends: The One Where No One's Ready (TV episode)". Allmovie (at answers.com). Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- "Warner Home Video Brings the Emmy-Winning TV Show FRIENDS To DVD and VHS for the First Time on December 19" (Press release). Time Warner. 2000-11-14. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- Staff writer (2004-05-03). "The one with the best of 'Friends'". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- Elahe Izadi (Aug 6, 2017). "Jay-Z's "Moonlight" music video does more than simply show "Friends" with an all-black cast". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved Aug 12, 2017.