The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy
|"The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy"|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Gail Mancuso|
|Written by||Michael Curtis & Gregory S. Malins|
|Original air date||September 19, 1996|
"The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy" is the season premiere of the third season of the American and the 49th episode overall of television situation comedy Friends, which was broadcast on NBC on September 19, 1996. The plot has Ross (David Schwimmer) tell girlfriend Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) the titular fantasy. In subplots, Monica (Courteney Cox) tries to get over her break-up with Richard, while Joey (Matt LeBlanc) has to cope with Chandler's (Matthew Perry) annoying girlfriend Janice being around.
The episode was directed by Gail Mancuso, written by Michael Curtis and Gregory S. Malins and guest stars Maggie Wheeler as Janice and Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles in cameos as Jack and Judy Geller.
Monica tries to get over her breakup with Richard but she hasn't slept for three days. Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) tries to help her relax, but with minimal success. After she breaks down in tears at the post office her father comes to comfort her. At Rachel's request, Ross tells her one of his sexual fantasies: the scene from Return of the Jedi, where Princess Leia is in the gold bikini. He then gets upset when he finds out Rachel told Phoebe about the fantasy. Rachel tells Ross that girls tell each other everything, and she is surprised that guys don't do the same. He and Chandler later decide to try it, but Chandler overshares when he reveals that sometimes he sees his mother's face when he's with a woman.
Joey is annoyed to learn that Chandler has resumed his relationship with Janice and has no intention of breaking up with her this time. Janice decides what Joey needs to get over his intense dislike of her is some bonding time and the two spend the day together. At the end of the day, Joey still can't stand Janice but he pretends to like her for Chandler's sake. Rachel borrows a gold bikini outfit much like Princess Leia's to fulfill Ross's fantasy but, thanks to Chandler, Ross can't stop picturing his mother.
Entertainment Weekly rated the episode B+, positively reacting to the scenes in which Joey plays along with Wheel of Fortune and Ross learns women tell each other everything, calling the latter "a relatable, comedically rich concept". The Monica subplot is not so well received, with EW calling it "a drag". The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends describe it as "a pretty low-key opening to the season ... compared to season two's opener" and see the episode as the starting point for the season's "descent into soap opera". The producers received a letter of appraisal from George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, who congratulated them on the "great" Princess Leia fantasy.
- Sangster, Jim (2000). Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends (2nd ed.). London: Virgin Publishing Ltd. pp. 132–134. ISBN 0-7535-0439-1.
- Staff writer. (2001-09-15). "Review: Season 3 (1996–1997)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- Stallings, Penny (2000). The Ultimate Friends Companion. London: Channel 4 Books. p. 68. ISBN 0-7522-7231-4.