The One with the Proposal
|"The One with the Proposal"|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Kevin S. Bright|
|Written by||Scott Silveri & Shana Goldberg-Meehan (Part 1)
Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen (Part 2)
|Production code||225573 (Part 1)
225574 (Part 2)
|Original air date||May 18, 2000|
"The One with the Proposal" is a double length episode of the television situation comedy Friends. It first aired on May 18, 2000, as the finale to the sixth season. It is normally transmitted as a whole episode in a one-hour slot, but when it is split for a half-hour slot the episodes are differentiated by having the title suffixed with Part One and Part Two. The episode was selected for Volume 4 of the "Best of Friends" DVD series, and when the series left the air in 2004, several articles and viewer polls included this episode as one of the 10 best of the series' 236 episodes.
Ross is being questioned by his friends about his relationship with Elizabeth (Alexandra Holden); mainly asking if the relationship is going anywhere. Ross quickly claims he and Elizabeth are great together, and his friends are all wrong...until he sees her having a water balloon fight with her buddies. Deciding she is too young, he breaks off the relationship. Afterward, Ross questions his decision, until Elizabeth confirms her immaturity by dropping water balloons on his head from her upstairs window.
Rachel takes Phoebe and Joey to a charity event helping children, including a silent auction. While Phoebe is obviously over-drinking (Phoebe: "The more I drink, the less there is for the kids to drink!"), Joey has bigger problems; misunderstanding the silent auction process, Joey thought that bidders guessed an item's worth, with the prize going to the person with the closest guess. (Rachel: Why would a charity give away a free boat? Joey: I don't know... charity?) Joey "guesses" $20,000 and "wins" a yacht. Rachel and Joey try to convince the next highest bidder to buy the boat, but in the process of persuading the man of the boat's virtues, Joey changes his mind and wants it for himself, although he can barely afford it.
After weeks of preparation, Chandler is ready to propose to Monica. While at a restaurant, Chandler begins his proposal however before he can ask the question Monica's ex-boyfriend Richard (Tom Selleck) walks in and the moment is lost. When the others come home from the charity event, they constantly ask to see Monica's hand, thinking Chandler proposed already. Feeling that Monica will figure out that Chandler plans to propose (Chandler: "Who walks into a room and asks to see a person’s hands?!"), Joey suggests that Chandler pretend he doesn't care about marriage and never wants to get married. Meanwhile Richard approaches Monica at work and declares his love for her.
The episode began with Richard telling Monica that he's never gotten over her and that he wants to marry and have children with her. Monica is left confused and when Chandler talks about how he hates marriage and can't see why anyone should get married she starts to feel unsure about their whole relationship. After Joey confirms to Monica that Chandler seemingly has no interest in getting married, Monica decides enough is enough and goes to meet Richard - she describes his apartment as "a grown-up's apartment" and talks to him about the unfairness of the situation. Joey meanwhile tells Chandler how his plan has backfired on him and he is now in serious danger of losing Monica for good, and he leaves on a frantic search intending to propose when he finds her. After Monica leaves Richard's apartment, Chandler comes and asks for Monica - he starts off by saying that Richard is a very bad man and he had his chances but he blew them. He also says that he and Monica are meant to be together and now Richard has blown Chandler's chances, revealing he'd intended to propose. Richard advises Chandler to go to Monica, warning that if he succeeds in winning her back, he must never let her go.
After searching all day, Chandler hurries back to his apartment and when he gets there, Joey meets him in the hall, claiming Monica has left him because of his commitment issues. When Chandler enters their apartment, afraid of Monica actually leaving, he discovers that it's far from being abandoned, there are candles lit all over and Monica is kneeling to propose. In the midst of proposing to Chandler, she cries from sheer emotion, saying, "There's a reason why girls don't do this!" Instead, Chandler gets on his knees and proposes to her and Monica says yes. They then open the door to Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe, who have been waiting to celebrate. At first, they hesitate, feeling Ross should be there to share the moment, then decide that after three marriages, Ross can afford to miss one engagement celebration. End credits play while Monica and Chandler dance to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight."
According to the producers' DVD commentary for this episode, the original plot for Ross was to have Elizabeth announce that she was pregnant, ultimately resolving at the end of the following season when it would be revealed that Ross was not the father of the baby. This idea was ultimately rejected by the producers since it would be investing a lot of time in a secondary character without a payoff. It would have also have been difficult to use the cliffhanger for Rachel's pregnancy.
Sources suggest that David Schwimmer was actually out of the country filming Band of Brothers when the final scenes of the episode were filmed, hence why Ross is not there when the friends hug Monica and Chandler on hearing their announcement.
The producers decided to end the episode on a romantic moment rather than the usual joke. They also took care over the script before approaching Selleck to return as Richard, as the actor would only return if it seemed feasible.
The episode very nearly served as the series finale, given that NBC and Warner Bros. were in negotiations over the show's future up until four days before the episode aired. The series' stars demanded $750,000 salary for each actor per episode and agreed to a contract for two additional seasons, an agreement that later stretched into a further two seasons at $1 million salary for each of the stars.
Awards and nominations
- Highlights from television’s most popular sitcom’s 10 memorable season," The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), May 6, 2004, page F1.
- Michael Pritchard. "Here's an overview of the best 'Friends' episodes," The Press of Atlantic City (NJ), May 2, 2004, page G1 (named as #6 in NBC's viewer poll of the 10 best episodes).
- Chip Chandler. "Some 'Friends' episodes you will never forget," Amarillo Globe-News (TX), May 2, 2004: "One of the series' most emotionally satisfying episodes... ."
- Karla Peterson. "Friends, indeed: Ten years ago, no one told us it was gonna be this way - now our Thursday-night pals, with all their warmth and warts, must leave TV," San Diego Union-Tribune (CA), May 3, 2004, page D1.
- Jae-Ha Kim & Phil Rosenthal. "The ones we remember: In a look back at a decade of love and laughs, what stands out are a football that siblings fought over, a ring placed on Monica's finger and the night Rachel found her lobster," Chicago Sun-Times (IL), May 5, 2004, page 64.
- Friends Season 6 DVD audio commentary.
- Phil Rosenthal. "No turning back: These six threatened to leave us many times over the decade, but now it's their day, their week, their month -- heck, even their year," Chicago Sun-Times, May 6, 2004
- Gonzalez, Sandra (9 December 2016). "26 Great TV 'I Love You's - Monica to Chandler/Chandler to Rachel in The One With the Proposal on Friends". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Associated Press. "'Sopranos,' 'West Wing' lead Emmy nods," The Dallas Morning News, July 23, 2000, page 6C.