S01 E16 - TOW Two Parts
TOW George Clooney and Chandler, the Sexual Predator
In this MEGA-episode, we squeeze two reviews into one by reviewing both parts of TOW Two Parts at once! It's a whirlwind of two-part cocktails, two-part shows, and even a plaid shirt that's worn by two people!
SIGNATURE BEVERAGE: THE COCKTAIL WITH TWO PARTS
There wasn't a prominent cocktail-inspiring theme for this episode, so we looked to the title: TOW Two Parts. What better way to pay homage to FRIENDS' first two-parter than with a two-parter cocktail? We decided to go off on our own to raid our respective liquor cabinets, then reconvene and discuss the cocktails we made. The rules: two ingredients, equal parts of each. (This makes Elizabeth very happy, and Heather a little bored.)
Elizabeth was feeling a bit dark and brooding, so she made herself a bourbon and amaretto. It turns out that this is an actual cocktail called The Godfather. Who knew? Apparently it was originally made with equal parts whisky and amaretto, but many folks like to dial down the sweetness (like the person who made the recipe we linked to above). Elizabeth stuck to the 50/50 ratio in the spirit of the episode. So we're calling Elizabeth's version...
1 part Breckenridge Reserved
1 part Disaronno
Heather ended up playing on the lighter side of the spectrum, and chose a refreshing gin and elderflower concoction. She bent the rules a little bit in order to satisfy her palate, and added a splash of olive brine and some skewered olives. Her friend Joyce inspired this combination, so we're calling it...
1 part Tamiami Gin
1 part St. Germaine
Splash olive brine
Olives (for garnish)
In Part One, we've only got a handful of food content. The episode opens with Joey and Chandler dining at Riff's, the fictional restaurant from Mad About You that Phoebe's twin sister, Ursula, works at. It's nice (especially for Lisa Kudrow) that they could make that connection, given that the shows were on the same network. Chandler is so hungry that he tells Joey, "If you were a cartoon, you would be looking like a ham now."
Next up, the gang is eating Chinese takeout at the girls' place, and Rachel's the only one using a plate. And where are our chopstick-fork-knife thingees?
POPCORN AND LEMONADE
After that, we've only got a snippet of popcorn (and Phoebe playing forlornly with hers on Monica's living room table) and Ross drinking what we think is Snapple lemonade. We guess that Monica let the former's uncouth behavior slide, given Phoebe's dreary mood.
The first part closes out with Mr. Heckles eating a cookie while he complains about the noisy girls upstairs (unbeknownst to him, Rachel is actually dangling in front of his rear window.) We can't tell if it's chocolate chip, oatmeal, or other, but we can definitely see that Heckles is cranky.
Pound cake and Danishes
Part Two kicks off with the guys at Central Perk. Joey looks like he's eating pound cake, while Ross and Chandler's pastry items are considerably flatter -- danishes, perhaps? Ross seems to be drowning his anxiety about becoming a parent in as much sugar as possible.
THE RAINBOW ROOM
Next up, Joey asks about the Rainbow Room. We've never been, but the place is an NYC institution. We're sure that some people think it's totally cliché, but one look at its opulence was enough to convince us to put it on our list the next time we're in the Big Apple. It turns out that the original Rainbow Room closed in 2009, but reopened again in 2014 under new ownership and with a whole new design that emphasized elegance and romance.
We wondered if it'd been featured in any TV shows or films, but can't find reference to it anywhere. However, there are loads of other NYC hotspots for TV and film buffs to check out!
From literally the first millisecond that he's on screen, Clooney oozes his seemingly effortless class. He doesn't say that Budweiser makes all the difference. Or that Taco Bell makes all the difference. No. To George Timothy Clooney, saffron makes all the difference. Mmm.
Chips, Chips, and ... chips
It's Phoebe's birthday party, and perhaps Monica's just on strike from cooking after her nightmare restaurant interview, but regardless ... we've got way too many chips happening in this scene. We've got potato chips. We've got tortilla chips (and salsa). We've even got "dip chips" -- whatever those are! To go along with all these chips, we've got loads of dippy-looking things around the kitchen table.
A LEMON SMUSH CAKE
Poor Ross. He can't get laid, his monkey is out of control, and he's panicking about being a father. So when he's greeted at the door with an ear-splitting, "SURPRISE!!," it's no wonder he drops Phoebe's birthday cake. Phoebe makes the best of it, though -- the letters are smushed, but she assumes that "P-he" is just a fun new nickname! Too bad Monica's a traditional chef, and not a pastry chef -- because then she really would have special cake tools!
The miracle of sun-dried tomatoes
Out for dinner with his dad, Ross is confiding in him about the anxieties of becoming a father for the first time. However, Mr. Geller can only wax poetic about sun-dried tomatoes. “I tell you one thing, I wouldn’t mind having a piece of this sun-dried tomato business," he says. "Five years ago, if someone had said to me, here’s a tomato that looks like a prune, I would have said get out of my office.” Now what's really ironic is that just a few years later, Monica makes fun of Chandler for liking sun-dried tomatoes. Who knew the sun-dried tomato craze would be so short-lived?
A WINE JOKE THAT NO ONE UNDERSTANDS
We've been trying to figure out why this joke -- that the wine the doctors bring to the girls' apartment for their date is from the cellars of Ernest and Tova Borgnine -- is funny. Clooney delivers the line, everyone has a laugh ... we just don't get it. If you do, PLEASE enlighten us: We've been stumped for 23 years. We even tried looking it up on Reddit -- no dice.
This is one of our favorite lines in all of FRIENDS-dom: and a FRIEND doesn't even say it:
"God bless the chickpea."
Thank you, George Clooney.
During the podcast, Elizabeth mentioned that she wouldn't even know what a "fresh" chickpea would look like -- and then she remembered later that she's actually seen them in person, at a farmer's market in Washington in 2008!
Part Two closes out with the gang ordering Chinese food yet again. And now we want Chinese!
In Part One, Rachel kicks things off with a denim vest and a reappearance of the black-and-white rose shirt from TOW the Boobies. Later on, she's got a plaid dress over a very classic 90s turtleneck baby tee. One of our favorite outfits this episode is the next one: a white ribbed V-neck with a dark blue velvet cardigan. She's just stunning in this scene! We may or may not have a nubbin alert later on at the apartment, where she's taken off the cardigan so she can help Monica with her knitting (which is apparently a three-person affair). Later on in Central Perk, she's donned a sexy-yet-subdued blue top with black collar/cuffs and a cute apron to match. Her final outfit for Part One is one of Heather's favorite clothing items -- overalls -- and another reappearance -- this time, her red cross shirt (appropriate for a trip to the ER, eh?).
In Part Two, Rach attends Phoebe's birthday party wearing a long plaid spaghetti-strapped dress with a brown shirt underneath (we think it might be the same brown shirt from TOW the Stoned Guy). She's also wearing boots, which is amazing (and maybe stupid) considering that she's got a sprained ankle. For the big date with the doctors, she's letting Monica be the sexy one this time, and has chosen a more conservative cream blouse and black pants. The next morning, she dons a gold robe with black velvet trim while she tries to explain to her dad about having sex with Billy Dreskin in high school. She closes out the episode back in the ER, this time rectifying her insurance fraud mistake by wearing a baby tee, cardigan, and long skirt with sneakers.
Hey! Monica's wearing RED! She starts things off in Part One in a velvety-looking red top and some very 60s hair -- super flippy with lots of volume! Unfortunately, she's back in her monochromatic comfort zone for the remainder of the two-parter. First she's back in black and white for Chinese food, then she's wearing a very grandmotherly grey sweater (perhaps because she's knitting?), then her next outfit is a white dress shirt (buttoned all the way to the top!) and a grey skirt. Her last outfit of the episode is a cushy winter sweater with a hint of red in it.
In Part Two, she starts off with a black top and dark flowered skirt for Phoebe's birthday party, and then -- hooray! -- she gets her turn to be the sexy roommate when the doctors come over for their double date. She's looking particularly cute in a black crewneck shirt and tiny striped skirt. The next day -- perhaps because she had yet another bad date the night before -- she's back in oversized clothes. This time, it's an all-cream ensemble: a cream-colored sweater with a tie at the neck and a long cream skirt.
Why are Phoebe's clothes so big? She's dressing like she's already pregnant with Frank Jr. Jr.'s triplets! Everything on her is so BIG. At least her huge peace-sign earrings fit with the theme. In Part One, she's paired them with a grey flower vest and sage-green long-sleeved top for her first scene in Central Perk. In her next scene, she's got a big white top on with black-and-white pants. Next up in the Big Top is an oversized purple top. Geez, Pheebs!
One of her most 90s' looks this time around is the shiny-fabric dress she wears with a long-sleeved orange top -- Heather's wondering if this is a repeat of an outfit she wore a few episodes ago. When she goes to confront Joey about dating Ursula, Phoebe's wearing an oddly patterned lace-layover dress. We're not actually sure it's lace. We are sure that it's too big.
Pheebs kicks things off in Part Two by wearing a giant daisy necklace -- is this perhaps a subtle nod to Joey picking petals off of a daisy later in the episode? As promised, we looked into it and we're sure the necklace makes a reappearance in TOW No One's Ready -- but does she wear it more often than that?. She's paired the very memorable necklace with a textured green sweater and black cami. The last thing we've noted looked like a candy striper in Pleasantville: a very odd grey-and-white striped dress.
Elizabeth can't help but laugh at the image of Ross in Part One, wearing his 90s blurry plaid at Central Perk and complaining about Marcel: "My monkey is out of control." And if you look closely in the scene at the girls' apartment, it looks like Ross is wearing some flashy Doc Martens! These make a reappearance in Part Two as well.
There's something (Elizabeth finds) sexy about a man in a suit vest, and Ross's suit vest at the Lamaze class is no exception. We don't care of he's miserable -- he looks yummy as he delivers one of our favorite lines: "I'm gonna play my sperm card one more time." Unfortunately, his Lamaze class fashion takes a very rapid downturn when he wears what looks like a jacket that's got all sorts of weird patterns on it. Do we see palm trees? More poinsettias? We have no idea. We just know that we hate it.
Part Two kicks off with Ross wearing the same maroon cable-knit sweater that he wore in last week's episode. For Scrabble (and his eventually daddy moment in the ER with Marcel), he picks a casual sharp plaid (as opposed to blurry plaid) shirt.
Chandler starts off Part One in what will become his signature: vintage 40s/50s-looking shirts. He pairs it with the same coat and scarf he wore to Nana's funeral. Later on, in the office, he wears a big loose brown dress shirt and blue tie, then the next day, a striped dress shirt and another abstract tie. And lookie here: We've found a suit vest Elizabeth doesn't like -- this mustard-colored one that Chandler's wearing has got to go.
In Part Two, he's wearing a green blazer (perhaps the same one from New Year's Eve) and sage-green dress shirt (along with a sweater vest, of course) with a red, cream, and black geometric tie. We only have one question: Why did he think it would be appropriate to wear this to Phoebe's party? He lives across the hall -- he's got to have better party clothes! Perhaps he was hoping it could be a conversational piece when he starts chatting up women at the party? "Oh yeah, I just got back from a heck of a day at work ... just got a promotion and I'm slammed..."
Joey starts off Part One with a pop of color: orange. And -- shocker -- it's a turtleneck. The guy just doesn't like showing his neck! Next up, he wears a brown leather jacket that's almost enough to make up for the hideousness of the striped shirt he has on underneath it. He closes out the first part in a blue plaid top -- the same blue plaid top that we later see Ursula wearing when she answers the door! We're calling that a Continuity Kudos (as opposed to a consistency error that would find itself featured in Monica's Corner).
The only Joey outfit we felt like talking about in Part Two was the giant charcoal/blue cable-knit sweater he wears. That's about it. It's okay, Joey. We still love you!
Let's talk about Nina. Why? Because she WINS THE SHOW this week. Well, except for the fact that she kinda sleeps with her boss to get ahead. But let's just talk about the fashion for now. Some excellent ensembles happen while Ms. Bookbinder graces our screens. She starts off with an almost perfect score -- her blue skirt suit is very cute, but those shoes have got to go. Next up she's rocking a classic high-necked black shirt under a red blazer. Her third outfit is very fun (though perhaps a little too sexy for a corporate environment), with bright pink scalloped neckline top, purple pencil skirt, and a cute belt. The last outfit we see her in is very "sexy numbers girl" -- a classic all-black look.
We do have to mention one more thing before we move on to the fun: the oh-so-90s high-collared dress shirts the doctors wear on their date. Helloooooo boy band!
FIRST APPEARANCE OF URSULA
Phoebe's mentioned her "high-powered career type" sister, but this is the first look we get of her. And this is our first glance of Lisa Kudrow's legs, because we've yet to see Phoebe wear anything but long, flowy skirts or pants. It's nice to know that Ursula has legs, and not tentacles.
We love David Schwimmer's comedic timing when Ross is trying to explain their interesting parenting situation to the rest of the group.
MAD ABOUT YOU CROSSOVER
Helen Hunt and Leila Kenzle from Mad About You make a surprise visit to Central Perk (after all, Joey and Chandler did stop in Riff's, the restaurant from Mad About You). We love when series do crossover episodes like this -- it helps fuel our delusional thinking that we're witnessing real life!
We love how Phoebe takes it in stride when she has no idea what they're talking about when they're trying to order coffees from her. We find that "smile, nod, and agree" or "catch up later" is an effective tool for getting through many an awkward situation.
Attention, Whippersnappers! Back in the day, choosing which screensaver you were going to use was an intense, time-consuming, best-way-to-spend-your-day ever. If we wanted to go Trekkie we could choose the star-travel theme, if we were feeling aquatic (like Chandler was in this episode) we could choose the aquarium theme. Screensavers (and desktop wallpaper) were how you stood out and expressed your individuality. They were like the IG filters and hashtags of the 90s!
We also love how Chandler kept the vibrating ball thingee from his cubicle days (and apparently a dinosaur with a helmet). Just goes to show you can't take the kid out of Chandler Bing, no matter how much you promote him!
OLD TV SHOWS
This one threw us -- we realized that to the FRIENDS, Laverne and Shirley was as old as FRIENDS is now to us. But to us, Laverne and Shirley just seems OLD. WEIRD!
PHOEBE'S FEELINGS ABOUT JOEY DATING URSULA
Phoebe is clearly not okay with Joey going out with Ursula. She hesitates, looks down, starts to try to fight back, etc. when he asks her if it's okay to ask out Ursula, but ultimately (and begrudgingly) acquiesces. Anyone can plainly see that she's uncomfortable with the situation.
This brings us into a discussion of the #MeToo movement and how perhaps Phoebe shouldn't have had to hold up a neon sign saying "I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS" in order for Joey to pick up on her vibe. Phoebe should've felt safe enough to say "No, I'd rather you not date my sister." But, all too often, that's not the situation a person finds him/herself in, especially when the person pushing for the connection is in a position of power. We're convinced that if people are given the freedom and safety to say what they mean, and mean what they say, and actually listen to and respect that person's choice, things will start to change.
Bottom line: A coerced "okay" is NOT an actual "okay." Even on FRIENDS. Which brings us to...
chandler being a sexual predator
Heather (whose Diana Prince job is as an HR professional) had a field day with this HR nightmare: Chandler not only dates a subordinate, but he dates her in order to get out of firing her. We know that Nina plays a part in this too, given that she placed her hand on his leg in a very suggestive way (although it was because she was trying to comfort him, not seduce him -- we think). And it only gets worse.
When his boss backs him into a corner about not firing her, Chandler proceeds to question her mental stability! And just when you think he can't dig himself any deeper into the hole he's created, the moment she starts to suspect something is off he offers her a fake raise to get her to shut up.
We're not even happy with Nina's behavior. Does she really go home and hang out with her friends and tell them about this and do they not yell at her for doing it? How is it okay that she's sleeping with her boss to get ahead? Be sure you listen in to see how Heather would handle the situation if it happened in her workplace.
And now we talk all about George Clooney and how sexy he is (double standards, anyone?). We do love him for more than just his looks, thankyouverymuch. We love that he waited until later in life to marry, and when he did, he married a brilliant, successful, independent PHENOM of a woman.
ER had premiered the same year as FRIENDS, so these were both very new insta-hits of shows. Fun crossovers all around!
ROSS PLAYING FOOTBALL WITH HIS BABY
Ross's anxiety about becoming a father manifests in a dream that he's playing football -- and his baby is the ball. Chandler is there to support him, but Joey ends up just focusing on the football. Since Heather lives near Tampa, she appreciated the reference to the Tampa Bay defense.
We also get our first instance of what becomes a running gag throughout the series: everyone waiting for Joey to figure something out. In this case, he can't fathom the odds of Phoebe and Ursula having the same birthday.
It's odd how much they mention Colonial Williamsburg on this show (okay, we can only think of the two times, but still -- of all the places in the country, they mention Colonial Williamsburg twice?). As it's one of Elizabeth's favorite places, though, we don't mind hearing about it multiple times.
She loves it because not only does it transport you to another time, but there's also a AAA four-diamond restaurant there! You can read all about Elizabeth's experience there here.
DOUBLE DATE DOCTORS
Like everything else in his life, George Clooney made this guest appearance look easy. You'd think he was a regular cast member, given how smoothly he fit into the group dynamic (and Monica's overstuffed armchair). He delivers his lines so well that most of them are some of our favorites from this episode:
"No pagan altars. No pile of bones in the corners."
"God bless the chickpea."
Unfortunately, Monica and Rachel aren't so smooth in this scene. Things break down when they get on each other's nerves, so they air each other's dirty laundry: much to the doctors' -- and Rachel's father's -- chagrin.
We don't often see the gang playing games (maybe because Monica's so competitive?), but Scrabble features prominently in this episode -- even more so if you're watching the uncut DVD version. The game also provides us with one of Ross's most memorable lines. Rushing to the ER with Marcel, he emphatically tells the nurse, "You've got to help me! My monkey swallowed a 'K'!"
Later on, we love the tender moment where the gang gathers around the hospital bed while Marcel is recovering from what we're assuming is anesthesia. They've figured out all the letters he'd eaten, and Chandler says sweetly, "We think he was trying to spell out 'MONKEY'."
NO FOOD WITH A FACE
When she goes to confront Ursula about blowing off Joey, Phoebe politely refuses Ursula's offer of chicken with a "No thanks. No food with a face." Heather was a vegetarian for 10 years and often used this line to communicate her dietary needs. It definitely gets the message across!
BACK PAIN AND SEX
Elizabeth caught this flyer in the background of the nurse's station and is intrigued -- after all, she has chronic back pain and, well, likes sex, so she wanted to see if she could find it online. The closest she could find was this article -- enjoy!
PHOEBE LETTING JOEY DOWN GENTLY
This is one of the sweetest moments of the series: Joey's bummed about Ursula ghosting him, and because Phoebe knows that Ursula's not going to give him any closure, she pretends to be Ursula so he can be let down gently. She arrives at Central Perk in Ursula's hair style and the sweater he'd given her (that Ursula then re-gifted to Phoebe), and when Joey says that he wouldn't stop being friends with Phoebe in order to date Ursula, Phoebe uses that as her reason to break up with him (and is also reassured that he's a good friend!). They share a kiss, at which point Joey realizes it's not Ursula after all. TV magic that melts our hearts every time!
"IN A NEW YORK MINUTE"
This scene always makes Heather tear up -- when Marcel grabs Ross's finger in the hospital. So sweet! Marcel's antics not only provide this sentimental moment -- they also provide a memorable close to the episode, which is entirely dubbed in Spanish (you know, because he switched the language on the remote...). Elizabeth's Spanish is a little rusty, but we're pretty sure it matches up with what we see on screen.
Part One only has one inconsistency, as far as we know: That damn light fixture is back!
In Part Two, we've got pencils running rampant around a hospital, because apparently official forms are a thing of the ... future (given that this show is 25 years old). Next up, when Ross is at dinner with his dad, there's a man in the background behind Mr. Geller working out of a ginormous book -- it looks like he's underlining definitions in a dictionary while enjoying his pesto!
Next up, we have the bowl that's normally on the kitchen table, but in this episode it's on the table outside the bathroom. Obviously Kitchen Bowl hasn't discovered its true destiny yet. It's okay, Kitchen Bowl. We'll be patient. We know you have it in you.
Back at the hospital, Rachel tells the nurse that she's going to pay for everything with a check. We all know how much hospital bills cost -- ain't no way that check isn't bouncing!
Our final entry in Monica's Corner this week is actually a Continuity Kudos! In Part One, Nina hits Chandler's hand with a stapler, and he's got a big bandage wrapped around his hand. In Part Two, he's got a Band-Aid! Nice job, Jeff! This is so continuitous (Elizabeth has decided that's a word), that we're wondering if Matthew Perry actually injured his hand, and they wrote in the stapler incident to give it a reason to be bandaged on set. Sort of like when Matt LeBlanc hurt his shoulder in Season 3 so they had to pretend he'd fallen off of his bed.
NOT ON NETFLIX
In general -- some of the angles are different. The audio is the same, and the picture eventually syncs back up, but for example, a scene on Netflix will have a wider angle at the same time that the DVD has a close-up. Weird!
The opening credits are different! Netflix draws from later episodes from Season One (including the hospital scene from Part Two)
Ross complaining about Marcel “Last night, I don’t know what he did, but there were capers everywhere.”
Monica saying, “Okay I’ll take idiots in the workplace for $200, Alex” (before Chandler rationalizes his sexual predatorness)
Rachel saying that she evens knows that you don’t dip your pen in the company ink (as Ross just said), and she’s pretty much unemployable
Okay this one is weird -- the scenes from Family Matters on the TVs are different between DVD and Netflix. The DVD version has SAP in top left corner of the screen.
Chandler saying he has no problem firing people, that’s why his name is on the door, then asking his boss when his name is going to actually be on the door
Chandler holding his head in his hands -- looks like the statue on his desk
Chandler saying that after the proposal, things kind of unraveled -- Ross mocking him saying sarcastically that up until that point he’d been in control
- Phoebe saying Ursula broke her collarbone when she was 12
Filling out the hospital form -- Monica asking if Rachel’s on any medication and she says “Blistex!”
Docs fighting over Rachel’s chart; George Clooney saying, “No, no, this is why I became a doctor.”
Phoebe liking “Pehe” (her strange new nickname, thanks to her cake being smushed)
A little extension of Ross’s dad talking about not freaking out -- “We just had kids back then, we didn’t think about it” … “What else could the sun dry, I wonder?”
Rachel (as Monica) saying she shoplifts, Monica (as Rachel) saying that she thinks she’s way cuter than she actually is
Monica calling to Rachel (while she’s on the phone with her dad) asking if these are her condoms, Rachel telling her dad Monica’s drunk again
Ross saying he doesn’t think "scrunchy" is a word, Chandler saying he’s using the same argument for "fligament"
Chandler calling Ross out on a fake word
Monica playing “tushy”
At Riff’s, woman saying they had the two chefs salads, Ursula asking how they were, woman saying, “No, we’re still hoping to have them” (they eventually get up and leave)
Ursula asking for side salad again, saying now she knows what people mean when they say the service is horrible
Monica and Rachel apologizing to each other at the hospital