S01 E17 - TOW All the Poker
TOW Chips, Dip, and Pretz
SIGNATURE BEVERAGE: SALTED CARAMEL PRETZEL MARTINI
Heather homed right in on Joey's reference to one-syllabled snacks being appropriate for poker games -- specifically, "pretz." She found this recipe (she loves her dessert martinis), and we each put our own spin on it.
Elizabeth didn't want to invest in such a specifically flavored vodka (her bar area is already overflowing and takes up precious real estate in her tiny condo), so she stuck with regular Tito's vodka and drizzled her martini glass with some salted caramel topping (leftover from TOW the Dozen Lasagnas) to achieve that flavor. She didn't have half-and-half, but she did have some heavy cream, so cut that with some unsweetened almond milk and made her own half-and-half! She also didn't rim her glass with pretzel pieces (she's a texture weirdo).
Heather stayed pretty true to the recipe -- she had no problem buying caramel-flavored vodka, since dessert martinis are one of her hosting specialties -- but she does have some notes for us. One, she didn't think the pretzel rim was salty enough to offset the uber-sweet drink, so she'd likely use extra salt the next time she makes this. Also, she thought (and Elizabeth agreed) that it was a tad rich, so would likely cut back on the amount of half-and-half, or, as Elizabeth did, cut it with almond milk or something else a little less decadent.
We felt that this recipe definitely falls solidly into the dessert martini category -- with the salted caramel and Frangelico teaming up together, it's a tad sweet for our tastes. So either salt it up when you make it, or enjoy the cloy!
We've already discussed the gang's affinity for cancer-inducing (aka microwave) popcorn. While they're stuffing envelopes with Rachel's resume, you can see a bag of popcorn sitting on the kitchen table. What we wonder is -- how do they avoid getting buttery popcorn fingers all over their work?
Because it's frowned upon to be actively searching for a job while working at your current one, Rachel masks the fact that she's listening to Monica and Phoebe reading job responses by pretending to tell them about the cafe's daily scone assortment. She mentions apple cinnamon scones in particular. (We found a recipe for you in case you'd like to make some for yourself.)
Heather gave us an interesting HR tidbit -- it turns out that recruiters see the most traffic on their job postings on Mondays. Makes sense, if you think about it -- Monday morning is often when you're the most depressed about having to go into your current job! Why not look around at the listings?
POKER GAME #1
In the girls' first foray into poker, we've got Ross drinking what looks like beer out of a glass (very Monica, serving it to him in a glass...). Monica also makes some poker night snacks: salmon roulettes with assorted crudités. Joey quickly complains, telling her that her snacks are too fancy, and that poker game snacks have to have one syllable (which leads us to our delightful "pretz" moment).
We thought it was odd that Monica pulled the snacks out of the microwave, since salmon roulettes are typically made with smoked salmon, and you certainly wouldn't nuke that beforehand. Perhaps she was heating up a dipping sauce?
"I LoVE RACHEL" PIZZA
The poker with the girls must've been very disappointing, because right afterward, we see the guys back at Ross's apartment, setting up to play yet again. Ross brings in a pizza, and Chandler chides him, "Oh, did that come from the I Love Rachel pizzeria?" We love that they're starting to give Ross a hard time about his crush.
Rachel comes in from her interview, sooooooo excited, and shouts, "Guys! Guess what? Guess what?" and Chandler, in the classic, sarcastic, witty way we know and love him for, replies, "Um ... the fifth dentist caved and now they're all recommending Trident?"
For you whippersnappers, this is a reference to Trident gum's longtime ad campaign, in which they claim that four out of five dentists recommended Trident (we're guessing because it's sugar-free and won't hurt your teeth?).
POKER GAME #3
There are an assortment of beverages happening at the third and final poker game: the guys have beer (that classy BEER label that we saw in TOW the East German Laundry Detergent). We've also got some Snapple iced tea and white wine action happening.
Joey wants to order a pizza, but Monica is all business and Rachel won't let him use the phone because she's still waiting to hear back about that job and this is 1995 and there's no such thing as cell phones or call waiting. Why he didn't just go across the hall and order one, we'll never know (maybe Monica wouldn't let him leave?). Eventually, we see him with what looks like a pimiento cheese sandwich. So at least Monica let him snack a little bit. What a good hostess!
In the opening scene, Rachel's wearing a rathe blah top -- 90s beige-grey with buttons -- but when she comes out from behind the kitchen table, we can see that she's paired it with a cute black skirt and black tights, which ups the outfits ante a bit (see what we did there?). Next, we get a repeat of the blue denim top with black velvet cuffs and collar, and a cute apron with a fun polka-dot bow!
In the first poker game, she's changed into another very 90s jersey-fabric top (that crinkly hem dates the shirt quite a bit) with a wavy line pattern. Later on, when she finds out that she's got an interview with Saks 5th Avenue, she's wearing a green boucle sweater and long wrap skirt. Her interview outfit is our favorite for this episode: a plaid wrap skirt and deep blue velvet short-sleeved turtleneck! For her final outfit of the episode, she's wearing an oversized men's dress shirt (where'd she get that?) and some classic leggings.
Monica's got some color in this episode, and (big surprise!) it's RED! She wears a red sweater in the opening scene, and another one for their poker lesson with Aunt Iris (we love the balance of the big top and tight jeans). She's back to black and grey for the rest of the episode, though: black and grey at Central Perk, then more grey on grey for poker. She does sort of hit the color spectrum again at the end, in a striped grey sweater with a little blue worked in.
We LOVE Phoebe's opening scene outfit -- a bold polka-dot pattern and vest. We discussed the finer points of wearing polka dots. We think that the vest she wore helped to break up what may have been an otherwise overwhelming fashion choice. We also like that it's a glimpse at the quirky side of Phoebe, as opposed to her hippie side. This and the velvet dress she wears about halfway through the episode are also nicely form-fitting. So much of her wardrobe has been oversized this season, it's nice to see them giving her a little shape.
The orange jacket she wears to Central Perk is our least favorite -- it's so similar to the couch color that she gets lost in it. Her final outfit features a yellow turtleneck and very hippie cardigan with some interesting shapes on it (she looks like a banana without the cardigan on, BTW.)
Button-downs and Henleys. That's all you need to know about Ross for this episode. Oh and also, he needs to learn how to roll his sleeves up properly. Poor Ross.
We love this plaid patchwork shirt on Chandler -- very farmer chic, as he's worn before. He's back to the comfort of his sweater vest for the final poker game. We're learning to like them, actually. They add some structure to what would otherwise be a rather "billowy" outfit, with the oversized button-down and large jeans.
WHY do you keep wearing that terrible sweater, Joey? Please, please go back to something else. Maybe one of your blue sweaters? And we're not too fond of the open-necked (loose crewneck) look, either. They trained us to expect to see Joey in high-neck, so now anything else looks just plan weird! He's also a stockier build, so we're thinking a broad-necked top just isn't the right look for him. We know he can rock a V-neck (well, at least we will know, when we're a bit more into the future.)
opening scene = presentation material
Heather uses this scene when she hosts her HR seminars -- it exemplifies teamwork, as well as the importance of spellcheck! We also love that Joey -- of all people -- comes back with a sarcastic remark when he answers Rachel's "Is it on all of them?" with "Nah, I'm sure the Xerox machine caught a few of them."
This bothered Elizabeth a bit more than Heather, but it's worth mentioning. We know that the girls are rather ... well, girly, but we think it was a bit over-the-top in this episode. I mean, come on, "Poker Face" isn't just a Lady Gaga song -- we're pretty sure that everyone knows about bluffing and such. And given that these three ladies regularly hang out with three dudes, we feel that they should've had some basic poker skills.
At least Rachel fights back a bit during the second game, where she responds to Ross's smugness by saying, "Ooh, I'm a man. Ooh, I have a penis. Ooh, I have to win money to exert my power over women."
MORE POKER ... AND SLEEPING LIONS
Apparently teaching the girls how to play poker wasn't enough for the guys, because later that same evening they reconvene at Ross's and are subjected to Marcel's obsession with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Heather used to hate this song, until she saw it on FRIENDS and learned to love it.
One of our favorite moments is later on, when Ross finally turns the song off and Marcel throws a temper tantrum and runs out of the room and slams the door. Ross says, "I'm gonna pay for that tonight," which just builds upon their already weirdly relationship-y dynamic.
MONICA'S COMPETITIVE SIDE
From the "Pictionary incident," to Monica refusing to let Joey order pizza, to her squelching any frivolity in the name of having a serious poker game, Monica's competitive streak shines in this episode. We're glad Phoebe calls her out a bit about it. When Monica denies being competitive, Phoebe says, "Hello, kettle? This is Monica. You're black." We love this spin on the classic "pot calling the kettle black" saying (and we both employ this version of it in our daily lives!)
RACHEL'S MOTHER SHIP
There's a bit of an odd timeline thing going on here: on the same day that Rachel receives the letter saying she's gotten an interview with Saks, she goes on the interview! Perhaps she called them back immediately and they said they could get her in for an interview that same day? Either way, we love this first glimpse of Rachel realizing her passion and putting herself out on a limb to try to achieve it. Eventually she does end up shopping ... for a living!
SHADES OF RED ROSS
When Rachel's giving Ross a hard time about losing, she mentions his face getting all red -- is this a foreshadowing of the "Red Ross" that's mentioned in Season 4? We think so! We also LOVE the Old West throwback when Rachel -- who's clearly upset about losing out on the Saks job but is trying to hold it together -- challenges Ross to keep playing. Everyone backing their chairs away from the table is SO classic Western!
Jennifer Aniston shows great range in this scene -- just under the surface of her teasing, you can see Rachel's vulnerability about losing the job.
Not too many inconsistencies here; we've got a light fixture over the kitchen table. What the heck? We've also got a very bright, summery floral arrangement in the wooden post next to the fridge. We know we're in very early spring, but it's still much too summery to be appropriate -- especially for Monica. There's also a touch of a continuity error with Monica picking up her wine glass after Rachel's win.
NOT ON NETFLIX
"Grapefruit juice! Grapefruit juice!" (that looks more like lemonade) - Joey gives to Phoebe when she gets a papercut on her tongue from licking envelopes - Ouch!
Ending part of opening scene where they undo the resume line
Beginning of Central Perk scene where Chandler says it’s a love seat but he doesn’t feel anything special for Ross (Ross slaps him with a paper)
OMG they took out the guys’ dancing to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight!" Replaced it with an obvious boomerang of Marcel “dancing” (But the guys' dancing is in the opening credits!)
End of Aunt Iris scene -- her yelling at Rach for touching cards before she’s done dealing, and a nowadays-off-color joke about how her son Nathan now thinks that he’s a man trapped in a woman’s body (we're glad they took this out)
Second poker game at Ross’s -- Rachel asking if he could be any more smug, Ross saying he’s opening an art gallery and could really use the portraits of Lincoln and Hamilton (since she owes $15)
The whole second Aunt Iris scene!!
Joey asking if Monica has more of those salmon thingees