S02 E21 - TOW the Bullies
aka TOW the Beast at the Threshold
SIGNATURE BEVERAGE: KAPPUCCINO MARTINI
Ross and Chandler are bullied right out of Central Perk — and forced to drink powdered cappuccino. Or, more accurately, Kappuccino (with a K). This inspired us to create our very own Kappuccino martini, using a 21st-century version of powdered coffee beverages — a Starbucks at-home latte.
We utilized the Starbucks Vanilla Caffè Latte, which are K-cups of coffee paired with a packet containing powdered milk, sugar, and other latte flavorings. Since we were recording in the evening and didn’t want to be caffeinated all night long, we swapped the K-cup for a decaf variety…
Get the whole scoop on the cocktail post page!
The gang kicks things off eating burgers, chips, and potato salad at the girls’ apartment. We can’t exactly tell what Phoebe’s eating, but we don’t think we see any cow parts on her plate, so nice job with the continuity, set designers!
Rachel’s also drinking a Sprite, which is evidence of the show’s sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola. There was a whole ad campaign in 1996 called “Who’s Going to Drink the Diet Coke?”
There’s also an Alleva Dairy bag that hangs out at the front of Central Perk for the length of the entire episode. We hope there’s no actual dairy products in there! Fun Fact: Tony Danza is part owner of Alleva Dairy — he bought his share in 2014 when he heard it might be closing. There’s even a “Tony Danza” hero on the menu.
In the taxi with Phoebe and Rachel, Joey whips out a sandwich — olive loaf and ham spread on white bread. Yeah, we think it’s pretty gross, too. Finally, we’ve got instant cappuccino! These because popular in the mid-90s, when coffee shops were starting to spring up on every corner. It was a cost-effective way to introduce a barista-like feel to your own home! We used to indulge in them, though eventually learned they were laden with chemicals and added sugar. Actually, it’s not much worse than what they add to the lattes at Starbucks!
Rachel starts off the episode in a sheer, dark rust-colored v-neck cardigan. It’s a rather subdued look, but at least it’s a departure from the monochromatic Rachel we’ve seen most of the season. Next up, she’s in her trusty green plaid jammies and a gray t-shirt. She looks rather conservative the next time we see her, in a black shirt and white cardigan, but what draws our attention the most is the fabulous black and white plaid wrap skirt! We found a similar version on Google Express (whatever that is!)
Alert! Monica is wearing GREEN! She starts off the episode in a pretty sage green color. She tones it down again for her interview at the diner, and while her gray shift dress is nothing special, her shiny white jacket is — fabulous! If you’ve got $1,700 to spare, you can snag your own version from Sies Marjan.
Then, she dons yet another unflattering striped sweater — we think the stripes are slowly migrating up to her face so they can CUT HER DAMN BANGS. She closes out the episode back in her signature black and white — she’s lost all her money, and apparently she’s also lost her will to take a risk fashion-wise.
Phoebe drives to her dad’s house wearing the blue jacket and zigzag-striped vest she wore in the previous episode. This time around, she’s full embraced the retro look with high-waisted blue bellbottoms and a white turtleneck. She wears some AMAZING leggings and an oversized sweater at the girls’ apartment the next day, paired with military-style black boots. To return the beast to his threshold, she wears a green velvet jacket, emerald green pendant necklace with a black velvet collar, and a floral pantsuit.
JOEY AND GUNTHER
Gunther’s wearing a Cat in the Hat tie! And Joey is wearing the ONE nice jacket he has (so he can go to his niece’s christening.)
MONICA PLAYS WITH BULLS AND BEARS
Monica’s unemployed and bored, so she likes watching the stocks roll across the bottom of the screen on the business channel, because every now and then stock symbol “MEG” scrolls by — her initials. She really needs a job.
A while later she comes back from an interview, rather frustrated. The job would be a major step down for her — she was sous chef at Cafe Des Artistes, for crying out loud, she can’t work as a line cook at a 50s-themed restaurant! She notices that her favorite stock went up and (stupidly) decides to invest the rest of the money she’s got in the bank account ($127) in herself.
By the end of the episode, she’s the Welp of Wall Street — she’s lost it all! She begs Rachel for money, which is weird, because Rachel’s a waitress. Which begs the question — how have they managed to pay the bills up until this point? Monica’s savings account? Anyway, she ends up having to take that job at the diner — since she’s out of cash, we guess she’ll be putting the pair of flame-retardant boobs on her credit card.
PHOEBE PLAYS WITH A BEAST
Phoebe decides that the universe is telling her to finally go upstate and meet her dad. Joey and Rachel tag along for the ride, but Phoebe’s good intentions are marred by a literal beast at the threshold — the tiny, yippy Jack Russell terrier guarding the house.
By the way, how freakin’ hilarious was the scene where the dog jumps into the window? Animal gags for the WIN.
Phoebe sees this is a very bad sign — the beast at the threshold — and chickens out again. As she’s pulling away from the curb, they hear a thud. As Joey says, the threshold is clear now!
She’s run over the poor dog. Luckily, he makes it — and Phoebe’s praying that a miracle will occur and his ear will grow back. She courageously brings the dog back to his owners, and gets up the nerve to ask if Frank is home.
He left four years ago, so we’re expecting him back any minute.
No dice, Pheebs. Sorry! Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi, in his second appearance on the show but first appearance officially as Frank Jr.) runs after her, and they chat a little bit. Phoebe’s got a brother!
ROSS AND CHANDLER PLAY WITH BULLIES
We don’t understand how it’s possible that there are still bullies running around after high school, but here they are — and one of them is Dom DeLouise’s son! They pick on Chandler and Ross, and even steal Chandler’s Grinch hat (interesting, by the way, that he’s wearing a Grinch hat in April).
The next day, they show up again, and even though Ross and Chandler were clearly there first, they bully them again and demand the couch — and that they never show their faces in Central Perk again. Ross plays the Gunther card a little too soon — by the end of the exchange, the bullies have tilted the couch backward and are flexing their muscle to intimidate our guys!
Scared, the guys hang out at Chandler and Joey’s and attempt to drink Kappuccino — powdered coffee that doesn’t quite have the taste or feel of what they’re used to getting at Central Perk.
Stir and drink, stir and drink, never let it settle.
Joey tells them he’ll help them out after he gets back from his niece’s christening, but Ross refuses — maybe standing up to bullies (and potentially getting beaten up) is a rite of passage that every man has to go through. They resolve to stand their ground. Of course, doing so, they both burn their tongues and end up running into the bullies anyway.
They go outside to “fight,” then discuss where they’re allowed to hit since they have respective jobs, presentations to do, and babies to make. They put all of their watches and valuables into the Grinch hat, then have to form an alliance when someone snags the hat with all their goodies. Yay! Once again everything’s resolved in half an hour (including commercials).