Article / New Year Old Friends / Tucker May

Bad Jobs and Sitcom Animals — Friends Episode 1-10

The One With the Monkey


‘Paolo Will Be in Rome This New Year’s Eve, So I’ll Be Just as Pathetic as the Rest of You!’

‘Ha! You Wish!’

– Rachel and Phoebe

This episode explores the pressures of New Years Eve (now well-mined sitcom territory). Chandler in particular is horrified by the prospect of having no one to smooch when the ball drops — to the point that he invites the infamous Janice back into his life.

Fortunately, RepoComedy’s own Danielle Calvert has the perfect way to defuse the pressure of New Years Eve next year(Warning: it may involve celebrating New Month’s Eve 12 times a year — trust us, it’ll help).

‘Some Fat Guy’s Sleeping With the Store Manager. He’s Not Even Jolly! It’s All Political.’

– Joey

Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth (a legitimate and serious medical condition), you’ve probably had to work some job you were less than excited about in the past.

In this episode, Joey gets turned down to be a department store Santa (even though he had the gig the previous year) and is forced into being a startlingly tall elf.

I’m still relatively young, but I’ve had my fair share of these crappy jobs. Here’s some of them, along with any lessons I learned from the experience that I easily could have learned by just staying home and watching Friends:

Paper Boy – But not the cool kind that got to ride a bike and chuck things at people’s windows. When I was about 13, I got my first job standing outside a family restaurant at 5:00 AM on Sunday mornings, opening the door for people and asking if they wanted to buy a paper for 75 cents. I got to keep half of everything I sold, which, back then, seemed like a ton of money.

Lessons Learned that I Could Have Gotten From Friends: 

      1. People can be super cranky early in the morning (See: a bunch of times when Rachel gets woken up early)
      2. Hard-earned wages have a way of disappearing without a trace (See: Entire concept of Friends)
      3. Most people are as clueless about current events as Ke$ha is about table etiquette (I imagine she eats sort of like a cross between a horny squirrel and the Tasmanian Devil)

Subway Sandwich Artist — I worked at a Subway when they started referring to the employees as ‘Sandwich Artists’. It was kind of like calling an executioner a ‘Heaven Liaison’ — the guys upstairs liked it, but it was just kind of insulting to us.

Lessons Learned that Could Have Come From Friends:

      1. Even if you don’t do much work at your job, you’ll probably get along fine if you’re pretty. (See: Rachel’s Central Perk job) (Side note: I got fired from Subway)
      2. You don’t realize how picky people are about their food until you have to make it for them (Monica learns this several times throughout the series)

Telemarketer — Yes, I spent some time being one of THOSE people. The good news? If you don’t regularly use heavy construction equipment, then I never called you! If you do, then you and I don’t have much in common, other than maybe you hung up on me once.

Lessons that Could Have Come From Friends:

      1. People HATE telemarketers
      2. Home phones are so over

‘I Said Some Things I Didn’t Mean, and He . . . Threw Some Feces’

– Ross

This episode introduces Marcel, Ross’s pet monkey. Their relationship through the episode (and more or less the entire series) is a good example of mapping, a commonly-used comedic writing device I talked more about in this article. Ross spends the whole episode treating Marcel as if he’s a neglectful girlfriend, rather than a monkeypet.

The presence of Marcel in this episode obviously brings up the following question:

What celebrity / animal pairing would make for the best sitcom premise?

Oh. That’s not immediately what you thought when I mentioned Marcel? Hmm. That’s not normal. Here are my ideas:

  • Mickey Rourke and a baby chick
    • Can’t you just see the Odd Couple hilarity that arises from this situation? The chick would always be like, ‘Mickey, how hard is it to leave a note when you use the last of the milk?’ and Mickey would smash a table and say something like, ‘MY FACE RESEMBLES A POORLY MADE OMELET!’ Plus, it’d be fun to see if Rourke ever snapped and ate the chick in one bite.
  • Taylor Swift and an animated teddy bear
    • Think of this one like the movie Ted, but instead of being foul-mouthed and full of incredibly dated references, this teddy bear would give T-Swift all the cuddlin’ and lovin’ she’s ever needed. Not sure where the comedy is here. I just wanna see T-Swift happy. Maybe the bear is a bank manager or something. That’s funny, right?
  • Charlie Sheen and a monkey
    • If you were going to put a monkey in any sitcom, would you give it to straight-edged, boring ole’ Ross? I don’t think so. Can’t you imagine a little monkey snorting blow, lighting a wad of cash on fire, then driving a toy car around a mansion during one of Charlie’s famous benders? It’s not like Sheen doesn’t fling poop himself, anyway. Think of how much this idea would have improved Two and a Half Men. Unfortunately, they only brought the monkey in AFTER Sheen left the show:


‘Have You Ever Seen An Officer and a Gentleman? He’s Kind of Like the Guy I Saw that With.’

– Phoebe

Other cool stuff in this episode:

  • Phoebe opens the episode with a singing gig in Central Perk. She has “12 songs about [her] mother’s death, and one about a snowman!
  • She opens with the snowman song:
    • “I made a man with eyes of coal, and a smile so bewitchin‘ / How was I supposed to know that my mom was dead in the kitchen?”
  • Monkeys are awesome
  • The Janice / Chandler scenes in this episode are classic. There’s a reason Janice might be the most famous sitcom girlfriend ever. It’s because she’s hilarious.
  • Joey gets a job as a department store elf. Chandler overloads with jokes upon seeing the outfit.
  • This is one of those episodes where they sneakily let time go by. In once scene, the gang is decorating a Christmas tree. The next, it’s their New Year’s party. I happen to know that the week between these two holidays is the longest of the year. Science.
  • The fact that Ross is so lonely he starts treating his pet monkey like a girlfriend.
  • Monica’s ex-boyfriend Fun Bobby shows up for the NYE party — but isn’t terribly fun.
  • Phoebe’s relationship with the nerdy-but-endearing David ends in a very touching way.

Next Article: Season 1, Episode 11 : The One With Mrs. Bing

Previous Articles: Season 1, Episode 9: The One Where Underdog Gets Away

Season 1, Episode 8 : The One Where Nana Dies Twice

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