Friends Season 1 Episode 5
The One With The East German Laundry Detergen
“The One With The East German Laundry Detergent” is the fifth episode of the first season of Friends, which aired on October 20, 1994. Chandler needs Phoebe’s help to break up with Janice. Ross attempts to flirt with Rachel at the laundromat. Joey goes on a fake double-date with Monica in an attempt to get back with Angela.
The episode opens with the friends at Central Perk discussing advantages each gender has. Rachel points out that guys can urinate standing up, while Joey notes that women can see breasts whenever they want. Phoebe then wonders how guys can be mean and not even care. There is a brief silence while the guys try to top that. Ross then points out that women can have multiple orgasms, and this is the decisive point for the men.
The gang plans their Saturday nights. Chandler wants to break up with Janice, but he is reluctant to because he feels awkward1 and guilty2. Phoebe offers to break up with her boyfriend, Tony, at the same time to make it easier on the both of them.
Rachel is annoyed because her father is ignoring the fact that she is independent now, as he has offered her a convertible3 if she comes home. She plans to do laundry that evening, and Ross, eager to spend time with her, pretends that the laundromat4 in his building is rat-infested so that he can join her.
An ex-girlfriend of Joey’s, Angela, comes into the coffee house. Joey, seeing her dressed sexily, decides to go over and talk to her. However, she tells him that she is now dating a guy named Bob. In an effort to get back together with her, Joey suggests that they go on a double-date, she and Bob, and him and his “girlfriend” — Monica. Joey tells Monica that Bob is Angela’s brother, and that she will be the one on a date with him. At the restaurant, she discovers that Joey has never met Bob, and starts to panic5 about it being a completely blind date. However, when Angela and Bob arrive, she finds him attractive, so she forgives Joey.
Meanwhile, at the coffee house, Chandler waits for Janice and Tony to arrive and is increasingly anxious. Phoebe, however, is calm and composed as ever and remarks on how it is nice that they are doing something together. When he sees Janice, his anxiety turns to guilt, and things go from bad to worse when Janice tells him that her day has been “supremely awful”. While Janice rambles on, Chandler watches in dread as Phoebe breaks up with Tony on good terms, saying goodbye to him with a hug.
At the laundromat, Rachel feels optimistic6, until a nasty7 woman moves the laundry basket reserving Rachel’s washing machine and begins to load her own washing into it. Rachel is bewildered and upset. Ross stands up to the woman and helps Rachel get the machine back. He then teaches Rachel how to do laundry, furthering her new independence. Rachel’s confidence continues to rise, and she tells Ross that if she can do her own laundry, there is nothing that she can’t do. However, Rachel’s mood plummets8 when they discover that a red sock got caught up in her white laundry and has turned everything pink. She feels like a failure. Later, the horrible woman steals Ross and Rachel’s cart, but Rachel finally stands up to her on her own. Feeling victorious, she kisses Ross. In shock9, he bangs his head on the door of a washing machine and falls over.
Meanwhile, Monica is left confused when Bob and Angela tell her that they grew up in different places. Joey quickly changes the subject to prevent them from finding out his plan, then tries to subtly10 put Bob off Angela by mentioning the strange noise she makes when she eats. He then tries to get Bob interested in Monica by claiming that she is too much for him in bed. In the restroom, Monica’s confusion increases when Angela tells her how good Bob is in bed. Angela then begins cozying11 up to Bob, making Monica uncomfortable. She realizes that they are not brother and sister and decides to leave, until Joey tells her the truth and convinces her to help him break Angela and Bob up.
Back at the coffee house, Chandler attempts to dump Janice. When he eventually manages to blurt it out12, Janice is on the verge of crying. An over-energized Chandler, having consumed eleven espressos13, accidentally flails his hand and hits Janice in the eye. Phoebe tries to calm him down, but she realizes that he can’t break up with Janice, so she goes over and does it for him. Janice leaves Central Perk, but not before smiling and waving at Chandler.
Phoebe, Ross, and Rachel meet in the coffee house. Monica and Joey enter, triumphant14 because they successfully broke up Bob and Angela. Rachel asks where Chandler is, and Phoebe responds that he needed time to grieve15, only to see Chandler running down the street, joyously yelling, “I’m free!” Phoebe notes that he must be done grieving.
- making you feel embarrassed.
- feeling ashamed because you have done something that you know is wrong or have not done something that you should have done.
- a car with a soft roof that you can fold back or remove.
- a place where you can go to wash your clothes in machines that work when you put coins in them.
- to suddenly feel so frightened that you cannot think clearly or behave sensibly.
- believing that good things will happen in the future.
- extremely unkind and unpleasant.
- to suddenly and quickly decrease in value or amount.
- if something that happens is a shock, you did not expect it, and it makes you feel very surprised, and usually upset.
- not easy to notice or understand unless you pay careful attention.
- a place that is cosy is small, comfortable, and warm
- to say something suddenly and without thinking, usually because you are nervous or excited.
- strong black Italian coffee.
- showing pleasure and pride because of a victory or success.
- to feel extremely sad, especially because someone you love has gone.