Analytical Episode Guide:
Season 4, Part 1
So as I noted Season 3 did not end on a high note for me. So there was some concern that maybe the show was fading. So what did Season 4 bring? Let’s check it out!

Season 4, Episode 1
The One with the Jellyfish

Plot Summary-Monica gets stung by a jellyfish and Chandler has to help in an odd way, Phoebe confronts her birth mother, and Rachel expects Ross to take full responsibility for their breakup

Funniest Line-“That’s right, I stepped up! She’s my friend and she needed help. If I had to, I’d pee on anyone of you.”….Joey

Nitpick of the episode-Full responsibility?? Are you crazy Rachel? I love her but she is way out of line with that demand. Of course Rachel played a part in their breakup! I mean really, she doesn’t think she made any mistakes??

Standout Character-Ross, totally believable in his anger here

Syndication Edit-Joey recaps the previous season ender; Monica, Chandler, and Joeyuncomfortable

Final Thoughts-This is a great episode and strong way to start the season. It seems clear to me that the creators had a change of heart over the break. Thecliffhanger doesn’t  even really match as we see Ross walk in to find Bonniewith Rachel. Good to see Phoebe make peace with her mom, but why does she onlyappear one more time? As for the jellyfish story, yeah it’s gross but makes forbig laughs and, believe it or not, even a bit of character development. That final scene between Ross and Rachel is one of the strongest of the series,capped off by a fantastically delivered line by Chandler.

Grade=A

Season 4, Episode 2
The One with the Cat

Plot Summary-Phoebe believes her mother’s spirit lives in a cat, Chandler and Joey try to sell the entertainment unit; Monica goes on a date with Rachel’s old boyfriend

Funnies tLine-“Oh, they said, uh “you don’t have insurance here, so stop calling us.”….Chandler

Nitpickof the episode-Why is Ross such a jerk in this one? He seems especially hard on Phoebe here

Standout Character-Chandler, just for his exasperated reactions to Joey

Syndication Edit-Ross repeating a joke from Ben, lots of cut jokes

Final Thoughts-Putting aside that Ross seems to be in jerk mode, this is a pretty good episode. It is so good to see Matthew Perry looking healthy; this subsequently makes Chandler funny again. The robbery is well done as is Chandler’s reactions. Phoebe’s story makes perfect sense to me, and it is handled very well. Monica’s story may not seem like much but it’s actually a strong character episode for her, she learnsshe has grown past that nerdy phase she was in during high school. Add Ross and Rachel’s bickering and you have a funny, well done show with a little emotionaldepth thrown in.

Grade=A-,breath of fresh air after the last few episodes of the previous season

Season 4, Episode 3
The One with the Cuffs

Plot Summary-Monica caters a party for her mother, Rachel discovers that Chandler is seeing her boss again; a salesman tries to sell encyclopedias to Joey

Funniest Line-“Well, when I walk outside naked, people throw garbage at me”….Chandler

Nitpickof the episode-Why is Ross hardly in this one? He appears only twice in the start and the end, and has NO story of any kind

Standout Character-Chandler and Rachel; these two are so hilarious together

Syndication Edit-The tag was longer which is obvious the way they cut the scene insyndication

Final Thoughts-This is a fascinating episode, it has so much good and so much bland at the same time. The stuff with Rachel and Chandler is pure gold, it literally saves the episode. Monica and Phoebe’s story is pretty good, but also a tad contrived.  Monica is a professional chef how could she make a mistake like that? I also find it hard to believe that her casserole is so great that no one touched the lasagna.  It is nice to see her relationship with hermother evolve. Joey’s story is funny but also a huge waste of time. By the way,why does Joanna hate Sophie so much? It makes for some great on liners but also doesn’t make sense.

Grade=B,Rachel and Chandler are about it

Season 4, Episode 4
The One with the Ballroom Dancing

Plot Summary-Joey helps the janitor learn to dance, Ross and Chandler try to quit a health club, Phoebe is attracted to her massage client

Funniest Line-“How goes the dancin’? Gay yet?”….Monica

Nitpickof the episode-Phoebe could have saved herself so much grief if she had just arranged to have someone else massage that particular client (this does come up but she insists that she can handle it….sure she can)

Standout Character-ummmmm, sorry I got nothing

Syndication Edit-Added scene where Chandler talks to the gym “quitter” guy andfinds out Ross joined too

Final Thoughts-Maybe I was too hard on the previous episode, it was fantastic compared to this turkey. I really hate the stories in this one. Chandler and Ross’s story is just idiotic. The way they come off like drooling morons doesn’t work. I can’t buy Phoebe’s story either, it was like the creators just wanted to get her fired for some reason. The ballroom dancing crap is the worst. One major flaw, who cares if Treeger learns to dance???? To put it simply, I hated this one.
Grade=D,bad when you hate all the stories

Season 4, Episode 5
The One with Joey’s New Girlfriend

Plot Summary-Chandler is attracted to Joey’s new girlfriend, Ross and Rachel try tomake each other jealous, Phoebe thinks being sick makes her voice sexy

Funniest Line-“I tell people secrets. It makes them like me.”….Chandler

Nitpickof the episode-I’ll just say it here and get it over with. Chandler should havebeen honest with Joey from the start.

Standout Character-Chandler, great job in this episode especially that chase in the street

Syndication Edit-The top of the tag, Ross’s “date” is longer, Joey rents Die Hard for thegroup to watch

Final Thoughts-Another story arc but at least this is a strong one. We learned two seasons ago how strong Chandler and Joey’s friendship is, so here we test that a bit. What happens when Chandler goes too far? As usual Matthew Perry does agreat job in this one. The actress playing Kathy is really good which helps a lot. The Ross and Rachel thing is kind of annoying, acting like petty children. But it is nice there was no quick fix this time, they stay mad at each other for the better part of the season. I do love when Monica yells at them to acttheir age. Phoebe’s story is ok, not much else to say about that.
Grade=B-, Phoebe’s story is only ok

Season 4, Episode 6
The One with the Dirty Girl

Plot Summary-Chandler helps Joey buy a gift for Kathy, Rachel tries to do a crossword puzzle all by herself, Phoebe helps Monica cater a funeral, Ross’snew girlfriend is perfect except for her filthy apartment

Funniest Line-“Probably the only time I’ll ever say this, but did you see the ass onher?”….Monica

Nitpick of the episode-Who is that whiny, weepy person that Phoebe is catering with? Itlooks like Monica, but no way would she be that big a wimp, being afraid to approach the widow for payment and letting Phoebe do it.

Standout Character-Ross, his response to the apartment is classic

Syndication Edit-Longer teaser

Final Thoughts-This may be one of the most watched episodes for me ever. Not sure why,though it does have some great bits. Maybe it’s because everyone gets something to do.  We get more of the “Chandler’s in love with Joey’s girlfriend” arc and it makes for some great gags. The one about the pen is a personal favorite. Ross’s story is really time filler, but it’s also pretty funny. On the other end of things we have Rachel’s most pointless story since she read Little Women. Phoebe and Monica’s story is setup for a story line about them working together which will be abandoned a fewepisode from now. The story is a waste and as I mentioned, Monica is waayyyyout of character here (except for the tag).

Grade=B+,a bit above average

That’s it for today will be back later this week. Season 4 was a huge improvement, but one character did get shafted this season. I will talk more about that next time

By richb

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