Friends TV Series ESL Discussion Questions

Season 1, Episode 1: The Pilot

Rachel leaves Barry at the altar, meets the gang, and moves in with Monica. Monica, meanwhile, sleeps with Paul the Wine Guy, and Ross is reeling from his divorce from Carol, who he finds out is a lesbian.

1) Describe Ross Geller.  Why did the wife of Ross divorce him?

2) Describe Rachel Green.  What is Rachel wearing when she shows up to the coffee house?  Who does Rachel move in with?

3) Describe Monica Geller.  What is Monica’s job?  Who moves in with Monica in this epdisode?

4) Describe Chandler Bing.

5) Describe Phoebe Buffay.  What is Phoebe’s job?

6) Describe Joey Tribiani.  What is Joey’s job?

Season 1, Episode 2: The One with the Sonogram at the End

Carol, Ross’s lesbian ex-wife, tells him at work that she is pregnant with his child, Monica nearly has a breakdown when her parents come for dinner, and Rachel finds out that Barry and her maid of honor Mindy, went on her honeymoon.

1) Who is Carol?

2) What does Carol tell Ross?

3) How do Monica’s parents affect her?

4) What is the relationship between Rachel and Barry?

5) How does Rachel feel about Barry going on her honeymoon with Mindy?

Season 1, Episode 3: The One with the Thumb

Monica becomes irritated when everyone likes her new boyfriend more than she does. Chandler starts smoking again, and Phoebe finds a thumb in a can of soda.

1) Describe Monica’s new boyfriend.

2) Why does Chandler start smoking?

3) How does Chandler hide his smoking at work?

4) How does Phoebe get her can of soda?  What does Phoebe find in the can of soda?

Season 1, Episode 4: The One with George Stephanopoulos

Ross mourns the anniversary of losing his virginity to Carol. The boys convince Ross to go to a hockey game which leads to Ross breaking his nose and wearing unattractive headgear. Rachel gets her first paycheck. But she is angry that most of her money went to FICA. To cheer her up the girls have a slumber party. The girls spy on the sexy politician across the street (George Stephanopoulos) whose pizza is delivered to Monica by mistake.

1) What does Ross mourn? Do you think this is a good idea?

2) What happens to Ross at the hockey game?

3) What is FICA?

4) What is a slumber party?

5) Who do the girls spy on?

Season 1, Episode 5: The One with the East German Laundry Detergent

Ross and Rachel wash their dirty laundry in public, where Rachel gets into a fight with a woman and Ross gets his first kiss with Rachel. Joey wants to go out with a woman who has a boyfriend, so he sets up a double date, consisting of the woman, her boyfriend, Monica, and himself. He leads Monica to believe that the woman’s boyfriend is Monica’s date and the woman’s brother, and that Joey’s date is the woman. This creates much confusion when Monica sees the woman and her “brother” being “inappropriate”. Chandler breaks up with Janice for the first time with Phoebe’s help.

1) What does it mean to wash your dirty laundry in public?



Season 1, Episode 6: The One with the Butt

Joey finally gets a film role as a stand-in for Al Pacino’s butt which he never actually does because he “acted too much”. Chandler starts a polyamorous relationship with an Italian woman. Chandler is thrilled at the prospect of having “all the fun but none of the responsibility,” but eventually learns that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.




Season 1, Episode 7: The One with the Blackout

During a city-wide power outage, Rachel falls for the owner of a lost kitten, a dark, attractive Italian guy called Paolo, which occurs at the same time as Ross wanting to profess his love for Rachel. Meanwhile, Chandler is trapped in an automated-teller vestibule with Jill Goodacre and he desperately tries to impress her. (This episode was tied to the Mad About You season 3 episode Pandora’s Box which depicted the cause of the city-wide blackout.)

1) Describe Paolo.

2) How does Chandler try to impress the girl he is trapped within the ATM vestibule.

3) What can cause a city-side power outage?

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

Ross and Monica go to the bedside of their dead grandmother, who momentarily returns to life. Meanwhile, one of Chandler’s colleagues tries to fix him up on a date with a man after she thinks he’s gay, this leads Chandler to find out that all the gang thought he was gay when they first met him. The gang go to Nana’s funeral, where Monica confronts her mother about her critical attitude.

1)  What happens when Ross and Monica see their grandmother?

2) Why do people think Chandler is gay?  Do you believe in Gaydar?

3)What happens at Nana’s funeral?

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

Monica plans a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving feast for the gang in her apartment but her plans go awry. Joey models for an embarrassing poster, Rachel misses her flight home and the food burns when Chandler (who does not “do” Thanksgiving) distracts the friends with a break-away balloon which leads to the friends eating sandwiches. Ross, wanting to do what Susan does, tries to talk to his unborn child.

1) What happens to the Thanksgiving feast planned by Monica?

2) Describe Joey’s poster.

3) Do you think talking to unborn children it a good idea.


Season 1, Episode 10: The One with the Monkey

Ross arrives at the New Year’s Eve party with his new companion, a monkey named Marcel, who seems to take no interest in Ross at all. All the friends make a pact not to bring dates to New Years, but all except Ross do. Phoebe’s date is David, Her Scientist Guy (Hank Azaria), who has to choose whether to stay with her or go to Minsk for career making research. Monica’s date is Fun Bobby, who has just lost his grand-father and cries all evening. Joey’s date is a single mom who comes with her children and end up with David’s friend. Rachel’s date, Paulo misses his flight and Rachel gets into a fight at the airport. Chandler’s date is Janice and he breaks up with her again. In the end none of the Friends have anyone to kiss at midnight, and Joey ends up kissing Chandler.

1) Describe Marcel the monkey.

2) What is the New Years pact?

3) Describe Phoebe’s date David.

4) Describe Monica’s date Fun Bobby.

5) Describe Joey’s date.

6) Describe Rachel’s date Paulo.

7) Describe Chandler’s date Janice.

8) Why does Joey kiss Chandler?

Season 1, Episode 11: The One with Mrs. Bing

Chandler’s flamboyant romance-novelist mother (Morgan Fairchild) comes to New York for a visit, and Joey catches Ross making the mistake of kissing her in a restaurant, after getting himself drunk when he sees Rachel bring Paolo. Monica and Phoebe see a guy who they like who’s passing the street when Monica shouts after him the guy turns and is hit by a car. They both fight for him while he is in the coma.

1) Describe Chandler’s mother.

2)  Why does Ross kiss Chandler’s mother.

3) Why does Ross get drunk?

4) What happens while Ross is in a coma?


Season 1, Episode 12: The One with the Dozen Lasagnas

Everyone knows the sex of Ross’ baby except for Ross, who does not want to find out until it’s born. Rachel’s relationship with Paolo hits a snag when he makes a pass at Phoebe. Monica makes a dozen lasagnas for her aunt, only to discover that her aunt does not eat meat.

1) Ross does not want to know the gender of his baby, do you think this is a good idea?

2)  Why do Rachel and Paolo argue?

3) Why does Monica make a dozen lasagnas for her aunt?

4) The aunt is vegetarian.  Why are people vegetarians?


Season 1, Episode 13, The One with the Boobies

After Chandler accidentally sees Rachel wandering around topless after her shower, a chain reaction of nudity ensues when she tries to even the score by seeing him naked. Joey finds himself playing parent when he has to decide whether to hide his father’s affair from his mom. And no one can stand Phoebe’s new boyfriend, an irritating psychologist named Roger (Fisher Stevens).

1)  What does Chandler see?

2) Joey tries to hide his father’s infidelity. Is this a good idea?

3)  Describe Phoebe’s new boyfriend Roger.  Why do the other friends dislike Roger?


Season 1, Episode 14, The One with the Candy Hearts

Ross’ first date in nine years is on Valentine’s Day with a beautiful neighbor. Carol and Susan, also out on a romantic date, end up at the same restaurant where Ross ends up kissing Carol. Joey sets Chandler up on a blind date-with Janice and they end up sleeping together. Chandler ends up breaking up with Janice on Valentine’s day. And Phoebe, Monica and Rachel decide to spend the holiday burning mementos of their past boyfriends which causes a fire.

1) What happens during Ross’ Valentine Day date?

2) Describe Janice.

3) What happens between Chandler and Janice.

4) Why do Phoebe, Monica and Rachel burn mementos of their past boyfriends and is this a good idea?


Season 1, Episode 15, The One with the Stoned Guy

Monica cooks a gourmet meal for a restaurateur looking for a new chef (Jon Lovitz). Unfortunately, he’s stoned and would just as well eat taco shells as her haute cuisine. After working as a data processing permanent temp for five years, Chandler gets promoted to data processing supervisor, then quits. He takes his job back when he is offered more money. Ross has a date with a beautiful colleague named Celia (Melora Hardin) and gives new meaning to the term “spanking the monkey,” when he brings her back to his place to meet Marcel. Celia is willing to have sex with him, but only if he talks dirty to her which he cannot do so he asks Joey for help.

1) What happens to Monica when she cooks a meal for a restaurateur?

2) Why does Chandler quit his job and then what happens?

3)  What happens between Ross and Celia?


Season 1, Episode 16-17, The One with Two Parts

Joey falls for Phoebe’s twin sister, Ursula, making Phoebe feel neglected. Meanwhile, Chandler finds himself between a rock and a hard place, when he is told to fire an employee he is attracted to. Ross has doubts about parenthood when he attends Lamaze classes with Carol and Susan. Meanwhile, Monica tries to fix her TV after Marcel puts the TV on “SAP” function to Spanish, which she cannot turn off. Ursula dumps Joey, but plans not to tell him, so Phoebe disguises herself as her twin sister to dump Joey and make sure he does not get hurt. After weeks of procrastinating, Rachel finally takes down the Christmas lights on their balcony, only to fall off the balcony and sprain her ankle. At the hospital, Rachel, who has no health insurance, convinces Monica into trading identities with her so she can use Monica’s coverage. The girls end up trying to date two cute doctors (George Clooney & Noah Wyle). Ross doubts that he will ever feel like a father. Marcel swallows Scrabble tiles and Ross takes care of him making him feel like he would be a good father after that.

1) Describe Phoebe’s twin sister, Ursula.

2)  How does Chandler handle firing and employee?

3) What happens to Rachel in this episode?

4) Describe Marcel.

5) What happens to Marcel?


Season 1, Episode 18, The One with All the Poker

Tired of being referred to by customers as “Excuse me,” Rachel interviews for a job as an assistant buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. She also sees another side of the usually docile Ross when the girls face the boys during a not-so-friendly game of poker after some help from Monica’s aunt.

1) Rachel interviews for a job as an assistant buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue.  What is an assistant buyer?  What sort of store is Saks Fifth Avenue/

2) How does Ross act during the poker game?

3) What is a poker face?

Season 1, Episode 19, The One Where the Monkey Gets Away

The gang searches frantically for Marcel, who slipped out of the apartment while Rachel was baby-sitting him. Rachel, who does not know that Marcel is an illegal pet, ends up calling Animal Safety. This annoys Ross. The woman to comes to take away Marcel turns out to be an old class-mate of Rachel & Monica. After Marcel is found and safe, Ross finally gets up the courage to try to woo Rachel. But just when it looks like the two might actually spend a romantic evening alone together, Barry, Rachel’s ex-fiance, barges into the apartment declaring his love for her.





Season 1, Episode 20, The One with the Evil Orthodontist

Rachel and Barry start dating again, which is slightly awkward because he’s now engaged to Mindy, who wants Rachel to be her maid of honor. But when Rachel finds out that Mindy and Barry had an affair while she was engaged to Barry, the two women decide to call Barry out on it. Meanwhile, Chandler goes nuts when a woman he likes won’t return his phone calls. The friends become annoyed after they discover someone is spying on them from the building across the street.




Season 1, Episode 21, The One with the Fake Monica

When Monica’s credit card is stolen, she, along with Phoebe and Rachel, decide to catch the thief, but Monica begins a friendship with her. Joey enlists his friends to help him come up with a less ethnic-sounding stage name. And when Ross finds out that Marcel has reached sexual maturity and needs to be with other monkeys, he tries to get him accepted into the “Harvard of zoos”, with an emotional goodbye.

1) What happens to Monica’s credit card?

2) Joey wants a less ethnic sounding name, what does “ethnic” mean?

3) What happens to Marcel?


Season 1, Episode 22, The One with the Ick Factor

After losing his virginity to her, Monica’s boyfriend Ethan reveals that he’s a high school senior, not a college senior. Rachel has erotic dreams about Joey and Chandler, making Ross both disgusted and envious. And when Phoebe temps as Chandler’s secretary, she finds out that no one at work likes him anymore.

1)  What happens to Ethan?

2) What sort of dreams does Rachel have?

3) What does Phoebe find out when she temps at Chandler’s work place?


Season 1, Episode 23, The One with the Birth

Carol goes into labor, prompting Monica to begin thinking about having a baby of her own. When Ross and Susan cannot stop bickering over who gets to help Carol more, Phoebe drags both of them into a closet to settle their differences – but all three end up getting locked in just as Carol is about to give birth to the baby. Rachel flirts with an OB/GYN who has a love-hate relationship with women’s private parts due to seeing them every day at work. Joey ends up assisting birth for a single mother (played by Leah Remini).

1) What happens to Carol?

2) What is an OB/GYN?

3) What does Joey do in this episode?


Season 1, Episode 24, The One Where Rachel Finds Out

Ross has to go to China for a fossil dig before Rachel’s birthday. Chandler tells Ross to find another girl and get over Rachel. Ross gives his present to Chandler and goes. Joey’s new girlfriend wants to go to bed with him, but Joey’s participation in a fertility study is preventing this. During Rachel’s birthday party, Chandler accidentally lets it slip that Ross is in love with her, and a big decision presents itself.

1) Where does Ross go?

2) What does Rachel find out about Ross from Chandler?

3) Would Ross and Rachel be a couple?

Movie Lessons Plans

TV Series Lesson Plans

WereVerse Universe Baby!

3 responses to “Friends TV Series ESL Discussion Questions

  1. Awesome. As an I English teacher I find this really useful. it’s so great for students!

    • I ended up teaching Thailand for nine years and Thai culture is all about “sanuk” which translates as “fun” but is so much more than that. Suffice it to say that if isn’t fun then my students would 1) flat out go to sleep 2) play with the cell phones. Thai students at the university level are sick of the regular ESL textbooks and classroom management was a problem. Thais students seem to love US pop culture and are very curious about the topic and the number of students sleeping and playing with their cell phones went straight down.

Leave a Reply