Central Perk - The Friends Wiki
The One With The Embryos
Season 4, Episode 12
Air date 15 January 1998
Written by Jill Condon & Amy Toomin
Directed by Kevin S. Bright
Episode guide
The One With Phoebe's Uterus
The One With Rachel's Crush
Janice litman

"The One with the Embryos" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of the American television situation comedy Friends, which was broadcast on NBC on January 15, 1998.[1] While the title refers to Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) having in-vitro fertilisation as part of the on-going storyline designed to cover up the actress's pregnancy, the episode is best remembered for the trivia game played by the other characters, and was ranked #21 on TV Guide's list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[2]

The episode was directed by Kevin S. Bright and written by Jill Condon and Amy Toomin. It frequently ranks amongst the series' best episodes in polls. Giovanni Ribisi and Debra Jo Rupp reprise their recurring characters Frank Jr. and Alice Knight.


  • Monica's biggest pet peeve: Animals dressed as humans
  • Monica's nickname as field hockey goalie: Big Fat Goalie
  • Number of categories of towel at Monica's: 11
  • First name of Monica and Ross's late grandmother: Althea
  • Chandler's father's all-gay Las Vegas burlesque show: Viva Las Gay-gas!
  • Phenomenon that "scares the beejesus" out of Chandler: Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance
  • Chandler's age when he first touched a girl's breast: 19
  • TV Guide delivered to Joey and Chandler addressed to "Miss Chanandler Bong"
  • Joey's childhood imaginary friend: Maurice, a "space cowboy"
  • Joey's favorite food: Sandwiches
  • Rachel claims Dangerous Liaisons is her favorite movie; her real favorite movie: Weekend at Bernie's.

When Joey and Chandler (Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry) correctly identify the contents of Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) shopping bag, Monica (Courteney Cox) suggests a trivia contest to see who knows more about whom, the men or the women. They place a $100 bet on the outcome and Ross (David Schwimmer) puts together some questions and plays as host. Meanwhile, Phoebe has agreed to be a surrogate mother for her brother Frank and his older wife Alice, but is concerned that they are paying $16,000 for the IVF procedure which only has a 25% chance of success, and she is helpless to influence the results.

The trivia game begins, with various facts about the characters being revealed like Joey's space-cowboy imaginary friend Maurice and Rachel's secret liking of Weekend at Bernie's. A 9 to 9 score leads to a lightning round. Monica raises the stakes: If the women win, Joey and Chandler must give up their birds, as the maturing Chick is crowing in the mornings and waking them up. Chandler rebuts by suggesting Rachel and Monica give up their apartment to them, which Monica agrees to without consulting Rachel. The girls lose the lightning round because they cannot identify Chandler's job, and the boys win.

As the four pack up their respective apartments, Rachel in particular displeased about having to switch, Phoebe returns home and takes a pregnancy test, though it is too soon for a result. Later with packing complete, Rachel finally refuses to move as Frank and Alice come by with another pregnancy test. The boys and the girls begin to argue along with Ross, which is cut short when Phoebe emerges from the bathroom and joyfully announces she is pregnant, the mood turning to one of celebration.

[edit] Reception[]

In a 2001 review, Entertainment Weekly rates the episode A+, stating that "Thanks to the trivia contest alone, Embryos is quite possibly Friends' finest moment". It singles out Rachel's line "He's a transpon-transpondster!" (in response to the question "What is Chandler Bing's job?") as the best of the episode.[3] The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends call it a "sure-fire contender for the best episode of all time ... not one to be missed under any circumstances".[1] In 2004 an MSNBC.com reviewer wrote that the character trivia is "revealed in a manner completely organic to the plot. Beautifully written and acted, "The One With The Embryos" encapsulates the whole series in a single episode".[4] The episode was ranked #21 on TV Guide's list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[2]

The episode is the favorite of Cox and LeBlanc. Cox likes the episode because she enjoys playing Monica at her most competitive,[5] while LeBlanc spoke fondly of the pace of the episode and the information about the characters that came out. He identified scenes that featured just the six core cast as the best, "because you don't have to introduce a character -- you don't have to lay any pipeline -- you just get right to the funny".[6]