Friends (1994–2004)
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The One Where Rachel Smokes 

Rachel takes up smoking to feel more included at work. Joey auditions for a soup commercial with Ross's son Ben, but they end up competing against each other. Monica and Phoebe plan Rachel's surprise birthday party one month in advance.


Todd Holland


David Crane (created by), Marta Kauffman (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Jennifer Aniston ... Rachel Green
Courteney Cox ... Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow ... Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc ... Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry ... Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer ... Dr. Ross Geller
Joanna Gleason ... Kim Clozzi
Jane Sibbett ... Carol Willick
Megan Ward ... Nancy
Judy Kain ... The Casting Director
Jim Wise ... Kyle
John Christopher Allen John Christopher Allen ... Ben Geller (as Jack Allen)
Charles Thomas Allen Charles Thomas Allen ... Ben Geller (as Charlie Allen)
Matt Weinberg ... Raymond


Joey is envious when Ross' son Ben gets an audition for a commercial, but is delighted to hear there also is a role for the boy's father, so he teams up with his godchild; both pass the first round. Everybody is hoping for free stuff, now that Rachel is starting her job with Ralph Lauren. Phoebe suggests they throw an intimate dinner as a surprise birthday party for Rachel, a month in advance, but Monica quickly takes over in grand style; Phoebe insists on being in charge of something, so she gets cups and ice. Rachel quickly finds that her boss Kim and collaborators tend to make all decisions on the balcony during smoking breaks, so after trying just to join them - which doesn't get her close enough - she adopts the terrible habit her dad, a doctor, always warned against with true horror stories. After Ben and Joey are selected for the final cut, Joey is told their lack of physical resemblance means they will be paired with different actors, and only one of them will be cast. ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In his 2019 book Generation Friends, Saul Austerlitz says that despite their usual practice of never admitting when a joke or a script wasn't working, showrunners David Crane and Marta Kauffman thought this episode was so bad, they pleaded with NBC to be allowed to skip that week. However, the network responded that they would take a new episode no matter what shape it was in or how poor its quality was, so "The One Where Rachel Smokes" was aired despite Crane and Kauffman's low opinion of it. See more »


When Joey is talking to Ben about acting, the order and color of the blocks Ben is playing with changes in the middle of the scene. See more »


Joey Tribbiani: [trying to convince Ross to let him appear in a commercial instead of Ben] Come on, Ross! I should be in this commercial! Even Chandler thinks so!
Ross: Is this true, Chandler?
Chandler: Uh... um... Hey, who's that at the door?
Chandler: [gets up and answers the door; no one's there] Oh - hi, no one!
[Chandler bolts out the door]
See more »

Crazy Credits

A deleted scene shows during Rachel's birthday party,shows Chandler goes through Rachel's purse to look for cigarettes, when he finds them, Monica presents him with an ultimatum which is for him to choose either the cigarettes or her: he chooses her. See more »


Never There
Performed by Cake
See more »

User Reviews

The title story lets down an otherwise good episode
7 November 2019 | by studioATSee all my reviews

The problem for me with series 5 of 'Friends' is that there always seems to be one weak story that spoils an episode.

Here it's the title story, that's very weak indeed.

The joy of watching these on DVD is that you can skip such stories I guess.

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Release Date:

8 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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