“The One Where Jetlag Wins” – The FRIENDS Episode You Never Saw (Well, Sort Of…)

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! Today’s post is centered around another not-so-forgotten sitcom: Friends. (Which seems to still be playing day and night across the country.) Since it’ll be a LONG time before we reach 1994 on Situation Comedy Tuesdays, I want to give my Friends fans (of whom I know there are a lot!) something special. Today we’ll be featuring an episode that you’ve likely never even heard about. Why? Because it was retitled and rewritten after the table read!

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First, I must preface today’s post by explaining my overall thoughts on the series itself. I’ve been a Friends fan for a long time; it was the first show that started my massive sitcoms-on-DVD collection. I loved Friends.  But as I matured and became exposed to other, and ultimately better, shows, my taste for Friends began to sour. I found that the characters would seemingly progress and then regress. Now, Friends is a sitcom and character growth isn’t something that is of utmost importance. Laughter, comedy, funny – that’s the priority – right? Absolutely. But when a show sets up characters in a way that intends and promises growth, it is necessary that the writers deliver. And they did… for a few seasons. I think Season Four marked a big turning point in the way the characters were written. Half-assed stories and easy jokes became the order of the day and all character development seemed stymied. Episodes seemed to hinge on whatever gimmicky cliffhanger they were either building to or resolving. The one good thing to come out of these middle seasons was the relationship between Monica and Chandler, which seemed to fit the show and gave the writers MILES of opportunity in terms of story. The show ran, essentially, two seasons longer than it should have. (As a lot of shows do.) In those final two years, the issues I mentioned above became increasingly evident and the show was… well… stupid is the only word I can think of to describe the series.

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I don’t want it to appear like I’m turning my nose up at Friends, because I’m not. However, what bothers me is the unanimous praise the show seemed to garner. It set a template (along with Seinfeld) for new sitcoms about single characters who could sit around and play whatever story the writers wanted to tell — regardless of character. Story for story’s sake. And not one story per episode. Oh, NO. Three stories per episode. In the ’50s, sitcoms ran about 26 minutes and featured one story per week. Friends ran about 22 minutes and featured THREE stories. That’s a little over seven minutes given to each story. Less entertaining, I feel (but your mileage may vary) and much harder to keep up. Friends produced 236 episodes over ten seasons. With three stories per episode, that comes to approximately 708 stories. I give the writers credit for coming up with over 700 new stories. But less is always more… And stories should ALWAYS arise from the characters themselves. Which means, the better defined your characters are, the better your series will be.

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Okay. I’m done ragging Friends. It IS a successful series. Why? Because it still makes us laugh. It may be trite, overblown, and stupid at times. But it can make me laugh-out-loud. For a sitcom, that’s the most important thing.

On to today’s main feature…

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In 2007, I purchased the script for a Friends episode I’d never heard of before. It was called, “The One Where Jetlag Wins.” To my delight, it turned out to be the table draft of 10×15: “The One Where Estelle Dies.” For those who don’t remember, the stories in this episode were as such: Ross tries to get Rachel to go back to Ralph Lauren, Joey doesn’t know that his agent has died, and Monica and Chandler bump into Janice at the house next door. In the commentary for “The One Where Estelle Dies”, the executive producers recalled throwing out a Ross/Rachel story (where they went to Paris to consider Rachel’s move) and putting in a new one after the table read. This one about Ross’s attempts to keep Rachel from leaving. The script that I purchased featured the original story. Here, I present to you all the cuts and changes from that initial table draft, entitled “The One Where Jetlag Wins.”

(Well, the Teaser is pretty much the same except for a few lines here and there. It doesn’t really change until…)

PHOEBE
Wow. Are you really okay with this?

CHANDLER
It makes me feel sad, but also-

PHOEBE
Talking to Ross.

CHANDLER
I see.

ROSS
It’s not ideal. But we’ve worked out a schedule for Emma that I feel okay about. And I’m going with Rachel to Paris this weekend to look into nannies.

(The teaser basically ends the same. Then… )

ACT ONE

SCENE B

Fade In:

Int. PARIS HOTEL ROOM- A FEW DAYS LATER (Day 2)
(Rachel, Ross)

ROSS AND RACHEL ENTER, CARRYING LUGGAGE. IT’S A LARGE ROOM WITH TWO BEDS. ROSS IS EXCITED, RAHCEL IS OVERWHELMED.

ROSS
What a great room.

HE CROSSES OVER AND OPENS THE BLINDS.

ROSS (CONT’D)
And look at that view!

RACHEL
Yeah, I don’t think I can do this.

ROSS
What?

RACHEL
It’s all just so different! If you weren’t with me, I don’t think I could have found my way here on the Metro.

ROSS
Rachel, it’s not that big a deal. It’s like the subway in New York. You ride it all the time.

RACHEL
(COVERING) Yeah, sure. Every day. I took the blue line to… Ralph Lauren station. (GIVING UP) I don’t take the Subway!

ROSS
Well, they have taxis here too.

RACHEL
But how will I tell them where to go? I don’t even speak French.

ROSS
It’ll come back to you. You got A’s in French in high school.

RACHEL
You would have gotten A’s too if you wore skirts as short as I did.

ROSS
I don’t think I would have. (THEN) Come on, you’re going to love it here. (USHERING HER TO THE WINDOW) Just look how beautiful this city is. You can see the Eiffel Tower.

RACHEL
(LOOKING) No, you can’t.

ROSS TAKES A SOUVENIR EIFFEL TOWER OUT OF HIS BAG AND HOLDS IT UP.

ROSS
Now you can.

RACHEL
When did you buy that?

ROSS
In the airport when you went to the bathroom. The same time I bought this.

HE PULLS OUT A BERET AND PUTS IT ON.

RACHEL
Wow. That should keep the girls away.

ROSS
So let’s go. What do you want to do first?

RACHEL
I need a nap before I do anything.

ROSS
Oh, no. We have to stay up until at least ten o’clock. We get a good night’s sleep, we wake up, we’re on Paris time. We’re practically Parisians. We’re not Ross and Rachel, we’re (FRENCH ACCENT) “Ross et Rachel”.

RACHEL
Oh boy, this is going to be a long weekend.

ROSS
Seriously, no naps. You take a nap now, jetlag wins.

RACHEL
(SIGHS) All right, let me just get my coat out of my bag and we can go.

SHE CROSSES THE ROOM TO HER SUITCASE AND OPENS IT.

RACHEL (CONT’D)
I just have to find it. I let Monica pack for me. It makes her so happy.

SHE PULLS OUT A COAT, TURNS BACK TO ROSS.

RACHEL (CONT’D)
Okay, so where do you want to go fir-

SHE SEES THAT ROSS IS LYING ON THE BED, DEAD ASLEEP.

RACHEL (CONT’D)
And jetlag wins.

SHE GOES OVER TO THE SLEEPING ROSS, TAKES THE BERET OFF HIS HEAD, THROWS IT OUT THE WINDOW, CLOSES THE BLINDS AND GETS INTO HER BED. AND WE…

CUT TO:

Scene C is where the gang back home finds out Estelle has died.

SCENE D

INT. PARIS HOTEL ROOM – LATER (NIGHT 2)
(Rachel, Ross)

ROSS AND RACHEL ARE STILL ASLEEP. ROSS WAKES UP AND REALIZES HE’S BEEN SLEEPING.

ROSS
Damn you, jetlag. (THEN) Rachel, wake up. (OFF HER SLEEPY GROAN) We fell asleep. This is exactly what I said we shouldn’t do.

RACHEL
(HALF ASLEEP) What time is it?

ROSS
(LOOKING AT WATCH) It’s one o’clock. We slept for three hours.

HE OPENS THE BLINDS. IT’S NIGHT OUTSIDE. ROSS STARES AT IT FOR A BEAT.

ROSS (CONT’D)
Yeah, it’s one in the morning. We slept fifteen hours. (LOOKING DOWN, PUZZLED) And that gargoyle is wearing a beret.

RACHEL
(GETTING UP) So, what do we do about your whole “getting on Paris time” thing?

ROSS
Well, we can either try to sleep another seven hours, or get on a plane and fly straight to Tokyo.

RACHEL
I’m starving.

ROSS
I know. I thing we’ve missed, like, eight meals.

RACHEL
I’m gonna call room service. SHE PICKS UP THE PHONE AND PRESSES THE BUTTON.

RACHEL (CONT’D)
(INTO PHONE, WITH DIFFICULTY)
Bonjour. Je . . .suis – Yes, I’m American. Okay, we need food. (THEN, TO ROSS) He said there are no restaurants open in the area and room service closed five minutes ago.

ROSS
Seriously?

RACHEL
(INTO PHONE) Come on, can’t you scrounge up anything for us? You don’t have to cook it. Just a croissant. Or some cheese. Or, like, one of those fruit tarts.

ROSS
(DYING) Stop naming foods!

RACHEL
(INTO PHONE) Please, we’re starving here. Can’t you help us out? Por favor? (TO ROSS) That did not help. (LISTENS FOR A BEAT, THEN TO ROSS) He’s yelling at me. I want to go home.

ROSS TAKES THE PHONE.

ROSS
(WITH CONFIDENCE) Monsieur, je vous en prie. Nous y apprecierions beaucoup et nous pouvons vous recompenser pour avoir vous genre. (UPBEAT) Merci.

HE HANGS UP AND TURNS TO RACHEL.

ROSS (cont’d)
We’re getting squat.

AND WE . . .

CUT TO:
The next little thing is Phoebe pretending to be Estelle. Then :

SCENE H:

INT. PARIS HOTEL ROOM-LATER (Night 2)
(Rachel, Ross)

RACHEL HAS TAKEN A SHOWER AND IS WEARING A ROBE. ROSS RUNS IN, HIS ARMS FULL OF BOOTY HE’S STOLEN FROM THE HOTEL KITCHEN. THERE ARE A COUPLE BAGUETTES, A BOTTLE OF WINE, AND A NUMBER OF CANS.

RACHEL
Oh my god!

ROSS
The kitchen was unlocked.

RACHEL
Were you nervous?

ROSS
Not that much.

RACHEL
(NOTICING CAN) Is that floor wax?

ROSS
Okay, there may have been some panicking.

RACHEL
But look what you got!

ROSS
Wait.

HE DARTS INTO THE HALL, THEN COMES BACK IN ROLLING AN ENORMOUS WHEEL OF CHEESE.

ROSS (CONT’D)
(OFFERING) Too much cheese, madam?

RACHEL
You are a god to me. (TASTING BAGUETTE) This bread is sooo good.

ROSS
By the way, do you want to know which stuff I hid in my pants on the way up here?

RACHEL
I don’t think I do.

ROSS
Okay! (INDICATING CANS) We also have olives, tuna, artichoke hearts, pate, and cherries soaked in liqueur.

RACHEL
(GENUINE) I THINK I’M GOING TO CRY. So where’s the can opener?

ROSS
(FREEZING) Caaan opener…

RACHEL
You didn’t get a can opener? How are we going to open these?

ROSS THINKS FOR A BEAT, THEN GRABS THE SOVENEIR EIFFEL TOWER AND SLAMS IT INTO ONE OF THE CANS.

ROSS
(VICTORIOUS) Bon appetite!

CUT TO:

Scene J is the scene where Monica and Chandler are at the house next door.

SCENE K

INT. PARIS HOTEL ROOM – LATER (NIGHT 2 )
(Rachel, Ross)

ROSS AND RACHEL ARE ON ONE OF THE BEDS. THEY HAVE THE FOOD SPREAD OUT AROUND THEM. ALL THE CANS ARE NOW OPEN. WITH ALL OF PARIS IN THE BACKGROUND, THE SCENE IS ROMANTIC AND FUN.

RACHEL
(OFFERING BOTTLE) More wine?

ROSS
Oh, yeah.

RACHEL
How’s your poor hand?

ROSS LOOKS AT HIS HAND. THERE IS A CLOTH NAPKIN WRAPPED AROUND IT.

ROSS
Yeah, I think we know why the Eiffel Tower never caught on as a can-opening device.

RACHEL
Here, I’ll feed you. Have you tried this yet?

SHE HOLDS UP SOMETHING ON A PIECE OF BAGUETTE.

ROSS
(WARY) What is it?

RACHEL
Pate and cherries.

ROSS
Mmm. Gross.

RACHEL
It’s good. I swear. Taste it.

ROSS
(PULLING BACK) I don’t think so.

RACHEL
Come on, don’t be a baby. Taste.

ROSS
(MOUTH CLOSED) Mmm-mmm.

RACHEL
(BRINGING IT CLOSER) Taste it!

SHE FORCES IT INTO HIS MOUTH.

ROSS
(PREPARED TO HATE IT) Mmmm . . . (REALIZING IT’S DELICIOUS) Mmmm!

RACHEL
See?

ROSS
That is genius!

RACHEL
Thank you.

ROSS
All right, you cannot tell Monica when we get back, but I think this is the best meal I ever had.

RACHEL
Me, too! Here, have some cheese.

SHE FEEDS HIM ANOTHER BITE. HE SMILES.

RACHEL (CONT’D)
(RE: HIS SMILE) What?

ROSS
Nothing.

RACHEL
(KNOWS BETTER) Why are you smiling?

ROSS
You’re going to be mad.

RACHEL
No, I’m not. Tell me.

ROSS
Every time you lean forward, your robe opens up and I can totally see everything.

RACHEL
(AMUSED) So it’s dinner and a show then.

SHE TIGHTENS HER ROBE. BEAT. RACHEL LOOKS OUT THE WINDOW.

RACHEL (CONT’D)
God, it’s beautiful.

ROSS
We always said we wanted to go to Paris. Why didn’t we?

RACHEL
We were poor and then we broke up.

ROSS
Well, we’ll always have that.

SHE SMILES, THEN TURNS AWAY TO GET MORE FOOD. ROSS LOOKS AT HER IN A WAY HE HASN’T FOR A LONG TIME.

ROSS (CONT’D)
I’m going to miss you.

RACHEL
Hey, I haven’t decided if I’m definitely going yet.

ROSS
You have to go. How many times in your life are you going to get a chance to live in Paris? I wish I could go.

RACHEL
I wish you could, too.

SHE GOES BACK TO PREPARING HER FOOD. BEAT.

ROSS
What if I did?

RACHEL
What?

ROSS
What if I moved to Paris, too?

RACHEL
Are you serious? Is that even a possibility?

ROSS
(IMPETUOUS) Why not? I’ll take a sabbatical for a year. They just gave me tenure. I can do whatever I want.

RACHEL
Oh my god. That would be fantastic! I would feel so much better taking this job. And we’d have so much fun! You have to do it!

ROSS
(CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S SAYING IT) Okay.

RACHEL
Really?

ROSS
Yeah.

RACHEL
(ARMS IN THE AIR) We’re moving to Paris!

ROSS
Show’s back on.

SHE QUICKLY TIGHTENS HER ROBE. THEY HUG AND WE . . .

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

Scene M is a continuation of Scene J. Scene P is the scene where Joey feels guilty about Estelle. It doesn’t change until:

JOEY
Okay, but if she doesn’t, then I’m gonna call her. It’s not just that I feel guilty. I can’t take one more change in my life.

PHOEBE
I know.

SHE GOVES HIM A REASSURING TOUCH. ROSS ENTERS.

ROSS
Hey!

PHOEBE/ JOEY
Hey! Welcome back!

PHOEBE
How was it?

ROSS
Terrific. Really great. (EXCITED) And guess what…I’m moving to Paris.

JOEY STARES AT HIM. THEN JUST WALKS OUT THE DOOR.

ROSS (CONT’D)
He seems happy for us.

PHOEBE
You’re really moving to Paris, too?

ROSS
Yup.

PHOEBE
Is New York suddenly uncool and nobody told me?

ROSS
I’ve just always wanted to live in Europe. And now that I have tenure, I can do whatever I want.

PHOEBE
So you and Rachel must have really had fun.

ROSS
Oh yeah. It was the best.

PHOEBE
I’m sorry. I should’ve been more specific. Did you sleep together?

ROSS
No.

PHOEBE
(DISAPPOINTED) Oh.

ROSS
Although…

PHOEBE
(PERKING UP) Yes?

ROSS
Never mind.

PHOEBE
Seriously, twelve years of dinosaur stories and this you’re going to “never mind’?

ROSS
It’s like…we were different over there. I don’t know why.

PHOEBE
‘Cause the rest of us weren’t there?

ROSS
Maybe.

THEY BOTH SMILE.

PHOEBE
So do you think, like, something, could happen?

ROSS
I don’t know. Maybe. I mean, the two of us in Paris? Who knows?

PHOEBE
Oh my god! This is so great!

ROSS
(ENJOYING THIS) Easy. Let’s see what happens once we’re there.

PHOEBE
(EXCITED) All right, but if you want, I can talk to Rachel, get a read on her, have the other guys drop some hints about how you feel, then we’ll all report back to you-(HEARING HERSELF) Wow, maybe we really are the problem.

AND WE…

CUT TO:

Scene R is the same scene with Monica and Chandler that happened in the show except they’re in their apartment back in New York.

SCENE T

INT. ACADEMIC OFFICE- LATER (Day 3)
(Ross, Dean)

ROSS HAS JUST TOLD THE DEAN OF FACULTY ABOUT HIS PLANS.

DEAN
You can’t take a year off to go to Paris.

ROSS
(COCKY) Oh, I think I can. I’ve got a little thing called “tenure”.

DEAN
So what?

ROSS
(THROWN BY THIS) I, uh, I kind of thought that meant I could-

DEAN
What? Do whatever you want?

ROSS
(TENTATIVE) Ish.

DEAN
Professor Geller, you are at the bottom of the list of tenured professors who would love nothing more than to spend a year in Paris. You have to wait your turn.

ROSS
Look, this is a very big deal to me. There’s got to be some way-

DEAN
No.

ROSS
What if there’s a professor in Paris who would switch places with–

DEAN
No.

ROSS
What if I-

DEAN
No.

ROSS
Would it make a difference if I told you there’s a woman I’ve been in love with since I was fifteen? (OFF THE DEAN’S LOOK, TO HIMSELF) No means no, Ross!

AND WE…

CUT TO:

Scene W is the scene where Al Zeebooker calls to say Estelle has died. Scene X is a scene with Monica and Chandler at the house. There are some slight changes and no Janice.

SCENE Y

INT. JOEY AND RACHEL’S APARTMENT – LATER (NIGHT 3)
(Joey, Rachel, Ross)

ROSS ENTERS. RACHEL IS THERE. SHE’S HAPPY, FLYING.

ROSS
Hey.

RACHEL
Bonjour! Well, I did it. I officially took the job today. I am so excited! Knowing you’re going to be there makes it perfect.

SHE HUGS HIM.

ROSS
(TENTATIVE) Yeah, um. . .

RACHEL
Oh, they sent me stuff about apartments. And a map that I do not understand. You are going to be in charge of that.

ROSS
Okay, uh –

RACHEL
Wait. Look what I got us to celebrate. A baguette with pate and cherries. Actually, I couldn’t find pate, so it’s chopped liver. And cherry pie filling. It’s disgusting. I’ll throw it out.

SHE STARTS TO THROW OUT THE FOOL. ROSS STOPS HER.

ROSS
Rach, listen. I’ve got some bad –

RACHEL
(GETTING IT) Oh, no. Nooo. Why?

ROSS
The university won’t let me go.

RACHEL
I though you could do anything you wanted.

ROSS
They gave me tenure, they didn’t make me king. At least, that’s what the Dean of Faculty yelled down the hall after me. (THEN) I’m so, so sorry.

RACHEL
It’s not your fault. I know how much you wanted to go.

SHE HUGS HIM AGAIN. WE SEE HOW DIFFICULT THIS IS FOR HIM. THEN:

RACHEL (CONT’D)
Maybe I won’t go either.

ROSS
What?

RACHEL
Now I can’t imagine doing this without you.

ROSS LOOKS AT HER FOR A BEAT. THEN:

ROSS
You have to go. This is an amazing opportunity. You’re strong enough to do it on your own. You can’t not go because of me.

RACHEL
But –

ROSS
Rach, you’re going.

RACHEL
I guess I’m going then.

HE HUGS HER TIGHTLY. JOEY ENTERS AND SEES THEM.

JOEY
What. . .

ROSS
I’m not going to Paris.

RELIEVED, JOEY JOINS THE HUG. AND WE. . .

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

There is no Teaser.

 

That’s the story as originally intended. What do you think? I thought the story we ended up with was much funnier and more polished, but this story was better at building up to Ross and Rachel’s romantic reunion in the finale. (In fact, I would have reunited them earlier in the season and have them work through their assorted issues before ending up at a truly happy and more permanent-seeming resolution in the finale.) Anyway, this script serves a cool souvenir and a fascinating look at what we almost saw.

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Tune in next week for another Wildcard Wednesday! And remember, tomorrow is Xena Thursday and we’re continuing our countdown. You DON’T want to miss it!

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