Before I start this “Friends” walkthrough I want to note that on the week of Thanksgiving I decided to watch all of the “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes. That’s the first time I have ever done that. I’ve never even watched the show out of chronological order. It was fun and interesting seeing the changes over the seasons so quickly.

Looks like I’m up to the last episode of Season Four. “The One With Ross’s Wedding.” It’s a double length episode. It’s numbers 23 and 24 when in syndication but it ran as one long episode when it first aired and that’s how I’m going to watch it.

It first aired on May 7, 1998. Let me check my calendar to see what I was doing that day. I know I watched it live as it aired but what about the rest of the day? Looks like I was working at Marvel that day doing typesetting. No other notations. But the day before I gave a talk a Pratt in Brooklyn to a friend’s class. That’s interesting. Plus the day before I was at the Compleat Strategist in Manhattan and bought some packs of the CCG “Doomtown.” I still have those cards. I ran across them recently. Let’s start the show.

We begin with Monica panicking that they might be late for their plane that’s taking them to London and Ross’s wedding. She runs out of the apartment and we get a condom joke with Joey and Chandler. That foreshadows things to come. Next we’re with the girls. Phoebe isn’t going because she’s pregnant and Rachel isn’t going because it would be too weird. Joey is in full tourist mode already. Here comes the theme song. Fairly perfunctory opening scene. It establishes stuff more than it’s funny.

More getting ready to go stuff. Rachel and Ross say goodbye. Ross tries to get her to go. He’s such a sucker. Lots of kisses goodbye and Rachel and Phoebe have a moment. Here comes a montage of London shots. Joey is in full tourist mode in London and Chandler is annoyed by it. Almost everything about this plot line is unfunny.

A new scene starts with Emily panicking over all the things going wrong with the wedding as Ross tries to calm her. Most of this stuff is pretty dull too. And the church they’re supposed to get married in is being torn down. More panic. Not the funniest but better than the Chandler and Joey tourist music video that follows. Joey’s video camera looks so old-timey these days.

Monica is getting fitted for a nice red dress as Emily panics. She somehow talks Emily into postponing the wedding. This isn’t going to end well. Back in NY Rachel and Phoebe have a heart to heart. Rachel realizes she’s still in love with Ross. End that scene and start more of the Joey and Chandler tourist crap. Sometimes the editing on this show moves really quickly.

Now we get the repercussions of Emily wanting to put off the wedding. She says it’s Monica’s idea. There are too many uncomfortable scenes in this episode for me. They’re trying to make it all funny but it doesn’t work for me. Emily storms out and we head back across the ocean where Phoebe is trying to help Rachel get over Ross. That ain’t going to work. It’s funnier than the London stuff though.

Back to London and more Joey and Chandler stuff. This time in the hotel room rather than out on the streets. Chandler apologizes for being such a killjoy. Royal family member Fergie makes a cameo appearance. Doesn’t do anything for me. Ross and Monica get in the room and Ross is angry with her. They talk wedding stuff and I get bored. It’s supposed to be touching, poignant, and funny but I find it tedious. Chandler and Joey make a joke about how uncomfortable that scene was. I agree with them.

Joey calls Phoebe and Rachel on the phone. This is one of the funnier scenes and it’s completely a throwaway. Joey listening to and watching the “Cheers” opening theme song and being homesick for a moment might be the most relatable part of this whole episode for me.

Ross and Rachel bring Emily to the run down church that they fixed up with twinkle lights to convince her to go through with the wedding. It doesn’t take much. Meanwhile back in NY Rachel announces to Phoebe that she’s going to London to tell Ross that she’s in love with him. This is Rachel at her most selfish. This side of her always made me dislike her character the most out of the Friends. Phoebe tries to stop her but can’t. I think this is the end scene of Episode 23.

Meanwhile back in London Emily’s housekeeper gets a phone call from Phoebe who wants to warn Emily but there is a miscommunication. A scene that no longer happens in the age of everyone having cell phones. Cut to the rehearsal dinner where all four of Ross and Emily’s parents are in attendance. Elliot Gould always does a good job as Ross and Rachel’s dad. Their mom is also funny. Emily’s parents are a couple of characters too. More homesick Joey stuff.

One of the plots in this second half is Emily’s parents jacking up the bill for the wedding that Ross’s parents are paying for. Another uncomfortable plot line. This episode is crammed with them.

Now we get a Rachel at the airport theme. It’ll cost her $2700 to fly to London. Oops! She forgot her passport and has to rush home. We get a short scene with her and Phoebe back home as Rachel rushes back and forth. That seemed really short and pointless.

Back at the rehearsal diner Chandler’s toast is bombing. More discomfort. Phoebe gets through on the phone to Emily’s mom but her warning in not understood. Chandler’s toast doesn’t end well. Joey gets homesick during his toast then romance distracts him. Some random stranger confuses Monica for Ross’s mother sending her into a tailspin. Chandler tries to help her.

Rachel is back at the airport and trying to get a flight. So far no go. That scene was short and then we cut back to London for the big reveal. We catch Chandler and Monica in bed together. Joey almost catches them too. Now Rachel is on the plane. How did she even get on it? That is not explained. But she’s on the plane annoying Hugh Laurie. This was before he was famous for “House” but I recognized him at the time because of his role in the British TV show “Black Adder.” Her annoying him is even more uncomfortable humor.

In London Chandler and Monica are still in bed and are both uncomfortable with each other. Next Joey and Phoebe are on the phone together and she finally gets to warm someone. Now back to Hugh Laurie telling Rachel that she is a horrible person. I have to agree with him. Trying to break up Ross’s wedding is as selfish a thing as a person can do. Hugh Laurie might be the best thing about this episode.

Joey warns Chandler about Rachel but he’s busy being uncomfortable about Monica. Then we go to the church as the wedding is going to start. They’re on the lookout for Rachel. Ross has to stop the bickering parents. Rachel gets by Joey as he’s making out with a bride’s maid. Rachel sees Ross with Emily and can’t go through with telling him she loves him. She finally finds her decency and they have a poignant scene.

Now, of course we get the pretty wedding and the cliff hanger. But first Joey has a pretty funny scene as he’s on the phone with Phoebe. I’m going to spoil it here because it’s a 22 year old show. The cliff hanger is that Ross says the wrong name at the alter. He doesn’t say Emily. He says Rachel. Whoops! Brutal. An uncomfortable moment to end on in an episode where uncomfortable moments were the norm.

Now to look on to see what was cut out of this episode for the HD and syndicated episodes. They cut out the entire condom joke from the beginning! I don’t like that they did that. They also cut out a Monica “Chickenella joke.” No loss there. They also cut out the whole music video scene with Chandler and Joey touring London. I didn’t like that scene but that’s a lot to cut out. They cut out the whole scene with Monica trying on the red dress with Emily. Weird scene to cut because it explains why Emily was convinced to postpone the wedding. They cut a random Phoebe joke, a random Joey joke, a random Chandler joke, and a Fergie joke. Then that cut out about four more Phoebe jokes. Then a Rachel joke, a Chandler joker and another Rachel joke. There is a lot of cutting in this episode. They even cut some of Hugh Laurie’s stuff. I think this is the longest list of cut stuff I’ve ever written here.

In looking back to 2013 when I rated all the individual episodes of this show I gave this episode three out of five stars. That’s an average rating but right now I might even give it two out of five stars. There was too much uncomfortable stuff in it for my taste. I know that’s what they were going for but it didn’t work for me.