I had fun watching TV and writing along with “Friends” the first time I did it so I thought I’d do it again. I’m writing this one about another season one episode.This time it’s episode 19 “The One Where the Monkey Gets Away.” It first aired on March 9, 1995.

In checking my calendar I see that I was in Manhattan that day working in the Marvel Bullpen. I was. Nothing much happened that week except I spent $45 on a hat at JJ Hat Center down in the city. The note on my calendar (which was from the receipt) says “Outback LF Black.” I think that’s my black Stetson cowboy hat but I remember it costing about a hundred dollars more than that so I’m not sure. Besides that I only see that I made my usual trip to the comic shop.

I hate that stupid monkey from season one so this probably won’t be one of my favorite episodes. About ten years ago I took the time to rate all of the “Friends” episodes on iTunes so I’m going to go look at what I gave this one. Turns out I gave this one two out of five stars. That’s not very good. I’ve got the feeling I’m going to be doing a lot of complaining about this episode.

It starts with a “Rachel is a bad waitress” joke. Not especially inspiring but the theme song always is. I like the dancing and the scenes from the season. Look! It’s a country club news letter. Though Rachel is often written as a bit spoiled they don’t often go into just how rich her parents are. They’ve got a lot more money than Monica and Ross’s parents despite all the kids going to high school together. Rachel’s ex-finance, Barry, is getting married.

Second scene and Marcel the monkey makes an appearance. Here is a lame monkey joke for you. Rachel is jealous of Barry and Mindy but that feels real. As does Ross getting tortured by liking Rachel and her not knowing. I was never a huge fun of the Ross and Rachel stuff in general. There was too much drama and not enough comedy in it for me. But I’ve mellowed about it over the years. Probably because I’m not watching it first run anymore so I know it’s in there in and it’s not going away.

Here comes the rest of the gang to interrupt Ross’s possible romantic moment with Rachel. There was a lot of that going on this first season. Now we get some “Men and woman are different and like different movies” scene. There was a lot of that “Men and women” are different stuff in the first season. I’m glad they got past it. I do like the Lou Grant/Hugh Grant joke. Such silliness makes me smile.

Oh no, Rachel is going to watch the monkey for a day. This won’t end well. It won’t end well for me because I have to watch more scenes with that monkey in them. They boys are eating a pizza. It doesn’t look like a fresh, hot, NYC pizza though. It’s too thick. It should be thinner and crispier. The boys are raining on Ross’s enthusiasm. They think he should give up on Rachel all together. They’re realistic. More monkey jokes. Ross wants to make his move. What will ruin it? The monkey. We all know it.

New scene. Rachel and the monkey are watching soap operas and she’s talking to the monkey as if it were a person. That’s the main joke with the monkey this whole season. “Isn’t it funny that we talk about the monkey as if it were a person?.” It wasn’t funny. The monkey poops in a shoe. At least poop jokes always liven up a scene. Uh-oh, the monkey is escaping as Rachel leaves the door open. Oh, the drama.

Everyone but Ross is back to deal with monkey problem. Of course Ross is part of the monkey problem. We get more poop in the shoe jokes which I appreciate. Joey and Chandler are not helpful but they’re funny. I have to admit I like Rachel’s skirt and tube socks look. That’s a positive in this scene. They all go out monkey hunting.

Mr. Heckles shows up in the next scene. I always liked him as their crazy, anti-social, neighbor. They didn’t give him a ton to do but he was a scene stealer. Ross is back and Rachel is making things worse as she reports the monkey missing to authorities. Ross gets pissed at her because he’s not supposed to have the monkey as a pet. Rachel’s irresponsibility threatens Ross’s crush on her. That’s the theme for this episode and it’s not very funny.

Newark, New Jersey jokes. Will they ever go out of style? Rachel tells Ross she lost Marcel and it goes quiet as Ross yells and we get a pull back shot to the monkey out on the balcony just a few feet from them. I like the direction and camera move on that shot. It’s cool. The Ross being disappointed scenes are so not funny. Animal Control shows up and the Marcel stakes get higher. The animal control woman is suitably dour and relentless. Phoebe scores with a good monkey in jail joke.

Turns out the Animal Control woman went to school with Monica and Rachel. That doesn’t help them. Rachel was mean to a lot of people in High School. Phoebe is the light of laughter in this episode. Joey and Chandler go door to door looking for the monkey and find a couple of women to hit on. It’s Joey who’s the voice of reason. That’s a surprise. But then he isn’t. Funny.

The girls are in the basement, find Marcel, and the Animal Control lady shows up. Here comes the action music and goofy slo-mo as Phoebe (who loves animals) throws herself in front of the tranquilizer dart. That was a fun scene. More Ross and Rachel to bore us. Then Mr. Heckles is back. He’s welcome. The TV screen magnifying glass making Monica’s crotch look giant is a gag I never tire of. It amuses me to no end. Joey does it too later on.

The final scene that resolves everything is okay. Semi-funny. Then we get back to Ross and Rachel making up and we get to see some of Ross’s moves. Of course he gets interrupted and the moment is ruined. That’s the way the show went that first season. The last scene is a little wrap up with the gang reminiscing about high school. It’s pleasant enough.

So there you go. We took a little trip back to 1995 to spend some time with “Friends.” Maybe it wasn’t the funniest episode but it had some moments. I have to say it was fun to write about as I watched it. I might do even more of these.

Holy crap! I just checked with the website that tells you what is cut out of the broadcast and streaming episodes and the whole bit with the TV magnifier was cut. That’s why I still watch these standard definition DVD ones. That’s one of my favorite bits in the whole show. I don’t want it cut out.