The One with the Rumor

The One with the Rumor

Infobox Television episode
Title = The One with the Rumor
Series = Friends
Season = 8
Episode = 9
Airdate = November 22, 2001
Writer = Shana Goldberg-Meehan
Director = Gary Halvorson
Guests = Brad Pitt as Will Colbert (uncredited)
Prev = The One with the Stripper
Next = The One with Monica's Boots

"The One with the Rumor" is the ninth episode of the eighth season of the American television situation comedy "Friends", which aired on NBC on November 22, 2001.Wild, p.235] It continues the series' annual Thanksgiving-themed episode tradition, and guest-stars cast member Jennifer Aniston's then-husband Brad Pitt in the uncredited role of Will Colbert, who reveals that he and Ross (David Schwimmer) spread a rumor in high school that Rachel (Aniston) was a hermaphrodite.

The episode was directed by Gary Halvorson and written by Shana Goldberg-Meehan. It was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards, but was criticized as "insulting" by a national intersex education group. Pitt admitted his appearance was mainly to promote his upcoming film, "Spy Game".


Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette) tells her friends that she will not be cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving because of the large amount of leftovers it will create. Joey (Matt LeBlanc) protests, and announces that he will eat the entire turkey himself if necessary. Monica agrees, and Joey finishes the nineteen-pound turkey by the end of the episode. Monica tells Rachel that she has invited over an old high-school friend of hers and Ross's named Will Colbert, describing him as "really overweight" and points out that she was known as "his thin friend" to the fact that Monica was also overweight as a child. Rachel does not remember him. Will arrives with a thin figure, pointing out that he lost over 150 pounds and is "going to be on one of them subway sandwich commercials". When finding out that Ross will be joining them for dinner he is joyed and glad that he'll get to see him again, though when Monica informs him that Rachel will be coming too he instantly becomes disappointed, and points that he hates her because she constantly made fun of him during high school.

Throughout dinner, Will is hostile to Rachel, and eventually refreshes her memory about her making his life miserable, she tries to apologize and generally feels bad until he reveals that during high school, he co created a club against her called "The I Hate Rachel Club", when asked who the other co founder was he reveals that Ross was, surprising Rachel. Will also reveals that during high school they made a rumor about her being a hermaphrodite, not only was Rachel oblivious about the rumor, but she was also oblivious about everyone in her school (and even Chandler's school) knowing about it. She reacts tearfully, claiming she never hurt Ross in high school, until Monica reminds her that "she" started a rumor of her own that Ross made out with the school's 50-year-old librarian. Ross however freaks out and inadvertently blurts out that it's in fact the truth. When Ross and Rachel argue, Monica reminds them that they are having a child together and that some things are more important than high school. After hearing this Will is shocked but also proud that he's not marrying her. He attempts to high five Ross, but Ross declines. When attempting to high five anybody in the room Will gets a hug from Phoebe (who throughout the whole episode develops a tiny crush on him).


It was reported by "Entertainment Weekly" that Pitt would don a fat suit for flashback scenes to his fat childhood, [cite web|first=Gary|last=Susman|title=Hello, Columbus|url=,,182585_2,00.html|work=Entertainment Weekly|date=2001-11-02|accessdate=2007-08-26] though this was unfounded as Will's weight was merely referred to on screen.cite web|first=Mike|last=Szymanski|title=Brad Pitt Says His 'Friends' Appearance Promotes His Films|url=,1259,---9785,00.html||date=2007-11-23|accessdate=2007-08-26] Pitt frequently visited Aniston at the studios before and after his appearance, though he did not go onto the set for fear of distracting the audience.Wild, p.226] When questioned about his appearance in the show, Pitt said it was to promote his upcoming film "Spy Game", though added that he liked the series anyway. The episode was taped on November 2, following four days of rehearsals.cite news|last=Multiple authors|title=Truly Madly Deeply|url=,,1228733_628143_1,00.html||date=2001-11-28|accessdate=2007-08-26]


The episode was 13 million household and 24.24 million viewers overall. [ [ Friends Ratings Presented by Dan Season Eight] ] As the series finale drew close in 2004, Eric Deggans of "St. Petersburg Times" ranked Pitt as one of the worst guest stars in "Friends": "Stilted reactions, overly exaggerated comedy, near-palpable self-consciousness - despite his cred as a film actor, Pitt knew he was out of his depth on a sitcom stage. After five minutes' viewing, the audience did, too." [cite news|first=Eric|last=Deggans|title=Guest stars: The good, the bad, the twin sister|url=|work=St Petersburg Times|date=2004-05-04|accessdate=2007-08-26] His work on set is admired by the main stars; Schwimmer recalls Pitt was "definitely [...] going against type" [Wild, p.229] and LeBlanc called him "really great on the show". "USA Today" rates Will's line "Look at her standing there with those yams. My two greatest enemies, Ross. Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates" one of the best of the episode.cite web|first=Nadia|last=Saah|coauthors=Jayme Deerwester|title=Thanksgiving with 'Friends'|url=|work=USA Today|date=2004-01-14|accessdate=2007-08-26]

The eponymous rumor drew criticism from the Intersex Society of North America, a member of which wrote a strongly-worded letter of complaint to NBC, calling the episode "ignorant, insulting, degrading, and absolutely unprofessional". The member urged the network to learn about intersex individuals via the Society's website and read an on-air apology before future episodes.cite web|title=NBC's "Friends" episode offensive to intersex youth|url=|work=Intersex Society of North America|date=2001-11-26|accessdate=2007-08-26]

Emmy Award nominations

Pitt was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his appearance in the episode. Additionally, Nick McLean was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series, while Stephen Prime was nominated for Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series, also for their work on the episode. [cite web|last=Multiple authors|title=Award for "Friends" (1994)|url=|work=Internet Movie Database|date=undated|accessdate=2007-08-26]


*cite book |last= Wild|first= David|title= Friends ...'Til the End|year= 2004|publisher= Headline|location= London|isbn= 0-7553-1321-6

External links

* [ "The One with the Rumor"] at the Internet Movie Database

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