'Friends' is one of the most popular American sitcoms of all time. If you aren't from the US, you might have trouble understanding some of the cultural references. And if you're not a native speaker, some of the jokes might be difficult to understand. In this lesson, you will learn some new vocabulary and I will help you understand some of the jokes and references from season 6 episode 10: 'The One with the Routine.'
Before watching the show, let’s practice some new vocabulary. Take a look at these words. Some of these words are common, but they often have multiple meanings. In the exercise below, fill in the blank. You might have to adjust the word a bit by conjugating it or making it plural.
to go out –
1) to be extinguished – The fire went out because it was raining.
2) to leave your home for a social event – I prefer to go out to dinner because I hate cooking.
3) to have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone – They are getting married after having gone out for only 6 months!
1) a small stick that is used to keep your lips from getting too dry – When I was in the desert, I needed chapstick more than I needed water.
to air –
1) to express an opinion (often a complaint) publicly – He aired his complaints about the boss for everyone to hear. Now he doesn’t have a job.
2) to show or broadcast something on television – The show airs every Monday at 9 pm.
to break –
1) to damage or destroy something – I broke my arm when I fell off my scooter, but the embarrassment of doing it in front of the whole school was even worse.
2) to crush the emotional strength or spirit of someone – The prisoner didn’t want to confess, but after being tortured he finally broke and told the police where the money was.
no biggie –
1) short for ‘no big deal’ or ‘that’s not important’ – What mom? You can’t come to my wedding. No biggie! (sarcastic)
to have a shot –
1) to have a chance – Even though they are down 3 to 0, the US still has a shot to beat Germany!
to win over –
1) to convince someone that they like you – My in-laws hated me at first, but I now bake them cookies every time I see them and I think I’ve won them over.
1) to destroy something by putting pressure on it – I accidentally crushed my bike when I drove my car over it.
2) a brief but intense like for someone – I have a huge crush on Miley Cyrus! Sadly she doesn’t know who I am.
honorable mention –
1) an award that someone gets when they’ve done something good but not good enough to get a normal prize – Since it was my first juggling competition, I was happy to get an honorable mention.
1) an embarrassing mistake or error
Now, take the above words (sometimes having to conjugate them), and fill in the blanks below:
Chandler: What, what are you laughing at?
Rachel: Well, I used to date him, but you’re still _________ with her!
Rachel: Well, that’s a lot better than Ross trying to kiss me in High School, and saying that he did it because he needed ___________.
Director: Here’s what’s gonna happen. The music’s gonna start, you’re gonna dance, we’re gonna tape, you don’t look at the camera. Any questions?
Ross: Yeah, I have a question. When is this gonna ________?
Rachel: (Reading) Dear losers, do you really think I’d hide presents under the couch? P.S. Chandler, I knew they’d ______ you.
Monica: Okay, here comes another camera.
Ross: Right. ________. Stay loose.
Joey: No-no. Hey buddy, please let me dance with that girl, I really like her and I think I __________.
Joey: Yeah, yeah, okay. Uh, look buddy, I came with that girl, and I had this plan to kiss her at the new years countdown – I’m trying ________ her _____, so I was wondering if..
Phoebe: I could get it out of him. He’s had a huge _______ on me.
Monica: Was it really that good?
Ross: We got _________ in the brother/sister dance category! Look, it’s almost fake midnight, do we really have any other choice?
Ross: So, do we really have to ask who’s going up on the platform next?
Director: Oh, no! You get up there and do that again exactly like that!
Director: Make sure you get this, they’re gonna want it for the ________ show.
Now, watch the show and enjoy. While watching, check to see if your answers were correct (or, if you don’t have enough time, the answers are at the bottom of this page). Also, see if there are any cultural references that you don’t understand. After watching, come back to this page to take a look at the explanations of these cultural references and jokes.
Janine: I just got a call to be a dancer on a television special for New Year’s Eve. It’s called some sort of Dick’n Rock’n Dickie Eve.
Monica: Hold it! Are you talking about Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve?
‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve’ is a television program that ran every year on December 31st. Dick Clark, a television and radio star, hosted the event, which featured music and dancing from New York City. It ended with the dropping of the ball in Times Square.
Joey: Oh. Maybe. But hey I know how I can find out. We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party, right? So at midnight, I can kiss her. And if she kisses me back, great! Y’know? But if she says ‘Dude, what the hell are you doing?’ I can say ‘It wasn’t me, it was New Years!’
One tradition in the US is to kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Rachel: Oh, it’s a Macy’s bag!
Macy’s is a well-known department store in the US. The bag is just a bag from that store, and Rachel thinks that the present perhaps came from that store.
Chandler: That’s the Toys for Tots collection bin.
‘Toys for Tots’ is a charity that collects toys for children whose parents can’t afford to buy them Christmas presents. Such bins are places where people can give a toy that will then be given to those children in need.
Chandler:…look we have to put these back, this is not what Christmas is about.
Rachel: Whatever Linus, I’m opening mine.
Linus is a character from the cartoon ‘Charlie Brown.’ In the popular ‘Charlie Brown Christmas Special,’ which still airs every year in the US, Linus talks about the true meaning of Christmas by quoting the bible.
Joey: Home sweet home, huh? Nice to, uh, get back to reality. Plus we know how the New Year’s gonna go off. I guess there’s no reason for all that Y2K panic, y’know? Anyway, g’night!
Y2K refers to the Y2K problem. In 1999, people were scared that all of the computer systems of the world would shut down when the years went from 99 to 00 (would that mean 2000 or 1900?), since many computer programs were made to only know the last two digits of the year (to save space).
Phoebe: Oh, okay, I’m sorry, thank you for my azzz.
The bookends are A and Z, which would be pronounced similar to the word ‘ass’, a slang word for the butt (or rear end).
Phoebe: Y’know, birds have a very good sense of direction, and I thought maybe they could help us find where the presents are hidden.
Chandler: Yes, if the presents are hidden south for the winter.
Birds have a good sense of direction when it comes to having to fly south for the winter, but they aren’t known for being able to locate objects that well.
have a shot
to win her over
What next? Keep on laughing and learning!
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