Episode 19, season 1 of Friends is The One With the Evil Orthodontist. In the episode previous to this, Ross is interrupted in telling Rachel how he feels about her when Barry (Rachel’s ex-fiancé) bursts in announcing that he can’t marry Mindy (Rachel’s ex-best-friend and Barry’s current fiancé) because he’s still in love with Rachel. Episode 19 opens with them returning from what is supposed to be Rachel putting him in his place, but things don’t go exactly to plan…
Monica: How’d it go?
Rachel: Y’know, it was, uh.. it was actually really great. He took me to lunch at the Russian Tea Room, and I had that chicken, where y’know you poke it and all the butter squirts out…
Phoebe: Not a good day for birds…
Rachel: Then we took a walk down to Bendel’s and, I told him not to, but he got me a little bottle of Chanel…
Ross: That’s nice… now, was that before or after you told him to stop calling, stop sending you flowers, and to generally leave you alone?
Rachel: Right,.. well,.. we never actually got to that… Oh, it was just so nice to see him again, y’know? It was comfortable, it was familiar… it was just nice!
Ross: That’s, that’s nice twice!
Monica: Rachel, what’s going on? I mean isn’t this the same Barry who you left at the altar?
Joey: Duh, where’ve you been?
Rachel: Yeah, but it was different with him today! And he wasn’t, like, Orthodontist Guy, y’know? I mean, we had fun! Is there anything wrong with that?
Monica goes on to point out that his being engaged to a girl who was her best friend is what is wrong with that. Rachel admits Monica is right and goes to break things off with him. The problem is she exasperates the problem by sleeping with him. Then Mindy calls, and Rachel is sure Mindy is going to scratch her eyes out when they meet. Mindy asks Rachel to be her maid of honor. Rachel enthusiastically accepts. But then the real issue comes out.
Mindy: Oh no, it isn’t! No! I think Barry is seeing someone in the city.
Rachel: Um, what- what would make you think that?
Mindy: Well, ever since we announced the engagement, he’s been acting really weird, and then last night, he came home smelling like Chanel.
Rachel: (DRAWS BACK) Really. Mindy, if it’ll make you feel any better, when I was engaged to him he went through a whole weird thing too.
Mindy: Oh God! You see, that’s what I was afraid of!
Rachel: What? What’s what you were afraid of?
Mindy: Okay, okay… when Barry was engaged to you, he and I — kind of — had a little thing on the side.
Mindy: I know. I know, and when he proposed to me, everyone said “Don’t do it, he’s just gonna do to you what he did to Rachel,” and- now I feel so stupid.
Rachel: Uh.. Oh, Mindy, you are so stupid. Oh, we are both so stupid.
Mindy: What do you mean?
Rachel: (OFFERS HER ARM TO MINDY. SHE SNIFFS) Smell familiar?
Rachel and Mindy find themselves in the same shoes. They go to confront Barry. Rachel is all fury and fire, ready to let Barry have it. Mindy seems to be the same. But…
Rachel: Okay. Okay, we’ll be here! Hating you! Did you see how he was sweating when he walked out of there? Listen honey, if I’m hogging the ball too much you just jump right in there and take a couple punches because I’m telling you, this feels GREAT.
Mindy: Yeah… I’m pretty sure I’m still gonna marry him.
Rachel: What are you talking about?! Mindy, the guy is the devil! He’s Satan in a smock!
Mindy: Look, I know he’s not perfect, but the truth is, at the end of the day, I still really wanna be Mrs. Dr. Barry Farber, DDS.
Rachel and Mindy are different in that Rachel, though lured by the easiness of being with Barry and the luxury of the lifestyle he could afford her and her own uncertainties about leaving him at the altar, chooses to let that comfort go. Rachel chooses to embrace the uncertainty of her new life rather than go back to a comfortable and easy existence devoid of passion and purpose.
Setting aside the obvious not-committing-adultery thing, I think this episode echoes what Jesus said when he told people, “Come follow me.” Following Christ means leaving a lot of that comfortable easiness behind. Living in His footsteps of love is not a cake-walk. It requires a lot of internal growth and a lot of changing the way we think and live. But when we do, we give up comfort and easiness but we gain passion and purpose and a whole new life we could have never imagined before.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. ~ Matthew 4:18-22 ESV
Peter, Andrew, James, and John had a decision to make: Remain fisherman, which was comfortable and easy since it was their life’s occupation; or put everything aside and follow Jesus into the unknown where he was going to make them fishers of men—the Apostles.
Monica: You okay?
Rachel: Yeah! Y’know, ever since I ran out on Barry at the wedding, I have wondered whether I made the right choice. And now I know.
Most people choose easy and comfortable, but the heroes of our favorite fandoms opt for adventure instead. And we can too!
Transcripts from, http://friends.tktv.net/Episodes1/summaries/20.html, with some of my own edits.