Happy Friday with Friends! Today we are going to look at Season 2, Episode 20: The One Where Old Yeller Dies. In this episode Phoebe finds out that Old Yeller isn’t a movie about a happy family who adopts a dog and skimps merrily along into the future….

[Scene: Monica and Rachel’s apartment. Phoebe enters to see Monica, Richard, Ross, and Rachel tearfully watching TV.]

Phoebe: Hey. Watcha guys doin?

Richard: Monica’s making us watch Old Yeller.

Phoebe: Why are you guys so upset? It’s Old Yeller, it’s a happy movie.

Rachel: What?

Ross: What’re you talkin’ about?

Phoebe: C’mon, happy family gets a dog, frontier fun.

Ross: Yeah but Pheebs, what about the end?

Phoebe: What when Yeller saves the family from the wolf and everyone’s happy?

Rachel: That’s not the end.

Phoebe: Yu-huh. That’s when my mother would shut off the TV and say ‘The end’.

Monica: What about the part where he has rabies?

Phoebe: He doesn’t have rabies, he has babies. That’s what my mom said.

Richard: Uh, Phoebe, I don’t think your mom would want you to see what’s about to happen.

Phoebe: What, what’s about to happen? (starts watching) I’ve never seen this part before. Hey, Travis, watcha doin’ with that gun? Oh no, no no Travis, put down the gun. No no no no, he he’s your buddy, he’s your Yeller, no, no no, the end, THE END. (hear the gunshot from the TV) Ok what kind of sick snuffy dog film is this?!


Phoebe goes on to learn that Old Yeller isn’t the only film ending her mother altered. Phoebe’s grandmother reveals that her mother did that with all sad stories in order to shield Phoebe and her sister from the pain — and then she killed herself leaving them orphaned.


Monica: So you watched the movies huh?

Phoebe: Uh huh, what is happening to the world? I mean, no no no, ’cause ET leaves, and and Rocky loses, Charlotte dies.

Richard: Charlotte who?

Phoebe: With the web, the spider she dies, she does. She has babies and dies. It’s like ya know, hey welcome home from the hospital, thud.

Monica: Alright, you wanna feel better?

Phoebe: Yeah.

Monica: Ok, here, watch this.

Phoebe: It’s a Wonderful Life. Yes I’ve heard of this.

Monica: So you can’t lose, it’s there in the title. Wonderfulness is baked right in.

Phoebe: Please, I almost fell for that with, uh, Pride of the Yankees, I thought I was gonna see a film about Yankee pride and then, boom, the guy gets Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Richard: Uh, the guy was Lou Gehrig. Didn’t you kinda see it coming?

Monica: Phoebe, just watch that, I promise it will restore all your faith in humanity.

Monica attempts to restore Phoebe’s faith in humanity, in the belief that there are such things as happy endings….

Monica: Did you like it?

Phoebe: Oh yeah. You know, I don’t know if I was happier when um George Bailey destroyed the family business or um, Donna Reid cried, or when the mean pharmacist made his ear bleed.

Monica: All right, I’ll give you the ear thing but don’t you think the ending was pretty wonderful?

Phoebe: I didn’t watch the ending, I was too depressed. It just kept getting worse and worse, it should have been called, “It’s a sucky life and just when you think it can’t suck any more it does.”


Monica’s plan backfires because, in shielding Phoebe from sad endings, Phoebe’s mother robbed Phoebe of the ability to see a story through to the end — an end that could very possibly be a happy one.

I think this is an important lesson for us, especially those in the cookie-cutter Christian world. Many times we try to shield our children from any kind of sadness and pain. But learning to deal with sadness and pain and to endure through the tough times is what strengthens us for adulthood. Not that we should throw unnecessary burdens on our children, but if we block everything out, they’ll never learn that, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (Dumbledore) If we don’t let ourselves or our children experience some hardship, they’ll never learn how to be joyous even in the valleys… and they’ll never know what it feels like to battle through a valley and finally scale the mountain and reach the summit.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1:2-4 NLT

The Apostle Paul saw a lot of struggles, but he also learned a lot from them to the point he was able to say, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

Hard times develop us. They teach us, grow us, and strengthen us. They train us to lean on God and let Him see us through. They make us complete so we can then help others through their journey to become complete…

[Scene: Monica and Rachel’s apartment. Phoebe is watching Bert and Ernie with Ben.]

Ernie: Oh wow, look at this nice deep hole I’ve been digging. Hey Bert, isn’t this a nice hole here. Hey.

Phoebe: (pauses the tape) Ok, Ben, this is the part where Ernie buries Bert in the sand and can’t find him. Now, I’ve looked ahead on the tape and he does find him again. But, ok, before that happens, there’s some pretty rough goin’ for a while but I think we can handle it. And, there’s just the alphabet but we know that ends well so. Ok, here we go. (starts the tape again)

Ernie: Bert, Bert. Bert. Hey, what happened to my friend Bert? He was here just a moment ago. Oh no, my old friend Bert is lost.

Phoebe: Oh, I’m so glad you’re here.

**Transcripts from: http://uncutfriendsepisodes.tripod.com/