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And now, the end is near
on April 7, 2005
Heading into the ninth season of Friends, just about everyone associated with the show figured this was going to be their last season. Even fans were expecting the show to wrap when filming on the ninth season ended.
Only midway through season nine did the powers that be and the actors agree on one more season, a truncated 18 episodes for the 10th and final season.
With that possible ending in mind, writers had to be careful as they opened the season, knowing that they may be pushing toward a finale when the season drew to a close.
Getting caught up, season eight ended with the birth of Ross and Rachel's baby, Emma. Joey inadvertantly proposed to Rachel, and the new mother, obviously a little confused, said yes, prompting an interesting start to season nine.
Joey's feelings for Rachel had come out in season eight, and he knew that his accidental proposal to Rachel would certainly cause a lot of tension with everyone, particularly Ross. The story line surrounding the three served as a good start to the ninth season.
The season took a lot of moves along the way, with all the characters making some major choices in their lives. Monica and Chandler agree that they want to have a baby of their own, but continually fail to become pregnant, leading them to a fertility clinic, where they learn it may be impossible for them to have kids. While this show was known for its comedic moments, this storyline served as one of the more touching moments in the show, yet still was able to maintain the comedy aspect. Chandler and Monica are great together, as Courtney Cox Arquette and Matthew Perry have some very good chemistry. His laid-back approach and her uptightness go well together. Season nine also finds Chandler out of a job and serving as an intern with an ad company, finally moving on from statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.
Of course the big life changing moment for Ross and Rachel is Emma. Rachel moves in with Ross, which provides many strange moments, as they both try to live their lives with an ex and a kid in the same apartment. One of the funniest moments in the season is an episode where Rachel is leaving Emma for the first time and her and Ross get locked out of the apartment with the baby still inside. Ross's great story about the eagle and the baby, along with his great gestures to go with it, was hilarious. Of course, Ross and Rachel have a history and eventually they decide living together wasn't the best idea and Rachel heads back to Joey's.
After his proposal to Rachel, Joey finds himself in a tough situation with Ross. A viewer genuinely feels that Joey's feelings for Rachel are true, but at the same time, he knows he can't act on them. At least not at the beginning of the year. Through the season, Joey wrongly believes that Monica is cheating on Chandler while he is in Tulsa, gets Phoebe a job as an extra on Days of our Lives and misses his appearance in the big Thanksgiving Day parade. His life changing moment however, comes at the end of the season. After his breakup with paleontologist Charlie, he sees Ross kissing her and decides that is time to act on his feelings for Rachel, closing the ninth season.
Phoebe got caught in a love triangle, forcing her to choose between David, her scientist boyfriend who returned from Minsk, and Mike, the piano playing former lawyer who Joey set her up with on a blind date (accidentally of course). When Phoebe finds out that Mike never wants to get married because of his failed marriage, this causes them to break up, sending her into the arms of David. However, it is Mike who swoops in at the end to take Phoebe's heart away.
The season ends in Barbados, a great way to end the season, as the gang gathers for Ross's convention. Mike's proposal, Joey and Rachel's kiss and even Ross and Charlie, provide fuel for the final season.
Season nine featured some great guest stars. Paul Rudd is excellent as Mike, and he fits right in with the cast. Hank Azaria is also very good as the stammering, nervous David. He hits the nail right on the head. Aisha Tyler is good as the beautiful paleontologist Charlie. However, stealing the guest star show is Christina Applegate as Rachel's sister Amy. She won an Emmy for this role and it is well deserved. She was fantastic in her role in the Thanksgiving episode.
Extras include three commentaries from the executive producers, a quiz show, a look ahead to the final season, a music video and a great gag reel.
This season set, like the eight before it, is very well done and will help preserve one of the best comedies of our generation for years to come.