September 27th, 2017 – You can’t say “bomb” on an airplane. Ben Stiller’s character learned that lesson in Meet The Parents, and that was pre-9/11. So it’s probably no surprise that the producers of Friends decided that two weeks after the tragic attacks of September 11th, you definitely still couldn’t say it. Friends changed many of the scenes in a season eight episode that involved another joke about bombs, but in 2007 those deleted scenes were released online.
In “The One Where Rachel Tells Ross,” Monica and Chandler have just gotten married and are setting off for a romantic honeymoon. In the aired episode, the jokes are centered around the couple constantly losing out on perks that go to another couple who also just got hitched. “Who are you,” the upgraded groom asks? “We’re you! Just ten seconds later,” Chandler jokes back.
Originally, however, Chandler’s jokes were aimed at a TSA agent at security. After seeing a sign that read “Federal Law Prohibits Any Joking Regarding Aircraft Hijacking Or Bombing,” the sarcastic friend assures the agent with “You don’t have to worry about me, ma’am. I take my bombs very seriously.”
Given Chandler’s track record over 10 seasons, he would probably tell us he has no line when it comes to humor. And his interactions with interrogators at the airport provide a little more analysis on what he thinks should really be the focus when someone makes a joke.
“Look, this is ridiculous. I was just making a joke. I mean, I know the sign says ‘no jokes about bombs’, but shouldn’t the sign really say ‘no bombs?’ I mean isn’t that the guy we really have to worry about here?”
The original scenes also include a joke from Monica about letting something blow up when Joey calls asking what to do when he and Phoebe smell gas in the apartment. The new bride is quickly pulled back into the interrogation room with Chandler.
Plenty of programming was altered or delayed after 9/11, and those changes continue to spur conversations about how to navigate comedy through tragedy. Given how close the timing of this episode would have been to the attacks, it’s understandable that the scenes were re-shot. But, how often do network’s address Chandler’s questions: are the jokes what we really have to worry about?
What do you think of the deleted scenes from Friends’ episode airing after 9/11? Did the network make the right decision? Watch the original scenes in the clip below, and let us know your thoughts…