In the Friends episode The One with the Giant Poking Device, Monica accidentally hits Ben's head which leads Monica and Rachel to bang there heads against the wall.

Ross also runs into a beam and falls down.

How was it filmed so that it doesn't seriously hurt the actors? Especially Monica and Rachel.


In the case of Monica bumping Ben's head, the bump is implied by a sound effect and otherwise happens off camera:

In the case of Monica and Rachel, it looks to me like they just aren't using much force:

In the case of Ross bumping into the beam, it is a matter of sound effect, staging and physical technique. He is between the camera and the beam. The audience does not see an actual impact. They see his "reaction". It appears to me that David Schwimmer uses his hands to brace against the beam and effect the look of his body jerking as the result from a bump to his head.

  • Thanks, in the case of Monica and Rachel, I personally wouldn't do such a scene. This might go beyond the scope of the question, but can they get concussions? Especially if they have to re-do the shot over again, assuming one of them laughed or the actor playing Ben didn't do or did something.
    – user60500
    Jan 4 '18 at 0:12
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    @S.Rosemond After watching it a couple times, it sounds like there are SFX used to make the banging seem more forceful. They do seem to be making some kind of contact. Possibly the set was altered so that something stiff other than hard wood was in place? I doubt they were in danger of concussion, but certainly, I wouldn't want to spend all day doing that!
    – MmmHmm
    Jan 4 '18 at 0:17
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    Did anyone ever notice that beam wasn’t there in either prior or subsequent episodes?
    – Darren
    Jan 5 '18 at 19:25
  • @Darren - It has to do with James Burrow, he likes to have the beams in place. I remember reading on the wiki page (I know it isn't the most reliable source, but they often quote the DVD commentary), that he likes the beams. In the later season I guess they were removed to make filming more easier.
    – user60500
    Jan 5 '18 at 19:52

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