The episode was directed by James Burrows, written by Alexa Junge and guest-stars Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles as Jack and Judy Geller, and Patrick Kerr as the restaurant manager. It frequently ranks amongst the series best episodes in polls.
The friends decide to watch the video, although Ross objects to everyone seeing the tape. On the video, Rachel's date has not arrived, and Monica refuses to go to the prom without her. Mrs. Geller convinces Ross to wear his father's tuxedo and take Rachel to the prom himself. Ross reluctantly agrees, but by the time he is dressed and ready to go, Chip has arrived and the girls leave. The video ends with Ross looking disappointed and rejected. Rachel, touched by Ross's gesture, gets up and kisses Ross, forgiving him for what happened between them.
The producers had kept Ross and Rachel from being together throughout the first season, eventually bringing them together in the second season episode "The One Where Ross Finds Out", only to split them up in the following episode. Writer Alexa Junge incorporated many of her own experiences into the script, in particular Phoebe's line about Ross and Rachel being "lobsters", something Junge's husband once said. Aniston wore a false nose for the scenes in the video while Cox wore a "fat suit". While a previous episode had already established Monica as being overweight as a child, this was the first on-screen appearance of "Fat Monica" (the fat suit made frequent return appearances). Rachel's large nose was added because Junge believed that the characters "were so good-looking, you wanted to feel they had some realness in their past".
At first, Schwimmer did not want to wear the afro wig and mustache because he thought he would look like Gabe Kaplan in Welcome Back, Kotter (a similarity referenced in the episode). He relented because it enabled him to "tap into a part of himself that was very vulnerable and shy" and incorporate it into his performance. An early script draft featured a scene in the prom video in which an episode of All My Children is on in the background. The scene was intended to feature the character "Bryce", played by Gunther (as revealed in "The One Where Eddie Won't Go").
The episode is popular among fans of the series. It appeared on one of the first region 1 "best of" DVD releases and is one of the two episodes to feature an audio commentary on the region 1 DVD release of the complete second season. In a poll conducted shortly before the series finale, "The One with the Prom Video" was voted the best episode of Friends, with 1.6 million people polling on the Internet. The episode is the favorite of Schwimmer, who liked the comedic and emotional origins of the Ross/Rachel relationship, as well as the exchange between Monica and Chandler as she defends her weight on the video.