Friends was a sensation in the ’90s, but it’s still resonating with audiences across the world. And not just because it’s now available to binge-watch on Netflix! It’s a show that stands the test of time, as at the core, it accurately represents a significant time in many people’s lives: when they graduate from college and try to make it out in the world on their own. More importantly, it represents the time when close friends become family.
For 10 seasons, viewers laugh, cry, and relate with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courtney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry), and Joey (Matt LeBlanc), as they experience the ups and down of their relationships, jobs, and making it on their own in Manhattan. Although the premise seems simplistic, the writing is clever, seamlessly intertwining several storylines in each episode. Additionally, the dialogue is sharp and oftentimes catchy, with lines like “How you doin’?” becoming commonplace in Western English slang. The writing, coupled with the explosive chemistry between the cast, is why Friends still remains iconic in American pop culture.
So sit back, relax, and reminisce, as we discuss the 12 Best Friends Episodes of All Time.
The One With the Embryos (Season 4, Episode 12)
What’s the best way to kill some time with your BFFs? Playing a game of “who knows each other best” of course. At Monica’s apartment, Joey bets that he and Chandler know more about Rachel and Monica then they know about them. Challenge accepted! The stakes: The losing team will have to fork over $100.
Ross facilitates the game, which begins with Chandler and Joey having to guess Monica’s biggest pet peeve. Joey gets the answer right with “animals dressed as humans.” The ladies then get their question correct by knowing that Michael Flatley from Lord of the Dance scares the “bejeezus” out of Chandler.
The quiz ends in a tie, which leads to the “lightning round” where each team has 30 seconds to answer as many questions as they can correctly. Monica raises that stakes by proposing that if she and Rachel win, the boys have to get rid of their pet rooster and duck. Chandler counters by saying that if he and Joey win, the girls have to switch apartments with them. Confident Monica is quick to shake on the agreement. The guys start the final round and get four questions right. When it’s the ladies’ turn, they are quick to get three questions right, but stumble on the fourth question: “What is Chandler’s job?” They are unable to come up with an answer – boys win! Chandler and Joey keep their “pets” and get the superior apartment to boot.
Where is the sixth friend, Phoebe, during all of this mayhem? Getting some embryos implanted in her uterus, so she can be a surrogate for her brother Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi) and his wife Alice (Debra Jo Rupp). It’s revealed later in the episode that the IVF was successful and Phoebe is pregnant with her brother’s child (which turns out to be triplets in a later episode).
The One Where No One is Ready (Season 3, Episode 2)
Ross is supposed to give a speech at a black-tie event at the Museum of Nature and Science, where he works as a paleontologist, and it’s important that he gets there by 8 p.m. Unfortunately for him, the gang just can’t seem to get themselves ready. They are all at Monica’s apartment having issues – Rachel can’t decide what to wear, Monica obsesses over a message on her answering machine from her ex Richard (Tom Selleck), and Joey and Chandler fight over a chair. The only one who is dressed and ready to go is Phoebe – but her dress gets soiled with hummus during an attempt by Chandler to get Joey out of the chair.
Ross convinces Chandler to get dressed by saying he can have the chair when he gets back, as Joey will have to get up and get dressed. Chandler gets dressed in lightning-fast speed, and promptly returns to the apartment. Joey leaves to get dressed, but takes the couch cushions with him so Chandler can’t sit down. Chandler retaliates by stealing all of Joey’s underwear. To exact revenge, Joey decides to go commando wearing Chandler’s entire wardrobe.
In the midst of the chaos, Monica calls Richard and leaves him a message. Paranoid that her message wasn’t “breezy” enough, Monica logs in to Richard’s answering machine to listen to it. After it plays, she hears a message from another woman. The gang reassures Monica that it’s just probably Richard’s daughter, Michelle. So like any sane person, Monica calls Michelle to confirm it’s her voice. During the conversation, Michelle learns that Monica logged in to Richard’s voicemail and says she is going to have to tell her father. In an attempt of desperation, Monica leaves another voice message with Richard saying that she was sorry for what she did, but then she accidentally sets it as his outgoing message. There’s no time to fix the mistake, as the gang is finally leaving to go to Ross’s event.
The One With Phoebe’s Uterus (Season 4, Episode 11)
The guide to pleasing a woman is revealed in this classic episode of Friends. Chandler is nervous about having sex with Kathy (Paget Brewster) – after all, her last boyfriend was Joey, the ultimate ladies’ man. Chandler seeks advice from Monica and Rachel at their apartment. Monica decides to help Chandler by drawing a picture of the female body, numbering the erogenous zones, and giving Chandler a play-by-play of the numbers he should touch in sequential order to pleasure Kathy. At the end of the episode, Kathy rushes in to Monica’s apartment, thanking her for all the tips she gave Chandler.
In another storyline, Phoebe meets Frank Jr. and Alice at The Central Perk (the gang’s coffee shop hangout), where they reveal that they got married. Phoebe congratulates Frank Jr. and Alice, and asks if she can give them anything as a present. They promptly ask her to be their surrogate since Alice can’t carry a child. Phoebe seeks advice from her mother, Phoebe Sr., (Teri Garr) who gives her puppy to keep for three days. Phoebe Sr. explains that the way Phoebe feels when she gives up a puppy would be nothing to the pain she would feel of giving up a child. When Frank Jr. and Alice see the puppy, Phoebe sees the look of joy on their faces and decides to give it them, albeit it’s her mother’s dog. Phoebe then decides that even though it will be hard to give up a child, it would also give her great pleasure to make Frank and Alice happy, so she agrees to be their surrogate.
The One With the Football (Season 3, Episode 9)
There are many classic Thanksgiving episodes of Friends, but the football episode takes the turkey. After watching the Giants game, the gang decides it would be fun to play a game with the six of them. But brother-and-sister duo Monica and Ross tell the others that they are not allowed to play football since Monica “accidentally” broke Ross’ nose when they were kids in the sixth-annual “Geller Ball” tournament.
They decide to play anyway, with Monica and Ross as captains. In true schoolyard fashion, Monica and Ross pick their teams one-by-one. Monica chooses Phoebe and Joey; Ross chooses Chandler and is stuck with Rachel, as she is the last pick. Sibling rivalry takes over the game when Ross says that the only reason Monica is winning is because she got to pick first and has the better team. Monica trades Joey for Rachel saying she’ll still beat Ross even with Rachel because she is simply a better player than him. The boys catch up, despite the girls’ best efforts to stay ahead. In one play, Phoebe flashes Chandler and steals the football from him.
The ladies are down by two points in the last 30 seconds of the game. In the final snap, Monica wants to throw to Phoebe, but she’s covered by Chandler and Joey. Ross is coming after Monica – her only choice is to throw to Rachel. The ball flies across the field in slow motion, and Rachel surprisingly makes the catch. The ladies cheer in their victory. The only problem is that Rachel wasn’t in the end zone when she dropped the ball. The gang realizes the ball is still live, and Monica and Ross jump on top of it. In the next scene, Phoebe, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey are eating Thanksgiving dinner, while Ross and Monica are still outside in the dark fighting over the football.
The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break (Season 3, Episode 15)
In the beginning of the episode, Chandler and Joey visit the “the hot girl from the Xerox place,” Chloe (Angela Featherstone), and she invites them to hang out with her later that evening. The guys misconstrue the situation and think Chloe wants to have a threesome, and spend the rest of the day planning plan how they are going to approach it. Turns out, Chloe really just invited them to hang out with her at a club.
The day also marks Rachel and Ross’ first anniversary of dating. Ross calls Rachel at her work where she tells him that she has to cancel their plans because she is slammed. Ross decides to bring the celebration to Rachel’s work, but he keeps getting in the way, so Rachel asks him to leave. When Rachel returns home later that evening, she expects an apology for Ross. They end up fighting instead, and Rachel states that she wants “to take a break.” Ross leaves without saying another word and goes to the club where Joey and Chandler are at with Chloe.
Rachel waits by the phone for Ross to call. The phone finally rings, but it’s not Ross – it’s her boss Mark (Steven Eckholdt). When Mark hears how upset Rachel is, he decides to come over to console her. Joey and Chandler convince Ross to call Rachel, but when he does, he hears Mark in the background. Ross hangs up, assuming the worst, and then finds solace in drinking. At the end of the episode, Ross ends up kissing Chloe on the dance floor, leaving Rachel and Ross’ relationship hanging in the balance. It’s revealed in the next episode that Ross slept with Chloe.
The One With the Jellyfish (Season 4, Episode 1)
In the last episode of season three, the gang is vacationing at a beach. Ross brings his then-current girlfriend Bonnie (Christine Taylor), making Rachel extremely jealous. After Rachel convinces Bonnie to shave her head, Ross becomes furious, asking Rachel why she would do such a thing. Rachel then admits to Ross that she still has feelings for them and they kiss. Rachel goes back to her room, leaving with Ross with a critical decision: Should he stay with Bonnie or give his relationship with Rachel another shot?
The first episode of season four ends where the season three cliffhangers ends and Ross’s decision is revealed: He chooses Rachel over his then-current girlfriend Bonnie (Christine Taylor). Before they can get back together officially though, Ross insists on breaking up with Bonnie. After that is done, Rachel asks Ross to read an 18-page handwritten letter. Ross attempts to read it at 5:30 a.m., but falls asleep. Later that day, Ross lies to Rachel, stating that he read the entire letter. She asks, “Does it?” Unsure of what to say, Ross responds, “It does.” It’s exactly the answer Rachel wants to hear. Unbeknownst to Ross, in that moment, he accepts full responsibility for everything that went wrong in their relationship. When Ross finally reads the letter, he exclaims: “It so does not!” Later in the episode, Rachel commends him for taking full responsibility for cheating on her. The gang is in the kitchen and hears Ross scream from Rachel’s room, “We were on a break!”
The One With Ross’s Wedding Part II (Season 4, Episode 24)
The Rachel/Ross on-again-off-again relationship ensues when Ross goes to London to marry his then fiancée Emily (Helen Baxendale). At the end of Part I, Rachel decides to fly to London to tell Ross that she’s still in love with him and break up the wedding. Meanwhile, at the rehearsal dinner, Monica’s mom is driving her crazy by making low blows that she will never get married. Chandler consoles Monica by asking, “Who wouldn’t want you?” In the next scene, Chandler and Monica wake up in bed together naked.
Phoebe is the only one left in New York City, as she is pregnant with her brother’s triplets. She phones Joey to tell him that Rachel is flying to London to break up the wedding. Rachel gets face-to-face with Ross just before his wedding, but sees him kissing Emily. She recognizes his happiness and congratulates him instead of revealing her true feelings. Emily says her wedding vows to Ross, but when it’s Ross’s turn, he inadvertently says, “I take thee Rachel” instead of Emily. The episode ends with viewers wondering if Ross is going to go through with the wedding or if he’s going to end his relationship with Emily and get back together with Rachel.
The One with the Proposal Part II (Season 6, Episode 25)
After the London affair, Chandler and Monica develop a romance that’s arguably the best – and most healthy – relationship of the show. It doesn’t rival the drama of Ross and Rachel, but it started organically and their love remained constant throughout the rest of the series.
After a year of dating, Chandler decides that he wants to propose to Monica. Chandler plans to propose in a restaurant in Part I of the episode, but his plans are interrupted when her ex, Richard, enters the same restaurant with his date. In the next episode, Richard visits the restaurant where Monica works as head chef. He tells her that he still loves her, and wants to marry and have kids with her. Monica says he’s too late, and Richard says he hopes that Chandler can give her everything that she wants.
Chandler wants Monica to be completely surprised when he proposes, so he tells her that he doesn’t think he wants to get married or have kids. Monica gets upset, wondering what the point of their relationship was if he felt that way. When Chandler finds out what Richard told Monica, he visits Richard and tells him that he blew his chances with Monica and that he is planning to propose to her. Richard then gives Chandler a piece of advice: “Go get Monica and never let her go.” When Chandler gets home, Joey stops him in the hallway and tells him that Monica left. Chandler, thinking he screwed everything up, enters the apartment disappointed. But then he sees the entire apartment lit with candles and Monica waiting for him in the living room. Monica gets down on one knee and tries to propose to Chandler. She starts crying so hard, she can’t finish, so Chandler gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. Monica accepts, and the gang enters the apartment to celebrate the engagement.
The One with Nap Partners (Season 7, Episode 6)
Monica is planning for her upcoming wedding and has to choose a maid of honor. Instead of choosing between Phoebe and Rachel, she lets them decide who should do take the job. To help make the decision, Joey suggests that Rachel and Phoebe audition for the role. The girls agree and Ross and Joey judge the competition. The guys can’t decide between Phoebe and Rachel, so they decide to flip a coin. Phoebe is the victor of the coin toss, but after realizing how important being maid of honor is to Rachel, she graciously gives her the job. Rachel immediately regrets her decision when Monica demands regular meetings four times a week to plan the wedding.
Between the maid-of-honor frenzy, Ross and Joey take a nap in Joey’s apartment. Afterwards, Joey confronts Ross and says it’s the best nap he’s ever had. Reluctantly, Ross agrees and Joey demands to take another nap with him. Ross refuses, saying that it’s too weird. Later, Joey remarks that he is tired and is going to his apartment to take a nap on his couch. Ross tries to resist, but ends up following Joey to the apartment. At the end of the episode, Joey and Ross wake up napping together to the rest of the gang standing over them with judgmental glares.
The One with the Prom Video (Season 2, Episode 14)
Ross continues to seek forgiveness from Rachel after inadvertently insulting her by making a list of the pros and cons of being with her in a previous episode. Ross doesn’t think he will ever get to be with Rachel, but Phoebe states otherwise calling Rachel “his lobster.” After Ross and Chandler give her a blank stare, Phoebe explains: “It’s a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life.” In the next scene, Jack (Elliot Gould) and Judy Geller (Christina Pickles) bring boxes of Monica’s stuff to her apartment because they are turning her childhood room into a gym. While looking through it, Monica finds a video of her and Rachel getting ready for their senior prom.
The friends decide to watch the video, even though Ross is adamant about not wanting everyone to see it. The video reveals that Monica used to be obese and that Rachel had a large nose. It also reveals that Ross decided to take Rachel to her prom after she thinks she was stood up by her date. Ross gets dressed up in a suit, but Rachel’s date shows up before she learns of Ross’s plans. Ross looks disappointed and rejected at the end of video. When the video is over, Rachel, touched by Ross’s gesture, gets up and passionately kisses him. Phoebe then exclaims, “See, he’s her lobster!”
The One with Chandler in a Box (Season 4, Episode 8)
It’s Thanksgiving day and Joey is furious with Chandler, who kissed his girlfriend Kathy in the previous episode. Despite Chandler apologizing numerous times, Joey refuses to forgive him. Joey tells Ross that he has sentenced Chandler to five years of silent treatment for what he has done.
Desperate to make things right with his best friend, Chandler tells Joey he is willing to do anything to make it up to him. Joey decides that Chandler has to spend six hours in a box, as doing so will prove his loyalty. Chandler makes a number of jokes while in the box, which upsets Joey because he doesn’t think Chandler is taking his punishment seriously. Chandler immediately silences himself. Kathy, upset that she caused a rift between two best friends, breaks up with Chandler while he is still in the box. Chandler holds his silence in or to prove to Joey how much he means to him. Joey is touched by Chandler’s effort, so he forgives him and tells him to go get Kathy.
The One with the Routine (Season 6, Episode 10)
Janine (Elle Macpherson), Joey’s hot new roommate, is going to be a “party person” at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and invites Joey, Monica, and Ross to the taping. Monica and Ross are overwhelmed with excitement, as they are super fans of the show.
Monica and Ross know that if they want to be on TV, then they have to make their way to the platform. The problem is that only the best dancers get invited to dance on the platforms. To ensure they get selected, Monica and Ross break out “the routine” that they made up in middle school. The dance is composed of the corniest moves, such as the “cabbage patch,” but it can easily be deemed the best bad dance routine in TV history. The stage manager claims to be impressed and invites them to dance on a platform. When Monica and Ross are out of earshot, the stage manager tells the cameraman that he wants them filmed for the “blooper roll.”
Did we miss one of the best episodes of all time? Or do you disagree with one on this list? Let us know below!
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