The 1990s pop culture landmark, Friends, is still talked about, watched, and, most importantly, loved even today, which speaks volumes of the show's quality, relatability, and staying power. We've certainly written a lot about this timeless sitcom.
While season finales are generally more talked about than the season premieres, it does matter how you start the season. After all, some plotlines that are established in the premiere will run through the entire season and affect the characters in major ways. With that in mind, we decided to revisit Friends and take a closer look at all ten premiere episodes. So, without further ado, here is our ranking of all ten Friends season premieres.
10 "THE ONE WHERE NO ONE PROPOSES" (SEASON 9)
The ninth season opened with, spoiler alert, “The One Where No One Proposes,” which picks up right where we left off in the season eight finale. Believing Joey proposed, because he was on one knee with a ring in his hand, Rachel says yes. Before Joey gets the chance to clear things up, everyone walks into the room, thus creating the misunderstanding the entire episode revolves around.
Rachel thinks Joey proposed, but she doesn’t know that the ring belongs to Ross who was gonna ask her to get back together, because Phoebe encouraged him to go for it with Rachel. So, when Rachel tells Phoebe that she’s engaged, Phoebe assumes Ross proposed and she congratulates him, which confuses Ross because he did not propose. All that time, Joey is trying to find a way untangle this whole mess. Phoebe and Ross find Rachel wearing Ross’s ring, much to Ross's surprise. Meanwhile, Monica and Chandler try to get pregnant. The jokes about Ross and proposals are the highlight of this admittedly average episode.
9 "THE ONE AFTER JOEY AND RACHEL KISS" (SEASON 10)
The final season of Friends opens with the gang still on Barbados. Monica has transformed into Weird Al, David is out of the picture, and now Mike and Phoebe are back together, Ross hooked up with Charlie, and Joey and Rachel kissed. In conclusion, no one is leaving with the same person they came with.
While pretty much no one was crazy about the Joey and Rachel storyline, the episode overall is pretty funny. Monica’s Weird Al hair goes from bad to worse when she goes to the salon and gets cornrows with shellfish at the tips, Phoebe breaks up with Mike’s girlfriend Precious – or as Pheebs calls her, Susie, Ross has one of his classic meltdowns – this time about a major shampoo explosion, and then, on top of that, walks in on Joey and Rachel kissing.
8 "THE ONE AFTER I DO" (SEASON 8)
Picking up where we left off in the season seven finale, “The One After I Do” is set mostly at Monica and Chandler’s reception party. At the very beginning, Ross hilariously breaks down into tears while congratulating the newlyweds by reflecting on his failed marriages. The main storyline is, of course, the pregnancy. To cover for Rachel, Phoebe says she’s pregnant with James Brolin.
With only Phoebe and Rachel knowing the truth, and only Rachel knowing who the father is, the web of lies slowly starts to unfold when Rachel obviously spits the champagne back into her glass, Monica figures out she’s the one with the baby on the way. While the girls deal with that whole thing, Ross (coincidentally the baby’s father) gets himself seated at the children’s table in an effort to be at the same table as Monica’s hot co-worker, Chandler tries to make his shoes not slippery so he can give Monica a proper dance, and Joey auditions for a Broadway play while giving a speech, for real.
7 "THE ONE WITH THE PRINCESS LEIA FANTASY" (SEASON 3)
The season three premiere is all about fantasies. Monica fantasizes about Richard, unable to move on after their breakup. Joey fantasizes about Chandler breaking things off with his new girlfriend Janice, whom he still can't stand (we're with you, Joey). And Ross actually gets to live out his fantasy when Rachel puts on the golden bikini Princess Leia wore in Return of the Jedi.
Unfortunately, something Chandler said completely ruins this experience for Ross. In the worst possible moment, Ross remembers Chandler confessing that sometimes when he's with a woman he sees his mother's face and ends up picturing his mother Judy in the Princess Leia bikini. Try getting that image out of your head.
6 "THE ONE WITH MONICA'S THUNDER" (SEASON 7)
What a great night. Chandler can’t do it. Ross and Rachel kissed. Joey is nineteen again. Oh, wait, that’s not it. It’s supposed to be Monica’s big night but looks like her thunder has been stolen. Season seven premiere opens with the friends celebrating Chandler and Monica’s engagement as they prepare to go out for drinks at The Plaza, but various thunder-stealing shenanigans get in the way.
Monica opens the door to the past to find Ross and Rachel kissing, which she interprets as Rachel stealing her thunder. However, the one who could have actually used a door to the past is Joey, who is supposed to be playing a nineteen-year-old tomorrow. Sadly, all he could do was put on some ridiculous clothes and say some even more ridiculous slang, which didn’t help him look younger, only dumber. So, in a way biology failed both Chandler and Joey. But none of this is really important, because it’s Monica’s big night, right?
5 "THE ONE WHERE MONICA GETS A ROOMMATE" (SEASON 1)
First episodes are often a bit rough around the edges. In fact, no one was overly impressed with the Friends pilot when it first aired. In retrospect, however, the episode is actually pretty funny and a solid start for what would become a landmark show of the 1990s and one of the most beloved sitcoms ever made.
Chandler is immediately established as “the funny one” with hilarious zingers. Rachel’s conversation with her daddy, especially her skilled use of metaphors, still makes us laugh. Monica’s words of encouragement “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it.” are still relatable, and Phoebe delivers perhaps her most memorable line ever “I wish I could but I don’t want to.” Sure, it’s not Friends at its best, but for a pilot episode, it’s pretty damn good.
4 "THE ONE WITH ROSS'S NEW GIRLFRIEND" (SEASON 2)
Season one ended with Rachel finding out how Ross feels about her. She decides to go after him, and in “The One with Ross’s New Girlfriend” Rachel is at the airport, eagerly waiting for Ross, only to get her heart broken when she sees him with another woman – Ross's new girlfriend, Julie.
The scene when Rachel storms into Monica’s apartment, out of breath and attempting to explain what just happened is hysterical. Who can forget Rachel’s hilarious line: “isn’t that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?” There’s no way you can go through this scene without laughing. And if that one doesn’t get you, then the part with Chandler going to Joey’s tailor certainly will. In fact, Chandler gets to say some of his funniest one-liners like "get the verbs," "are you sure he's gonna be able to crack that code" and Matthew Perry's favorite "you have to stop the Q-tip when there's resistance."
3 "THE ONE AFTER VEGAS" (SEASON 6)
“The One After Vegas” opens with newlyweds coming out of a chapel in Vegas, only it’s not Chandler and Monica, but very inebriated Ross and Rachel. The morning after, the couple wakes up in bed together, hungover and without any recollection of last night's events. Oblivious they come down for breakfast where the rest of the group gives them the news. Realizing they made a mistake, Dr. and Mrs. Geller decide to get an annulment.
While Joey and Phoebe take a road trip back to New York, and Monica and Chandler struggle to decide on the next step in their relationship, Ross has one of his meltdowns when he realizes that he’s about to have three failed marriages. He tries to convince Rachel that they should just stay married with some poorly thought-out arguments, even bribing her with all the wedding presents, but to no avail. Of course, this wasn't the end of their marriage because Ross is an idiot. On a sweeter note, the episode ends with Chandler adorably asking Monica to move in together.
2 "THE ONE AFTER ROSS SAYS RACHEL" (SEASON 5)
Ross trying and failing to patch things up with his wife Emily is funny enough, but it's the second plotline that truly makes this Friends episode great. Having slept together, Monica and Chandler must decide how to proceed with their relationship. Worried about what sex might do to their friendship, they decide to blame London and stop doing it once they're home in New York. Thus, begins their frustrating and hilarious quest to find a place for their final hook-up.
Unfortunately, the whole universe seems to be conspiring against them as people keep interrupting them no matter where they go. From Rachel ambushing them in Monica's room to talk about Ross to Joey kicking them out of his and Chandler's room because he's the one who's gonna have sex in there, and finally Ross falling asleep on their laps in the honeymoon suite, it's one stroke of bad luck after another and it's impossible not to laugh at their frustration and sarcastic remarks. In the end, they return home without having their final fling and just when we thought that this would be the end of Monica and Chandler, Chandler saves the day with "I'm still on London time," thus marking the beginning of one of the most iconic TV romances.
1 "THE ONE WITH THE JELLYFISH" (SEASON 4)
“The One with the Jellyfish” isn’t just the best Friends season premiere, it is easily one of the top ten Friends episodes. There are two incredibly hilarious plotlines here. First, Ross and Rachel getting back together and then breaking up again. The moment when Ross yells “we were on a break” and everything that follows is hysterically funny – from Rachel’s delivery of the line “you fell asleep” to Chandler’s “I knew it.”
Then, there’s the plotline with Chandler, Joey, and Monica. Back at the beach, Monica got stung by a jellyfish. In order to ease the pain, she was supposed to pee on herself but couldn’t bend that way, so the guys stepped up. Well, Chandler was the one who actually managed to do it. What makes this story even more hilarious is that we don’t actually see most of this happen. The trio hilariously recounts the events as we break into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. It’s unquestionably one of the funniest scenes of the entire show.