The 15 Most Memorable Episodes Of Friends
As far as television series go, few are comparable to the success and lasting influence Friends has had during its ten season run from 1994-2004. Creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman likely had no idea just how big the show was gonna be when they cast the relatively unknown actors David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Courtney Cox and Matthew Perry in the lead roles. These six characters came together with chemistry that few casts — even great ones — and brought with them the the best humor, drama and emotion in each and every 30 minute episode. With 236 episodes in its canon, each is great no matter how many times you have seen them, which makes deciding on the best ones particularly difficult. There are a few that stand out, however, either because of iconic lines that we all use in everyday speech or one major, defining moment of the show. Here are the 15 Most Memorable Episodes of Friends.
15. “The One Where Monica Gets A Roommate” S1, E1
The Pilot episode of every show is hit or miss when it comes to being significant in the larger realm of the show once it hits its stride. With Friends, however, the Pilot is extremely important and extremely memorable for various reasons: It introduces us to things instrumental to the show, including the six friends Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross and Rachel — who joins the group after abandoning her wedding to Barry — as well as Central Perk and the delicate mix of emotion and humor. Fans looking back now also find the Pilot even more memorable because we know it’s just the beginning of something great and can recognize the changes the characters went through over the ten seasons, both individually and as a the group.
14. “The One With the Rumor” S8, E9
As the show became more and more popular, bigger and bigger celebrities made cameos. Some of these big name celebrities include Sean Penn, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, who guest starred in “The One With the Rumor.” All of the Friends Thanksgiving episodes are great but this one was unbelievably funny and even more memorable because Pitt was married to Aniston at the time. His character, Will, hated Rachel, which was really funny; however, it got even funnier when we learned that he and Ross had an “I hate Rachel” club back in high school. One of Phoebe’s iconic lines, “Oh come on Will, just take off your shirt and tell us,” played off the fact Pitt was the hottest male star at the time.
13. “The One With the Cop” S5, E16
This episode has to be in here not due to its memorability as an entire thing but due to one specific moment which we have all lived countless times. In “The One With the Cop,” the usual funny antics are occurring: Joey thinks he is in love with Monica, Phoebe pretends to be a police officer after finding a badge at Central Perk and then Ross buys a couch but refuses to pay for delivery. With only Rachel and Chandler to help him we were left with the line that we have all shouted at least once when moving or helping our friends move: “PIVOT, PIVOT!” There are certain “Friendisms” that have become staples in our lives and this is one of them, which makes this episode truly memorable, especially on moving day.
12. “The One With The Ick Factor” S1, E22
With an average of 24 episodes per season and ten seasons in total, writers had to find new and interesting ways to keep the show fresh and fulfilling for its loyal fan base and, as we all know, the writers of Friends were particularly skilled at their craft. In “The One With the Ick Factor,” Monica gets a new boyfriend but lies to him about her age when she finds out he’s only a college student. After sleeping with him, however, she finds out that he’s lied — he’s actually a high school student. Since this is Friends, all serious subject matter is played off with humour, which hides the bigger issues. In this episode, we also got to see Chandler’s work life. Phoebe steps in as a temp at his office and makes friends with his co-workers who make fun of him behind his back.
11. “The One After I Do” S8, E1
While the show definitely changed up the group dynamic by having Ross and Rachel, the ultimate “on-off” couple, the “Friends” theme was challenged when Monica and Chandler fell in love. The writers, however, knew what they were doing and, in “The One After I Do,” Monica and Chandler finally got married. Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned especially with the drama of Phoebe and Rachel trying to hide Rachel’s pregnancy. In the end, however, the two tie the knot with Joey officiating. The jokes take a back seat to a truly emotional and real moment of the show. “I have known Monica and Chandler for a long time, and I cannot imagine two people more perfect for each other.” No need for the taped over “awws” because we were all saying it at home.
10. “The One After Vegas” S6, E1
The running joke of Ross’s divorces got even worse when it turns out that he and Rachel got married in a drunken blackout while in Las Vegas and have to deal with it in episode “The One After Vegas.” After having to be told they got married because they didn’t even remember, Ross shocks Rachel by begging her to not annul the marriage because he doesn’t want three failed marriages. While the amazing humor in this episode, especially between Ross and Rachel, makes the episode memorable, it is also considered one of the best because we realize that Ross’s motives for not wanting to annul the marriage is because he still loves Rachel. Of course we all know this, but it foreshadows another exciting season for the seemingly doomed couple.
9. “The One With the Late Thanksgiving” S10, E8
“The One With the Late Thanksgiving” which should have really been called, “The One With the Floating Heads,” is another great addition to Friends‘ amazing Thanksgiving episodes. The great thing about Friends is that the show does not need elaborate backgrounds or settings to make it effective — it is all done by perfectly connected writing and acting. We can definitely see that in this episode as the best parts occur in the hallway and in Monica and Chandler’s apartment. While everyone had a favorite “friend” for various reasons, it seemed David Schwimmer as Ross was greatly under-appreciated. Like some of the other episodes, this one is memorable thanks to one great scene between Ross and Joey. Ross suggests that they say they’ve been mugged. To “look mugged,” Joey rips the pocket off of his shirt. From the initial “Hey” to the monotone, “I got mugged and they stole my pocket,” it is one of the best Ross scenes ever.
8. “The One With the Jellyfish” S4, E1
Even those strange individuals who claim they don’t like Friends or just never became interested in the show are well aware of one particular moment and that is of course the iconic “we were on a break” line. In “The One With the Jellyfish,” there are three very separate plots going on: One with Monica, Joey and Chandler at the beach; Phoebe finding out about her birth mother; and Ross and Rachel reconciling after she writes him an 18 page letter. The scene where Chandler has to pee on Monica because she got stung by a jellyfish is memorable enough, but the “we were on a break” scene has become a pop culture staple, which is finished when Rachel tells Ross as he storms off, “And hey, just so you know it’s NOT that common, it DOESN’T happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!” Chandler then chimes in with, “I knew it.” In terms of classic Friends, this episode is it.
7. “The One With Ross’s Wedding: Part Two” S4, E24
Although Ross is more or less hung up on Rachel for the entire series, that doesn’t stop him from having multiple relationships with other people, even going so far as to marry Emily. “The One With Ross’s Wedding” parts one and two are memorable because they are one of the times the group (aside from pregnant Phoebe) get out of the apartment and go to London. Of course what makes this one of the top episodes is the fact that there was a HUGE season finale cliffhanger, not only for the show but for all of TV when Rachel decides not to break up the wedding and when Ross accidentally calls Emily “Rachel” at the altar. Fans couldn’t believe he made the mistake and the wedding went on anyway AND we had to wait until the next season to find out the fate of Ross’s marriage.
6. “The One Where Rachel Tells” S8, E3
When Rachel gets pregnant in season eight, there is much speculation over who the father might be. In “The One Where Rachel Tells,” everyone knows it is Ross, except for Ross himself. This episode is definitely one of the most memorable because Ross finally finds out that he and Rachel are having a baby together, forever changing the structure of the show and the characters’ relationship dynamics. This episode once again portrays a very real situation that could happen to anyone and cleverly disguises it with humor to make it less “heavy” and “dramatic,” especially with Ross’s devastation at learning condoms are only 97% effective.
5. “The Last One” S10, E17-18
Nothing is more memorable for loyal fans of a show than having to say goodbye to it, especially after ten years of watching and enjoying every new episode. As with many long running shows, the Friends‘ series finale is one of the best because we know that the tearful goodbyes were not just acting — the actors were saying goodbye to a huge part of their lives as well, so the fans were seeing real emotion. After a lot of changes, including the addition of new faces (Emma, the twins, and Paul Rudd as Mike Hannigan), the last episode sent the show off in true style with more great laughs and poignant goodbye scenes.
4. “The One With The Prom Video” S2, E14
The great thing about Friends is that some of their friendships went way back from when the show is set, giving us some awesome flashback episodes that rarely any good show goes without. In “The One With the Prom Video,” we get to see some of the Friends in their ’80s glory, which includes Ross with his curly hair and creepy mustache as he prepares to take Rachel to prom when her date is a no-show. Not only is it memorable for their epic looks, but it is also memorable because it is thanks to that video that Ross and Rachel officially become a couple. This this episode includes a great Joey/Chandler storyline — the friendship bracelets.
3. “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” S5, E14
Yes, the writing the characters are practically perfect and “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” is proof of that. In this episode, Monica and Chandler are still hiding their relationship and only Joey and Rachel know about it, which meant that it was only a matter of time before Ross and Phoebe. Not only is it one of the most memorable episodes of all, it is also one of the funniest. It works in “they don’t know that we know that they know” plot line, as Phoebe comes on to Chandler, forcing him to break down and admit that he loves Monica. While Ross is initially furious about Monica and Chandler’s relationship, he changes his tune when he finds out that it’s serious, which leads to some really great Chandler moments: “I think, I think Ross knows about me and Monica.”
2. “The One Where No One’s Ready” S3, E2
Joey may not have coined the term “commando” but, when he used it in the fantastic episode “The One Where No One’s Ready” in 1996, it became a common term. This episode is memorable mostly because of the scene where Joey comes into the apartment wearing every single piece of Chandler’s clothing and states, “Look at me, I’m Chandler! Could I be wearin’ any more clothes?” This is yet another moment that even non-fans are aware of. This was one of those interesting bottle episodes where the whole thing takes place in just the apartment, yet remains one of the very best as Ross tries to get everyone ready and out the door. The wit and intelligence behind the show is paramount. Even though there is no change in scenery, the writing, acting and storylines develop and carry the episode with ease.
1. “The One With The Embryos” S4, E 13
Last but certainly not least in the large canon of amazing and memorable Friends episode is, of course, “The One With the Embroys” from season four. This episode really should have been called “The One with The Quiz.” In this episode, a friendly game of who knows who best between the boys and Rachel and Monica ends with the girls losing their apartment to the boys. The loss of the apartment is one of the hooks of the show and this episode gave us the classics, “Miss Chanandler Bong” and “big fat goalie.” Once again, the acting was unbelievable as each character’s excitement and reactions made the whole thing extremely believable. Not surprisingly, this episode is considered one of Friends’ finer moments.