Friends is an American sitcom which aired on NBC from September 22nd 1994 to May 6th 2004. It lasted ten seasons and approximately 236 episodes and was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. It features an ensemble cast of Jennifer Aniston who plays Rachel Green, a rich socialite who in the plot flees her own wedding, Courteney Cox who plays Monica Geller a neurotic but sweet chef, Lisa Kudrow who plays Phoebe Buffay a quirky masseuse and guitar player, Matt LeBlanc who plays Joey Tribbiani a struggling actor and womaniser, Matthew Perry who plays Chandler Bing, a funny and affable guy with a job in IT and David Schwimmer who plays Ross Geller, who is an unassertive paleontologist dealing with a recent separation from his wife. The show follows this group of ‘friends’ as they live out their 20s and 30s in New York City. Today I’ll be listing my Top 10 favourite episodes and you can check that out below.
1. The One with Ross’s Sandwich
Despite not really liking Ross, this episode takes the top spot because it’s just hilarious, the title is a reference to Ross having a breakdown at his boss for eating his special sandwich (and because he was dealing with his upcoming divorce and recent eviction, but mainly the sandwich thing obviously). The subplot with Joey being made to look like a total creep was also pretty fun, and continued the story arc regarding Chandler and Monica’s secret relationship.
2. The One That Could Have Been (Part 1 & 2)
Technically two episodes but they really should be viewed as one, both present a bizarro alternative reality where the lives of the gang go just a little bit different, for example Monica being fat still or Phoebe working for Merrill Lynch. It is very much filler, written to replace an intended story arc involving Rachel’s sister Jill (played by Reese Witherspoon) due to issues behind the scenes with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. But despite that it’s an incredibly entertaining What If? episode that shows a whole different side to the characters we are familiar with, for the record fat Monica and struggling writer Chandler make a really adorable couple.
3. The One Where No One’s Ready
This is a strong full group episode, it features the gang getting ready for an event, and obviously hijinks ensue, a personal highlight being Joey and Chandlers back and forth regarding the chair, concluding in Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes, to this day it’s still one of the most memorable scenes in the entire show for me.
4. The One with Chandler in a Box
In this episode Chandler is desperately trying to get Joey’s forgiveness after kissing Joey’s girlfriend Kathy in the previous episode, Joey as punishment tells Chandler to spend six hours in a box, which he obviously does not take seriously. Joey calls him out on this, forcing him to remain silent, almost causing Chandler to lose his burgeoning relationship with Kathy. It’s a touching episode that reminds us that friends make mistakes, and is a nice episode that reinforces the bond between Chandler and Joey.
5. The One Where Eddie Won’t Go
Eddie is one of my favourite guest characters, he’s crazy in a likeable way, I also liked that he wasn’t forced out under threat of violence, they just presented a different reality and Eddie just accepted it. Funny episode, and another one that reinforces the friendship between Chandler and Joey.
6. The One with the Prom Video
As I said up top I’m not a huge fan of Ross as a character, and upon rewatching the series over the years I’ve become less entranced with the ‘Ross and Rachel’ relationship, it’s just not as interesting as some of the other dynamics on the show, and frankly I don’t think they should have ended up together but putting that aside for a second this was a really sweet episode, it showed the tenderness and care that Ross felt for Rachel and how he was willing to do anything to make her happy.
7. The One with the Thumb
Much Like Ross, I have never been a fan of Phoebe, I think her quirkiness hides aggressiveness and manipulative tendencies, I suppose those could be easily explained by her rough childhood and I can easily see why people would warm to her, but I just never really did. That being said this was a really sweet Phoebe focused episode that features her trying to right a bank error, only to be rewarded more money she feels she doesn’t deserve, she then donates the money to a homeless person, who buys her a drink to say thanks which has a detached thumb in it, she gets even more money, and eventually she just uses it as an incentive for Chandler to stop smoking. It’s an episode that shows she cares deeply about those around her, and doesn’t want anything she feels isn’t coming to her.
8. The One with All the Candy
This has Monica, always the people pleaser making candy for her neighbours, however eventually she becomes stressed out by the workload and her neighbours become rude and ungrateful. I think I like this episode not only because it lays bare Monica’s greatest foil, but it’s also just genuinely funny, and Chandler defending Monica was exceptional sweet, and showed the strength of their relationship.
9. The One with All the Cheesecakes
Rachel and Chandler don’t get a lot of one on one time together, this episode goes a long way to rectifying it, their plot-line about stealing a cheesecake meant for someone else and eating it together is funny, and shows how well they work together. It’s also the perfect counterpoint to the much sadder plot with Phoebe and her former boyfriend David.
10. The One with the Chicken Pox
I said it earlier but I don’t particularly like Phoebe, I don’t hate her but I never really took to the character. Nonetheless this is a great episode, the reactions of Phoebe and Ryan (played by Charlie Sheen) who end up with chickenpox rather than having a steamy two weeks together are hilarious. Equally Monica stressing and obsessing Richard not being obsessive was fun, and while their relationship did not last, I did like it and them together.
Honourable mentions go to The One with the East German Laundry Detergent, The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion and The One with All the Thanksgivings which I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.
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