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Tues Top Ten: "Friends" Episodes

Jose here. Ten years ago today television as we knew it passed away as our communal Friends took their final bow and the classic sitcom came to its end after ten landmark seasons.

The show redefined what Thursdays on NBC were all about and made huge stars out of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc and David Schwimmer. It also pretty much set the standard for what would become “the” multicamera sitcom rules.

On a more personal note, I was obsessed with this show as a teenager, having only caught up with it through syndication. I officially joined the “live” watching only during the fifth season and by the time the show ended, I understood what it was like to “lose” something you grew up with. I’m still mourning the loss of Friends and that other show about New Yorkers that ended its run the same year. Whenever I think of me as a kid watching episode after episode after school, these are the ten I’d gladly take with me to Central Perk.


10) The One with Phoebe’s Wedding (S10E12)

Why It’s Here: Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong as Phoebe prepares to walk the aisle and marry Mike (Paul Rudd). Her stepdad stabs a man in prison and Joey has to fill his shoes, while Chandler and Ross fight over who gets to replace one of Mike’s best men. Monica gets fired as wedding planner and a blizzard arrives forcing the gang to improvise...all leading to one of the most magical moments in the series.

MVF: Ross and his sidekick Chappy the dog.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Joey: Friends, family, dog, thank you all for being here to witness this blessed event. The cold has now spread to my special place, so I'm gonna do the short version of this.

nine more greats after the jump...

 9) The One After the Superbowl (S02 E12-13)

Why It’s Here: Cameos galore! With everyone from Brooke Shields to Jean-Claude Van Damme and Julia Roberts, this episode epitomized 90’s sweeps and why watching TV as it aired was so important 18 years ago. The episode was watched by almost 53 million people. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?

MVF: Chandler, his banter with former classmate Susie Moss (Roberts) leading him to the infamous compliment “great job growing up.”

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Phoebe: [singing] Sometimes men love women
Sometimes men love men
And then there are bisexuals
Though some just say they're kidding themselves ♫


8)  The One with the Embryos (S04E12)

Why It’s Here: It’s the episode where the girls lose their apartment when the guys win at trivia. Phoebe also finds out she’ll be having her brother's baby, but seriously, it’s all about the contest.

MVF: Miss Chanandler Bong

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Phoebe: [singing] Are you in there, little fetus?
In nine months will you greet us?
I will... buy you some Adidas ♫

7) The One in Vegas (S05E23)

Why It’s Here: The gang goes to Vegas so Phoebe can catch up on the fun she missed out in London (she was pregnant). Chandler and Monica fight on the eve of their first anniversary and Rachel and Ross

MVF: Rachel. Jennifer Aniston was never more game than in this episode where not only is Rachel naked, but also becomes the butt of Ross’ many, many jokes and pranks.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Joey: Hey Rach. How you doin'?
Rachel: I'm doing good baby. How you doin'?
Joey: Ross. Don't let her drink anymore.


6) The One with the Proposal (S06E24)

Why It’s Here: In one of those “will they or won’t they” moments, everything seems to be going against Chandler finally asking Monica to marry him, then as all hope seems to be lost, we got that scene with all the candles and tears flowed as we said goodbye to the landmark sixth season.

MVF: Joey. He buys a boat. Nuff said.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Chandler: [to Ross] You've got to forget about Elizabeth, man. If you're not careful you may not get married at all this year.

 5) The One with the Late Thanksgiving (S10E08)

Why It’s Here: After Phoebe coerces Monica into doing a Thanksgiving dinner, they all come up with other plans and show up late to dinner. It’s also the last Thanksgiving episode...

MVF: Emma is the epitome of adorable as Phoebe and Rachel try to sign her up for a baby beauty pageant.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Chandler:  The floating heads do make a good point.


4) The One the Morning After (S03E16)

Why It’s Here: Ross **** up and sleeps with copy girl Chloe (Angela Featherstone) when he and Rachel take a break. He hides her

MVF: Ross. He’s a douche but watching him suffer makes for a great episode. The anchovies face is priceless!

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Ross: This can't be it.
Rachel: ...then how come it is?

3) The One with the Rumor (S08E09)

Why It’s Here: Once upon a time Jennifer Aniston and husband Brad Pitt ruled over Hollywood, which is why the episode when her movie star hubby showed up in the most popular television show of the decade made for one helluva event. To make matters better, he played Will, one of Ross’ friends who co-founded the “I Hate Rachel Green Club”.

MVF: Phoebe. In an episode that’s not about her at all, watching her react with glee and schadenfreude as everything around her falls to pieces is a delight.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Will: Look at her holding those yams. Those are our two worst enemies, Ross - Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates.



2) The One with Phoebe’s Uterus (S04E11)

Why It’s Here: Phoebe accepts to be her brother’s surrogate, but this episode is all about the numbers...

MVF: Monica. She tries to explain Chandler about what exactly goes on in a woman’s body, by coming up with a chart of the right combination of female erogenous zones.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Monica: Seven, seven, seven, SEEEVEN.


1) The One where Everybody Finds Out (S05E14)

Why It’s Here: The cat’s out of the bag as everybody discovers Monica and Chandler’s secret affair. Ugly naked Guy is partly to blame…

MVF: Phoebe. Not only does she see them having sex before anyone else, she is also tasked with the mission of faux seducing Chandler to get the truth out of him.
Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Phoebe: They don't know that we know they know we know.


YOUR TURN. I'm sure you all have your own favorites, which might not correspond to mine. Do share them in the comments.

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Reader Comments (26)

FRIENDS was also a huge part of growing up for me, I never trusted people who said they never found this show funny.

The thing that's fun about picking a top 10 for FRIENDS is we have 200+ episodes so we're really overflowing with possibilities and it's really intriguing to see where you intersect with someone's ten. Still, these are a good representation of the show. Your #1 is an excellent example of FRIENDS at its best, somethings that's too rare with comedies today FRIENDS allowed every pair to interact and the Phoebe/Chandler dynamic has always been one of my favourite especially in this episode.

I'm surprised your ten is so back half of the series heavy. Two major episodes I'd include off the top of my head: "The One Where No One's Ready" (DRINK THE FAT!) and "The One Where Ross Finds Out" ("When were you under me?"

(And I guess Phoebe was your MVP of the show? ....which I can't really argue with.)

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Andrew -- you mentioned the exact episode which is my favorite and it didn't even make the list. I ADORE "The One Where Ross Finds Out"... such brilliant screwball level work from Aniston/Schwimmer.

Jose - i'm also surprised this is so back heavy but my suspicion is that's because you started watching it live halfway through so you feel more connected. My top ten -- if i could remember the titles would surely be all from the first 5 seasons.

May 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Thank you so much!! It's like you sevened the hell out of me.

I love the Chandler reference (could it be..)

I actually thought of no1 while reading about no2, and there it was. "We're just so excited about this apartment" and then Ross does the most "quotable" jump ever. It's not just the lines that are worth quoting/imitating :p

I don't know about rankings but I love most of the episodes. The Applegate one in which her character and Rachel have that big fight is pretty great, too.

I could talk about Friends forever.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

The only thing I would change is moving Phoebe's embryos up to 2nd place and cut the late thanksgiving for the one with the poker (which has my favourite line in the series: Rachel walks in excitedly saying "Guess what guess what." And chandler replies "the fifth dentist caved and now they all recommend trident.")

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMynt

The One With the Prom Video.

That, ...Where Everybody Finds Out, and ...With the Embryos are the best ones, hands down. I also love the finale, probably one of the best finales of all time.

I do love the rest of the ones you mention (except ...After the Superbowl), but... "He's her lobster!"

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Monica: Seven, seven, seven, SEEEVEN.


May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O

"Why It’s Here: It’s the episode where the girls lose their apartment when the guys win at trivia. Phoebe also finds out she’ll be having her brother's baby, but seriously, it’s all about the contest."

OMG i can watch this episode over and over and over...

Monica's reaction when they lose the apartment... "NOOoooOOoooOOOO!!!!" LOL love it

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The best quote from the trivia game episode is surely "He's a transpons... transponster!" - "THAT'S NOT EVEN A WORD!!!"

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

I agree with #1 pick! best episode!

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

A Friends post! I loved that show, watched it from high school through college and 2 years after that. I remember anticipating college in Fall '98 as much as the episode after Ross says Rachel's name at his wedding to Emily. It was definitely a great show and I still watch reruns every night on Nickelodeon.

I'd spend forever ranking my own Top Ten list but I'll agree that your #1 is my #1 too. Absolutely perfect episode!

Oh, what the hell? I'm at work but apparently have time for this:

#10 The One with the Videotape "Ken Adams"
#9 The One with the Nap Partners " I remember talking about this today with Rachel while we were showering together, naked."
#8 The One with Rachel's Sister "Yeah, well, I'm a slut." "Me too."
#7 The One with the Apothecary Table "She's very loud for such a small person."
#6 The One with the Routine "We got honorable mention in the Brother-Sister Dance category!"
#5 The One with Ross's Wedding, Part II "I Ross, take thee, Rachel."
#4 The One After Vegas "We're still married! Don't tell Rachel!"
#3 The One with Monica's Thunder "I'm sorry, apparently I've opened the door to the past."
#2 The One with the Prom Video "He's her lobster!"
#1 The One Where Everyone Finds Out "Get off my sister!"

I'll admit I was disappointed in the last episode--everything was tied up too neatly and it was cliched with the twins and all. It's nice but not as good as it could've been.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel

The Phoebe-Chandler seduction scene is my favorite moment ever. I still laugh out loud everytime I catch it on reruns.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermelvel

Great list for a great show. It's hard to pick only ten, two of yours are mine as well, The One with the Embryos and The One where Everybody Finds Out-which would be near the top of my list too. One off of Andrew K.'s too The One Where No One is Ready.

My others:
The One Where Monica and Richard Are Just Friends-Could care less about Monica and Richard but Joey keeps The Shining in the fridge because it's too scary and reads Little Women instead while Rachel reads the The Shining leading to the spoiler scene. Phoebe dates Robert who doesn't keep the mouse in the house. MVP-Joey

The One Where Chandler Can't Cry- So many great story threads in one show. Chandler admits his not a crier so Joey proclaims him dead inside, Reese Witherspoon guests as Rachel's sister Jill and "Buffay The Vampire Layer"! MVP-a tossup between Phoebe "Oh my God! What am I doing!!" and Jill "You made me doubt my fashion sense!"

The One Where Ross Got High- Another Thanksgiving episode. Rachel makes a trifle that tastes like feet thanks to the addition of beef and peas and the escalating round of confession between Ross and Monica to their parents. MVP-Christina Pickles as Judy Geller "That's a lot of information to get in 30 seconds" but of the core group it would have to be Ross.

The One With All the Thanksgivings-We find out why Monica's a chef and how Chandler lost his little toe and Phoebe was a nurse in WWI. MVP-Monica

The One With Two Parties-Rachel's parents have split so the group have to throw Rachel two surprise parties, one in each apartment. This one isn't uproariously funny but it fills in a great deal of character development while still making you laugh. Rachel's insecurities, some of Chandler's background, and what kind of party Monica throws: best illustrated when Marlo Thomas as Mrs. Green tells her as she leaves that she left her list of ten verbs! on the table. Who does that at a party? Only Monica. MVP: Ross

The One With Chandler's Dad-Five words: Kathleen Turner as Helena Handbasket. MVP-Is there any question.

The One Where Chandler Crosses the Line-Ross shares his "sound" with the group. MVP-Phoebe.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

The first 2 episodes that came to my mind were -

The One With The Giant Poking Device - Where they think Ugly Naked Guy has dies and poke him with a big stick made from chopsticks. That's also when Janice goes back to her husband.

The One With Rachel's Kiss - Where Winona Ryder plays Rachel's old sorority sister and confesses she's in love with her, and Phoebe kisses Rachel at the end. Also, in that episode is when Chandler finds out the tuxedo that fits him is Diane Keaton's!

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Andrew: Actually no, my MVP was always my favorite character and we both know who that is.

Nat: I remember when I was younger my cousins would watch it - I was 8 when the show started - so I was always put off by the grown up-ness of it all and their hairdos and jeans made me think it was a show about moms, maybe that's why I only "got" it so late in the game.

James T: "It's like you sevened the hell out of me." Best comment ever. Also, you're welcome.

Miguel: *hi5*

melvel: I just *thought* about that scene and laughed.

joel6: Is it wrong that I've always wanted to try Rachel's terrible recipe?

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJose

"The One with the Cop"


May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkin

This list is very heavy on episodes in which the Friends pair up, which I tend to find a little repetitive.

My top three: TOW the Embryos, TOW the Rumor, and TOW the Cookie (it's all about the payoff of the central plot).

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Pardon me- TOW Phoebe's Cookies.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

there's no way that the episode with the contest (excuse me, the one with the embryos) is not THE best episode ever! not only is it hilarious but we get to find out backstory about the characters.

also, every single line from it is quotable:

ROSS: Rachel claims THIS is her favorite movie.

CHANDER: Dangerous Liaisons

ROSS: Her actual favorite movie is...

JOEY: Weekend at Bernie's

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterabstew

Thank you for this article and good day to all!

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFilm streaming

....isn't this the FILM experience? That f*cking awful show has been crammed down our throats by the media for 20 years now. I am so sick of hearing about it. Never thought I'd have to suffer with it on the Film experience.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRM

perhaps not as angry as RM, but slightly perplexed at the inclusion of this post on this site.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermatt

To counterbalance RM I want to say that I appreciate that Nathaniel and the other contributors try to provide a well rounded entertainment site. There are occasional articles on theatre and TV but the main thrust remains film. I enjoyed this slight detour.

I don't understand the carping if you're not interested in a post. If I'm not interested in an article I simply don't read it, there's a wealth of others available and new posts come along pretty quickly.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Totally agree with your number one pick! Many of them blur together, but that one always stands out.

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

If we're so intent on returning the blog to discussion of film, I think I can help.

"I've never seen this part before. Hey Travis. Whatcha doin' with that gun? Oh no... Oh no, Travis put down the gun. No no no no. He's your buddy, he's your yeller. No. No no. The end! The end!

Ok what kind of sick doggie snuff film is this!?"

You're welcome.

May 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I was really obsessed with this show! I've watched every episode multiple times. My favorite is The One Where No One's Ready, the one in which Monica leaves a message in Richard's answering machine and accidentaly erased the welcoming message. I know all the lines by heart!

May 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

#1 is indisputable. One of the funniest moments in television history no question. "This is my bra." "I'm very happy we're gonna be having all the sex."

May 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

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