The One With The Best Episodes: Top Episode From Each Season of Friends

The Best Episodes of Friends

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"Friends Soundstage" by John - originally posted to Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Although it’s been over 15 years since Friends last aired, the classic show is still trending.

For almost 27 years now, the television show Friends still remains as one of the most watched shows of all time. Even in 2021, it is hugely popular among people of all ages, with merchandise still being sold everywhere and The Friends Experience Pop-Up being sold out daily in New York City and Chicago. The show provides fans with every emotion imaginable. From laughing with Joey and Chandler, to crying with Ross and Rachel over their series long on-and-off love story, there’s always an episode for every mood. With 10 seasons, many amazing episodes were made, but there’s always one in each season that really stands out. P.S.: If you have not already watched the show, there may be some spoilers in the descriptions. 

1

Season one provides for many laughs and emotions. The friend group is new and already they go through many hilarious adventures together. One of them that really stands out is “The One With The Fake Monica” (Season one, episode 21). In this episode, Monica’s credit card is stolen, and her, Rachel, and Phoebe try to catch the thief. The thief turns out to be so charming and fun, that Monica makes up a fake personality just to hang out with her, doing spontaneous things like tap classes, auditioning for Broadway musicals, and gate crashing parties. When the fake Monica is arrested, Monica decides to tell her everything, and asks why she can’t be more like her. Fake Monica explains that it is just her personality, and she can’t change who she is. Monica is a very uptight person, but in this episode she gets vulnerable and shares how she wishes she could be more fun. We learn a lot about her character here, and as my favorite character, I really enjoy that. 

2

In season two, fans really start to see Ross and Rachel’s relationship bloom. Rachel is not talking to Ross in this episode because he made a pros and cons list about her that she didn’t like. In “The One With The Prom Video” (season two, episode 14), the group decides to gather in Monica’s living room and watch a home video of Monica and Rachel getting ready for their senior prom, even though Ross disagrees. In the video, we see that Rachel seems to have been stood up by her date, so Ross gets ready to save the day and go with her, which is something no one in the group knew until now. However, Rachel’s date ended up showing up as soon as Ross was done getting ready. The video ends with Ross looking heartbroken. Rachel, moved by Ross’s kind gesture, gets up and kisses him, clearly forgiving him for his past mistakes. In this episode we see one of the firsts (of many) Roschel ups and downs, but as always, they bounce back. 

A promotional cast photograph for the first season of NBC’s Friends. From left to right, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing.

3

By season three, Ross and Rachel had many more ups and downs, as their relationship always seems to be a bit rocky. Towards the middle of season three, Rachel decided to take a break after Ross became too jealous over her new job and friendship with Mark, her friend who helped her get the job. After the fight, Ross goes to a bar while Rachel stays at home. Rachel calls Mark, and he comes over to help cheer her up. Ross calls Rachel to apologize, but he hears Mark in the background and hangs up. Ross ends up bringing a woman from the bar back to his apartment. In “The One With The Morning After” (season three, episode 16), Rachel wakes up in the morning, ready to go to Ross’s to apologize. Rachel and Ross forgive each other, and agree to be boyfriend and girlfriend again. Ross, after telling Chandler and Joey, decided to tell Rachel the truth, but figures out that Rachel already knows through mutual friends. Rachel storms into the apartment, fighting with Ross, after discovering that the woman was still in Ross’s apartment that morning. As it seems like Rachel might forgive him, Ross kisses her and she slaps him away, telling him to go home. They both start crying, and Ross drops to his knees and holds Rachel, asking if there’s any way she can forgive him. Rachel responds by saying that Ross was the one person she thought would never hurt her, but now everything has changed. Ross says the heartbreaking line, “This can’t be it,” and Rachel responds, “Then how come it is?” This scene was so emotional for the cast that David Schwimmer (Ross) and Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) actually cried while filming. As a huge Friends fan, it still hurts every time I watch this episode. The goodbye is heartbreaking, but it makes it better to know that it was just as emotional for the cast.

4

Like Roschel, Joey and Chandler are an iconic television duo, providing many laughs throughout the series. In season four, Joey dates a girl named Kathy, not knowing that Chandler has a crush on her. Chandler eventually kisses her, and Joey refuses to forgive him. In “The One With Chandler In A Box” (season four, episode eight), Chandler is willing to do anything to get Joey to forgive him, so Joey sentences him to six hours in a box. Kathy comes to the apartment and breaks up with Chandler while he’s still in the box, not wanting to be the woman who comes between best friends. Chandler holds his silence, proving to Joey how much he cares for him. Joey is touched by Chandler’s effort and tells him to go get Kathy. This episode shows the amazing friendship between Joey and Chandler, two favorite pairs from the show. 

5

In season five, we start to see Monica and Chandler’s relationship bloom, even though it is a secret. In “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” (season five, episode 14), Rachel and Phoebe are in Ross’s apartment, and see Monica and Chandler together. Phoebe starts screaming, and Rachel reveals that she already knows. She convinces Phoebe to calm down, knowing Ross would be furious if he found out. Rachel and Phoebe tell Joey that they know, and Joey is excited that it’s finally enough people to confront them, as he already knows too. However, Rachel and Phoebe try to mess with them instead. Chandler enters and Phoebe begins to flirt with him. In the next scene, Phoebe tells Chandler that she’ll miss him, which makes Monica realize that she is just pretending, and she knows that she and Chandler are together. Monica and Chandler decide to interrogate Joey, and he caves that Rachel and Phoebe know. Chandler now flirts with Phoebe back for revenge (idea from Monica) Phoebe and Chandler end up awkwardly kissing, but Chandler pulls away and tells Phoebe she wins. Phoebe triumphantly asks him why, and he exclaims, “Because I’m in love with Monica!” Even though they all know, Chandler and Monica tell the group that they don’t want Ross to know yet. However, as Ross looks outside his window, he sees them together and furiously screams. This episode is so heartwarming, and it was wonderful to hear Chandler tell everyone that he is in love with Monica, since commitment and love are hard things for him. 

6

The iconic apartment building where Monica, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey lived can be found in Greenwich Village.

Ross, although can be seen as problematic, provides a lot of humor to the show. In “The One With Unagi” (season six, episode 17), Rachel and Phoebe take self defense classes, which causes them to brag about how they can kick anyone’s butt. Ross tells them that self defense is useless without Unagi, a state of total awareness. To prove this, he scares the two of them. They return the favor later on, hiding in his apartment. This continues throughout the episode.  At the end, Ross sees two blonde haired women near Central Perk, and attacks them only to be attacked back. He notices Rachel and Phoebe staring at him from inside Central Perk, and runs away in fear as he realizes the blonde haired women are not them.

7

“The One With Monica and Chandler’s Wedding” (season seven, episodes 23 and 24) is the two part finale of the seventh season. Monica tells Chandler she’s fairly surprised he hasn’t freaked out yet about getting married, as it’s something he normally does with his fear of commitment. Moments later, Chandler hears the new outgoing message on their answering machine, where Monica refers to them as “The Bings,” and Chandler immediately begins to freak out. When Ross goes to look for Chandler, he finds a note that says, “Tell Monica I’m sorry.” Ross goes looking for Chandler while Rachel and Phoebe keep Monica occupied so she doesn’t realize that he’s missing. At the end of Part One, Rachel and Phoebe find a positive pregnancy test in Monica’s bathroom garbage. This episode was suspenseful to watch, and frustrating as many fans, including myself, just wanted Monica and Chandler to get married already and find out if she was pregnant. 

In the second part of this special, Rachel continues to stall Monica while Phoebe and Ross eventually find Chandler at his office. He tells them that he loves Monica, and is afraid of having an unhappy marriage like his parents.Eventually, Ross manages to get Chandler into the hotel room and dressed for the wedding, but he decides he needs some fresh air. He overhears Rachel and Phoebe talk about Monica’s pregnancy. He attempts to flee, but passes the hotel gift shop and sees a baby onesie, and decides that something that can fit into something that small can’t be that scary. After they are officially married, Chandler tells Monica that he knows about the baby, but she says she never took a pregnancy test. Phoebe exclaims to Rachel how great it is that Chandler and Monica are going to have a baby; however, the camera reveals that it is Rachel who is pregnant.  This episode came with a lot of shock,, but it was so exciting as Chandler and Monica did end up having a happy wedding. 

8

Chandler is one of the funniest characters on the show, his sarcasm always providing laughs for the characters and fans. In “The One Where Chandler Takes A Bath” (season eight, episode 13), Monica is surprised when Chandler reveals that he doesn’t like taking baths. She tries convincing him that he would like it if she showed him the right way to prepare one. When he finally lets Monica draw him a bath her way, he loves it, and is seen playing with the bubbles and a toy boat like a child. The episode ends with the group gathering in the bathroom while Chandler is in the bath, to share the news that Ross and Rachel are having a baby girl. The group hugs, and Chandler jokes about being left out since he is still in the tub. This episode is another great show of how Chandler’s humor and sarcasm adds a lot to the series. In an episode like this, the laughter was tremendous, and that’s what makes it so good. 

9

In season nine, Chandler’s job required him to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma for weeks at a time. In “The One With Christmas In Tulsa” (season nine, episode 10), Chandler must stay in Tulsa to finish work that needs to be completed by Christmas Day. Chandler feels empathy for his coworkers, and sends them all home. Wendy, a coworker, offers to stay and help him, at which point, Monica and the others call him to wish him a Merry Christmas. When he hangs up the phone, Wendy starts hitting on him. He rejects her but she responds by questioning if what he has with his wife is so great, why is he spending Christmas at work. Meanwhile at the apartment, the other friends gaze out the window, but Monica is too busy worrying that Chandler is cheating on her with Wendy. But then Chandler proves her wrong by walking through the door at that very moment, much to everyone’s delight. He assures them that he can’t be fired for spending Christmas with them, because he resigned. The love between these two is unmatched, and here it shows how much Chandler truly cares about her. 

10

In season 10, heartbreakingly, the show came to an end. “The Last One, Part 1” (season 10, episode 17) is the first part of the two part series finale. In season 10, Monica and Chandler find out they can’t have a baby, so they plan to adopt a baby from a young pregnant woman. As they pack to move into their new house in the suburbs, Erica, the pregnant woman whose baby they’re adopting, goes into labor. Monica and Chandler watch their child, a boy, being born. As they begin to become excited, the OB warns the second one is on their way. Although surprised, as they did not know they were getting twins, they quickly decide that they will adopt both babies. They name the boy Jack (after Monica’s father) and Erica (after her birth mother). Rachel is planning to move to Paris for her job, and Ross and her spend their last night together. Ross wants to get back together with her, but just as he’s about to say something, she says, “That was the perfect way to say goodbye”. When Monica and Chandler come home with the twins, Rachel says a tearful goodbye. After Rachel leaves, Ross realizes he has to tell her how he feels. Him and Phoebe chase her in Phoebe’s taxi to catch her at the airport. As another two part episode, the suspense here was huge, especially knowing there was only one episode left. And of all the times Ross could’ve shared his feelings for Rachel, of course he chooses the time she’s about to move to another continent. 

In “The Last One, Part 2” (season 10, episode 18), the chase continues. As Phoebe and Ross end up at the wrong airport, they race to the right one. After fearing that they won’t make it in time, Phoebe calls Rachel to tell her that there’s something wrong with the plane. This makes everybody get off the plane, including Rachel. Ross sees her and confesses his love, but it being too much for Rachel to take in she says “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry”, and passes through the gates again. Ross goes home and checks his messages, hearing a message from Rachel saying she loves him too and wants to get off the plane. The door opens and he hears, “I got off the plane,” and turns to see Rachel standing at the door. They kiss and both decide that this is going to be “it”. At the end, they are all standing in Monica and Chandler’s empty apartment. Monica asks if they want to get one more cup of coffee (at Central Perk) and Chandler asks, “Where?” to break off the tension, this being the last line of the show. It ends with the group walking out of the apartment. The camera slowly pans over the empty apartment, showing the friends’ six keys, and then ends on the door. This was a perfect end to the series. Chandler and Monica get to live happily ever after, Ross and Rachel finally are together again (hopefully for good this time) and of course, they are all still best friends.