Friends is having a moment.
Thanks to the ability to endlessly stream its 236 episodes on Netflix (but in 2020, on HBO Max), and, perhaps, its female cast members’ mastery of the Tiny Shirt, Big Pants lewk, sitcom lovers are re-living, or discovering for the first time, the physical comedy, sweetness, and (often problematic) humor of Friends.
That’s fitting considering Sept. 22, 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of Friends‘ 1994 premiere. The world watched that day as Rachel Green waltzed into Central Perk in her sopping wedding dress, and the world (and Ross) would never be the same.
Mashable has combed through the archive to find some of the most iconic and re-watchable episodes of the series. A lot of these episodes center on the sticky catchphrases the show gave us; others mark the sentimental moments where we laughed and cried for the Friends.
Friends saw the characters all turn 30. Now, the show itself turns 25.
Image: Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
Happy quarter century, Friends! What better way to celebrate than with a binge?
1. The Pilot (S1E1)
We couldn’t exclude the ultimate setup episode on its birthday. The cast clearly needs some more time to find their groove as the characters that would become the Friends. But the drama, physical comedy, and ridiculous dynamics deserve a rewatch — if only to help you remember how it all began. (Psst: fast forward to 2:15 for the grand entrance of all grand entrances).
2. The One with the Prom Video (S2E14)
A hot kiss and ’80s flair, what more could you want? This ep lays some serious groundwork for Ross-Rachel drama, while giving us an amazing high school flashback (and some “hasn’t aged well” fat jokes). A B-plot also delivers serious Chandler-Joey lulz, and it all ends in one of the best TV kisses ever, along with a catchphrase that became pop-culture canon: “She’s your lobster.”
3. The One Where No One’s Ready (S3E2)
Antics on antics, the whole ensemble is in top form as Ross’ anxiety about being late to a function makes everything worse. Joey wearing his closet, Monica’s “NOOOOO” yell of dismay, Rachel’s green dress… this episode has it all.
4. The One With the Jellyfish (S4E1)
This episode contains one of the great TV confessions of all time — an aquatic battle story for the ages — and we’re not talking about Ross’ “WE WERE ON A BREAK” argument. We also finally get some more info on Phoebe as an actual character and ostensible human being, beyond her role as Bohemian set dressing.
5. The One With the Embryos (S4E12)
The Friends trivia episode gives us space cowboy Maurice, Chanandler Bong, a master Ross as MC, and endless questions about how these 20-somethings afford those West Village apartments, anyway. Come for the inside jokes about Chandler’s job, stay for a Phoebe surprise.
6. The One with All the Thanksgivings (S5E8)
When I first thought about compiling this list, the image of Monica wearing a whole, giant, raw turkey on her head immediately popped into mine. This episode is also flashback-heavy and dramatic af, telling us more about every Friend while moving their relationships forward.
7. The One Where Everybody Finds Out (S5E14)
Who doesn’t have a soft spot for an ugly naked guy ep? This episode contains some of the best Monica-Chandler relationship cuteness, but also a Phoebe seduction dance that will leave you crying with laughter.
8. “The One With the Cop” (S5E16)
Joey introspection is always gold, and Phoebe drunk on power is a sight to behold. But this episode makes this list for one word, and one word only: PIVOT!
9. The One with the Proposal (S6E24-25)
Let’s end on a gooey, sappy, adorably romantic note, shall we? The romances of Friends kept us hooked in between the lolz, and one of the best moments in that saga came in the two-part finale of Season 6. After a maddening series of misunderstandings, the indelible image of Chandler and Monica both kneeling before each other to propose, surrounded by candlelight, will always exemplify some of the best of Friends.