To celebrate Friends’ 25th anniversary, our Television Writers share their all-time favourite episodes
Sian Allen – ‘The One Where Everybody Finds Out’
While Ross and Rachel’s will-they-won’t-they is often regarded as the core relationship of Friends, I have always found Chandler and Monica’s relationship far more fun to watch; it’s much healthier for one, and seeing them sneak around in early season five is endlessly entertaining. It makes sense then, that the eventual revelation of their relationship in ‘The One Where Everybody Finds Out’ is a must-see story that undoubtedly earns its place as one of the show’s best loved episodes. Phoebe and Chandler’s stand-off is Friends at its best, both ridiculous and then later genuinely heart-warming as Chandler openly declares that he loves Monica, one of the many sweet moments the couple share in this episode. ‘They don’t know that we know they know we know!’ is, against all odds, one of the show’s most iconic and most quotable lines, and Phoebe’s attempts at seduction (whether through dance or through lotion) easily earn a laugh whether you’ve seen this episode two times or twenty.
Matt Taylor – ‘The One With the Embryos’
Choosing a favourite Friends episode is admittedly tricky: some are funny, some are emotional, but very few are both – apart from ‘The One with the Embryos.’ Split into two plots, the funny half pits Monica and Rachel against Chandler and Joey in a quiz with the girls’ apartment at stake. It’s utterly hilarious, culminating in neither Monica nor Rachel knowing what Chandler does for a living. And who could forget that shot of the boys riding into the apartment on the white dog? The emotional side of things is the beginning of one of the highlight stories of the whole series as Phoebe becomes a surrogate for her brother and his wife. What’s especially great about this episode is seeing the gang come together at the end, when Phoebe realises she’s pregnant – all arguments stop, and they simply live in the enjoyment of the moment. Isn’t that why we all fell in love with this show in the first place?
Georgia Rose Wells – ‘The One Where Ross is Fine’
Easily my favourite episode by far is ‘The One Where Ross is Fine,’ in which he embodies every student during the peak of assignment deadline and exam season; he is absolutely and definitely completely fine. Despite being possibly one of the strangest couplings in television history, the relationship between Rachel and Joey has provided some of the most entertaining moments from Ross, because what else do you do when you find out your ex-wife and your friend are seeing each other than to invite them around for fajitas! Running parallel to Ross’ breakdown is the heartwarming plot of Monica and Chandler looking into adoption, only for it to then fall victim to a brillant Bing-style collapse as Chandler accidentally tells a small boy that he’s adopted. Ultimately, I love this episode for the typical Friends fashion of finding the comedy amongst the drama and simply just how fine Ross obviously is. And also another classic student tactic of – feeling stressed? Margaritas!
Hannah Lay – ‘The One Where Ross Got High’
‘The One Where Ross Got High’ is an absolutely iconic episode from start to finish. My favourite bit of the episode is definitely the bit with Rachel’s trifle. I’m still not sure why Monica trusted Rachel with Thanksgiving dessert but I’m glad she did as it made for a lot of laughs. Half a shepherd’s pie and half an English trifle, still not sure why it didn’t catch on! I really appreciate the portrayal of Englishness in the episode, two of our best meals combined in one rather interesting meal! The mistake in itself was funny but Ross’ reaction made it even better. I feel like “it tastes like feet” is one of the most iconic lines in the entire series. Even though I imagine it can’t have tasted that bad it made me die with laughter anyway. Actually, the bloopers for that episode are even better as even the cast couldn’t keep a straight face whilst he was doing it. I think it is such a highly underrated episode, it’s brilliant.
Anoushka Nair – ‘The One with All the Thanksgivings’
Remember the one where Ross rocked a mean ‘stache and ‘fro look that would put any 80s duo band to shame, where Monica took the saying ‘go big or go home’ a bit too far, where Rachel’s nose went on an intense diet, where we found out that Phoebe has a memory that stretches back further than humanly possible, where Chandler became “Sir Limps-a-lot” and Joey stuck his head up a turkey’s… well you know. ‘The One with All the Thanksgivings’ is by far one of the greatest Friends’ episodes of all time and quite possibly one of the greatest Thanksgiving episodes of television history. Not only does the episode teach us more about each of our favourite characters but it also reminds us to forgive the past and be thankful for the present. Or at least thankful for the fact that we’ve never seen the inside of a raw turkey. This year on turkey day, or as non-Americans would call it, Thursday, curl up with a nice hot drink and enjoy the gang reminiscing about the 80s, founding friendships, professing love and, of course, turkeys.
Emily Calder – ‘The One with All the Cheesecakes’
Whilst perhaps not as iconic as the most famous Friends episodes, ‘The One with All the Cheesecakes’ is a hidden gem with iconic moments that all fans of the show can appreciate. The episode is one of the rare moments that we see the bond between my two favourite characters, Rachel and Chandler. Whilst they typically don’t have much in common, one thing that they share is a lack of self control. This is gloriously displayed in this episode as they eat not one but two of their neighbour’s cheesecakes (the second of which they return and then steal back). Hilarity ensues as they guilt over stealing from both their neighbour and ‘Mama’s Little Bakery’, yet still find ways to justify their indulgence. The episode also features the two forgetting to pay for their lunch, ‘Apparently we just don’t pay for food anymore,’ Monica not being invited to a wedding because she used to date the groom, and a lovely moment between Joey and Phoebe. Watch for a snapshot of typical Friends humour, and for Joey producing a fork from his pocket (because of course he carries one at all times) and joining Rachel and Chandler as they eat cheesecake off the floor.
Sam Arrowsmith – ‘The One Where No One’s Ready’
Poor Ross. He’s not always the most sympathetic character in Friends, but I can empathise with him in this episode. Getting everyone out the door can be like herding cats. This episode ranks as my favourite because the action is very contained, focusing entirely on the friends and the relationships they have with each other, which, fundamentally, is what made the show endure. Their distinct personalities shine through as we see Monica obsess over and exacerbate an innocuous event, Phoebe’s laid-back personality manifest itself in a lack of urgency and Rachel change her outfit six times. Everyone’s distracted, but the biggest buffoonery comes from a scene-stealing Joey and Chandler, whose fight over a chair dramatically escalates. Could Joey BE wearing any more clothes? Joey and Chandler’s relationship is one of the best features of the series, and their scene together shows it at its best, with the two taking their shenanigans to insane and hilarious lengths. This farce rises with Ross’s blood pressure, until it culminates in a surprisingly sweet ending, when Ross agrees to drink the fat to prove his affection for Rachel and everyone is finally ready. The balance of humour and heart sums up the series.