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When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year (especially considering the year we’ve all had) it’s time to dip into a mood-boosting binge-watch of Friends.
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will be returning in the highly anticipated HBO Max Reunion Special on May 27 as themselves to reminisce on all the best moments of the series. It’s your first dose of new Friends content in 16 years… not that we’re counting or anything. But you don’t have to wait until Thursday to get your Friends fix, because all the series’ episodes are streaming right now on HBO Max.
We don’t care if it’s "cheugy" or not, a hearty dose of Friends definitely takes the sting out of a long work week, whether you’re a barista, paleontologist or transponster. Especially if you watch the right episodes. So we’ve put together this list of the nineteen most watchable episodes of Friends that include the best scenes from the series, as well as the best romantic moments between Ross and Rachel and Chandler and Monica.
What are you waiting for, "Smelly Cat" to hit Billboard’s Hot 100? Find your favorite episode below and start streaming it now.
"The Pilot", Season 1, Episode 1
The Friends pilot had us from the moment Rachel burst into Central Perk in her wedding dress. It’s chock full of delightful gems that immediately tell us about the characters we’re going to fall hard for: Phoebe trying to cleanse Ross’ aura, Rachel comparing herself to a shoe, Monica dating Paul the Wine Guy, Ross grabbing a spoon. The best moment of all? Monica hugging Rachel and exclaiming, "Welcome to the real world. It sucks! You’re going to love it." Ain’t that the truth.
There’s something endearing about saving a man from choking on gum during a city-wide power outage, right? Clearly so for Chandler, who, in a too-good-to-be-true-for-Mr. Bing storyline, gets locked in an ATM vestibule with Victoria’s Secret model Jill Goodacre. Meanwhile, Ross attempts to profess his feelings for Rachel, but “crap weasel” Paolo (Cosimo Fusco) lands a lights-out smooch with her first.
"The One Where Ross Finds Out", Season 2, Episode 7
It’s the episode we all waited a season and a half for: The one where Ross and Rachel finally kiss! (How could Ross resist the tears in Rachel’s eyes after he stormed out of the cafe?) The intimate moment between the two marked the beginning for thousands of Ross and Rachel stans.
"The One With the Prom Video", Season 2, Episode 14
We could watch this episode for the ‘80s flashbacks alone (That hair! Those dresses!), but it’s the end of the "Will Rachel and Ross finally get together?" saga that makes us happy. The old VHS tape leads to a heartwarming kiss, and now we know Ross really is Rachel’s lobster. It’s also the episode where Joey and Chandler become “bracelet buddies,” which is one gaudy step above a BFF necklace.
"The One Where Eddie Moves In", Season 2, Episode 17
Phoebe was stoked when a record producer wanted to make a music video for "Smelly Cat," which we still contend is one of the catchiest songs ever written. Turns out the music producer only wanted to use Phoebe as the pretty face -- when the video comes out, it’s a different voice belting out "Smelly Cat." Phoebe, we hope you kept the necklace from the video though. Those pearls were fabulous.
"The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break", Season 3, Episode 15
In this episode that spawned Ross’s catchphrase, a lover’s quarrel ends with Rachel saying that she needs a break from her relationship with Ross. Rachel rescinds the break the next day, but not before Ross sleeps with Chloe (Angela Featherstone) first. “We were on a break!”
Though this episode is titled after Phoebe’s surrogacy storyline, it might be better titled “The One With the Lightning Round.” To resolve a dispute about who knows the others’ better, Chandler and Joey compete against Monica and Rachel in a trivia game devised by Ross -- with the rights to live in Monica’s apartment on the line. The women wind up losing when they can’t remember that the TV Guide they keep stealing is addressed to Ms. Chanandler Bong, or what the heck Chandler actually does at work.
“The One With All the Wedding Dresses”, Season 4, Episode 20
When Rachel feels as though she needs to prove that she’s moved on from Ross, she abruptly proposes to then boyfriend, Joshua, which ends up not being the best trick in the book to get over an ex. Monica, meanwhile, takes Emily’s wedding gown for a ride and a pregnant Phoebe joins in on the fun, gracing us with the iconic moment when all three friends indulge in popcorn and beer on the couch in their pristine white wedding dresses.
"The One With Ross’ Wedding: Part 2", Season 4, Episode 24
Chandler and Monica sleep together! Rachel flies to England to tell Ross she loves him! Ross says Rachel's name instead of Emily's (Helen Baxendale) at the altar! If you’re looking for a great “Friends in love” episode, this one is a must-watch.
"The One With All The Resolutions", Season 5, Episode 11
If you need a reminder to never wear leather pants, here it is. Ross’ New Year’s Resolution is to try something new every day, and somehow he comes to the conclusion that some new, tight leather pants are the perfect fit for his commitment. Let’s just say his movie night at Elizabeth’s (Alexandra Holden) apartment ended with one person bottomless, and it wasn’t her.
"The One Where Everybody Finds Out", Season 5, Episode 14
To sum things up: Chandler and Monica don’t know that we know that they know that we know that Rachel, Phoebe and Joey all know about their secret relationship. The best parts of this episode involve Phoebe and Chandler trying to out-flirt each other until someone blinks. That is, until Ross subleases Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment and witnesses Monica and Chandler kissing through the window. "Get off my sister!"
Ross screaming "Pivot!" while forcing Chandler and Rachel to help him move is one of the most memorable moments from the entire series. Don’t believe us? Try moving furniture around a tight corner and see if you don’t yell it in nostalgic solidarity.
"The One in Vegas: Parts 1 & 2", Season 5, Episodes 23 and 24
This has everything we could ask from a very Friends Vegas: Joey terrifying his hand twin (a subdued Thomas Lennon) with help from Phoebe’s alter ego, Regina Phalange; Ross drawing a semi-permanent mustache and beard combo on Rachel’s face that cannot be scrubbed off; and Chandler betting Monica to roll another eight at the craps table so they’ll get married that night. But the best moment comes after a drunk Ross and Rachel stumble out of a casino chapel. Viva Las Vegas!
"The One That Could Have Been: Parts 1 & 2", Season 6, Episodes 15 and 16
After finding out that her ex-fiance Barry (Mitchell Whitfield) is getting divorced, Rachel wonders how different her life would have been if she ended up marrying him. The whole gang starts pondering how different their lives could have been if they had just made one choice differently along the way. This "what if" two-parter is delightfully spot on: Monica is dating boring Dr. Roger (Pat Finn), a very Long Island Rachel wants to cheat on Barry with soap opera star Joey, Ross is going through a sex dry spell with Carol (Jane Sibbett) and unemployed comedy writer Chandler becomes Joey’s assistant. Opposite Phoebe is the best though: She’s a Wall Street exec who loves her job and yells and smokes her way through a heart attack. If Twilight Zone Friends had been a series, we would've watched that for a decade too.
"The One With the Proposal: Parts 1 & 2", Season 6, Episodes 24 and 25
We never thought we’d see Richard again, but there he was, ruining Chandler’s attempt to propose to Monica by showing up at the same restaurant. To throw Monica off the engagement scent, Chandler tries to convince her that he hates marriage, which went off without a hitch thanks to Richard. But it’s okay guys! In the sweetest move ever, Monica filled the apartment with candles to surprise Chandler. We can’t stop crying -- and it’s been 14 years.
"The One With Monica & Chandler’s Wedding: Parts 1 and 2", Season 7, Episodes 23 and 24
Yes, another season finale wedding, but stay with us: This double episode features Joey co-starring in a World War I movie with drunk, over-enunciator Richard Crosby (Gary Oldman). Most importantly, Monica and Chandler finally get hitched and we find out that Rachel is pregnant. But... who’s the daddy?! (Ross. It’s obviously Ross. We know it was supposed to be a cliffhanger, but c’mon.)
This is a semi-controversial pick, because all of the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends are great. "The One With the Thanksgiving Flashbacks" graces us with the goodness of Chandler losing a toe and Miami Vice suits. "The One With the Football" shows us just how badly Monica will try to win anything, even a friendly football game in the name of Geller family tradition. But this one? This one has Brad Pitt. Enough said.
"The One Where Rachel Has a Baby: Parts 1 and 2", Season 8, Episodes 23 and 24
Poor Rachel goes through 47 hours of labor and watches five women, including the Evil Bitch (played by the always fabulous Debi Mazar) and Chandler’s ex Janice (Maggie Wheeler), get wheeled in to the delivery room before she does. But then we meet Baby Girl Geller-Green! Also, Joey accidentally proposes to Rachel with Ross’ grandmother’s ring. But back to the baby, because she’s super cute!
"The Last One: Parts 1 and 2", Season 10, Episodes 17 and 18
If you don’t need tissues when Monica and Chandler bring home the twins, when Rachel changes her mind about moving to France, or when the gang leave their keys on the table as they say goodbye to Monica’s apartment, then your heart is made of stone. Okay, that was harsh, but listen: There are a lot of things to need tissues for in this episode, and nobody likes to say goodbye. Nobody!