Friends has to be the most binge-worthy TV show in the world. Basically every episode is amazing! They all include plot twists, hilarious moments, impressive guest stars, or sometimes a combination of the three. It’s hard to get bored when you’re watching this show. Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey, and Chandler are all entertainingly unique, and they all have the perfect humorous chemistry. Even more minor characters like Janice and Gunther often managed to steal the show.
The question is, which of Friends’ 236 episodes stand out from the crowd? While they were all good, some were excellent. Which episodes are the ones that you constantly quote, or bring up whenever you’re talking about how great the show is? There are a lot of strong contenders for the top 20 episodes of all time, but we’ve somehow managed to whittle it down to this relatively small number — though we could quite obviously not even attempt a ranking. Do all of your favorites make our cut? More importantly, could these episodes BE any more amazing?
1. “The One Where Ross Is Fine”
Season 10, Episode 2
Spoiler alert: Ross most definitely was not fine in this episode. After discovering that Rachel, the love of his life, is dating Joey, his best friend, Ross invites them around for dinner as a peace offering of sorts. Chaos obviously ensues. The scene in which Ross clutches his margarita and tries not to have a total breakdown is one of the most iconic in Friends history. Unfortunately, Ross has his little drunken meltdown in front of then-girlfriend – and Joey’s ex – Charlie Wheeler. Their relationship didn’t last much longer after that. While you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Ross, hearing him insist he’s “fine” in a hilariously squeaky voice is pretty great entertainment.
2. “The One Where No One’s Ready”
Season 3, Episode 2
Ah yes – the episode that coined the immortal phrase “could I BE wearing any more clothes?” As the gang prepares to go to a function, Ross is pretty anxious to discover that nobody is actually getting ready. Rather than rectifying this, Chandler decides to steal Joey’s underwear. Joey, in turn, shows up wearing all of Chandler’s clothes. Meanwhile, Monica is making a total fool of herself on her ex-boyfriend Richard Burke’s answering machine. Ross yells at Rachel, Phoebe laughs at Monica, and Joey and Chandler endlessly mess about. Despite this episode’s unusual style of having one setting and playing out in real time, it’s one of the funniest out there.
3. “The One Where Everybody Finds Out”
Season 5, Episode 14
Nothing stays secret for long in the Friends universe. After hooking up in London during Ross’s wedding weekend, Monica and Chandler decide to start discreetly dating. They don’t want anyone else in their friendship group to know, so of course, everybody finds out pretty swiftly. However, Monica and Chandler don’t know that their friends know and Phoebe wants to make sure that they know that they know. It ends with Chandler and Phoebe sharing an awkward kiss before Chandler finally backs down and admits that he’s in love with Monica. And so the most adorable couple in the show went public! Except for Ross, who discovers the hard way when he spots his sister and his best friend having sex through his apartment window. Oh dear.
4. “The One With Unagi”
Season 5, Episode 17
This episode was truly a goofy Friends classic. When Ross discovers that Phoebe and Rachel are taking self-defense classes, he instructs them not to forget the important principle of Unagi. Unagi is actually the Japanese word for freshwater eel, but Ross is adamant that he’s promoting a ‘state of total awareness’ of one’s surroundings. To prove to the girls that he’s an Unagi master, Ross decides to take self-defense classes himself. However, this inevitably ends badly.
Ross ends up attacking two random blonde women who he mistook for Phoebe and Rachel, while the girls watch from the window of Central Perk. Is there a single hilarious episode of this show that doesn’t involve Ross making a fool of himself?
5. “The One With the Embryos”
Season 4, Episode 12
Despite this episode’s title, the presence of embryos isn’t actually what makes it so amazing. Instead, it’s the introduction of an iconic Friends trivia quiz: The Contest. After Joey and Chandler claim that they know more about Monica and Rachel than the two girls know about them, Ross constructs a quiz to see whether this is true. The sequence included Rachel’s hilarious guess at what Chandler’s job is – a “transponster” – and results in the girls having to swap apartments with the boys. While Phoebe’s announcement that she’s pregnant is lovely and all, it doesn’t quite manage to upstage The Contest.
6. “The One After the Superbowl”
Season 2, Episode 12/13
The title of this episode is a bit misleading – the post-Superbowl episode of Friends was actually a two-parter! This allowed for both twice the length and twice the hilarity. It’s one of the series’ most star-studded episodes with a whole host of famous faces cropping up. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself, with Monica and Rachel getting into a fight about who gets to date him (in reality, neither of them). Julia Roberts appears as a girl Chandler humiliated in high school and gets some pretty sweet revenge. Brooke Shields also crops up as a crazy stalker who genuinely believes that Joey is his Days of Our Lives character Dr. Drake Ramoray. Throw in the reappearance of Ross’s monkey Marcel and you have one heck of an episode!
7. “The One With Monica and Chandler’s Wedding”
Season 7, Episode 23/24
This two-part episode has to be included just because it’s adorable. Monica and Chandler are hands-down the best couple on Friends, and it was so cute to see them finally wed. Despite some concerns as to whether Chandler would show up to the ceremony, a mysterious pregnancy test and Joey, the officiant, showing up late, the two get married without a hitch.
Aside from the wedding itself, the episode had a few other pretty iconic moments. For one, superstar Gary Oldman had a cameo as a drunken famous actor on the set of one of Joey’s films. The second part of the episode also reveals that Rachel is pregnant – although none of the other characters know yet. It was a pretty gripping season finale cliffhanger!
8. “The One With All The Thanksgivings”
Season 5, Episode 8
Whoever knew that seeing two different people wear turkeys on their heads could make for such a hilarious TV moment? The writers of Friends clearly did when they treated us to this Thanksgiving-themed episode in season five. As the gang reminisces about awful Thanksgivings gone by, we get a whole load of flashbacks and some hilarious 1980s hairstyles thrown into the mix. It’s revealed that Monica slimmed down because Chandler once called her fat, and as part of her revenge accidentally chopped off her future husband’s toe. That’s definitely the basis for a stable and loving relationship! We see college-aged Ross once again fail to ask Rachel out, and a number of Phoebe’s “past lives.” What’s not to love?
9. “The One With Ross’s Wedding”
Season 4, Episode 23
Five little words made this two-part episode one of the most iconic in Friends history: “I, Ross, take thee, Rachel…” Every single time you watch that scene, it doesn’t get any less painful. When Rachel shows up at Ross’s wedding to Emily intending to reveal that she still loved him, everyone expected the ceremony to somehow be canceled. However, the Friends producers instead chose to give all viewers a heart attack – and then have Emily marry Ross anyway! If my betrothed said someone else’s name at the altar, I’d be out of there like a shot. But nope – the marriage went ahead, if only briefly. This episode is also notable for kick-starting Monica and Chandler’s relationship.
10. “The One With Ross’s Tan”
Season 10, Episode 3
Pretty much every Friends fan ever was put off spray-tans after watching this episode. After Ross gets jealous of Monica’s newly bronzed skin, he decides to go through the procedure himself. Unfortunately, in true Ross style, he manages to totally botch his spray tan and comes out half-pale, half-orange. For some reason, he thinks trying again is a good idea, but the second spray-tan only makes things worse. The poor guy couldn’t catch a break – especially considering this episode is when Rachel and Joey had their first official date! However, it also saw the two decide to call things off totally. Things start to look up for Ross in the end, even if he ends up looking like a totally tangerine fool.
11. “The One With the Prom Video”
Season 2, Episode 14
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the whole Ross and Rachel saga, every Friends fan has got to admit that this episode was pretty cute. Ross and Rachel FINALLY get together (for the first time) after the gang watches a tape of Rachel and Monica’s prom. Pre-nose job Rachel had been worried that her date wouldn’t turn up, and Ross was planning to take her instead. When this kindness was revealed years later, it prompted the couple to share a pretty passionate kiss. It was the first reference to Ross and Rachel being each other’s “lobster” (thanks, Phoebe) and just one major event in their pretty tumultuous relationship. While that’s all well and good, we mustn’t forget this episode’s hilarious side plot about Chandler and Joey’s matching bracelets. They were pretty ugly, let’s be real.
12. “The One With The Routine”
Season 6, Episode 10
”The One With The Routine” was so unexpected but so hilarious. While at the taping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Monica and Ross decide that this is their shot at fifteen minutes of fame. They perform The Routine – some pretty ridiculous dance moves they cobbled together in the eighth grade – for a bunch of bemused producers. While the on-screen audience didn’t think the dance made good TV, Friends fans everywhere definitely did.
This episode also saw Joey finally getting a kiss from his new roommate Janine, played by supermodel Elle MacPherson. While Janine eventually movies out due to her hatred of Monica and Chandler, this moment with Joey was at least pretty cute.
13. “The One That Could Have Been”
Season 6, Episode 16
Who doesn’t love a good alternate universe episode of a show? It’s even better when said show happens to be totally hilarious. Friends did this classic trope really well, resulting in the pretty memorable “The One That Could Have Been.” Some of the storylines are actually quite heartwarming – even in a world where Monica was still overweight, she and Chandler fell in love. It just proves the two were always meant to be!
Seeing Rachel almost sleep with mega-star Joey is pretty funny considering the two went on to date. Watching Ross eventually realize that his wife is gay (again) tugged at our heartstrings a bit, though. Despite this, we’d be pretty down for seeing more of this ‘other’ Friends world!
14. “The One With The Cop”
Season 5, Episode 16
”The One With The Cop” might sound like a pretty bland title for one of the ‘best’ ever episodes of Friends, but hear me out. The cop in question doesn’t have much to do with its hilarity. Instead, this episode is famous for one word: “PIVOT!” Seriously, that scene with the couch and the stairs will never get old. It’s a testament to David Schwimmer’s comedic ability that he could make such a simple scene THAT hilarious.
As a side note, the titular cop of the title, Gary, did become quite interesting after a couple of episodes. He’s the guy that Phoebe eventually moves in with for the space of a day before his bird-shooting tendencies become apparent. Phoebs definitely made the right decision by leaving him.
15. “The One With All The Resolutions”
Season 5, Episode 11
This episode proved that even our favorite Friends characters have a hard time keeping their New Years’ Resolutions. To be honest, none of them really set realistic targets! Rachel promised to stop gossiping as much, something that became impossible when she discovered Monica and Chandler’s secret relationship. Chandler had to try to stop mocking people as much… And then Ross showed up in leather pants. How can you not tease somebody about that? Joey’s resolution to learn how to play the guitar also ended in disaster after he dropped Phoebe’s much-loved instrument. Basically, this episode taught us not to bother making resolutions at all. They’ll probably go wrong if you do.
16. “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”
Season 7, Episode 10
Poor Ben Gellar probably grew up thinking that his dad, Ross, and all of his friends were totally crazy. While the invention of the Holiday Armadillo was pretty funny, it was also incredibly wacky, to say the least. When Ross can’t find a Santa costume anywhere to entertain his son over the Christmas season, he goes for the less-than-obvious next best thing: an armadillo suit. Ross does manage to get across the meaning of Hanukkah to Ben (while disguised as the Holiday Armadillo, of course), he’s somewhat upstaged when Chandler shows up in full Santa get-up. Chandler’s appearance also introduces us to Monica’s spicy side — she asks him to keep the costume on “for later.” Well, if it works for you Mon, fair enough… We’re not judgin’!
17. “The One With The Rumor”
Season 8, Episode 9
How can anyone not include Brad Pitt’s memorable Friends appearance in their top 20 episodes? He turned up in season eight as Will Colbert, Ross’s high school friend who holds a major grudge against Rachel. His hatred of her is made more amusing by the fact that Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston when the episode was filmed! Talk about a lovers’ quarrel…
Anyway! Ross, Rachel, and co. reminiscing about their high school days was entertaining to watch, especially when certain ‘rumors’ involving Ross and the school librarian turned out to be true. Also poignant is Ross and Rachel having to refrain from arguing for the sake of their unborn child, despite the revelation that Ross had been a member of the “I Hate Rachel Green Club.” I can see why she may have had a problem with that…
18. “The One in Massapequa”
Season 8, Episode 18
As Friends guest appearances go, Alec Baldwin’s has to be one of the best. He showed up in season eight episode “The One in Massapequa” as Parker, Phoebe’s new boyfriend. Unfortunately, Parker severely irritates all of the friends due to his slightly over-the-top and overenthusiastic personality. Things come to a head at Ross and Monica’s parents’ 35th wedding anniversary dinner: Phoebe angrily asks Parker to be “much less happy” and he responds by dumping her. Monica also has a generally rough time after her toast at the dinner turns out to be a total disaster. It doesn’t help that Ross says literally two sentences and makes everybody cry. Poor Mon!
19. “The One With The Nap Partners”
Season 7, Episode 6
Don’t even try to deny it: after seeing this Friends episode, you kind of wanted a nap partner of your own, didn’t you? Friends who nap together stay together, after all! Unfortunately, an initially beautiful partnership of this kind between Joey and Ross doesn’t go to plan when the entire gang walks in and sees them all snuggled up.
It’s not THAT weird, guys! There’s nothing wrong with two men wanting to have some high-quality naps together! The napping storyline is actually more of a subplot in this episode, which mostly focuses on Phoebe and Rachel’s battle to be Monica’s maid of honor. While Rachel eventually wins, she regrets it after realizing that Monica is going to micromanage EVERYTHING. How did she not work that one out beforehand?!
20. “The Last One”
Season 10, Episode 17
It’s time to get the tissues out. We’re on to the very last episode of Friends. While all good things must come to an end, we were still pretty devastated when the show finished after an amazing ten seasons. At least everyone gets their happy ending! Rachel gets off the plane and reunites with Ross. Phoebe is happily married to Mike, and Joey is his usual positive self. Monica and Chandler move to the suburbs with their twin babies. As they leave, our time with the six friends ends. That final shot of the empty apartment will break your heart every time.