Once, in Manhattan, 5 friends were lounging in a coffee house discussing Chandler’s weird dream, Ross’ failed marriage and a bit of everything in between, when a girl in a wedding dress barged in, and their lives changed, and so did ours. We saw them laugh, cry, fight, grow and love. Even more than 20 years later, they are there for us as they have been for each other, maybe because their relatability to our lives barely seems to wane, or maybe because the show is an alluring vista of a time gone by. Still one of the most watched shows on TV and Netflix, ‘Friends’ is a pop culture phenomenon. Love it or hate it, you sure as hell have watched it. Over its 236 episodes spanning a decade, the show rode high on its cast’s winning chemistry and its creation of a dreamy, yet somehow achievable utopia, where being with your friends somehow made up for a life stuck in second gear.
I’m one of those fanboys who’ve watched every episode half a dozen times, and still find themselves returning for a random quick peek once in a while. Selecting just 12 episodes which trump all else in humour, thus, is a herculean feat. But here they are, the list of funniest and best Friends episodes (In my humble opinion, so don’t unleash your wrath on me ‘Friends’ snobs!)
12. “No One Is Ready” (Season 3, Episode 2)
One of the beauties of ‘Friends’ is the way the show used simple, even rundown tropes and still managed to elicit quality laughter. The premise of this episode is simple – Ross has a speech at a black-tie event for which the gang has to leave in 26 minutes, but no one is ready. Rachel can’t decide what to wear, Monica is hung up over a message from her ex, Chandler and Joey fight over the comfiest chair in the room which ruins the dress of Phoebe, the only person who did get ready! The entire episode is bottled up inside a single room, thus elevating all the proceedings. Joey and Chandler’s infantile banter for the chair (and then its ‘essence’) is the highlight though! Best Quote: Chandler: Donald Duck never wears pants. But when he gets out of the shower he ties a towel around his waist. I mean, what is up with that?
11. “It All Began” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Yes, the very first one, and in my opinion the most underrated episode of the series. The beauty of this episode is that it makes you feel like you’ve known Ross, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler and Joey for ages, and Rachel is the newbie you’re meeting for the first time too. The pilot of the series shows off all the quirks and whims which the characters would soon make their own. It is a lighthearted caper (much like the entire first season), featuring friends, old and new, just having a good time, while also setting the all-important Ross-Rachel storyline in motion. Once you’ve watched ‘The Last One’, this one feels like a fond memory. A reminder of how how far the friends have come.