You’ve got to hand it to Friends, it’s been off the air for 15 years but it’s still a show that absolutely everyone who’s seen it has got an opinion on.
That includes the team here at HuffPost UK, where the 25th anniversary of the show’s UK debut has led to a huge discussion about which of the classic sitcom’s episodes is truly the best.
Here are a few Friends fans from the HuffPost UK team sharing their top pick...
The One Where No One’s Ready – series 3
Charlie Lindlar (Commissioning Editor, Personal)
A bottle episode told virtually in real time as Ross tries to rally the gang into actually just getting dressed for his museum fundraiser, there’s not a single wasted line or interaction between the cast as they rapidly rotate in and out of Monica’s living room in varying states of anger and readiness.
It’s a perfectly balanced ensemble piece, and a true distillation of each character’s early dominant traits too – Chandler’s pettiness on show in his feud over “his seat”; Joey’s juvenile charm (“could I be wearing any more clothes?“); Monica’s high-strung stress over a phone message from her ex; Phoebe’s heart and aloofness on display in equal measure; Ross’ dedication to Rachel served with a hefty dose of the domineering, patronising nature that would doom them; and Rachel’s immaturity and superficiality breaking reveal her deep inner strength and confidence.
If you ask me this episode should be retitled The One You Should Show Your Pal If They Haven’t Seen Friends. It’s a flawless episode of the show, and indeed television.
The One Where They All Find Out – series 5
Becky Barnes (Audience Editor)
As a die-hard Friends fan who has watched every episode hundreds of times, it’s pretty impossible to pick a favourite, but one that definitely stands out is The One Everybody Finds Out (about Monica and Chandler’s soon-to-be iconic romance, that is).
The episode offers what every good Friends episode should. It has a laugh (sometimes a snort-laugh) a minute with highlights including Rachel and Phoebe feigning excitement to distract Ross from seeing Monica and Chandler getting it on (not doing laundry across the street), and Phoebe’s erotic “dance” (“I’m very bendy”) when she is pretending to seduce Chandler.
Also, every character fulfill their stereotypical “role” so you know exactly what to expect and feel safe and comforted (oh so sitcom, darling) – Ross conniving (trying to get “Ugly Naked Guy’s” apartment), Phoebe self-assured (flirting with Chandler), Rachel playful, Monica competitive and Chandler self-deprecating.
As well as the incredible seduction scene (“it makes me want to rip that sweater-vest right off you”) and *that* kiss, there’s also a breakthrough moment that brings a tear to your eye – Chandler and Monica saying they love each other for the first time.
As a bonus, like any good Friends episode should have, there’s a climatic post-credit ending (Ross finally finding out) that means the episode rolls straight into the next (if you’re lucky enough to not be waiting a week to watch it).
The standout line? Monica’s “they don’t know that we know that they know”.
The One Where Ross Got High – series 6
Daniel Welsh (Entertainment Reporter)
The One Where Ross Got High (or The One With The Meat Trifle, as it should really be called) exemplifies everything that makes Friends great. All six of the core cast are given a lot to work with, whether it’s Chandler and Monica grappling with relationship dramz, Ross and Joey’s eagerness to join Janine and her dancer friends and Rachel beavering away on what turns out to be the dessert from hell – plus Jack and Judy Geller make an appearance, and that’s only ever a good thing.
Lisa Kudrow is perhaps the only underused cast member, but her sudden declaration of “I love Jacques Cousteau” is still my joint favourite moment of the whole episode, alongside Christina Pickles’ icy takedown of the entire cast, namely her pointed “it did not taste good” towards Rachel’s efforts in the kitchen.
The One After ‘I Do’ – series 8
Nancy Groves (Head Of Life)
I was in Year 9 when Friends first went out on Channel 4 on Fridays nights. It was appointment TV. That last episode of season one where Rachel waits at the airport for Ross to get off the plane? With Julie! What. A. Cliffhanger. But it’s the first episode of season eight that sticks in my brain (despite including “Chandler’s dad”, the most ill-conceived character ever committed to sitcom).
Monica and Chandler’s wedding has just been upstaged by the discovery of a used pregnancy test. Cue chaos, until the three female friends can group in the loos for Rachel to take a second one.
Phoebe reads out the result. Negative! And of course, Rachel realises she’s gutted, despite losing “something she never had”. Until Phoebe reveals the real result. “That’s a risky little game!” quips Rachel amid tears – showing just what a great actorJennifer Aniston really is. We so rarely get to see the three women together, being funny and vulnerable all at once. I’ll always love this little scene.
The One With The Lottery – series 9
Ash Percival (Entertainment Editor)
A lot of Friends fans will tell you the quality of the episodes dipped beyond season seven, but season nine still remains one of my all time favourites, mainly because it contains the best episode of all time - The One With The Lottery.
There’s so much to enjoy - from Phoebe’s pigeon impression (“don’t blame the pretty lady!”), to Ross’ dreams of an Amelia Earhart theme park, not to mention the gang’s discovery that Monica has been stashing secret tickets in every conceivable place
There are also some genuinely touching moments as Emma utters her first word (“gleeba”, in case you’d forgotten), Chandler gets his dream job and everyone – bar Ross, obv – agrees to give Phoebe their 50 cents’ share of the prize money.
What I love so much about it is that it’s one of those episodes where all six are on screen together throughout, without any secondary plot lines, allowing them to bounce off each other as a complete group for 22 minutes solid. The One With The Football is often celebrated for similar reasons, and in my opinion this one is just as good – if not better.
The One With Ross’s Tan – series 10
Aasma Day (North Of England Correspondent)
Many people claim the earlier series of Friends are the best, with the last season sometimes coming in for a hard time. But one of my all-time favourites is in season 10 – The One With Ross’s Tan.
With pure slapstick, this laugh-out-loud episode is achingly hilarious and brilliantly acted by the master of physical comedy David Schwimmer.
Ross’ spray-tanning disaster might be incredibly silly, but it is flawless with impeccable timing … which is more than you can say for Ross’s toasty tan.
Ross gets envious of Monica’s fake tan and decides to get one himself – but has a counting mishap as he doesn’t realise no one else counts using the “One Mississipi, two Mississipi” method. He ends up getting sprayed on his front twice after failing to turn and his bid to rectify it with repeat tanning attempts are equally catastrophic leaving him with a mahogany front and a very pale back.
There’s so many moments of comedy gold in Friends featuring Ross – such as when he undertakes extreme teeth whitening resulting in glow-in-the-dark teeth, or when he gets stuck in his hot leather pants and ends up with a white paste of lotion and powder smeared all over his legs.
And let’s not forget The One Where Ross Is Fine and “is making fajitas” – or when he dresses up as “The Holiday Armadillo”.
But for me, The One With Ross’s Tan is ridiculously entertaining, my ultimate favourite line being:
ROSS: “I went to that tanning place your wife suggested.”
CHANDLER: “Was that place the sun?”
This episode is also a huge relief as it marks the end of the cringe-worthy romance that should never have been between Rachel and Joey.