This past Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of Friends premiering on television. Being in high school and college during the heyday of its run made Friends a real part of my life. It’s for sure the show I’ve seen the most of, and I still quote it frequently. I pretty much quote this scene every time I have to use a map.
The first episode of Friends I ever saw was the 5th episode. My family had moved from Massachusetts to Texas that year, and my school district had a weird break in October for the Texas State Fair. I used that break to go back to Massachusetts to visit friends and I remember staying at my friend Kim’s house and watching Friends for the first time. It became part of my regular viewing after that.
I have other distinct memories of watching the show. I remember having a Super Bowl party for Super Bowl XXX because I was living in Dallas and the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl that year. That was also the year that Friends was the show after the Super Bowl, so I remember watching it with a crowd of people.
In college various friends and I had over the years had viewing parties in our dorm rooms/houses. I apparently also have a memory of not watching Friends. I distinctly remember not seeing the end of the episode where Ross says Rachel’s name at his wedding to Emily because the power went off on campus for some reason. This was back in the day before you could see shows that you missed easily. Heck this was before normal people even had DVD players so you couldn’t even buy series on DVDs yet. The only way you were going to see an episode you missed was when it showed up in a rerun. Sadly I missed that one too because I was ironically in London where that episode takes place studying abroad by the time the rerun aired before the start of the new tv season. I was super jealous of one of my friends who flew over on Virgin Atlantic because she got to see the episode on the plane. They had it on their in-flight entertainment because Richard Branson guest stars in the episode. I have no idea how many years it was before I actually saw that episode in full.
In honor of the show that played such a big part of my formative years, here are my five favorite episodes. I’m not going out on any big limbs here. I looked at a couple of different lists of the 25 best Friends episodes and pretty much these were either their top 5 or definitely in their top 10. There’s a reason they’re my favorite, and obviously others’ too. The show obviously went on for 10 years and did have some good moments in the later seasons, but the real gems lie in seasons 2-5.
I’ve provided video clips of the moments in the episode that are what I think of when I think about it.
5. The One Where Everybody Finds Out (Season 5, Episode 14)
4. The One Where Ross Finds Out (Season 2, Episode 7)
3. The One with the Prom Video (Season 2, Episode 14)
2. The One with the Embryos (Season 4, Episode 12)
- The One Where No One’s Ready (Season 3, Episode 2)