Best Friends Episodes: Top 5 Favorites Most Recommended By Fans

“Friends” is one of the most popular and beloved sitcoms of all time. With its relatable characters, hilarious storylines, and iconic catchphrases, it’s no wonder that the show still has a large and devoted fan base today. One of the show’s beloved stars, Matthew Perry, sadly passed away on Oct. 28, 2023, at age 54. Looking back on his career and most notable role as the hilarious Chandler Bing, these are the best “Friends” episodes ever.

In a recent study on everyone’s favorite television shows, “Friends” successfully pulled through in the number one spot, beating out fellow ’90s giant “Seinfeld” and fan favorites such as “Game of Thrones. “It’s not surprising to see that so many people still love and watch TV shows from decades ago,” says Kimberly Taylor, product communications manager at YouTube TV, in a statement. “There’s a sense of nostalgia and comfort when you watch your favorite older show.”

Even past the likeability of the show and its stars, the environment shown episode after episode also grew on people. If allowed to own a piece of furniture from a TV show, Americans would most likely choose the sofa the friends often gathered around in Central Perk, again showing the lasting impression on people and society that the show had. 

With “Friends” being a major favorite in television, which episodes make it so memorable? StudyFinds set out to find the top five best episodes of “Friends”. With 24 episodes in almost every season and ten seasons of the beloved series, narrowing it down is no easy task. That’s why we researched across the best ten websites to give you our list. Disagree with the list? No worries, comment your favorite episode below!

red and white UNKs coffee store
Central Perk coffee shop from “Friends” (Photo by Ilse Orsel on Unsplash)

The List: Best “Friends” Episodes, According to Experts

1. “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” Season 5, Episode 14

It’s hard to think of “Friends” and not think of the iconic line read, “they don’t know that we know, they know, we know.” This episode not only features excellent comedic scenes but also marks the beginning of Monica and Chandler’s relationship becoming public to the rest of the group. “Their love affair heads into new territory as the rest of the gang, one by one, learns about their then-secret relationship. Arguably among the most fun episodes of the series, everyone gets to play up their comedic strengths for 22 glorious minutes,” describes The Hollywood Reporter.

“For many, ‘The One Where Everybody Finds Out” is the best Friends episode. Phoebe sees Monica and Chandler making out from Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment and freaks out. Later, she and Rachel decide to mess with the couple and Phoebe tries to seduce Chandler in order to force them out of hiding. It is wall-to-wall laughs ending with a touching milestone in Chandler and Monica’s relationship,” comments Screen Rant

Rolling Stone also describes the episode’s pivotal amount as a “hilarious game of sexual chicken where Chandler (coached by Monica) and Phoebe (coached by Rachel) try to get one another to crack. While the sight of Phoebe’s bra isn’t enough to scare him off, Chandler can’t bear to kiss her, and proclaims his love for Monica.” Of course, the episode ends with an important milestone for the iconic couple, undoubtedly helping boost it into our top five list.

2. “The One Where No One’s Ready” Season 3, Episode 2

“Should aliens descend on Earth and request one episode of Popular ’90s Sitcom Friends to view before deciding whether to destroy us, ‘No One’s Ready’ is the masterpiece that will save our souls and secure sitcom comedy as a sweet delight of our new intergalactic overlords. In many ways, it marks the gold standard for Friends in its use of the cast, the apartment, and no distractions — it’s often described as the show’s answer to Seinfeld, in that it’s the show’s ultimate episode about nothing, unspooling everything and maneuvering it all back together over the course of one rainy night in Monica’s apartment,” Entertainment Weekly perfectly describes our number two spot.

With the rarity of having the entire episode take place not only in real-time but in one location, the simplicity of it made the performances shine. “But more props to the writers for creating a near real-time bottle episode in which all of the characters are coming in and out of Monica and Rachel’s living room as they get ready (or not) for this event. From Monica spinning out over an answering machine message from her ex to Chandler and Joey’s argument over a chair that turns into Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes, each moment is better than the next,” describes Variety

If you have never seen the episode, the plot is simple enough “Ross has 20 minutes to persuade everyone to get ready for a black-tie work dinner. It lends the episode a certain intensity that helps balance the laughs – and there are many, particularly Joey and Chandler’s schoolboy squabble over a chair – with a fan-pleasing pay-off: Ross proving his love to Rachel by attempting to drink Monica’s leftover cooking fat,” writes Games Radar. With iconic lines like “could I BE wearing anymore clothes?”, and bits like Phoebe’s hummus-stained gown, and Monica’s “breezy” voicemail, this episode is lightning in a bottle for “Friends” fans. 

3. “The One With The Embryos” Season 4, Episode 12

“The One With The Embryos,” better known as the episode that sparked a thousand trivia nights. “Although the main focus was supposed to be Phoebe undergoing an embryo implant procedure to act as a surrogate mother for her brother‘s kids, the main event of the episode became no other than the quiz night. It has stayed as one of the most fun Friends episodes that you can simply watch over and over again and never get bored,” states Movie Web.

“This episode is an instant classic and one of my go-to episodes when I really need a good laugh. The guys and girls take competition a little too far when they agree to some Ross-led trivia. If the girls win, the guys have to get rid of the chick. But if the guys win, they get the girls’ apartment. What ensues is a hilarious sequence of events that has some classic one-liners that I still repeat to this day,” says USA Today. It’s hard as a fan not to remember fun facts such as Rachel’s favorite movie vs. what she says is her favorite or who the TV Guide gets delivered to after watching this episode. 

“What’s there to say? ‘Embryos’ is probably the most aspirational episode of the entire show, the epitome of the kind of wish-you-had-it camaraderie that manages to delight more than depress in its total impossibility of occurring in any real human being’s life,” sums up Entertainment Weekly—capturing not only the episode’s spirit but the core foundation of what made “Friends”, “Friends”.

4. “The One With The Prom Video” Season 2, Episode 14

Friends dives into the flashback quite a bit during its ten seasons, but none are as satisfying or special as ‘The One With the Prom Video.’ It’s the first glimpse at the younger, permed versions of Rachel, Monica, and Ross thanks to an old home movie.” The Hollywood Reporter writes, “it also officially moves a longstanding high school crush into one of the most famous on-again, off-again couples in TV history.”

Along with the iconic flashbacks, “Friends” came to be known for this episode, also features a fan-favorite Phoebe line. “In order to give Ross hope that he and Rachel are meant to be together, Phoebe shares the lobster theory with the gang, creating one of the show’s most iconic catchphrases‘he’s her lobster,'” describes Screen Rant.

“‘The One With The Prom Video’ marks the moment Ross’ unrequited love for Rachel became one of the defining storylines of the entire show” says Games Radar. Learning that Ross was ready to drop everything to take her to prom, Rachel finally gives into her feelings as the episode ends with a beautiful and long-awaited kiss by the couple, marking it as a definite go-to for any “Friends” watch party. 

5. “The One With The Videotape” Season 8, Episode 4

Ever heard a person give you the line, “Did I ever tell you about the time I went backpacking through Western Europe“? If so, they may be referencing this infamous plot. “Who came onto whom? This tug-of-war between Ross and Rachel is the main plot point of the hilarious episode, where both seek to prove the other wrong. In an attempt to reach a conclusion, they gather the gang to watch the encounter—which Ross has filmed on videotape,” describes Vogue India.

Buzzfeed also had strong feelings about this episode saying, “gosh, where to begin. Well, I’ll start with the terrible fact that we do not talk about this episode enough. Then I’ll say that Ross’s accidental recording of him and Rachel conceiving Emma, and Monica and Chandler’s honeymoon pals potentially giving them a fake number, combine to gift us with the greatest small reveals Friends ever does, one after the other.”

“It becomes an episode about slowly unpicking Ross and Rachel’s time together, and the way different situations interlock, mainly using Joey is something that brings others into the tale and makes the episode an engaging one,” adds Screen Rant making it a favorite for the die-hard Ross and Rachel fans. The episode also hosts running gags such as Phoebe’s alter ego, “Regina Phalange” marking another reason this episode is a classic.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

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About the Author

Jilly Hite

New York raised and Florida-based Jilly Hite studied screenwriting and theatre at The Lee Strasberg Institute before becoming a full time content creator and podcaster. She loves old movies, musical theatre, and her pup Ted.

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