I don’t really understand the “Friends” nostalgia, since its aged very poorly since its days in the nineties. Even the episodes in the early aughts vary from mediocre to awful. But I’d be lying if I said I was never a “Friends” fan. In fact I used to watch the show religiously despite the main characters being woefully unlikable. Let’s face it, they are. Rachel is so despicable, it’s a wonder Ross chased after her for so long.
In either case, “Friends” is making its way to Netflix in January, and its loyal fan base are awash with excitement, so here are five episodes from the series that are still very funny and worth sitting through. They also require little to no knowledge of previous storylines. What are your favorites?
5. The One Where They’re Up All Night (Season 7)
This season 7 episode is one of the rare very entertaining installments that is self contained and set in a small time period. Ross anxiously ventures to the roof to see the Bapstein King Comet, and the group follows along. Bored by the waiting, they leave with Ross and Joey staying behind. Joey accidentally strands the pair on the roof and they must now figure out how to get down. Meanwhile, Chandler can’t sleep and begins bothering Monica, Phoebe battles with a smoke alarm in her apartment, and in the lesser of the sub-plots, Rachel and her boyfriend Tag argue over documents he forgot to send out. The best of sub-plots involves Ross and Joey, both of whom let panic get to them prompting some hilarious but buffoonish reactions.
4. The One With The Holiday Armadillo (Season 7)
Ross is Jewish and wants to introduce his son Ben to Chanukah traditions to go along with his love for Christmas traditions. To rival Santa Claus, he picks up a last minute costume and arrives dressed as an Armadillo, hell bent on teaching Ben the story of Chanukah. Good intentions clash though, when Chandler appears as Santa, and Joey appears as Superman. The best line is when the group are lighting the candles, and Rachel declares “Wow, it looks like the Easter Bunny’s funeral in here.”
3. The One with the Rumor (Season 8)
The big reason why this episode was so talked about was because guest star Brad Pitt and cast member Jennifer Aniston were married during the time of the episode’s airing. But all that aside, the episode is hilarious. Brad Pitt steals the episode with his shockingly funny guest spot as Will, an old school mate of the Gellars who used to be morbidly obese. Now successful and thin, he sets out to settle a score with Rachel, who used to torment him in high school. It’s no surprise he dislikes her. Pitt’s comic timing, excellent double takes, and portrayal of a good looking guy with a perpetually geeky attitude are priceless.
2. The One with the Screamer (Season 3)
After Ross and Rachel have broken up, they decide to take dates to the premiere of Joey’s new play. Rachel happens to be dating Tommy, as played by Ben Stiller, who seems like a nice and reserved guy. After a minor seat mix up in the theater, Ross is shocked to witness Tommy’s violent outbursts that result in angry shouting and screaming. No one else has seen him fly off the handle, and no one believes Ross. This includes Rachel who insists Ross is making it up because he’s jealous. The episode ends on a hilarious note when Tommy lets loose on Chandler and Joey’s pet duck and chick, much to the horror of the group. The B plot with Phoebe on hold with a customer service call is funny, too.
1. The One Where Ross Got High (Season 6)
Now that Monica and Chandler are a couple and living together, Monica decides to ease her parents in to the announcement when they arrive for thanksgiving dinner. Oddly enough they don’t seem to like Chandler, and find out Ross was caught smoking pot in his dorm room in college and blamed Chandler. Intent on clearing his name, Monica forces Ross to tell, all the while Phoebe has a sudden interest in Monica’s dad, Rachel botches a desert by including meat in it, as Joey and Ross are anxious to go to a thanksgiving party with a bunch of gorgeous dancers. The episode is still laugh out loud funny, with the group humoring Rachel and forcing down the desert, ending in a series of revelations that leave Ross and Monica’s parents overwhelmed. It never really lets up and avoids the usual “Friends” cheesiness.