The best Friends seasons ever, ranked

Friends: Monica and Rachel’s Prom Video (Season 2 Clip) | TBS

When it comes to an iconic show like Friends, it’s tough to break out which seasons are the best. Every season has memorable episodes, moments, plot points, guest characters, and phrases that have become part of pop culture, from “We were on a break!” to “Pivot!” It might have taken Friends some time to hit its stride, but once it did, the sitcom solidified its position in pop culture history as one of the best to ever grace the small screen.

The best Friends seasons of the 10 that aired each rank awhere they do on this kist for specific reasons: the jokes were especially funny, the cameos more effective, or the storylines more impactful. While every season of Friends is worth watching, if you’re looking to rewatch the best, these seasons can’t be beat.

7. Season 10 (2003-2004)

NBC

If for no other reason than closure, season 10 ranks among the best because it gives fans the ending they deserved. It’s a shorter season of just 18 episodes, but it explores how the characters that fans came to know when they were in their 20s had finally grown up and shifted to adult life. It’s bittersweet because the characters are moving on, but also going in positive directions. Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (the late Matthew Perry) finally get their family. Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Mike (Paul Rudd) are getting married. And most importantly, Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) finally realize they are meant for one another.

It wouldn’t be a Friends season without a deeply emotional scene, and fans got one as Ross psyched himself into rushing to the airport to stop Rachel from leaving, only to open the door to his apartment and see her standing there. It was absolutely perfect.

It’s also fitting that Perry delivered the last line of the series. As the gang is about to leave their old apartments behind, they decide to grab one last coffee together. “Sure. Where?” Chandler jokes, as if Central Perk and their unofficially reserved couches wouldn’t be the obvious choice. Season 10 was a perfect farewell for a show and group of characters that fans had come to feel like they knew, with every episode wonderfully balancing the emotion that the end was imminent with the signature humor.

6. Season 8 (2001-2002)

Brad Pitt stands behind Jennifer Aniston, smiling in a scene from Friends.
NBC

This was the only time Friends took home an Emmy for Best Comedy Series (Aniston also won an Emmy), and it’s the season when Rachel announces her pregnancy and the friends are shocked and mystified as to the identity of the father. Their discovery based on the red sweater Ross so nonchalantly grabs and reveals to be his, oblivious to its significance, had viewers and characters gasping. The season is heavily focused on Ross and Rachel as the two date other people while still secretly pining for one another, even if neither will admit it.

Yes, it’s also the season when Joey (Matt LeBlanc) begins to develop feelings for Rachel, which led the plot through one of its most puzzling and worst storylines. But that aside, season 8 was filled with fabulous moments, including a cameo performance from Aniston’s then-husband Brad Pitt in one of the best episodes ever of Friends.

Friends【 Season 8 Episode 9 “The One with the Rumor”】 Part1

He plays Will, a nerdy, though now clearly very attractive,She high school classmate who loathed Rachel so much that he started a devastating rumor about her and headed up an “I hate Rachel Greene” club. he only now discovers he was behind it. Other big cameos this season include Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn, who were both short-lived beaus for Phoebe.

5. Season 6 (1999-2000)

Chandler on his knee proposing to Monica in a scene from Friends.
NBC

this season features the reappearance of Tom Selleck’s character Richard (who throws a wrench into Chandler and Monica’s relationship), as well as the heartwarming proposal that led to collective applause around the world. There was also the arc that has Ross dating his student while Rachel dates the young woman’s father, which makes things awkward for the pair. The season also includes one of Friends’ most underrated episodes, The One with the Apothecary Table, where Rachel redecorates Phoebe’s apartment with items from Pottery Barn and lies and says it was all from a flea market.

Season 6 also contains one of the funniest Thanksgiving episodes ever, which sees Rachel making a trifle, not realizing two recipe pages are stuck together, which causes her to cook a half trifle, half shepherd’s pie. Everyone being told to eat the gelatinous, fruity beef mixture anyway so as to avoid hurting her feelings is the season’s funniest scene, and one the show’s best moments.

4. Season 4 (1997-1998)

Joey, Chandler, Rachel, and Monica leaning forward looking at something intently in a scene from Friends.
NBC

Chandler started to become a fan favorite character in this season, with memorable scenes like being banished to a crate as punishment by Joey for kissing a woman he was dating. Joey, meanwhile, continues to be involved in some of the funniest and silliest storylines, and to d eliver some of the best one-liners. A standout this season is when he buys a sample volume encyclopedia from a door-to-door salesmen so he can seem more intelligent in conversations. But he only learns about subjects that start with the letter “V” because that’s the only volume he could afford.

The Ross and Rachel storyline continues its complex ride in this season with Ross planning to marry Emily (Helen Baxendale) only to call her “Rachel” while at the altar. Kudrow also delivers a great performance this season, as Phoebe agrees to be a surrogate for her brother and his wife and finally meeting. Kudrow won an Emmy for her performance this season, which was recognition of the depth she was starting to bring to the otherwise one-dimensional character.

3. Season 3 (1996-1997)

Ross, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Rachel wearing football jerseys standing on the grass in a scene from Friends.
NBC

Ross and Rachel finally get together in season 3, but they also decide to take a break and it sets their relationship on the rocky course that would continue through the rest of the series. The third season also gave fans the hilarious revelation that Ross fantasizes about Rachel dressed as “slave Princess Leia,” and Joey impersonating Chandler.

One of the best episodes of the season was The One with the Football. In the episode, the gang decides to play a game of touch football, largely fueled by the desire to help get Chandler out of his funk following his break-up with Janice (Maggie Wheeler). What’s supposed to be a friendly game, however, turns into a nightmare when the Geller siblings take it far too seriously, with the resulting fracas turning into comedy gold.

2. Season 2 (1995-1996)

Ross and Rachel kissing on Friends.
NBC

By season 2, the show really came into its own as one of the leading sitcoms of the 1990s. Each character’s quirks and personality were fully established, from Monica’s A-type rigidity to Ross’ frantic anxiousness, Joey’s womanizing ways and ditzy mentality, and Chandler’s charming and sarcastic nature. Naturally, Ross and Rachel finally getting together was the big plot point this season, with their first kiss becoming one of the most memorable ever on television. There was also the wonderfully growing bromance between Chandler and Joey, which became a cornerstone of the show going forward.

This is also the first time fans saw a flashback of Rachel, Monica, Ross, and Chandler during their awkward high school phase. But it’s also the moment Rachel (and fans at home) truly understood the love Ross always felt for her. She sees him in an archived prom night video arriving to take her to prom after her boyfriend doesn’t show up, and finally realizes how blind she has been, resulting in one of the most memorable scenes of the entire series.

The Prom Video | Friends | Comedy Central UK

Other memorable moments include Rachel heading to the airport to see Ross, only to discover he’s dating someone else, Chandler and Joey babysitting Ben (Michael Gunderson and, later, Cole Sprouse) and using him to try and pick up girls (a strategy that ultimately backfires), and Phoebe introducing the world to the song Smelly Cat.

1. Season 5 (1998-1999)

Chandler and Monica looking lovingly at one another in a scene from Friends.
NBC

Arguably the best season of the series, season 5 is the one that solidified the relationship between Monica and Chandler. It all began with what was to be a one-night stand in the fourth season finale, but the relationship instead blossomed into one of the most beloved of the series. Through much of season 5, Monica and Chandler are sneaking around, trying to hide their relationship from the others. Their portrayals of friends-turned-lovers was so convincing that fans were rooting for these two as much as, if not more than, than they were for Rachel and Ross.

There are a lot of highs and lows through the season, including Phoebe giving birth to her brother’s triplets, but it largely centers around Monica and Chandler trying to reconcile their feelings for one another with how the group might react. This arc reaches its height when everyone finally finds out.

Friends | Ross’ New Couch Pivot FULL SCENE

It’s also in this season that the memorable episode where Ross buys a new couch is featured. He enlists Rachel and Chandler’s help to move it upstairs to his apartment, and the scene results in the iconic “Pivot!” line. As the halfway point in the series, season 5 is when Friends was at the height of its fame, and the show could do no wrong.

Stream all 10 seasons of Friends on Max. 

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