I previously wrote about my top ten favorite episodes from Friends seasons 1 through 4 (parts one and two can be found here) and since then, I’ve been trucking right along in my binge. I must say, it’s gotten a little rough recently—I personally feel there was a considerable drop in quality beginning in season 8 (when the A stories involve Chandler taking a bath or Monica buying new boots, you know the writers are running out of ideas), but seasons 5, 6, and 7 were all excellent, and also featured my new favorite episode of the series to date, which we’ll get to later. With no further ado…
10) “The One Where Rachel Has a Baby” (Episodes 8×23 and 8×24)
This episode made me cry. Specifically, I somewhat randomly burst into tears when Joey told Rachel she will always have him, which is probably an odd choice since I generally found that pairing forced, but I love their friendship and it was the culmination of a very emotional two episodes. As Rachel’s labor stretches on forever, she gets increasingly frustrated as more and more women (including Janice, because of course) go into the delivery room before her. Meanwhile, Monica and Chandler search for quiet corners of the hospital so they can start trying to conceive their own baby. At the end of the hour, Emma is born and Rachel ends up basically engaged to Joey instead of Ross after a misunderstanding, in yet another Friends season finale cliffhanger.
Best Quote: Rachel: “What if I was the president?”
Ross: “Well, then we’d be in a lot of trouble. You don’t know where any countries are.”
9) “The One With the Rumor” (Episode 8×09)
In one rather obvious way, this episode does not hold up. But if you can get past the Brad and Jenn weirdness, it’s the funniest episode of the uneven 8th season. Brad Pitt plays a high school friend of Monica and Ross’s who always loathed Rachel, a fact she is unaware of when Monica invites him to Thanksgiving. This show always excels at Thanksgiving episodes, and this holiday is particularly awkward for the group when Rachel finds out Ross was once part of an “I Hate Rachel” club and helped spread a rumor that she was a hermaphrodite.
Best Quote: Chandler: “Everybody at my school heard it! You were the hermaphrodite cheerleader from Long Island?”
8) “The One With the Proposal” (Episodes 6×24 and 6×25)
I actually didn’t love most of this episode because I found Chandler’s behavior to be stupid and infuriating. It begins with the very inconvenient appearance of Monica’s ex-boyfriend, Richard, at the very moment Chandler is first planning to propose. When he then decides to pretend to be turned off of marriage entirely to throw Monica off the scent after his friends nearly give away his plans to propose, he unwittingly almost drives her right back to Richard. But everything is fixed by the end, when the two propose to each other (yes, they both propose, it wouldn’t be Monica if she didn’t take control of her own engagement) and it is another perfect moment from the most perfect couple on the series. Their celebration with their friends immediately after is also an incredibly sweet moment.
Best Quote: Chandler: [to Ross] “You’ve got to forget about Elizabeth, man. If you’re not careful you may not get married at all this year.”
7) “The One With Unagi” (Episode 6×17)
This episode is just hysterical and a perfect example of David Schwimmer’s talent for physical comedy. After Rachel and Phoebe take a self-defense class and start bragging about how they could take anyone down, Ross tries to inform them that self-defense is useless without “unagi,” a state of total awareness. While the girls try to convince him unagi is just a type of sushi, the three enter into a scaring war. Mmm, salmon skin roll!
Best Quote: Rachel: “Say it. Say we are unagi.”
Ross: “It’s not something you are, it’s something you have!”
6) “The One With the Routine” (Episode 6×10)
When Joey’s roommate/crush Janine (Elle Macpherson) gets a gig as a background dancer on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, she invites Joey, Monica, and Ross to come along. While Joey stresses over when to make a move on Janine, the Gellers, in typical Geller fashion, become determined to earn a coveted platform spot to ensure they’ll appear on TV. Frustrated when the producers won’t put them front and center, they decide to break out a ridiculous dance routine they choreographed in 8th grade, believing it is actually good. Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer commit SO fully, and I could not stop laughing.
Best Quote: Monica: “Ross, we better stick to the routine. We don’t want to look stupid.”
Stay tuned for my top five favorites next week!