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Pop CultureJanuary 10, 2018

The One Where I Rewatch Friends And Give The Episodes Honest Titles


Sam Brooks rewatched Friends in its entirety. Ten seasons, 236 episodes, and as many cutesy episode titles. But what if those titles were just a bit more honest?

For a certain generation, Friends is an inescapable mainstay. I don’t think the show has ever left our screens since it started airing in 1994. Almost every night when I came home from school, I would switch on the TV at about 6:30 pm and there would be an episode of Friends. When the show was actually still running, there would be a rerun at 6:30 pm and then a new episode at 7:30 pm, with Shortland Street like a cleansing glass of water between two servings of junk food. An entire generation, give or take a few outliers, did a similar thing.

Friends is in our souls, it’s as much a part of us and who we are as our DNA or our weary, weary millennial bones. Watching it back over the summer break – in its entirety, because I make good use of my time – was a comforting yet chilling experience. Comforting because I’ve seen all these episodes, all 236, at least 10 times each. Watching them is like seeing an old friend: maybe they’ve chipped a tooth, maybe they still have that terrible hairstyle, but you still love them. You hug them close because you miss them, despite and maybe because of their flaws.

Chilling because I realised so many of my behaviours, my jokes, the ways I interact with my friends and loved ones, comes from a show that stars Lisa Kudrow, and not even the right one! (The right one would be, of course, the Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback).

Also chilling because, like me, the show has aged. And not as well as me, if I may be so bold. There’s a lot of gay jokes, there is almost no diversity, and some plots are stretched out way longer than you would need them to be, but it was the 90s so a season of television had to be about a billion episodes long.

Friends, along with Seinfeld, appears to have pioneered the themed-title episode. But where Seinfeld stuck to a simply ‘The’ construction, Friends got cute and gave them the sort of titles you’d use if you had to describe an episode to your loved ones, if you’re the kind of person who does that. So we ended up with titles like ‘The One With All The Thanksgivings’ or ‘The One With The Monkey’.

So after watching all these episodes, I’ve decided to give them honest titles, the titles you would use if you were describing them now, being honest about the characters and their defects, because there are many. Some of these titles are editorialising, many of them are showing my bias against the monster that is Ross. I do not apologise for that.

Ross is the worst.

In this episode, Rachel sits in a shopping cart.

Season One

The One With Approximately Nine Thousand Lesbian Jokes

The One Where Ross and Rachel Wildly Flout Laundromat Etiquette

The One Where Ross Kisses his Best Friend’s Mother, which is Gross

The One Where Joey’s Parents Emotionally Damage Him By Revealing Their Long-Term Infidelity To Him

The One Where Rachel Implausibly Does Not Have Health Insurance

The One Where Monica Has Sex With A Teenager

Julia Roberts was on Friends, you guys.

Season Two

The One Where Chandler is Sexually Assaulted By A Tailor

The One Where Rachel Gaslights Ross With Bad Romantic Advice, Because She Is In Love With Him

The One Where Ross Cheats On His Girlfriend With Rachel, Starting Their Long-Term Toxic Relationship

The Weirdly Progressive One With a Lesbian Wedding in 1996

The One With Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields and Jean Claude Van Damme

The One Where Monica Starts An Inappropriate Relationship With Her Father’s Friend

The One Where Monica Has A Mature Discussion With Her Boyfriend About What They Want From A Relationship

Joey’s apparently indistinguishable sisters.

Season Three

The One Where Ross Enforces Gender Roles On His Son

The One That Is Racist Against Italians

The One Where Ross Jeopardises Rachel’s Job Because Of His Own Insecurities

The One Where Ross Sleeps With Someone Like An Hour After He Goes On A Break with Rachel, Which Is A Dick Move No Matter What Way You Look At It

The One Where Ross Tries to Gaslight Rachel But She Finds Out About It

The One Where Phoebe’s Brother Marries A Woman Who Definitely Molested Him

The One Where Chandler and Joey Imprison A Chicken and Duck Who Almost Certainly Should Not Live in An Apartment

Season Four

The One Where Chandler Pees On Monica

The One Where Chandler Kisses His Best Friend’s Girlfriend

The One Where Monica Has Feelings For Her Ex’s Son

The One Where They Gamble On The Apartment And Is Secretly The Best Episode Of The Entire Series

The One Where Ross Proposes To A Woman Really Early in Their Relationship

The One Where Rachel Makes An Emotionally Mature Decision

The One Where They All Go To England and Ross Says The Wrong Name

Season Five

The One Where Phoebe Engages With Really Complex Moral Philosophy

The One Where Ross is Fired For His Anger Issues

The One Where Everybody Finds Out About Monica and Chandler, Which is Maybe The Second Best Episode of The Show

The One Where Ross Buys A Couch And With One Word Ruins The Lives of Everybody Moving Post-1998

The One Where A Cop Pressures Phoebe Into Dating Him So He Won’t Arrest Her

The One Where Ross Sexually Harasses and Emotionally Abuses A Woman Who Delivers Him Pizza

The One Where Ross and Rachel Get Married, Continuing Their Long-Term Toxic Relationship


Season Six

The One Where Ross Gaslights Rachel

The One Where Ross Tries to Get Rachel To Move In With Him, Despite Gaslighting Her

The One Where Rachel Finds Out She Is Being Gaslighted

The One Where Elle Macpherson Starts A Stupidly Long Guest Arc

The One With Reese Witherspoon

The One Where Ross Dates a Student, Which Is The Actual Name of This Episode

The One Where Rachel Goes On A Date With Ross’ Girlfriend’s Father, Thus Continuing Their Long-Term Toxic Relationship

The One Where Chandler Proposes to Monica And I Cried

Also inappropriate

Season Seven

The One Where Rachel Gets Insecure About Her Best Friend Getting All The Attention So She Makes Some Drama

The One Where Rachel Hires Someone She Is Sexually Attracted To, Setting Up An Unhealthy Working Environment

The One Where Rachel Embarks On A Relationship With Her Employee And Sets Up A Completely Fucked Up Power Dynamic

The One Where Monica Acts Completely Unreasonably At A Restaurant, Which Is Weird Because You Think A Head Chef Would Know How A Restaurant Works

The One Where Lisa Kudrow Acts With A Smoke Alarm And It’s The Funniest Thing On This Show In Ten Years

The One Where They All Have A Mid-Life Crisis At Thirty

The One Where Rachel Babysits Jughead From Riverdale

Hellishly inappropriate.

Season Eight

The One Where Jennifer Aniston Does This Little Head Shake That Still Breaks My Heart

The One Where Ross Films Rachel Without Her Consent

The One Where Monica Accuses Her Maid Of Stealing From Her, And Then Sexually Harasses Her

The One Where Rachel’s Dad Emotionally Abuses Her

The One Where Ross Moves In With His Ex-Wife He Got Pregnant And Doesn’t Tell His Girlfriend

The One That Appears To Have Dictated All My Relationships With My Friends After I’ve Told Them I’m In Love With Them

The One Where Rachel’s Mom Emotionally Abuses Her

The One Where Monica Takes A Cooking Class For Beginners To Deal With Her Crippling Self-Esteem Issues

The One Where Rachel Pressures Her Ex Into Having Sex With Her So She Can Go Into Labour

The One Where Ross Enforces Gender Roles On Freddie Prinze Jnr.

Season Nine

The One Where None of Phoebe’s Closest Friends Show Up To Her Birthday On Time

The One Where Ross Enforces Gender Roles On Freddie Prinze Jnr.

The One Where Ross Gaslights His Ex-Wife For The Billionth Time In Their Long Term Toxic Relationship

The One Where Rachel Finds Out She’s Being Gaslighted And Moves In With The Dude Who Proposed to Her Two Months Ago

The One Where Monica and Chandler Are Not Up Front With Each Other About Their Financial Difficulties

The One Where Ross Throws His Own Funeral Because Ross Is The Worst

The One Where Ross Starts Dating His Best Friend’s Girlfriend The Same Day They Break Up

The One Where Monica Gets Her Hair Braided

Season Ten

The One Where Monica Gets Her Hair Braided

The One Where Phoebe Takes Her Children’s Charity Donation Back

The One Where Monica and Chandler’s Friends Act Like Them Moving House is The Worst Thing Ever

The One With The Worst Plot In The Series, Where Joey Tries to Learn French and Can Only Make Random Sounds

The One Where Rachel Says Goodbye To Everybody And They All Act Like She’s Dying

The One With The Best Payoff To The Regina Phalange Joke (Also The Finale)

Keep going!