On this day 20 years ago, we all met six New Yorkers who were sitting around a coffee shop drinking out of impossibly huge coffee mugs and just chitchatting. There was nothing special about them; they were just Friends. And since that day, almost every human being has longed for a life where your best friends live across the hall from you and you can afford a giant, beautiful apartment in NYC.
It turns out the real world is nothing like that, but at least we got to pretend it was for 10 seasons. But then you went off the air 10 years ago, which means your stupid theme song lied! You weren't always there for us!
Oh, you mean there are Friends reruns on 12 different channels? Fine. You didn't leave us. But you did leave a hole in our heart that no sitcom has been able to fill.
Even after all these years, there are certain polarizing topics that Friends worshipers like ourselves still argue about. Were they on a break? Did anyone like Joey and Rachel together? And so on. Join in on the argument with these seven things Friends fans still fight over to honor the 20th anniversary. Make a choice, pick a lane! (Bonus points for whoever finishes that joke):
1. Were Ross and Rachel on a break?
The Rundown: After Rachel and Ross get into yet another fight over her work schedule, Rachel suggests "taking a break from us." Ross goes out with the guys, and when he calls Rachel to apologize, he hears her coworker Mark in the background. He then sleeps with the hot copy girl, Chloe, but the morning after, Ross and Rachel get back together. When Rachel finds out about what Ross did, he thinks it shouldn't count because they were on a break.
Our Opinion: Whatever Rachel said regarding their current status is irrelevant, and there is no excuse for Ross sleeping with someone else after his lobster suggested taking a break. Not only did he honestly believe Rachel would be hooking up with Mark hours after their fight (she would never), but he kissed Chloe, brought her back to his apartment and had sex with her. At no point during those events did he think he should stop? Ross, you blew it.
2. Which season is the best season?
The Rundown: So many iconic moments over 10 seasons! If you had to choose one season to watch for the rest of time, what season would it be?
Our Opinion: Season four is the best season. It starts with Ross and Rachel getting back together for a hot minute and ends with Chandler and Monica in bed together in London. And, oh yeah, Ross says Rachel's name at the altar while marrying Emily. So big couple movements on both ends. Plus, in between there is Chandler in a box, the big trivia competition ("The One with the Embryos") that leads to the apartment switch and, of course, "Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven!"
3. Did anyone think Rachel and Joey were a good idea?
The Rundown: Joey fell in love with Rachel after she moved in with him, and Rachel later began to return those feelings (although hers were more lust-oriented). They finally kissed in the season-nine finale, and then they dated for a couple of episodes before deciding they were much better off as friends.
Our Opinion: There really isn't an argument here except for: Was putting Joey and Rachel together a terrible idea or a really terrible idea? It was too far into the series to throw these two together. They didn't make sense and their romantic scenes felt forced. Yes, two friends can fall in love and make it work, with Chandler and Monica serving as proof of that. But they made sense, especially when you consider they've been dancing around each other since before the events of season one. Remember "The One With the Flashback?" Chandler and Monica almost hook up, but the moment is interrupted when Chandler is entranced by how soft Monica's towel is. Such a Chandler thing to do.
4. Most iconic quote?
The Rundown: Could there ever be a line of dialogue that could serve as the be all, end all quote for Friends fans across the globe?
Our Opinion: There will never be just one iconic quote, but if we had to narrow some down: "Pivot!" "See? He's her lobster!" "Here come the meat sweats." And finally: "Could I be wearing any more clothes?"
5. Did you like Rachel's short hair?
The Rundown: It's obviously not as deep of an argument as Rachel and Joey's compatibility, but since Jennifer Aniston's hair was always a talking point over 10 seasons (and beyond), cutting off her locks in season seven and debuting a brand new 'do angered a lot of fans.
Our Opinion: We loved it, even though Jennifer has gone on record saying she regrets chopping off her hair like that. It looked so cute on her, and it was nice to see something different from our fashionista Friend.
6. Who was better for Phoebe: Mike or David?
The Rundown: Phoebe met and fell in love with David the scientist guy in season one, and over 10 seasons he kind of floated in and out of her life. He was the one that got away, and she almost ended up engaged to him in season nine. Mike came out of nowhere and was able to keep up with the "wonderfully weird" Phoebe. But he did break her heart by saying he would never marry her. In the end, she ended up married to Mike and they probably have nine kids now.
Our Opinion: Mike. No contest. Yes, the fact that Paul Rudd plays Mike is a huge help, though we love us some Hank Azaria. It wasn't just a timing issue, which Phoebe proved when she chose Mike over David in Barbados. They were each other's lobsters. Those who raise rat babies together, stay together. Everyone knows that.
7. Who was the best Friend?
The Rundown: Friends fans hate choosing just one, but we always make each other do it. It's like fictional character torture. And to be clear, this show would not have worked without all six of them. But...
Our Opinion: Chandler. It has to be. Not only was he the funniest one, but he had a heart of gold and was often the center of the biggest and most emotional episodes. And even though the finale was all about Ross and Rachel finally getting back together for good (she got off the plane!), most fans would agree that the Friends couple that kept everyone together was Monica and Chandler.
Of course, we could think of a couple more things Friends fans still fight over, like the fact that Kathy was awful, whether or not Emma was a necessary plot point and if Ross was the most annoying, terrible friend. But we're going to end the debate now or we'll be here all day and night.
Happy 20-year anniversary, Friends! We miss you every single day, but you live on in our box sets and on TBS.
(Originally published on Tue., May. 6, 2014 at 11:34 a.m. PT)
Where do you stand on these Friends issues?