For 236 episodes, the characters of “Friends” were there for its audience just as much as they were for each other.
For those who watched the original NBC run and saw themselves reflected in the characters, those who reminisced over their own 20s vicariously through them or those who hoped to someday grow up to be like them the show itself has become the seventh friend for it audience.
Its time in syndication and then on streaming allowed for repeat viewing for some, while others found it anew for the first time, marking it a modern classic piece of comfort television.
To celebrate “Friends” and the people who brought it to life, Variety has selected (and ranked) the best 30 episodes from the series. Read on for those, but know that an honorable mention goes to “The One Where Chandler Crosses the Line” (Season 4, Episode 7) for its cut-for-time C-story about Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) eating by herself in a restaurant. That was a bold move for a character like her, and it’s unfortunate it only sees the light of day on the original season box set of DVDs Warner Bros. released in late 2001.