5 best and 5 worst moments on Friends

NBC's long-running hit sitcom Friends is one of the most beloved TV shows of all time, and the best moments from its 10-season run rank up there with the best in the history of television. 

From Ross and Rachel's tortured romance, to Monica and Chandler's elaborate deception as they tried to hide their own fledgling relationship — at its finest, Friends made us smile, cry, yearn, get butterflies in our stomachs, and laugh so hard we thought we might burst.

But that doesn't mean the show didn't occasionally get it wrong. The epically bad pairing of Rachel and Joey in the show's final season, Ross' long-running "We were on a break" proclamation, and insulting plot lines involving Joey speaking French and Rachel smoking, rank among the series' worst moments.

Check out our favorite five moments from the show, as well as five scenes that seriously missed the mark. 

Let's start with the best, shall we?

Ross and Rachel realize they got married in Vegas

In the Season 6 premiere, "The One After Vegas," Ross and Rachel wake up in Sin City after a night of partying, only to have their friends break the news at breakfast that they got drunkenly married the night before.

David Schwimmer as Ross Geller and Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green both play dumb so very well, and their goofy ignorance and sheer shock makes for Friends TV magic. The rest of the gang's confusion over the newlyweds not knowing they had said, "I do," is just gravy.

This entire episode is top notch because it gives fans what they'd been wanting for several seasons — alone time with Ross and Rachel, romantic innuendo between the two, and finally, the Ross and Rachel wedding they've been waiting for! Except… not quite, since the pair isn't actually a couple.

The in-name-only marriage will be milked for a few more episodes, with Ross dragging his feet on getting an annulment because he doesn't want to be a three-time divorcee, but the two ultimately sign the divorce papers.

Chandler kisses all the ladies

In one of the best Friends storylines of all time, Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) start dating but decide to keep it a secret from the rest of their group. What ensues is pure comedy gold.

In the Season 5 episode "The One with All the Kissing," Chandler slips up and kisses Monica in front of Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) and Rachel, so he does what anyone would do. Rather than simply confessing that they're dating, he passionately kisses the other ladies as well, with Monica suggesting that his amorous ways must be something he picked up in Europe.

What's so brilliant about this scene is Chandler's complete and utter deadpan. He doesn't miss a beat when he, completely straight-faced and with no hint of irony, swoops in to surprise two of his best friends with smooches.

Providing the icing on this absurdist cake is that while both Phoebe and Rachel gawk and wonder what the heck is going on, Monica acts like it's totally normal, leading the other ladies to wonder if they're the crazy ones.

DigitalSpy.com also loved this moment, ranking it 43rd out of 236 Friends episodes.

Monica tries to seduce Chandler with a knife

Some of the funniest moments on Friends don't take place in the present, but rather, are revealed via flashbacks. 

In the Season five episode "The One with All the Thanksgivings," college-age Monica attempts to seduce her brother Ross' roommate, Chandler, and it goes horribly, horribly wrong.

The episode features several flashbacks as audiences learn that once-overweight Monica got trim and svelte because of a crush on Chandler. After getting some tips from Rachel on how to seduce a man, she attempts to woo him by awkwardly rubbing kitchen products all over her body, before dropping a knife on his foot, severing one of his toes.

The best part about this scene is getting to watch actress Courteney Cox display some truly brilliant physical comedy. I mean, we dare you to watch her "seductive knife-dance" and not lose it in a fit of laughter. No one has ever done a sexy dance like this before, and it would be hard to top.

Also, check out Chandler's horrified face as the knife slowly spirals toward his woven sandals — perfection!

Chandler proposes to Monica

In another iconic moment in the series, Chandler proposes to Monica in an episode that is hilarious, heartbreaking, and genuinely romantic, all at the same time.

In the two-part Season 6 finale "The One with the Proposal," Chandler and Monica almost don't get engaged because, through a series of mishaps, Monica's ex-boyfriend, Dr. Richard Burke (Tom Selleck) proposes to her before Chandler gets the chance.

What makes this episode, and the Chandler and Monica relationship in general, so special, is that while fans have come to expect disappointment when it comes to Ross and Rachel's romance, they get nothing but satisfaction when it comes to Chandler and Monica.

While the episode starts out rocky, fans get a quick payoff as Chandler ultimately proposes to Monica amid a sea of candles, and she accepts.

Like many real-life relationships, Chandler and Monica were the couple we didn't know we needed. While everyone was obsessing about Ross and Rachel during the Season 5 finale, Chandler and Monica quietly embarked on a refreshingly sweet and simple relationship we never saw coming. 

Ross and Rachel kiss

This moment would probably top most Friends' fans all-time favorite lists, and it may well be one of the most iconic moments of television — ever.

In "The One Where Ross Finds Out" in Season 2, the chemistry that's been slowly building between Ross and Rachel finally comes to a head, and after a passionate argument, they ended up sharing a very intense first kiss.

This scene is beloved by fans for several reasons. First, it obviously represents the culmination of a season's worth of tension and innuendo. But perhaps more importantly, as the series goes on and fans come to realize that Ross and Rachel would trudge a long and complicated road to happily ever after, this scene comes to represent a time before all of that baggage piled up, when they were just two people in love.

It wouldn't be long before the two split up, and fans would then have to wait another seven seasons for their ultimate reunion in the series finale.

Joey can't speak French

And now … the misses. Let's start with this piece of low-hanging fruit:

Throughout the series, Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) is portrayed as unintelligent, to say the least, but the show takes it too far in "The One Where Joey Speaks French." In the Season 10 episode, Joey needs to speak French for an audition, so he takes lessons with Phoebe. But when she asks him to repeat simple phrases, the words that come out of his mouth do not resemble what she's saying in the least. This goes on throughout the episode, and it doesn't get any less uncomfortable to watch.

Joey's inability to repeat simple sounds goes beyond a question of intelligence and moves into the realm of absurdity. As a quirky but beloved and respected character, it's insulting to Joey to make him stoop so low for a laugh. We know Joey isn't the brightest, but he's gotten through life this far, so he should be able to get something so simple. What's more: It's just not funny.

This episode was so bad that DigitalSpy.com placed it 210th out of 236 episodes, calling it "super weird."

Rachel pretends to smoke

Times have changed in a big way since Friends went off the air, in 2004. In the Season 5 episode called "The One Where Rachel Smokes," Rachel actually takes up a smoking habit to impress a boss.

In a desperate attempt to get in with her new boss at Ralph Lauren, Rachel starts smoking, which is completely out of character, considering she declares earlier in the episode that she hates smoking. As a Rachel fan, it's hard to watch this, because all of the friends are beloved for their realness, but maybe none as much as Rachel. She's direct and honest and tells it like it is — so it hurts to see her sell herself out like this.

Moreover, it's hard to imagine this plot line jiving with audiences now, when workplace equality and health are top priorities. We wish we could just forget this episode.

Phoebe's boyfriend shoots a bird

When hippie Phoebe starts dating a police officer named Gary (portrayed hilariously by Michael Rapaport) there's bound to be culture shock, but no one saw it playing out like this.

In "The One with the Ball" from Season 5, Phoebe has moved in with Gary, but their cohabitation is destined to be short-lived. Why? Because one morning while they're lounging in bed, a bird tweets out their window, so Gary pulls out his gun and shoots it.

This scene is frustrating for many reasons. First,Rapaport is hilarious as Gary and has great chemistry with Phoebe, and it would have been nice to see her get a real relationship storyline. Second, it seems like a cheap "out." No doubt Rapaport had only signed on for a few episodes, and the writers needed to find an end to the relationship, but please dignify Phoebe with a more plausible breakup than this. Last but certainly not least, would a decent human being risk firing a handgun in New York City to kill a bird? (We certainly hope not.)

'We were on a break'

Even hearing this phrase can bring back flashbacks for diehard Friends fans because it's a big part of the reason that Ross and Rachel split for good … and strung hopeful audiences along for the next seven seasons.

In "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break" in Season 3, Ross and Rachel argue, and she tells him, "Maybe we should take a break." Through a series of misunderstandings, Ross thinks Rachel has moved on with a coworker and ends up having a one-night stand with Chloe (Angela Featherstone,) known as "the hot girl from the Xerox place." Ross tries to reconcile with Rachel the next day, but she just can't get past it. 

This is the genesis of complete and utter frustration for fans, who had become so devoted to Ross and Rachel, only to have their relationship abruptly tossed into the trash. While the breakup provided countless "will they or won't they" opportunities over the next seven seasons, it caused nothing but misery for fans, as we waited, and waited, and waited for the reunion we wanted.

This episode was included among the "Most Iconic Ross and Rachel Episodes" of the series by People magazine.

Joey and Rachel go on a date

If there was ever a moment when Friends fans all collectively yelled at their TVs, it would have been when Joey and Rachel went on their first actual date and shared a too-awkward-for-primetime kiss.

In the Season 10 episode, "The One With Ross' Tan," Joey and Rachel, who've already shared a few kisses, decide to go on their first date. After a lackluster dinner, they awkwardly embrace with about as much passion as a kid getting a kiss on the cheek from grandma.

We get it — it was the 10th season and it's hard to come up with fresh storylines when a show has been running that long. But pairing Rachel and Joey, two characters with zero chemistry, when fans had been begging for years for a Ross and Rachel reunion, was sure to enrage audiences. Even more frustrating — their pairing came after the massive tease of Rachel giving birth to Ross' baby.

The Daily Beast called this relationship plot line a "gross misfire," counting this episode among the weirdest in Friends history

Luckily, not long after the kiss that fans can't unsee, writers realized their folly and split Rachel and Joey up, eventually reuniting Ross and Rachel (and baby Emma) in the series finale.