Friends will celebrate its 30th anniversary in just two years, marking three decades of reruns, a constant flow of new fans from all ages and backgrounds, and a love for the characters across the globe.
More importantly, it will have been 30 years of laughs, which have been steadily growing with the ushering of social media, and, of course, the spread of meme culture. Despite the variety of topics and tropes per episode, each season features driving plot lines and inside jokes perfect for those who love to remember iconic moments and the humanity of these six friends. The resulting memes are a balm for the soul of the fan base and a formidable way to attract more viewers to this ever-growing family.
Season 1: The One Where The Brat Meets The Real World
“I’m gonna go get one of those… job things!”
It was so much easier back in 1994. #FriendsOnNetflix pic.twitter.com/vv1fNe4TPs
— @HOLLYWOOD (@Hollywood) January 20, 2015
In the first ever episode, Rachel Green runs away from her own wedding and from an easy and privileged upper-class life, ending up right in the middle of her best friend Monica Geller’s group of friends.
Because of her decision, her father cut her allowance, forcing her, for the first time, to look out for herself. The first season, in particular, makes her confront her inner fears of failure and the world outside her bubble. That is why this meme of her conversation with Monica is so funny. Audiences certainly had several laughs at the expense of Rachel’s naïveté, but no one can deny that she is one of the characters who grew up the most as the show went on.
Season 2: The One Where Some Days You’re Just Joey
Joey and Chandler’s bromance gave audiences many comedic moments, but they also showed a lot of sweetness and more down-to-earth situations which could easily happen off-screen.
This meme has been around for a while and it is an example of their funny and easygoing relationship, as they have one of their chaotic conversations. They are, as usual, at Central Perk, where the most memorable scenes happen, and each of them is going through a different mood – a common theme between these two. Chandler is a bit down and misunderstands Joey’s question, answering him with his iconic sarcasm, but his friend was only concerned with his main topic of interest: food.
Season 3: The One With The Infamous Discussion
In Season 3, Rachel and Ross are finally dating, but when she begins working at Bloomingdale’s, he grows jealous of one of her colleagues. Feeling overwhelmed and stifled by her boyfriend, Rachel argues with him, which leads to a miscommunication between them. Considering that “being on a break” means that they are broken up, Ross sleeps with a girl from the copy shop. This drives them into a new argument, as Rachel insists that “on a break” means that they were just taking some time from each other, but remain officially dating.
In the next seasons, Ross keeps emphasizing his opinion, even while they are really broken up, and the quote has become a meme used in almost every context, especially academic due dates. That is why this meme is so funny, as it encompasses a wild range of situations when someone can use the excuse of “being on a break.”
Season 5: The One Where Chandler Says I Love You, Twice
After hooking up at Ross’ wedding, Monica and Chandler’s relationship evolved from friends to lovers. They spend a lot of season five trying to keep this change a secret from their friends, as they are afraid of altering the group’s dynamics.
As this meme illustrates, Chandler really feels connected to Monica, despite him being the one element of the group who is most mocked for his fear of commitment. It turns out that for the right person, he is able to face his apprehension and even declares his love for her twice. They are a breath of fresh air considering that their friendship and the ways they work out through each of their issues arguably make Monica and Chandler a better couple than Ross and Rachel.
Season 6: The One Where Ross Calculates His Alimony Payments
Another of the running gags of the show has to do with Ross’s failed relationships, namely his marriages that inevitably lead to divorce.
At the beginning of season 6, Ross and Rachel find out that they had gotten married in Vegas the night before. This drunken mistake means that he has been married for the third time and has, therefore, to file for divorce for the third time, which he does not take lightly. His phase of denial was behind some of the best episodes of Friends, as he is at odds with Rachel.
Season 7: The One Where Joey Has A Tough Year
Joey is the womanizer of the group, but deep down, he is a great friend with a big heart. Since season one, he aspires to a fulfilling acting career, but occasionally his goals go sideways. After his latest movie has to be put on hold and taking a job as a performer gladiator at a casino, he ends up working as a waitress at Central Perk. Not only that, but he goes through a breakup.
This meme shows how disappointed he is with his life at the moment, as he remarks to Phoebe that the new year has just begun but it is already going sour. It also goes to show that his reliance on his friends for support is one of the biggest life lessons audiences learned from Joey.
Season 8: The One All About Pregnancy
A lot of this season followed Rachel’s pregnancy and, for her performance at showing the character’s convoluted emotions during this time, Jennifer Aniston won a Prime Time Emmy Award.
Through memes like this one, fans can re-enjoy some of the best moments of another sticky situation Rachel got herself into. It had not been a planned pregnancy, contrary to Phoebe’s a few seasons prior, but Rachel sure learned how to make the best out of her surprise bundle of joy.
Season 9: The One All About Phoebe & Mike
In spite of all the times Phoebe and Joey almost got together and all of Phoebe’s other relationships throughout the show, Mike Hannigan ended up being her true love.
They would go on to marry in the show’s last season, but in the present day, fans still remember their funny and reliable relationship, which was one of the main storylines of season nine. This meme mocks how Friends’ producers pretty much foreshadowed what was to come: Mike was played by Paul Rudd, who, years later, would gain widespread fame for his MCU role as Ant-Man.
Season 10: The One Where With The Epic Ending
As any Marvel enthusiast is aware, Endgame and Infinity War represented the end of an era, with iconic characters such as Black Widow and Ironman saying their goodbyes.
This meme was a mock crossover of an Endgame wall graffiti with the cast of FRIENDS. It perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the tenth and last season of FRIENDS. It was a well-planned finale, full of twists and smiles, but it succeeded in immortalizing the show as a larger-than-life piece of entertainment thanks to, much like Endgame, the important role played by the fans’ nostalgia – the last scene is still one of the most heartbreaking moments ever presented on television.