During its ten season-run, Friends earned itself a cult-like following that continues to grow through the years. As a result, there are a couple of phrases that are synonymous with the show, that only staunch fans will understand. These words are reminders of consistent patterns, one-off funny moments, songs that were catchy, and everything in between. At the mention of any of these, any avid Friends viewer will almost immediately light up, and, depending on where they are, burst into laughter. These are ten ‘inside jokes’ that make Friends one of the greatest shows of all time:
10. “Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!”
When Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) needed a little help with getting his new couch to his apartment, Rachel brought in the best reinforcement she could find, Chandler. Ross had drawn a sketch of how they were going to complete the exercise. The three of them got started, and within no time, Chandler couldn’t be able to turn anymore. Soon after, Ross asked them to “Pivot”. As he climbed the stairs, Ross kept yelling “Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!”. With every yell, Chandler got more irritated, and when they were stuck and he couldn’t contain it anymore, his response to “Pivot!” was “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
9. “Oh! My! God!”
Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice ( Maggie Wheeler) had a surefire way of announcing her arrival. Whether she was showing up at a blind date not knowing her ex would be the date, storming a restaurant kitchen only to find out Monica was the head chef, finding out Rachel was her roommate at a maternity waiting room or purchasing a house next door to the Bings, there was no way of missing out on Janice’s dramatic and catchy “Oh! My! God!” It didn’t help that it came with a peal of distinct, obnoxious laughter to crown it all.
8.“Smelly Cat…Smelly Cat.”
Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) had one too many catchy one-liners, and one of her greatest yet is the first line of an original song. “Smelly Cat” became Phoebe’s biggest hit, which found its way into a cat litter commercial (Phoebe wasn’t pleased). On a normal day, Phoebe would simply perform it at the café, and sometimes she did it when her voice was hoarse. Years later, she would perform the song at the Friends reunion alongside Lady Gaga.
Chandler was popular for his ability to take serious situations and give them a little bit of lightness. Sarcasm was Chandler’s language of choice, and he exercised it as much as he could. His love for poking fun at other people caught up with him when Phoebe joined his office. Phoebe hadn’t told anyone that she knew Chandler because he wasn’t liked. Chandler was the ‘big boss man’, and his colleagues imitated his emphasis of certain words in his speech: “ Could that report be any later…”
6.“My Eyes! My Eyes!”
When Chandler and Monica started fooling around, they hid their relationship from everyone. After Joey and Rachel had both unmasked the lovers, it was Phoebe’s turn. She was in Ross’s apartment when she spotted Chandler and Monica (Courteney Cox) from across the window. Phoebe waved, but her friends didn’t wave back. They instead began taking each other’s clothes off, prompting Phoebe to go into a state of panic. “Chandler and Monica! Chandler and Monica! My Eyes! My Eyes! My Eyes!” a traumatized Phoebe screamed.
5. “I Was Backpacking Across Europe…”
When Rachel ( Jennifer Aniston) and Ross had a debate on who came onto who, there was a tape to settle the score. Rachel was confident that Ross had done the begging, but the tape proved otherwise. Rachel had used the story “ I was backpacking across Europe…” which was a story people specifically told when they wanted to get some action. She had heard the story from a friend, who’d heard it from a guy named Ken Adams, who turned out to be Rachel’s very good friend, Joey.
4. “Seven! Seven!” Seven!”
Chandler was having trouble with Kathy (Paget Brewster), who’d also dated Joey. She didn’t seem to agree with him in the bedroom as much as she did with Joey. He sought advice from the girls, who told him about the seven different erogenous zones for women. Monica was in charge of delivering the sequence in which Chandler should have operated, and it ended with a strong “Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven!”. When Chandler used Monica’s technique, Kathy couldn’t help but thank her.
Only one class into self-defense, Phoebe and Rachel were confident that they could kick anyone when the time called for it. When Ross tried to express his doubt, Rachel told him to pretend he was a predator. Always the voice of reason, Ross pointed out that it was easy for them to defend themselves from an attack they knew was coming. Then he introduce them to Unagi, a state of total awareness which apparently, Phoebe and Rachel didn’t have. Monica, on the other hand, was a pro at Unagi. It turned out that, while Ross was so good at preaching about Unagi, practicing it was not his strongest suit.
2. “How You Doin’?”
As the show’s most eligible bachelor, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) had a familiar catchphrase, How you doin’? The words were often directed at a love interest and were said in the most Joey-like way possible. As if How you doin’? didn’t already show that Joey was concerned, the seductive way he addressed the potential date left them feeling giddy. Sometimes Joey’s catchphrase didn’t work. The first time, Rachel’s sister Jill (Reese Witherspoon) made her way into Monica’s apartment, only for Rachel to stop Joey in his tracks. The next time Joey’s signature phrase didn’t work, his roommate Janine (Elle Macpherson) was not attracted to him.
1. “We Were On A Break”
Of all the bad things Ross could have done, ‘cheating’ on Rachel with Chloe (Angela Featherstone), the girl from the copy place was his worst mistake. For the longest of times, Rachel was convinced that he did cheat, but Ross was adamant that they were on a break. He refused to take responsibility for his actions, simply because the night with Chloe happened a few hours after Rachel had called it off. Not even an 18-page love letter from Rachel could get a charged Ross to admit they weren’t on a break. Over and again, he kept yelling, “We were on a break!”