The holidays can be stressful. One has to balance getting everyone a gift, multiple social gatherings, disapproving family members questioning ones life choices, and so much more. Studies show that when one is stressed out a great way to unwind is to watch a familiar television show. This allows one to release oneself into a familiar fictional world and regain a sense of control. Maybe one can’t control the fact that Aunt Edna is going to ask about ones relationship status but one can enter blissfully into another character’s problems to get away for awhile. This is where Friends comes in. Because one really can get by with a little help from Monica, Chandler, Ross, Joey, Phoebe and Rachel. Friends premiered on September 22, 1994. The show ran for ten seasons and averaged 23 million viewers per episode. The finale aired on May 5th 2004 and had 52.5 million viewers. The show about a group of six 20 something friends living in Manhattan was so popular because of its universal themes of finding oneself in a crazy modern world. A theme that is still relevant today. So if you are in need of some familiar friends to get through this crazy holiday season, here are seven holiday episodes to help you feel jolly.
The One with the Monkey – Season 1 Episode 10
At Christmas time in this first season of Friends, the gang is looking ahead towards New Years. Ross is lonely post divorce and decides to get a a capuchin monkey named Marcel. The gang makes a pact to not have any New Years dates but all but Ross quickly desert the idea. Rachel finds out Paolo can catch an earlier flight. Monica re-kindles things with her ex fun Bobby. Phoebe meets a cute scientist named David, played by Hank Azaria, during one of her sets and starts dating him. Joey meets a single Mom named Sandy. Chandler backslides into his ex Janice. Rachel suggests throwing a party instead so Ross will not feel left out. Many events creating a comedy of errors of sorts causes all of the gang to end up alone anyways. Joey even kisses Chandler at midnight.
The One With Phoebe’s Dad – Season 2, Episode 9
After finding a stock photo of her Dad in a frame, Phoebe demands answers from her Grandma. Phoebe finds out her Dad is a pharmacist in upstate New York. Joey, Chandler, and herself go on a road trip to meet Phoebe’s Dad. Meanwhile Rachel is still mad at Ross after discovering a pro, con list about her. Ross breaks the heater in Rachel and Monica’s apartment so the girls throw a summer Christmas party. Phoebe is not ready to confront her biological father. Joey, Chandler, and her share a touching moment in the cab talking about her dad while Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” plays in the background. When they arrive back in the city, Joey saves the day by fixing the heat. The gang exchange gifts but it is clear Joey and Chandler bought their gifts at the gas station on the way home from upstate.
The One Where Rachel Quits Season 3, Episode 10
Like the title suggests, Rachel quits her job at Central Perk after Gunther informs her that she will have to train again. Unfortunately for her, getting another job is not easy when ones resume is a bit light. Ross helps a brown bird named Sarah Tuttle, played by Mae Whitman, after accidentally breaking her leg sell cookies to win a trip to space camp. Ross ultimately does not succeed at selling the most cookies but does make Joey and Chandler’s apartment space themed for Sarah. Joey’s day job is selling Christmas trees but this bums Phoebe out because all the old trees are thrown away or put into the wood chipper. To make Phoebe feel better Monica and Joey take all the old trees and set them up in Monica’s apartment. Rachel’s spirits perk up when she gets a new job at Fortunata Fashions and can work her last waitress shift with hope. Although she will still have to make coffee, but only for her new boss.
The One With the Girl From Poughkeepsie – Season 4, Episode 10
This season four holiday episode finds some of the gang not feeling very jolly. After writing a negative review, Monica is the head chief at Allesandro’s but her co-workers greatly resent her. Joey and Monica come up with a plan to plant Joey as a waiter so Monica can fire him. This way all the other workers will fall in line. Once Joey starts working, he likes the tip money and does not want to be fired. He eventually comes through when he sees how bad Monica is treated. Rachel is feeling lonely and decides she needs to have a fling. Chandler helps her out by setting her up with Patrick from his work. When Rachel decides that it is maybe more than just a Christmas fling, Chandler gets caught in the middle. While her fling fizzles out, her friendship with Chandler is strengthened when he says he never had to lie to set her up. Ross is juggling multiple women. One is not a good fit but is close geographically. The other is perfect but from Poughkeepsie and the commute is not ideal. Neither of them ultimately work out. Phoebe writes a song for the gang and sings it at the end of the episode.
The One With the Inappropriate Sister – Season 5, Episode 10
In season five, Phoebe is working as an elf collecting money for charity. She has big plans to spread joy all over the city. She is dismayed to find many people disrespecting her and her work by throwing trash, cigarette butts, and making change for the bus with her charity money. In an attempt to counter act this she unleashes Street Phoebe. She is soon transferred to another location. Joey, Ross, and Chandler are all living together because Ross is on sabbatical. Ross tries to help Joey write a script for himself but Chandler thinks he is too strict. Eventually the boys make up when Joey writes a script for Chandler and Ross. Rachel starts dating Danny but becomes concerned when she finds out how close he is to his sister. When she discovers they still take baths together, that ends the relationship.
The One With the Routine – Season 6, Episode 10
Joey’s latest crush is Janine is going to be an extra on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. She invites Monica, Ross, and Joey to come along. Joey plans on kissing her on fake midnight to see if there are any sparks. Monica and Ross are determined to make it on the screen and use an old routine they made up in 8th grade to do so. The camera man films it but for the blooper reel. Meanwhile at home, Rachel, Phoebe and Chandler all search for their gifts from Monica. Joey and Janine’s kiss is interrupted when the director calls cut but they make up for it later. Monica and Ross reenact “the routine” for Chandler, Rachel, and Phoebe.
The One With the Holiday Armadillo – Season 7, Episode 10
Ross learns his son Ben will be with him for the holiday. Ross is worried Ben does not know even about his Jewish roots and decides Ben will not be seeing Santa like he is used to. Ross eventually gives in to the Santa idea but it is too late to rent a Santa suit. Instead he invents Santa’s friend the Holiday Armadillo. The Holiday Armadillo teaches Ben all about Hanukkah. Chandler shows up as Santa. Joey shows up as Superman. The rest of the gang shows up to support Ross and Ben’s holiday antics.
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