Although creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman's series premiered on September 22, 1994 and went off the air on May 6, 2004, its sustaining popularity on streaming services — coupled with our love of celebrating retro moments through a social media lens — means that there are a ton of over-the-top promotions tied to this anniversary.
There's a "Friends" product tie-in with Pottery Barn, which is a nod to a specific episode of the series, as well as a jewelry line from retailer Alex and Ani that's inspired by the show. There's also planned pop-ups in New York and Los Angeles and movie theater screenings of select episodes. For those who prefer to celebrate in the anonymity of the digital space, a partnership with GIF repository site GIPHY includes the release of over 2,300 GIFs that call out specific moments.
To the layperson, this seems like overkill. To "Friends" fans, it makes sense. As the topic was recently explored in The New Yorker, "Friends" wasn't just about jokes and culturally significant haircuts (although the shag style that actress Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green populated early in its run certainly made its mark).
While the show has been criticized for a lack of racial and economic diversity, its stories about the struggles of early adulthood still resonate. Just like early seasons of "The Real World," it gave viewers an instant-family or network — and served as a conversation piece for those trying to build a real-life version.
In honor of this, we've made a chronological list of 25 of the most honest and funny-because-it's-true "Friends" episodes.