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'Friends' hits Netflix: The ultimate viewing guide for every fan

"Friends" fans, consider this your official permission to stay in bed on New Year's Day! Starting Jan. 1, Netflix is streaming all 10 seasons of the cult comedy, so that you can recover from your hangover with Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe by your side.But with 236 episodes, where to begin? Whether you're a superfan who can deliver punchlines on cue (pi-VOT!) or just a channel su
image: Friends pilot
The "Friends" pilot featured Rachel showing up in her wedding dress after leaving her fiance at the altar.Today

"Friends" fans, consider this your official permission to stay in bed on New Year's Day! Starting Jan. 1, Netflix is streaming all 10 seasons of the cult comedy, so that you can recover from your hangover with Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe by your side.

But with 236 episodes, where to begin? Whether you're a superfan who can deliver punchlines on cue (pi-VOT!) or just a channel surfer looking for a laugh, allow us to help. Sit back, grab the remote and follow this handy guide to find the right "Friends" episodes for your binge-watch.

1. If you want to laugh so hard you might pee your pants: The Ones Where Ross is Ridiculous

"The One with All the Resolutions" (Season 5, episode 11, Originally aired Jan. 7, 1999.)

Kick off your binge-watch with this perfect episode, in which all six friends vow to make a change in the new year: Chandler will stop making fun of everyone, Rachel will stop gossiping, Ross will try one new thing every day, and so on. Naturally, all these good intentions quickly fall apart and their failures are endlessly entertaining. But the highlight is a scene we'll have burned into our brains forever: When Ross test drives a pair of leather pants on a date, only to have them shrink to the point where he can't get them back on. This leads to one of our favorite moments in "Friends" history: The legendary "paste pants."

"The One with Ross' Teeth" (Season 6, episode 8. Originally aired Nov. 18, 1999.)

When you look back at the show's standout episodes, Ross doesn't only take one for the team ... he takes several. Lucky for us, his bad luck in love (and life!) always yields belly laughs. In this episode, he tries to impress a date by getting his teeth whitened until they glow in the dark.

"The One with Ross' Tan" (Season 10, episode 3. Originally aired Oct. 9, 2003.)

You'd think after the teeth-whitening incident, Ross would give up on quick beauty fixes. Thankfully, he still hadn't learned his lesson by this episode years later, in which he goes to get a spray tan. Somehow, this seemingly simple outing turns disastrous when he ends up doubly tan on the front and completely pale on the back. Then, just when you think it can't get worse, he ends up insanely dark. There's nothing like Ross' squeal when things aren't going his way.

"The One with Ross' Sandwich" (Season 5, episode 9. Originally aired Dec. 10, 1998.)

Ross, who is going through a stressful time dealing with the breakup of his second marriage, snaps at work when his Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich vanishes from the fridge. We're sympathetic (that sandwich sounded delicious!), but the epic meltdown cements Ross' status as the most high-strung Friend ... and gets him suspended from his job, indefinitely.

2. If you're a romantic: The Ones Where Ross and Rachel Get Together

Ross and Rachel's on-again, off-again relationship dominated the show's 10-year run.Today

There were many dates, flings and love stories throughout the show's decade-long run, but the most memorable romance was the on-again, off-again relationship between Ross and Rachel. Relive the agonizing buildup in these episodes.

"The One with Ross' New Girlfriend"(Season 2, episode 1. Originally aired Sept. 21, 1995.)

In the episode prior to this, Chandler accidentally tells Rachel that Ross is in love with her while Ross is away on a business trip to China. Rachel decides the feeling is mutual and heads to the airport to meet him at the gate, where she plans to proclaim her love back. Instead, Ross gets off the plane with a new girlfriend (Julie!), leaving Rachel with a Band-Aid on her forehead and a bruised ego. Bonus: This episode includes one of the show's funniest subplots when Joey takes Chandler to his tailor, who gets a little too hands-y. This leads to Joey's wide-eyed revelation that he's been getting measured wrong his whole life.

"The One Where Ross Finds Out" (Season 2, episode 7. Originally aired Nov. 9, 1995.)

Always a trendsetter, Rachel drunk-dials Ross well before that became a popular term. She leaves him an embarrassing voicemail that reveals her true feelings by saying she's "over him" and needs "closure." Though she sobers up and tries to intercept the message before he can listen to it, he successfully plays back the voicemail, which leads to the memorable line: "When were you under me?" This incident builds up to one of the show's most romantic moments: Ross and Rachel's first kiss.

"The One with the Prom Video" (Season 2, episode 14. Originally aired: Feb. 1, 1996.)

The Friends were always on top of their style game (hello, who didn't want "The Rachel" haircut?), but in the flashbacks, things were less flattering. We love when the show takes a trip down memory lane, exposing the characters in their younger, less glam days. This blast from the past features a home video from the gang's high school prom, giving a glimpse of a very plus-size Monica, a pre-nose job Rachel, and a mustachioed Ross, who tried to step in and save the day when Rachel's date didn't show — a gesture she never knew about until the Friends screen the tape. This turns into one of the show's sweetest moments. Once present-day Rachel finally understands how much Ross has always loved her, she gives him a passionate kiss. 

"The One Where Ross and Rachel ... You Know" (Season 2, episode 15. Originally aired Feb. 8, 1996.)

Finally — Ross and Rachel, well, you know. This episode, which mixes the silly with the sweet, also introduces one of Monica's most beloved boyfriends: Dr. Richard Burke (played by the super handsome Tom Selleck).

3. If you feel like getting weepy: The Ones Where They Break Each Other's Hearts

"The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break" (Season 3, episode 15. Originally aired Feb. 13, 1997.)

After Ross and Rachel have a major fight, he thinks their relationship is temporarily on hiatus and ends up going home with the "hot girl from the copy place" for a one-night stand — which he immediately regrets. As did die-hard fans, who shouted at their TVs in disbelief.

"The One the Morning After" (Season 3, episode 16. Originally aired Feb. 20, 1997.)

Who could forget that heartbreaking look on Rachel's face when Ross finds her at Central Perk and she already knows about the copy place girl? They go back to the apartment to hash things out, trapping the other four friends in Monica's bedroom, who listen to the entire breakup fight. This leads to perhaps the most well-known and repeated line from the show: "We were on a break!"

"The One with Chandler in a Box" (Season 4, episode 8. Originally aired Nov. 20, 1997.)

Ross and Rachel aren't the only ones who go through a tough time — Chandler and Joey's bromance ends up on the rocks after Chandler falls for Joey's girlfriend, Kathy. As penance, Chandler agrees to spend all of Thanksgiving silent in a shipping container, leading to one of the saddest scenes in which Kathy breaks up with him through the box. When Chandler stays silent out of loyalty, Joey forgives him and sends Chandler to get Kathy back.

4. If you can't remember all of the awesome cameos: The Ones With The Guest Stars

"The One After the Superbowl (Parts 1 & 2)" (Season 2, episodes 12 & 13. Originally aired Jan 28, 1996.)

Even for a series regularly graced by A-list guest stars, this Season 2 episode is particularly jam-packed with famous faces. Catch Brooke Shields as a crazed Joey fan, Chris Isaak as a singer wooing Phoebe, Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself and Julia Roberts as a slightly unhinged love interest of Chandler's, who pulls off a hilarious revenge prank. As if that weren't enough, Ross' monkey Marcel gets a quick reappearance when the gang sees him working in commercials.

Other great guest star episodes include "The One with the Dirty Girl", in which Ross dates an impossibly attractive woman (played by supermodel Rebecca Romijn), only to find out her apartment is hoarder-level filthy, and "The One with the Chicken Pox," in which Phoebe and old boyfriend Charlie Sheen reunite for what's supposed to be a steamy weekend, only to both get the itchy childhood disease.

5. If you're not ready to ditch your ugly sweater: The Ones About The Holidays

"The One with the Football" (Season 3, episode 9. Originally aired Nov. 21, 1996.)

The "Friends" Thanksgiving episodes are the stuff of legends, and they don't get much better than this one. Things get tense as the group plays a game of touch football in the park. While Joey and Chandler compete over a stunning Dutch model, Ross and Monica channel their childhood selves in a vicious battle for the ultimate prize: The Geller Cup.

"The One Where Ross Got High" (Season 6, episode 9. Originally aired Nov. 25, 1999.)

Rachel wants to wow the group by making dessert for Thanksgiving, but doesn't realize that the pages of her cookbook were stuck together, causing her to accidentally combine an English trifle and half of a shepherd's pie. While everyone else is beyond grossed out, Joey wins the day by thinking it's delicious: "Jam? Good. Custard? Good. Meat? Goooooood!"

"The One with the Holiday Armadillo" (Season 7, episode 10. Originally aired Dec. 14, 2000.)

Wanting to teach his young son Ben about Hanukkah, Ross tries to compete with Santa Claus by dressing up as a "Holiday Armadillo." His costume alone is sure to make you howl with laughter.

6. If you're new to the show — or looking for TV comfort food: The Ones We Can't Get Enough Of

"The One with Frank Jr." (Season 3, episode 5. Originally aired Oct. 17, 1996.)

This episode introduces the instant classic concept of the "list," in which the Friends choose the top five celebrities they'd be allowed to sleep with if they met them in real life, even if they were already in a relationship. After much agonizing, Ross chooses his five and leaves Isabella Rossellini off at the last minute because she's too "international" to be a realistic option. Sure enough, who shows up in Central Perk? International movie star Isabella Rossellini, who plays along for a hilarious scene in which Ross tries to explain the whole concept of the list — and why she didn't make the cut.

"The One Where No One's Ready" (Season 3, episode 2. Originally aired Sept. 26, 1996.)

All you need to remember about this one is that it's the episode in which Joey puts on Chandler's entire wardrobe to spite him: "Could I be wearing any more clothes?"

"The One with Phoebe's Uterus" (Season 4, episode 2011. Originally aired Jan. 8, 1998.)

While Phoebe is deciding whether or not to carry her brother's baby (yeah ... it's complicated), the real gem in this episode is Monica's sex pep talk for Chandler, in which she maps out how to please a woman — and then gives him a very animated tutorial. ("Seven! Seven! Seven!")

"The One with the Embryos" (Season 4, episode 12. Originally aired Jan. 15, 1998.)

What starts as a lighthearted game about which friends know each other best quickly turns into a high-stakes bet. Monica and Rachel face off against Joey and Chandler in round after round of trivia about their quirky habits. The prize: Monica's apartment. Superfans will know all the answers, but it never gets old to watch them play. ("That's Ms. Chanandler Bong!")

The cast of NBC's "Friends" in the best fictional apartment in New York City.Today

"The One with the Apothecary Table" (Season 6, episode 11. Originally aired Jan. 6, 2000.)

While Rachel and Phoebe are living together, Rachel disobeys Phoebe's anti-Pottery Barn stance by buying a table and pretending that she found it a flea market. This simple white lie escalates into an elaborate ruse once they get to Ross' house and realize he's bought the same one.

7. If you feel like you've seen every episode: The Ones You Might Have Forgotten

These episodes didn't do much to advance any of the main story lines of the six besties, but they each offer at least one memorable gem that makes them worth a re-watch, especially if you feel like you've exhausted your old favorites.

"The One with Phoebe's Cookies" (Season 7, episode 3. Originally aired Oct. 19, 2000.)

On the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, Phoebe and Monica realize what they've been chasing isn't exactly an ancient French family secret.

"The One with All the Cheesecakes" (Season 7, episode 11. Originally aired Jan. 4, 2001.)

Rachel and Chandler, who are rarely paired together for their own adventures away from the group, team up in this extremely silly episode to steal delicious cheesecakes that keep showing up in the building. This one makes us wish they put these two together more often — and that we could pull off Rachel's sleek bob.

"The One Where Monica and Richard are Just Friends" (Season 3, episode 13. Originally aired Jan. 30, 1997.)

While Monica and Richard have the main plot line in this episode, the true joy comes from the side story in which Joey and Rachel trade favorite books: Joey agrees to read "Little Women" if Rachel reads "The Shining." The book swap turns surprisingly emotional as they competitively spoil the endings for each other. Rachel then comforts Joey when his book takes a dark turn.

"The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie" (Season 4, episode 10. Originally aired Dec. 18, 1997.)

This episode fires on all cylinders: There's a trademark Ross plot, in which he has to choose between dating a girl he really likes who lives two hours away, or a girl who lives much closer but has a questionable personality. ("If she wasn't kidding, she's not fun. She's stupid and kind of a racist.") Meanwhile, Chandler plays matchmaker for Rachel, Phoebe tries to rhyme everyone's names in a Christmas song and Monica hires Joey to be a ringer at her restaurant so she can publicly fire him and win the respect of her staff.

8. If you don't feel like watching all 10 seasons: The Ones at the Beginning and End

The "Friends" pilot featured Rachel showing up in her wedding dress after leaving her fiance at the altar.Today

The pilot: "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate" (Season 1, episode 1. Originally aired Sept. 22, 1994.)

Can't remember how it all began? Go back to the beginning in the pilot, which sets up the series surprisingly well. We meet Rachel, who has just ditched her fiance at the altar, as she moves in with high school friend Monica and befriends the Central Perk crew. Ross, who is dealing with the recent revelation that his wife is actually a lesbian, slips in the fact that he's always had a crush on Rachel, laying the groundwork for one of the most dominant story arcs of the series. And Rachel gets a job serving coffee, which gives the rest of the group an excuse (sort of) for spending so much time on that velvet couch.

The finale: "The Last One (Parts 1 & 2)" (Season 10, episodes 19 & 20. Originally aired May 6, 2004.)

See how it all ends in this satisfying finale, which ties up a lot of loose ends and leaves everyone happily ever after. Chandler and Monica's baby dreams come true, Ross and Rachel realize they're still in love, the friends say goodbye to the best apartment in the history of Manhattan and they all grab one last cup of Central Perk coffee. (Cue the tears.)

Did we miss your favorite episode? Tell us which ones you'll be watching!