Sitcoms often feature the most well-developed romances, and Friends is no different. The series is full of important relationships that all have a turn in the limelight. Each season focuses on one couple more strongly than the others, which can both positively and negatively impact their romance.
Entertainment value, relationship and character development, and the overall storyline are factors that determine which ship stands out the most. While they don’t always end the season in a great place, Friends always makes sure that viewers are engrossed in a couple’s journey.
Season 1: Ross And Rachel
The “will they/won’t they” dynamic between Ross and Rachel quickly becomes a huge pillar of the plot. Most of the romances in Friends Season 1 are short-lived, while Ross proves to still harbor feelings for his high school crush years down the line.
His crush on Rachel is an attempt to insert romance into the sitcom, but it also serves as a running joke throughout the first season. Rachel is completely oblivious to Ross’s crush on her, no matter how obvious it is to everyone else. It isn’t until the season finale that Rachel begins to see Ross in a different light.
Season 2: Monica And Richard
Although Season 2 also centers around Ross and Rachel, it’s the first time viewers see Monica in a serious relationship. There’s no arguing that Monica and Chandler are a perfect match, but it doesn’t lessen the importance of what she once had with Richard.
If Monica didn’t end up with Chandler in the latter half of Friends, Richard would’ve been the next best option. The two are put through the wringer, as the majority of their love story is packed into a single season. They come to terms with their feelings, fall in love, look towards the future, and end up with their hearts broken.
Season 3: Ross And Rachel
In terms of relationship drama, Ross and Rachel have the most. The pairing keeps viewers on their toes as they date, break up, and potentially make up all within a condensed time span.
While the toxicity of their romance is still heavily debated among fans, their scenes are never boring. Ross and Rachel’s tumultuous relationship is the most entertaining aspect of Friends Season 3, as the “we were on a break” debacle, keeps the “will they/won’t they” trope alive for the rest of the sitcom’s run.
Season 4: Frank And Alice
Frank and Alice are two of the best characters introduced after Friends Season 1. Their relationship isn’t accepted by all, as Phoebe initially objects to the large age gap between them. However, she comes to realize that Frank and Alice truly love each other, even if it’s unconventional.
Regardless of what viewers think of their romance, the couple brings one of the most interesting plotlines to the show. Phoebe agrees to be the surrogate for Frank and Alice’s children, and their pure joy is heartwarming to watch.
Seasons 5–7: Monica And Chandler
Their transition from friends to husband and wife makes Monica and Chandler’s romance an integral part of the series. The Easter eggs leading up to their night in London consist of “blink and you’ll miss it moments,” which only adds to their charm. Given their conflicting personalities, no one could’ve guessed that Monica and Chandler were soulmates.
Seasons 5, 6, and 7 of Friends portray their relationship in a new light, and during this time, the couple becomes the heart of the show. The other characters have their fair share of flings, but none of them holds a candle to what Monica and Chandler build.
Season 8: Joey And Rachel
There are plenty of fans in today’s generation who think Rachel and Joey were actually perfect for each other in Friends. Their relationship isn’t the only thing that develops during the eighth season, as falling in love with Rachel paves the way for Joey’s most prominent character arc.
He changes his entire lifestyle to help Rachel prepare for the birth of her baby and offers her the support Ross isn’t always able to give. Joey’s feelings for his best friend are so heartfelt and pure, that fans can’t help but feel the pain of his unrequited love.
Season 9: Phoebe And Mike
The only bad thing about Mike is how late he appears on the show. Paul Rudd’s character fits in with the gang seamlessly, and it’s a shame that his romance with Phoebe couldn’t have had an earlier start. Regardless of how long it took them to find each other, Phoebe and Mike are a perfect match.
There’s an instant connection between the pair, as something about them simply works. Through her relationship with Mike, Phoebe realizes what she wants out of life. When their futures don’t align, it causes quite a few bumps in the road, but their desire to be together supersedes everything else.
Season 10: Ross And Rachel
Ross and Rachel may not become a couple until the series finale, but the entirety of Friends Season 10 builds up to their reunion. Regardless of what it means for Rachel’s career, her decision to get off the plane and be with Ross remains an iconic moment in television history.
While Monica and Chandler deserve a shoutout for everything they go through with the adoption process, fans spend over a decade rooting for Ross and Rachel’s love story. The last season finally gives viewers the payoff they had been patiently waiting for.
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