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Before the rise of meme culture, podcasts and Comments by Celebs, there was Friends, a show that came about during the rise of the internet but earned its buzz the old-fashioned way, with laugh out loud moments and cliffhanger storylines that left millions of viewers tuned into their TV sets every week. A show about the random events of a group of New Yorkers quickly became fodder for phone calls, dinnertime debates and yes, watercooler talk, while the characters — and actors’ — lives were thrust into the spotlight, with everything from their relationships to their hairstyles picked apart by an enamored and adoring public.
But while Friends generated a ton of buzz for its charismatic cast, it also helped to propel a number of fashion and lifestyle brands forward in the pop culture canon. From Rachel’s jobs at Bloomingdales and Ralph Lauren, to entire episodes revolving around Pottery Barn and Porsche, Friends mastered the art of product placement before product placement became an even bigger thing. The shout-outs to Boddingtons beer in that after-London Season Five episode may elicit eye-rolls and complaints from a cynical audience today, and yet, we laughed and high-fived along with the characters, and then went out to buy Boddingtons to see what all the hype was about. Long before social media “influencers” were a thing, Chandler and Joey were pitching us a creamy, pub-style ale and we didn’t even know it.
The impact of Friends continues to be felt, not only in the way we eat (fact: I can never order an unagi roll in a Japanese restaurant without thinking of Ross’ catchphrase), but also in the way we talk, the way we date (was taking a relationship break even a thing before Ross and Rachel?), the way we shop and — Oh. My. God. — even the way we react to particularly poignant or unexpected events in our lives.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Friends, we’ve rounded up 25 items that capture some of the series’ most memorable people, punchlines, and products. Pick these up for yourself or as a gift for someone special, reminding them that while “things” can come and go, true friends stay with you forever.
1. Friends: “The One With the Anniversary”
The TV sitcom gets the big screen treatment this month with a special movie theater showing of some of Friends‘ most memorable episodes. A three-night-only engagement, the screenings will feature four different episodes per night, along with bonus, “never before seen” content and (taped) interviews with some of the cast and crew.
Friends was actually shot on 35mm film, which means it will be presented in the original 16:9 widescreen format it was shot in (back in the day, our TVs just cropped the sides off). The episodes have also been up-scaled to 4K high definition.
Here’s a look at the schedule for the special screenings (note: the episode order is subject to change):
September 22: Pilot, The One With The Black Out, The One With The Birth and The One Where Ross Finds Out.
September 28: The One With The Prom Video, The One Where No One’s Ready, The One With The Morning After and The One With The Embryos.
October 2: The One With Chandler In A Box, The One With Ross’s Wedding – Part 2, The One Where Everybody Finds Out and The One Where Ross Got High
In addition to the screenings, some of the theaters will also have props and memorabilia from the show for prime selfie opportunities (think: the couch from “Central Perk”). “The One With the Anniversary” screens in select theaters September 23, September 28 and October 2. See tickets and showtimes here.
2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour “Friendsgiving” Celebration
Friends was filmed in the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank and the studio is launching a number of special events in celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary. Our favorite: a “Friendsgiving” event, which includes a studio tour that highlights all the main filming locations, followed by a special holiday-themed meal prepared by chefs at the Studio’s Commissary Fine Dining room (the press release says the cast often dined there while the show was filming but who really knows?) The meal includes classic holiday faves like turkey and ham along with all the traditional fixings (Rachel’s famously terrible “trifle” recipe is thankfully not on the list). A rep notes that vegan and gluten-free options will also be available because this is LA after all.
Friendsgiving is offered on select dates this November. Tickets for the event are on sale now at wbstudiotour.com for $139 per person. Also: yes, Monica was wearing a real turkey on her head in the photo above, but we’ve verified that the “turkey head mask” is a thing, and it’s also on Amazon.
3. Pottery Barn Apothecary Table
Pottery Barn’s beloved “antique” apothecary table (from the days of yore) returns to the store for the 25th anniversary of Friends. This iconic piece, from that memorable season six episode in which Rachel tries to pass off the new table as a timeworn relic, includes all the details from that original piece, including the antique-inspired hardware, to drawers originally designed for CDs (not potions). The table is made from MDF with a hand-applied mahogany finish; hardware is metal and finished in an Antique Brass color. Purchase: $1099 on PotteryBarn.com.
4. LEGO Central Perk Set
Get a double dose of nostalgia with this LEGO-sized set of “Central Perk.” The LEGO recreation of the café TV studio set is packed with authentic details, including a menu board, cash register, mugs, flowers and even a cookie jar. All six main cast members are included in LEGO minifigure form, with a bonus addition(!) of Gunther. Each of the characters are depicted with a signature item from the show, including Joey and his “man bag,” and Phoebe with her guitar. The set includes more than 1000 pieces in total. Purchase: $59.99 on Lego.com.
5. Ross + Rachel Sweatshirt
Long before Jughead and Betty or even Benson and Stabler, fans were shipping Rachel and Ross. From break-ups to make-ups (to that wedding), the couple went through as any ups and downs on the show as they did with fans, who couldn’t quite decide whether or not the relationship was gratifying or grating. Still, if you’ve watched the show from the beginning, you always knew the two were always going to be the end game. This unisex sweatshirt features a simple equation, though what exactly Rachel + Ross equals is left for you to decide. Purchase: $18 on Boohoo.com.
6. Friends’ Replica Picture Frame
Yes there was the Central Perk couch and Joey and Chandler’s big white dog, but few pieces from the Friends set were as memorable as the vaguely Victorian picture frame hung on the back of Monica and Chandler’s door. In fact, when Friends aired its final episode in 2004, the very last shot zoomed in on the yellow frame and the peephole it surrounded.
Whether you want to display it on your door or hang it on your wall, we’ve found a great replica version of the famous yellow frame on Amazon. This replica version measures 8-by-10 inches and hangs easily with a nail or double-sided tape (included). It’s handmade and hand-painted, and made from a durable and classy resin. Purchase: $26.95 on Amazon.com.
7. “The One With All the Cards” Card Game
An unofficial Friends-inspired version of “Cards Against Humanity,” this set can be played as its own game or as an expansion deck for the original game. The box includes 90 black cards and 144 white cards, with quotes, jokes and memorable moments taken from the show. Purchase: $32.99 on Amazon.com.
8. Friends Colored Pencils
We don’t know what colored pencils have to do with the show either, but this 12-piece set, dubbed “The One With the Colors,” does feature some pretty impressive puns-as-color names. Kudos to whoever came up with “How You Bluin?” and “We Were on a Grey-k.” One of the colored pencils is also called “Rachel Green,” but that’s almost too easy. Purchase: $14.95 on Amazon.com.
9. Friends Infographic Poster
There are generic cast posters that rip-off famous black and white photographs, and then there’s this: a full-color Friends infographic poster that’s actually pretty cool. The poster measures 24 x 36 inches and comes ready for framing. It contains memorable catchphrases, lines and characters from the show, and makes a great conversation (or trivia) piece for the home or office. Purchase: $11.99 on Amazon.com.
10. ASOS DESIGN Friends Oversized Sweatshirt
The iconic Friends logo is set on a thoroughly modern piece of apparel, in this new sweatshirt from ASOS. The unisex fit is purposely oversized, with the logo stretching out across the back and onto the arms. Note: the design is featured on the back; the front of the sweatshirt is kept simple and unadorned. Purchase: $38 on Asos.com.
11. Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Set
In the third episode of season seven, Monica desperately tries to decipher Phoebe’s grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe only to discover that — spoiler alert — it was actually a recipe from the back of a Nestle Toll House package (Phoebe had mis-remembered her “French” grandmother’s name as Neslee Toulouse, which leads to the underwhelming discovery).
This Nestle Toll House set includes the famous cookie mix and a mini cast iron skillet to bake up one large cookie in the oven. The individual-sized cast iron skillet measures five-inches and can be used for other types of cooking as well. Purchase: $14.99 on Amazon.com.
12. Central Perk Poster
Take home a piece of Central Perk with this 23-by-34-inch poster, which recalls the view through the window’s at one of TV’s most famous coffee shops (eds note: that’s debatable). The durable, easy-care poster wipes clean without damaging the paper, and this is shipped in a tube to prevent creasing. Purchase: $10 on UrbanOutfitters.com.
13. Friends x ALEX AND ANI Jewelry Collection
From charm bracelets to necklaces, this capsule collection of accessories from Alex and Ani features some of the series’ most memorable quotes engraved on fun, costume jewelry. The pieces include adjustable bracelets made with metal wire and a silver-gold finish, and a friendship necklace made with multicolored crystals and a rafaelian silver finish. Purchase: From $39 on AlexandAni.com.
14. “The One With all the Recipes: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Friends”
Courtney Cox may have played a chef on the show, but now you can (attempt to) be one IRL with this cookbook, inspired by food-specific storylines on the show. From Phoebe’s grandmother’s not-so-secret chocolate chip cookie recipe, to a classic Thanksgiving turkey, there are dozens of recipes here, all accompanied by full-color photographs and easy-to-follow instructions. The book is divided into sections (appetizers, sides, brunch, dinner, desserts and drinks) and author Teresa Finney says the recipes are designed for all cooking skill levels and appetites. Purchase: $22.46 on Amazon.com.
15. Friends Funko Pop Figurines
Fans of Friends will love this Funko Pop collectors set, which features miniaturized versions of the six main characters in some of their most memorable outfits (think Monica’s vacation hair and Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes). All six figurines come in their own box, making this great to give as a set, or as individual gifts. Purchase: $99.99 on Amazon.com.
16. Friends Varsity Socks
For a pair of novelty socks, this varsity-inspired pair isn’t half-bad. The unisex crew socks come in a simple black and white design, with the Friends logo on the ankles and soles. It’s made from a polyester/spandex mix for a stretchy, comfortable fit. Purchase: $6.90 on HotTopic.com.
17. Trivial Pursuit – Friends edition
A travel-sized edition of Trivial Pursuit featuring all the best characters and moments from Friends. Sample question: What remnant of Richard does Monica drop in Ross’ cereal? (answer here).
This set includes 600 questions (broken up by seasons) and comes with dice, cards and a travel case. Purchase: $13.99 on Amazon.com.
18. Friends Picture Frame Mug
You can get the yellow picture frame, or you can get the yellow picture frame on a purple mug. This ceramic mug features the iconic yellow frame surrounding a photo of the cast, though you can easily swap it out for a photo of your own as well. The other side features the show’s logo. Purchase: $15.12 on HotTopic.com.
19. Nike Kyrie Friends T-Shirt
Nike’s official collaboration with Warner Bros. gets us this Friends-inspired take on the sportswear brand’s Kyrie Collection tee. While it wins points for style, you’ll also stay cool and stink-free thanks to the shirt’s Dri-FIT technology, which makes it suitable for workouts too. The athletic-cut T-shirt is available in sizes small to 3XL. Purchase: $35 on FootLocker.com | Get the Central Perk-adorned Kyrie Friends long-sleeve tee for $40 on FootLocker.com.
20. Friends Illustrated Pillow Cases
This set of pillowcases imagines the cast of Friends as the characters from Peanuts. Yes, read that again and no, it’s not as weird as it sounds. The linen pillowcases measure 18 x 18 inches to fit most standard pillows, and are machine washable. Retailer RelaxHouse says the pillowcases are fade-resistant and won’t pill or shrink. That sounds good and all but we’ve just got one question: in the world of “Frienuts,” would Marcel be Snoopy? Purchase: $9.99 (for set of two) on Amazon.com.
21. Capuchin Monkey Stuffed Animal
Speaking of Marcel, who is actually a female Capuchin monkey named Katie, the animal actor hasn’t exactly been swinging off into the sunset since the end of Friends. It was announced recently that Katie is set to star in Y: The Last Man, a Brian K. Vaughn comic book being adapted for television on FX.
Pick up your very own Marcel (or “Marty” or “Marcia” or whatever you decide to name it) with this stuffed Capuchin monkey toy. The plush toy measures just over eight inches tall and promises to be way easier to work with than y’know, a real, live monkey. Purchase: $9.99 on Amazon.com.
22. “Ill Be There For You: Life according to Friends’ Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross & Monica”
This new book serves as both an unofficial fan guide and an unofficial guide to life, as seen through the characters on Friends. From fashion advice to dating tips, learn what to do — and what not to do — from the experiences of the gang. The book also includes Chandler-approved jokes and one-liners, plus Buzzfeed-style quizzes (think: “Which Friends Character Are You?”) and a behind-the-scenes look at how the show’s influence extended beyond the screen and into pop culture history. Purchase: $11.30 on Amazon.com.
23. Sofa in a Box from Zinus
Ross may have had a hard time getting his new couch up the stairs in a season five episode, but you won’t have that problem with the new sofa collection from Zinus. The online company, best known for their mattresses in a box, now deliver full-sized couches in a box, making it easier to move and carry without having to pivot. The couch is delivered for free and Zinus says it sets up in minutes without needing any tools.
Zinus offers a number of different models online but we like the Ricardo Contemporary Sofa, which comes in three colors and sits on a sturdy wood frame. The easy-care fabric wipes down easily and Zinus offers a one-year warranty and a satisfaction guarantee. Purchase: from $316 on Zinus.com.
24. “Friends … ’til the End: The One With All Ten Years”
Released in 2005 in conjunction with the show’s series finale, this hardcover tome features 280+ pages of photographs, insights and personal anecdotes from the cast and crew. A great collector’s piece and coffee table book, the printed endpapers feature the cast’s autographs, while the book itself comes with hardbound with a jacket and ribbon. Purchase: $59.99 on Amazon.com.
25. The Rembrandts Greatest Hits
Best known for writing and performing “I’ll Be There For You,” the theme song from Friends, The Rembrandts really deserve more credit for ushering in a wave of jangly, low-fi beach-pop that’s influenced everyone from Rooney to Local Natives. The duo, who briefly broke up in 2001, recently released their sixth studio album, “Via Satellite,” in August. Purchase: The Rembrandts Greatest Hits, $13.98 on Amazon.com | “Via Satellite,” $11.99 on Amazon or stream for free on Amazon Music Unlimited.
BONUS: Friends: The Complete Series
There’s no better way to re-live the laughs than by picking up this collectible box set, containing all ten seasons of Friends on Blu-ray or DVD. The 21-disc set includes all 236 original broadcast episodes on 21 discs, plus more than 20 hours of bonus content, including never-been-seen footage and deleted scenes.
The extra content also includes a new, one-hour documentary about the making of the show, plus new interviews with the cast, writers and producers. This is a must-have for any Friends fan, or for fans of television in general. Purchase: $99.99 on Amazon.com.