It’s been ten years, officially, since Joey, Phoebe, Ross, Rachel and the Bings walked their children out of their pastel painted apartments forever. Jennifer Aniston hasn’t strayed much from the spotlight, Courtney Cox has a successful sitcom, Lisa Kudrow pops up in indie films and narrates for Yoplait. Hell, even Joey got…Joey and that cable show we can’t remember but heard was good. The gang’s done well for themselves, but remember when things were not so great? When Ross called his fiance by Rachel’s name? When Chandler was forced onto a plane to Yemen? The Friends’ lovers, exes and flings certainly made their marks on the series, creating some of the show’s best moments. Let’s flip back through the early 2000s at the 10 best most memorable Friends exes to commemorate our own 10 years away from our favorite show.
It’s easy to forget that our introduction to Rachel is as a frazzled runaway bride. Yes, while Ross gets labeled the divorcer of the group, Rachel’s just recently left her husband(?) Barry at the alter. We see Barry again toward the end of the first season for a small fling-thing, but I think we agree with Rachel in finding him pretty forgettable as a person.
Gary was cool. He has blonde like Phoebe, fun like Phoebe, risky and kind of an odd ball. He asks her out, after all, after he tracks her down when he finds out she was abusing his lost police badge for a full day. They movie in together which feels rushed but right… and then he opens fire on a squawking bird that wakes him up. Things are pretty much over after that.
Ahh, the second wife. Ross seems to have found everything in English rose Emily; she was smart, pretty, sweet, but unfortunately not Rachel. This relationship seemed a little too doomed from the start but definitely served its purpose in the series as yet another Rossi-sm.
Janine was Joey’s roommate for a short while after Chandler moved out. Joey had feelings for Janine almost immediately, because he’s Joey and she’s Elle MacPhearson. Things are great until Janine speaks candidly about Chandler and Monica, calling him “blah” and her “way too loud.” Joey is loyal, if not many other things, so away Janine goes.
Russ was a one episode love interest for Rachel and acted just like Ross. He sounded just like Ross, looked like Ross—with slightly floppier hair. Russ was Rachel’s rebound after Ross, and while oblivious at first to their resemblance to one another, she eventually realizes that her rebound is in essence her ex. If only all life-lessons were as simple.
Carol, the mother of Ross’ son Ben and life partner of the very ’90s-haired Susan Bunch. According to the Friends Wiki, Carol and Susan were based on Marta Kauffman and David Crane’s best friends in New York. Carol and Ross shared a bond beyond divorcees and good friends. They remained in each others’ lives to raise Ben and remain a family in a way that could give the Dunphy’s and Pritchett’s a run for their money.
4. Dr. Richard Burke
I was young when Friends aired, like, fifteen and never-been-kissed young, and when Dr. Burke walked in the room, I got it. He was mature and professional and also he was Tom Selleck. This relationship made so much sense— the petite clean-freak with the tall, dark, handsome doctor—until the subject of kids came around. Richard was done with this part of his life whereas Monica was not, so they parted ways.
3. Fun Bobby
When I say “Monica Gellar” chances are you think of her dancing in her fat suit, her courtship with Chandler or her relationship with Fun Bobby! Gosh, Fun Bobby was fun! Until he wasn’t. Fun Bobby is around for awhile in Season 1 until he becomes a little too much and the two take a break. When we see him again in Season 2, something’s different and way, way less fun.
One of Phoebe’s biggest plot points came down to one big choice: Hank Azaria’s David v. Paul Rudd’s Mike. These two men loved Phoebe and had no qualms about saying so. David had popped up throughout the tenure of the show, travelling to and from Minsk, only to finally lose Phoebe to Mike in the end.. I didn’t think anything of Hank Azaria’s sex appeal until I saw him shirtless in Along Came Polly, but suddenly I found myself questioning Phoebe’s judgment. Not for the first time, of course.
If you listen very carefully, you can still hear Janice’s laugh echoing off the stoney sidewalks of Manhattan. She and Chandler are on and off throughout the entire series, and for good reason. She is fun, infectious and speaks more nasally than Fran Drescher with a sinus infection. Topping off the list of the best Friends exes is Janice, for being intimidating enough to send Chandler onto an international flight just to end their conversation.