Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Welcome back to The Circuit’s collection of Pop Culture Olympiads; The third olympiad is the Central Perk Olympics, focusing on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.! From Best Ross & Rachel to Best Group Trips, we award gold, silver and bronze medals across 23 events in the Central Perk Olympics.
Opening Ceremonies: Here at The Circuit, we view pop culture content through an Olympic lens, using medals to convey our feelings for different categories. This is the third entry in our collection of Pop Culture Olympiads. We will be looking at the 1990’s phenomenon that is F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and awarding gold, silver and bronze medals in 23 coffee house categories.
Now, let’s jump off the diving board head-first into the Central Perk Olympics!
Best Joey Moments
Gold- Getting his head stuck in the door
Is there more of an iconic image that comes to mind when you think of Joey than his head floating in Monica & Chandler’s doorway?
Silver- Discovering his hand twin
Bronze- Kissing Rachel
Best Chandler Moments
Gold- Going in the box for Joey
Chandler went so far past the line he couldn’t even see it anymore, and thus his punishment fit the crime. But him proving his friendship to Joey was a really heartwarming moment.
Silver- Winning ping-pong for Monica
Bronze- Finding out they were having twins
Best Ross Moments
Gold- Blowing off his television interview for Rachel
This isn’t the last medal this moment will win. Ross is a very problematic character, but this moment above all others proved how much he truly loved Rachel.
Silver- Joking about the break in the finale
Bronze- Getting his tan
Best Rachel Moments
Gold- Her stand at the laundromat
Rachel was introduced to audiences as a spoiled daddy’s girl, but this episode went a long way towards her becoming more independent. Sure she turns everything pink, but at least she did it herself!
Silver- Getting off the plane
Bronze- Going to London to break up the wedding
Best Monica Moments
Gold- Proposing to Chandler
Was there a more stressful storyline than when Chandler and Monica went from getting engaged to breaking up to getting engaged??? There was tremendous relief when Chandler opened the door and saw Monica waiting for him amongst all the candles, and we all collectively wept.
Silver- Dancing with the turkey on her head
Bronze- Teaching Chandler the erogenous zones
Best Phoebe Moments
Gold- Giving birth to the triplets
If you didn’t tear up when she was talking to those kids before giving them up, then your soul might be lost forever. It was such a heartbreaking moment, and made us love Phoebe even more.
Silver- Getting Married
Bronze- Running in the park
Best Ross & Rachel Moments
Gold- When Rachel can’t stop laughing
It would be really easy to choose one of their two iconic moments (the break or the finale), but them trying to navigate a romantic relationship is so sweet and pure. Who didn’t just melt when Rachel couldn’t stop laughing? They instantly became the iconic television couple.
Silver- When Rachel got off the plane
Bronze- When Ross skipped his television interview
Best Group Trips
Gold- Vegas in Season 5
The signature move for this show is to take a trip at the end of the season, and the trip to Vegas is by far the best one. Chandler and Monica make up, Ross and Rachel get married and Joey meets his hand twin!
Silver- The beach house in Season 3
Bronze- Barbados in Season 9
Gold- The One With the Embryos
If you asked 100 different people what their favorite episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is, this episode would probably get at least 90 votes. We get the thrilling competition of seeing who knows whom better plus we get the incredible ending with Phoebe discovering she’s pregnant.
Silver- The One Where No One’s Ready
Bronze- The Last One
Gold- Season 3
This season delivers by far the most compelling storyline throughout the entire series with Ross and Rachel, and if they were on a break (they were). But it also brings some fantastic one-off episodes like “The One Where No One’s Ready”. Season 3 took F.R.I.E.N.D.S. from popular iconic.
Silver- Season 4
Bronze- Season 10
Gold- “WE WERE ON A BREAK!”- Ross
The most iconic storyline from the show, so naturally this is the best line from the entire series.
Silver- “How you doin?”- Joey
Bronze- “Oh. My. God.”- Janice
Best Supporting Characters
The honorary seventh member of the main six, Gunther provides countless laughs and really fleshes out the world-building in this show.
Bronze- Frank Jr.
Best Male Lead Characters
Chandler is the best character on the show. He has the best arc, he always has the best lines, and is often depicted as the audience surrogate when he points out the things we wish we could. Chandler wins almost every episode of the 10 seasons.
Best Female Lead Characters
Jennifer Anniston probably got the biggest bump from this show of the main six, and for good reason. Not only was Rachel the celebrity crush of every male on planet Earth for a ten year span, but her character arc was by far the most well-developed of the three female leads.
Gold- Chick & Duck
How can you choose between the chick and the duck?? This duo is almost as iconic as Joey & Chandler and deserve to share the gold medal.
Bronze- Mrs. Whiskerson
Best Significant Others
To be clear, this category is for significant others that are not members of the main six. While Mike was the only outsider to end up with a main character, and provided some memorable moments in Barbados, the gold has to go to Janice. Oh. My. God.
Fans continue to like Ross less and less as time goes on, and for good reason; there are a lot of character moments that haven’t aged well (the male nanny scene in particular). But there is no denying Ross is incredibly successful when it comes to his career. He had a doctorate by age 25ish, worked at the museum for a while before becoming a tenured professor at NYU. That’s pretty damn good.
Best Football Players
Geller or Brady? Ross was slinging that pigskin all over the park and racked up the touchdowns.
Best Ball Throwers
As a maniacally competitive person, I love the fire Monica brings to this game. And what an impressive catch while calling out sick!
Gold- Monica & Chandler’s/Phoebe’s/Rachel’s/Chandler & Joey’s
This is the apartment. Every character lives there, even Ross when he was younger. This is the setting of The One Where No One’s Ready and The One With the Embryo’s, the two best episodes in the series. And it’s the final shot of the show.
Silver- Joey & Chandler’s/Rachel’s/Monica & Rachel’s
Bronze- Ross & Rachel’s
Best Character Arcs
Surprisingly, these characters really don’t change all that much. Joey starts out a single actor and ends… a single actor. Ross starts out with a quick temper and really into dinosaurs and he ends… with a quick temper and really into dinosaurs. But Chandler actually does come a long way in the series. He starts out scared of commitment with a job no one knows, and ends up married with two kids and a job everyone knows! Chandler definitely has the best arc of the main six.
Best Holiday Episodes
Gold- The One With the Holiday Armadillo
You could argue that this isn’t the best holiday episode, but it probably is the most iconic, so it wins the gold.
Silver- The One Where Ross Got High
Bronze- The One With All the Thanksgivings
Best Flirt Game
How you doin? Enough said.
Closing Ceremonies: With the Central Perk Olympics in the books, we’re going to see who won the most medals. It’s important to note that we didn’t count any medals that belonged to season or episode categories for this leaderboard, as well as any character-specific categories. Only individual categories that are open to multiple characters were considered. Let’s take a look at the medal leaderboards:
Joey Tribbiani- 6 Medals (1x Gold, 3x Silver, 2x Bronze)
Ross Geller- 5 Medals (3x Gold, 2x Silver)
Monica Geller- 4 Medals (1x Gold, 2x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Rachel Green- 3 Medals (1x Gold, 1x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Janice Hosenstein- 3 Medals (1x Gold, 1x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Phoebe Buffet- 3 Medals (2x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Chandler Bing- 2 Medals (2x Gold)
Gunther- 1 Medal (1x Gold)
Chick & Duck- 1 Medal (1x Gold)
Mike Hannigan- 1 Medal (1x Silver)
Marcel- 1 Medal (1x Silver)
Frank Jr.- 1 Medal (1x Bronze)
Richard Burke- 1 Medal (1x Bronze)
Mrs. Whiskerson- 1 Medal (1x Bronze)