More than 20 years since its debut, the television show Friends remains some of the most terrific/awful entertainment available. While Seinfeld is aging like fine wine, the warts of Friends — the incessant casual homophobia, the fact the best of friends can’t pick up on obvious sarcasm from each other — grow with each passing day. It’s still eminently watchable — Joey drinking a gallon of milk remains the height of comedy — but the fact that it’s so easily rewatchable also allows us to spot new flaws.
One you might not have noticed before: Friends characters are mostly awful people who ended relationships for incredibly stupid reasons. By my count, the six idiots on this show dumped love interests 37 times, and almost all of them were for incredibly idiotic reasons. And as any sane person in 2016 would do, I ranked those 37 dumpings from smartest to stupidest.
A few rules to the list:
1. Joey, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, Rachel, and Monica had to be the ones doing the dumping. Besides, any time someone dumped one of these six people, it was a smart move. Mona dumping Ross needs zero explanation.
2. Any dumping that was mutual or blurry was excluded. So Joey and Rachel calling it quits doesn’t make it here.
Here are 37 Friends breakups ranked, starting with the intelligent ones and closing with the stupidest one in the show’s 10-season history, along with when it happened and the reason for the breakup:
37. Season 1, Episode 3
Breakup: Monica dumps Alan.
Reason: Monica just wasn’t into Alan.
Analysis: Totally fine.
36. Season 5, Episode 10
Breakup: Rachel dumps Danny.
Reason: Danny takes baths with his sister and very likely has sex with her.
Analysis: No issues here, except with the person who stood up in the writers room and proclaimed, “I know a good reason for Rachel to not date Danny.”