Monday 22 September marks the 20 year anniversary of the arrival of US sitcom Friends on our screens. Love it, hate it or entirely indifferent, it is impossible to deny its impact on pop culture. A quick scan through the show's IMDB awards section is one indication of its popularity. And the list of trends, memes and phrases the show embedded in the cultural lexicon of everyone who watched it seems endless, from The Rachel, one of the late 90s most copied hair cuts, to Janice's terrifying expression of incredulity – Oh My God!
It's hard to know if it was the show's original popularity or endless repeats on E4 and later Comedy Central that made it so eminently quotable. With the possible exception of The Simpsons, it is undoubtedly one of the most quoted shows ever and it is a common TV denominator for US sitcoms since, with recognisable story lines and scenarios showing up regularly in shows that came along to replace it – How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory specifically.
Part of the show's charm was that the audience felt as much a part of the gang of friends as the characters themselves and, over time, fans and casual viewers alike have adopted their familiar colloquialisms. Here are some of the funniest, familiar and endearing from the show's ten year run:
1. Look at me! I'm Chandler, could I be wearing any more clothes?
2. Ross: Joey had an imaginary childhood friend. What was his name?
Ross: And his occupation?
Rachel: Space Cowboy!
3. Come on, things could be worse. You could get caught between the moon and New York City... I know it's crazy, but it's true.
4. I wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle.
5. How you doin'?
6. You're, uh, you're... you're over me? When... when were you... under me?
7. Seven, seven, seven, seven.
8. OH MY GOD!
9. I honestly can't tell if I'm hungry or horny.
10. We were on a break!
11. Chandler: Condoms?
Joey: We don't know how long we're gonna be stuck here. We might have to repopulate the world.
Chandler: And condoms are the way to do that?
12. I'm breezy!
13. I'm Joey, I'm disgusting...
14. If homo sapiens were in fact "homo sapiens", could that be why they're extinct?
15. It was summer and it was hot. The lonely grey couch. 'Oh look!' cried Ned and the kingdom was theirs forever.
16. That's right, I stepped up! And if I had to, I'd pee on any one of you!
17. Monica: You were my mystery midnight kisser?
Ross: You were my first kiss with Rachel!?
Monica: You were my first kiss ever!?
18. Va fa Napoli!
19. Well, that's like summer in a bowl!
20. It was 5:30 in the morning and you had rambled on for eighteen pages! Front and back!
21. Y O U R means 'your'. Y O U apostrophe R E means 'you are'!
22. And just so you know, it's not that common, it doesn't happen to everyone AND IT IS A BIG DEAL!
23. Here come the meat sweats!
24. If you never smoke again, I'll give you seven thousand dollars!
25. You waited too long to make your move, and now you're in the friend zone.
26. Pivot, pivot, pivot! Pivot!!
27. MY EYES! MY EYES!
28. I mean I’m probably 98% happy, maybe 2% jealous. And I mean what’s 2%? That’s nothing.
29. Isn't that just kick you in the crotch, spit on your neck fantastic?
30. I'm the Holiday Armadillo!! Santa's part Jewish friend!
31. Rachel: Oh, oh, oh, he's a transpons... transpondster!
Monica: That's not even a word!
32. Two women love me. They're both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet's too small for my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight.
33. It's like the Night of the Living Dead Christmas trees.
34. They don't know that we know they know we know.