When the first series of Friends
debuted in September 1994, it was immediately obvious there would be no need for the show to find its feet. "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate" was a confident introduction to the six lead characters, opening in the middle of an everyday conversation with the soon-to-be uncharacteristic line: "There's nothing to tell". In fact, the soap opera-style plot got complicated pretty quickly, with spoiled brat Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) moving on from her failed wedding to feelings toward nerdy/heartthrob Ross (David Schwimmer). However, no love life was more complicated than Joey's (Matt LeBlanc), with an endless stream of girlfriends that annoyed the hell out of wisecracking roommate Chandler (Matthew Perry), who only seemed to be able to connect with Janice (Maggie Wheeler), the shrillest voice in the city. Bouncing all manner of neuroses around them were Ross' obsessive sister Monica (Courteney Cox) and endearingly ditzy Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow). Premise established, Series 1 matured the characters by providing a monkey and a son for Ross. We met also meet Ross and Monica's parents Jack (Elliott Gould) and Judy (Christina Pickles), Chandler's mother (Morgan Fairchild) and Phoebe's twin sister Ursula (Kudrow, naturally). Fans loved cameos from George Clooney, Jay Leno and show creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane. But really the focus was on building to "T.O.W. Rachel Finds Out" that Ross is in love with her. --Paul Tonks
More episodes from the popular twenty-something comedy series. In 'The One with the East German Laundry Detergent', Ross and Rachel bond at the laundrette. In 'The One with the Butt', Joey gets a role in a film as a double for Al Pacino's bum, while in 'The One with the Blackout', a power-cut throws Rachel together with a hunky Italian, and Chandler gets stuck in a cash-point lobby with a beautiful woman. In 'The One Where Nana Dies Twice', Ross and Monica go to the bedside of their dying Grandmother, who pulls a bit of a Lazarus act.