Shows to Watch When You’re Anxious: “Friends”

Alicia’s list of episodes to watch and avoid when you’re feeling anxious.

Have you ever come home from school or work and felt so unbelievably nervous that trying to do any of your work makes you more nervous? Have you ever been really scared for the future of our world? Have you ever felt alone or scared? 

It is totally normal to feel any of these things, but you shouldn’t always feel like this. So when you feel like this you need to turn to a show. Here are some of my favorite shows with ratings, episodes to stay away from, descriptions, and opinions.

The first show I would ever suggest to anyone is Friends. Yes, it is very well known, but it is also my favorite show to watch whenever I’m anxious. It not only makes me laugh, but it makes me feel like I’m part of the group. Friends is a sitcom about a group of six friends who live in New York City. There’s Rachel the preppy princess with a heart of gold, Phoebe the weirdo who’s been through it all, Ross the mega dinosaur nerd, Chandler the sarcasm king, Monica the cook who cleans, and last but certainly not least Joey the fun loving ladies man. 

Not only is this one of the best ensembles, but the stories are always well written. Also, every season is amazing in it’s own way! There’s tons of laughs, tons of love, and tons of friendship. 

Episodes to stay away from: 

Season 1, Episode 8: The One Where Nana Dies Twice

This episode is a bit of a tough one. Not only do Ross and Monica have to deal with the passing of their grandmother, but Chandler questions why his colleague sets him up with a guy. The writers handled this episode with grace. They kept it light, but also allowed the viewers to see into Monica and Ross’s family dynamic. I wouldn’t recommend watching this episode if you’re ever feeling anxious!

Season 2, Episode 3: The One Where Heckles Dies

I think the title is self explanatory. The group’s downstairs neighbor passes away and Chandler spirals when he realizes that he was a lot like Mr. Heckles when he was younger. This episode wasn’t upsetting for me at all, but death is a heavy topic and once again the show does what’s right. There were moments of sadness, but also moments of discovery and forgiveness. I wouldn’t recommend watching this episode if you’re anxious.

Season 2, Episode 20: The One Where Old Yeller Dies

In this episode Phoebe realizes that her mother never let her watch the ends of movies (Bambi, Old Yeller, Charlotte’s Web, etc) and she decides to watch them all. After watching them she grows depressed and believes that everything is terrible in the world. Although the storyline with Tom Selleck’s character Richard is quite hysterical, I recommend not watching this episode if you’re feeling anxious. 

Season 3, Episode 15: The One Where Ross & Rachel Take A Break

This episode is an important one because it is the beginning to a really tough scene between Ross and Rachel. Ross is jealous of Rachel’s new work friend Mark and Rachel is tired of his insecurities getting in the way of their relationship. They have a fight towards the end of the episode that leaves the viewers wondering. Then, we see Ross cheat on Rachel which leads us to the next episode. I wouldn’t recommend watching this if you’re feeling anxious. 

Season 3, Episode 16: The One With The Morning After

Leaving off on a major cliffhanger, we find out that Ross cheats on Rachel. Ross uses the technicality of them being on a break as a reason as to why he did what he did. It’s a tough scene to watch because of the gravity of Ross’s mistake. Plus, it’s always hard to see a character you love so much fall so hard. Rachel’s reaction is intense because she no longer sees the man she fell in love with in the first place. If you’re feeling anxious, I recommend not watching this episode. 

Season 4, Episode 2: The One With The Cat

In this episode Phoebe finds a stray cat and believes it is her mother who committed suicide. Later on in the episode the group find out the cat’s name is Julio and belongs to a little girl. The group finds it hard to tell Phoebe the truth and that leads to her having to say goodbye to her mom. This episode is hard to watch mainly because Phoebe never had a chance to say goodbye before her mom left. I recommend not watching this episode if you’re feeling anxious. 

Season 7, Episode 13: The One Where Rosita Dies

Although the name of this episode leads you to believe something terrible has happened, Rosita is the name of Joey’s favorite chair, so no need to worry there. However, this is one of the hardest episodes for me to watch. On Phoebe’s first day at work and calls a suicidal office manager and has to talk him down. For me, I can’t watch it because it hurts to see others in pain. Plus, it is a super sensitive topic and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable with hearing about something attempting to take their life. I wouldn’t recommend watching this episode if you’re feeling anxious. 

Season 8, Episode 17: The One With The Birthing Video

In this episode Joey faces a case of depression and has to deal with potentially losing his best friend over the woman he loves. I only suggest not watching this because again, it hurts when you see someone you care for hurt so badly. I wouldn’t recommend watching this if you’re feeling anxious. 

I hope that those reminders help you if you’re feeling up to watching Friends! Now, for my favorite part! My favorite episodes to watch! 

My Favorite Episodes!

Season 1, Episode 7: The One With The Blackout

Starting in Season 1, my favorite episode has to be The One With The Blackout. I love this episode so much! It encapsulates each character perfectly and also leaves you laughing. In this episode there is a major blackout that leaves the friends in Monica’s apartment. Well, except for Chandler who’s locked in an ATM vestibule with Jill Goodacre. One of my favorite lines from this episode is:

“New York City has no power / And the milk is getting sour / But to me it is not scary / ‘Cause I stay away from dairy.” 

Season 3, Episode 2: The One Where No One is Ready

Next up, from Season 3 is The One Where No One is Ready. I love this episode mainly because of how funny each character is. In this episode Ross has an important function to go to with his friends, but as the title says, no one is ready. During the episode, Ross is counting down the seconds until they have to leave in hopes of making everyone move faster. Monica has just broken up with her long time boyfriend Richard and is hung up on him, leaving him countless phone calls in hopes that he would pick up. Joey and Chandler are fighting over a chair in Monica’s living room which leads to Joey taking all of Chandler’s clothes and putting them on while doing squats. Phoebe shows up to Monica’s apartment ready for the evening when Chandler and Joey are fighting and accidentally throws hummus onto Phoebe’s dress. Meanwhile, Rachel is having trouble finding the perfect outfit to impress all of Ross’s colleagues. One of my favorite lines from this episode is:

Joey: All right, they got water, orange juice, and what looks like cider.

Chandler: Taste it. 

Joey: (Joey takes a drink) Yeah, it’s fat. I drank fat!

Chandler: Yeah I know, I did that two minutes ago.

Season 10, Episode 13: The One Where Joey Speaks French

Lastly, The One Where Joey Speaks French might be my all time favorite episode ever! In this episode Joey has an audition where he has to speak French. Knowing Joey, this wasn’t something he could do. So, he decides to ask Phoebe for help since she is fluent in French. He begins to speak gibberish which is the best part of the whole episode. Phoebe goes to Joey’s audition and tells the director to take pity on him. Joey gets let down easy and leaves with a little bit of dignity.

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