Ten seasons of Friends means that the beloved sitcom’s stars will never struggle to find special moments and memories to look back on when they want to celebrate one another. If anything, they might have almost too many to choose from. Nonetheless, Jennifer Aniston managed to find the perfect Friends GIF to celebrate Lisa Kudrow’s 59th birthday on July 30.
Aniston posted three Instagram stories to mark her co-star’s special day: two photos of the duo as themselves, plus a GIF of them as Rachel Green and Phoebe Buffay. “Happy birthday @lisakudrow,” she wrote on the first photo, which shows them at the People’s Choice Awards in 2003. Next came the GIF (more on that below), with “I LOVE YOU!” added in all caps and some emojis to underscore the sentiment. Finally, she uploaded a more recent photo of her giving Kudrow a kiss on the side of her forehead, with a heart, cake, and kiss emoji added.
All of Aniston’s choices are adorable, but the Friends GIF may just take the cake. It comes from a hysterical scene in Season 5, Episode 15, “The One Where Everybody Finds Out.” If you need a refresher, that’s the episode in which the secret hookups between Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) finally become common knowledge.
Specifically, the GIF comes from the trip Ross (David Schwimmer), Rachel, and Phoebe take over to Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment for a showing. While Ross is in another room, Phoebe catches sight of Monica and Chandler getting down to business across the way. She starts loudly freaking out (“My eyes! My eyes!”), and Rachel, who already knew they were involved, has to quickly calm her down to try to keep Ross from finding out. Of course, he hears the racket, so they hilariously play off Phoebe’s reaction and distract Ross by jumping and cheering, pretending it’s the apartment that has them so hyped up.
The fact that Aniston chose that scene for Kudrow’s birthday is extremely sweet. During HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion in 2021, Kudrow shared that she “did love ‘The One Where Everybody Finds Out,’” explaining that she “had very fun things to do.” When they hilariously recreated the yelling scene during the reunion special — with all the enthusiasm of the final version — their co-stars all looked like they were trying to hold back laughter, to varying degrees of success.
While we’re always here for Friends nostalgia, it was also fun to see that Aniston included a newer photo of the two co-stars. It might have taken 17 years to get an official Friends reunion with the entire gang, but the female leads are a much more regular presence in each other’s lives. Jennifer and Lisa have their own special memories, and they probably even rival Rachel and Phoebe’s.