The Best 'Friends' Christmas Episode Is "The One With The Routine," Hands Down
When Friends landed on Netflix back in January 2015, it instantly became the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you've been a loyal fan since the show first aired, or are just now tuning in, there's really no bad place to start marathon-watching. But with Christmas right around the corner (and entirely too many cheesy Christmas movies to choose from), why not get into the spirit of the season with everyone's favorite 20-something Manhattanites? There's nine total Friends Christmas episodes in all, but — hands down— the best Friends Christmas episode is "The One With The Routine" (sorry, "Holiday Armadillo" fans).
In terms of believability, there were plenty of things about Friends that would have never happened in real life (the most obvious being that all six friends, despite having "jobs," somehow managed to spend 99 percent of every day together). But one things Friends never did that a lot of their '90s sitcom contemporaries were doing at the time, was to incorporate seemingly sporadic, highly-choreographed dance numbers (I'm looking at you, Full House and Saved By the Bell). The one time Friends did do this, however, was in Season 6's holiday episode, "The One With The Routine." And oh, what a routine it was.
The plot of "The One With The Routine" primarily revolves around a taping of Dick Clark's New Years' Rockin' Eve special. Joey's roommate, Janine (Elle Macpherson), is a dancer who gets a gig as a "party person" on the special, and invites Joey, Monica, and Ross to be "party people," too. Monica and Ross, lifelong fans of Rockin' Eve, are determined to get some TV time by being selected to dance on one of the stand-out platforms. In an attempt to prove their platform worthiness, the siblings break into their middle school dance routine, which includes a Dirty Dancing-style lift moment at the end. Cheesy? Sure. Embarrassing? Definitely. But what made it so great was that it was simple enough to be believable, while also managing to be pretty endearing at the same time.
The rest of the episode has the gang hunting for their Christmas presents from Monica, which definitely lends itself to some funny moments. One of the best being when the group, thinking they've found the stash of presents, instead finds a note from Monica that reads: "Dear losers, do you really think I would hide presents under the couch? P.S. Chandler, I knew they'd break you."
Many Friends fans may, however, count "The One With The Holiday Armadillo" as their top Christmas episode — another hilarious holiday episode from the '90s NBC comedy series. Seeing Ross dressed up as a giant armadillo is funny, sure. Watching Chandler arrive in Santa attire shortly thereafter, followed by Joey joining as Superman, is a sweet showing of the friends' commitment to each other and their families. In case you forgot, by the way, this all happens because Ross wants to educate his son, Ben (played by a young Cole and Dylan Sprouse), about Hanukkah. Since he can't find the costume he wants to surprise Ben in, Ross invents the "Holiday Armadillo." I feel like there are plenty of dress-up directions he could have gone in (or, like, more easily accessible props he could have used?) before arriving at "Santa's Tex-Mex Friend," but I don't know... Maybe they just happened to have that crazy thing laying around in the network costume closet?
Regardless, in the unlikely event that neither "The One With The Routine" nor "The One With The Holiday Armadillo" are to your holly, jolly liking, there's seven more Christmas-centric Friends episodes for you to choose from — all of them merry, all of them with varying levels of hijinks that will undoubtedly get you in the holiday groove. Of course, if you'd rather be a Grinch (no judgements!) and just want some good old fashioned, regular Friends fun — fear not! — any one of the 227 non-Christmas episodes will definitely do the trick.