Friends is one of my favorite shows of all time. I grew up watching it and dreamed of having a tight-knit circle because of Friends. If that group ever existed, I’d be the Chandler. I connected with the character because “I'm hopeless and awkward and desperate for love!" He was always my comfort character. If Chandler could eventually figure it out, I would too. Matthew Perry deserves much of the credit for making Chandler iconic.
Because of Friends, I became a lifelong Matthew Perry fan. Whenever he had a new project, I would watch it. He was just an actor I wanted to succeed and regularly watched to support. Therefore, obviously, like many Friends and Chandler fans, his unexpected death hit me hard. All the various tributes also reminded me how much I love the character of Chandler and Perry’s warm screen persona.
These are some defining Chandler episodes that shaped my journey of becoming a fan of the actor and made me watch many of the best Matthew Perry movies and TV shows.
Warning Friends spoilers are ahead. Proceed with caution.
The One With The Blackout
Friends Season 1 Episode 7, “The One With The Blackout,” isn’t the first Friends episode I saw, but it’s one of my core episode memories. Over ten seasons, Perry perfected Chandler’s awkward charisma. This episode exemplifies that strange magnetism.
In “The One With The Blackout,” he gives a master class on balancing being charming and mortifying. Most of Chandler’s dialogue in this episode happens in his mind, so that makes this interaction highly entertaining and seemingly terrifying for Jill Goodacre. He’s lucky she didn’t pepper spray him with his silent weird behavior, but that’s what makes Chandler, Chandler. He’s strange but lovable.
The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies/The One Where Eddie Won’t Go
One of Friends’ best arcs is when Joey (Matt LeBlanc) moves out of his apartment he shared with Chandler. It happens over multiple episodes, but the best ones are the ones when crazy Eddie (Adam Goldberg) becomes Chandler’s roommate. Eddie is one of the funniest Friends recurring characters. His behavior also produces some of Chandler’s funniest moments in Friends.
I still laugh so much watching Chandler interact with Eddie. Perry knew how to create great, over-the-top reactions to situations. He had the perfect meme reactions before they existed. These episodes emphasize Perry’s brilliance with facial acting and the deliverance of one-liners and responses.
The One With The Football
In some of the earlier seasons, Chandler and Joey found themselves attracted to the same women. Friends Season 3, Episode 9, “The One With The Football,” is one of the few occasions that it doesn’t almost end their friendship. It’s also one of the rare times when the girl picks Chandler first over Joey.
However, in typical Chandler fashion, he ruins it. This doesn’t stop him from gloating about it and giving us a hilarious dance. Despite lacking rhythm, Chandler has many iconic dance moments. Additionally, “The One With The Football” is just one of the funniest and best Thanksgiving episodes. Chandler’s antics help make it such a memorable one. It highlights that Perry’s comedy wasn’t just what he said but how he said his lines and the liveliness he brought to Chandler.
The One Without The Ski Trip
We all took Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Ross’s (David Schwimmer) first breakup hard. However, none of us experienced the same level of emotional distress as Chandler. Friends Season 3 Episode 17, “The One Without The Ski Trip,” is one of the best things to come from this breakup. It could have been just a filler episode but it always stood out because of how much Chandler begins to unravel because of Ross and Rachel’s breakup.
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) yelling “Look at what you’re doing to Chandler” lives rent-free in my head because of the image of Chandler desperately trying to cause a distraction to stop the fighting. It’s played for laughs but also tells you a lot about Chandler’s childhood trauma and conflict-averse personality.
The One With The Jellyfish
I believe Friends Season 4, Episode 1, “The One with the Jellyfish” is the episode in which the writers begin to hint that Chandler and Monica will end up together. It starts with Chandler arguing why they would be a good couple and ends with Monica (Courteney Cox) saying it would never happen because he peed on her. In hindsight, it’s the perfect way to start the season because of how the season ends (with them sleeping together).
But that’s not what makes this episode great and a crucial Chandler one. It’s how it becomes a mystery about what happened on the beach. Then the final reveal of Chandler being the one to pee on Monica. It’s both shocking and hilarious. Perry plays Chandler’s shame so well. The episode also has plenty of other great Chandler moments that have become unforgettable, like him yelling he knew it after Rachel tells Ross that it doesn’t happen to all guys and that it is a big deal.
The One With Chandler In A Box
You barely see Matthew Perry as Chandler in Friends Season 4, Episode 8, “The One With Chandler in a Box,” but he still manages to deliver hilarious lines and behave in very Chandler-ways even while in a box. The whole episode highlights how Chandler has become such a distinct character that even just hearing his voice, causes laughter.
The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie
Rachel and Chandler only have a few episodes that revolve around their interactions. However, it’s a rare pairing that always delivers comedy gold. I think Friends Season 4 Episode 10, “The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie” is the best of these limited episodes. It highlights how even with the best intentions, Chandler is clueless about women.
“The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie” highlights Rachel and Chandler’s opposite comedic auras. Chandler is just kind of goofy by design but Rachel tries seriousness but finds herself in silly situations or as a victim of her level of cluelessness. Combining generally goofy Chandler with unintentionally silly Rachel equals comedy magic.
The One With The Embryos
I think many will say Friends Season 4 Episode 12, “The One with The Embryos” is their favorite episode. It results in Chandler and Joey switching apartments with Rachel and Monica. It’s also how Joey becomes someone who once lived at Monica’s apartment. This episode gives us a very rare look at a confident Chandler. He knows he will win this trivia battle and he does so without the signature Chandler doubts.
Confident Chandler is just as hilarious as insecure Chandler but gives us some new hilarious facial expressions. Perry’s skillfulness with exaggerated expressions really gets used in “The One with The Embryos.”
The One With All The Kissing
Friends Season 5, Episode 2 “The One With All The Kissing” is an important episode for me. It’s the first Friends episode I ever remember watching. I remember seeing the promo for it, being very confused, and then deciding to watch the episode. I wouldn’t be a fan if my confusion over Chandler kissing everyone hadn’t turned to curiosity.
I believe I then started watching syndication episodes and occasionally caught new episodes on NBC. By Season 6, I was hooked and watched new episodes as they aired on NBC. Chandler’s antics were the main reason I started watching Friends and partially why I kept watching it.
The One Where Everyone Finds Out
Friends Season 5, Episode 14, “The One Where Everyone Finds Out,” is one of my personal favorite Friends episodes. It’s just hilarious from start to finish. It’s also one of the most romantic episodes. “The One Where Everyone Finds Out” also perfectly showcases how Perry constantly added range to Chandler. He wasn’t just this goofy guy, but he could also be surprisingly gentle, kind, and romantic.
It’s an episode that makes you laugh, smile, and say “aww” by the end. Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Perry deserve a lot of credit for giving this episode so many of its funny and pivotal moments.
Chandler will forever be one of my favorite TV characters. And I 100-percent don’t think the character would have been as lovable without Perry playing him. He just had a quality and hilarious delivery and performance that made you want to watch (and be friends with) Chandler.