Often, this sadness comes from relationships, such as Ross and Rachel (multiple times), Monica and Chandler, and even Monica and Richard. However, sad episodes do not exclusively fall to couples, as there are episodes that leave fans in tears for various reasons.
‘The One Where Joey Tells Rachel’
These feelings culminated in a dinner that saw Rachel and Joey basically agree to be friends and have the world’s longest hug. What makes this so sad and earns it a place over episodes such as Mr. Heckles’ death is the fact that Joey had never really been in love before. Joey never gets the chance to have a true romantic partner, and the one time he is in love in the show is here, and he does not end up in a relationship with that person.
‘The One With The Invitation’
The episode is a clip-show-esque one in which Rachel and Ross reminisce over their past relationship with one another as both make a decision about Rachel’s attendance at the wedding. The really sad part of the episode comes when Rachel decides she will not be going, saying it would be too much.
‘The One With The List’
Ross has done some shady things throughout Friends, but creating a physical list comparing the two women who he cannot decide between is one of the worst. It is hard to feel sorry for Ross, but Rachel being heartbroken by the list is hard to watch, and the fact the relationship got hit with another roadblock was sad for all fans rooting for the pair.
‘The One With Barry & Mindy’s Wedding’
However, while the age difference between the two was not an issue itself, the fact that they wanted different things was. At Barry and Mindy’s wedding, the two decided to call it quits after an episode of that looking likely. The two had a slow dance together as they enjoy what is their last night together (for a while) is pretty heartbreaking.
‘The One With Rachel’s Going Away Party’
The prospect of Rachel leaving is a hard enough one, never mind the fact that while this is going on, the gang is trying to pack up the iconic apartment for good. Rachel’s individual goodbyes to the group and her fight (turned final night) with Ross were tear-inducing.
‘The One Where Joey Moves Out’
Near the end of season 2, after Joey finds some success in TV, and after a debacle over Joey’s cutlery cleaning technique, Joey ends up believing he should have his own apartment, moving out of their iconic place. That hug at the end is an extremely bittersweet moment, and the fact Joey really moved out at the end was crushing, for a few episodes at least.
‘The One With The Fertility Test’
The road to having children was a long one for the two, and they were trying for a long time before wondering if they may be unable to conceive. In ‘The One with The Fertility Test,’ the pair do as the title suggests, and it is revealed they have almost no chance of conceiving traditionally and have to take another avenue. For someone like Monica, who had dreamed about children her whole life, and Chandler, who is desperate to make Monica happy, this is gut-wrenching.
‘The One Hundredth’
For so long, it was played for laughs since she was having her brother’s babies, but when it came to actually having them in ‘The One Hundredth,’ things got pretty heartbreaking. Phoebe clearly could not handle giving up the children as well as she thought she could, trying to convince Rachel to convince Frank to let her have one. That scene where Phoebe speaks to the triplets alone is probably the most emotional Phoebe-related moment in the entire series.
‘The One With The Morning After’
After a fight and the start of the infamous break, Ross sleeps with the woman from the copy place, and the biggest fight in Friends commences in ‘The One With The Morning After.’ From the two’s fight itself to how heartbroken Rachel is to those final few minutes where Rachel says they are over, the entire ordeal is heartbreaking for characters and fans alike.
‘The Last One’
No matter how much heartbreak Ross causes, though, no episode in Friends will ever be as sad as the finale, an episode that even over fifteen years later still tug on the heartstrings on rewatch.
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