My summer camp drama teacher used to say that the most successful funny bits in a performance hinge less on the actual concept than they do the number of times a bit pops up. Bringing it back for multiple rounds, he’d explain, is a knowing wink to the audience. “A callback.” It creates a personal connection between you and them, an inside joke to share. Like old friends.
Or old Friends, really, when you consider the addictive infrastructure of the iconic television series: Six friends: three men, three women, all seeking love and careers in New York City, sure. But mostly they just hang out. And, as with any inseparable crew, their banter falls into familiar rhythm; certain hilarities keep coming up, punch lines are repeated. Watch just a few episodes and you start to feel like part of the gang, comforted by the fact that no matter how rough the real world gets, Monica Geller is somewhere, on someone’s television set, manically cleaning.
In fact, if we all took a shot every time she freaked out over a mess, it would make a fantastic drinking game.
So let’s play, shall we?
PS: Before we begin it goes without saying that you should be of legal drinking age and drinking responsibly and if you don’t know what that means then play the below with marshmallows instead.
Establish some ground rules. You’ll be following these all night:
Just to reiterate, whenever Monica washes or neatens anything: fire up the shots! Stick to clear liquids because, you know, stains.
Anytime Monica cooks or serves food: take a gulp of water. (This should happen often-enough to balance out the shots.)
When Joey eats something — anything: take a bite of a sandwich. (I suggest using his favorite, a meatball sub.)
Or when he says ,“How you doin’?”: Another!
When Ross gets married, engaged or divorced: take one sip, two sips, three sips of wine, respectively.
Anytime Chandler does that strange, skip-a-beat thing with his voice when — he — talks: finish whatever glass you’ve been nursing.
Whenever Phoebe plays the guitar and sings: take a big swig of beer. Take two if the song is “Smelly Cat.”
Onto specifics: If you’re kicking things off with a title from the first two seasons (my favorite is “The One With the Baby on the Bus” –What kind of scary ass clowns came to your birthday?!) some add-on edicts:
Anytime Ross attempts to act on his feelings for Rachel: take a small — very small, as this will happen often — sip of red wine.
When Gunther attempts to act on this feelings for Rachel: See above.
Every time Rachel is oblivious to her many admirers: take a sip of white wine.
Whenever Heckles expresses his displeasure with his neighbors’ noise level: take a gulp of red or white wine. If he communicates this with some broomstick-to-ceiling action, take one for each bang.
When Susan makes a sardonic remark to Ross (so basically every time she opens her mouth): This is your hydration break. Down a Solo cup of water.
Fancy something from seasons 3, 4 or 5? Keep these in mind:
If Janice walks on screen: take a sip of straight liquor. Tip: Do it before she starts talking.
If Ross suggests that Rachel’s co-worker, Mark, has a thing for her: take shots!
If Ross yells something about being on a break: more shots!
If Monica and Chandler meet up for secret sex without anyone else (but Joey!) knowing: take a long drag of water. Thanks to Ross, you’re probably really needing it about now.
Or if you’d rather give season 6, 7, or 8 some love, consider:
Whenever there’s an appearance from Phoebe’s evil twin sister, Ursula: take a swig of beer.
When someone says the words “wedding” or “baby”: champagne all around!
Whenever there’s a celebrity cameo: Chug H2O, and lots of it.
Some suggestions for a season 9 and 10 viewing:
First of all, I hope you haven’t made it this far while drinking all in the same day.
Whenever little Emma Geller-Green appears on the screen: drink water. You want to be lucid for all of that cuteness.
Any time David the Scientist Guy makes a reference you don’t understand: polish off whatever glass of wine you’ve already got going.
And any time two of the six core friends kiss: take a round of shots.
Got all that? Good. Now go forth, have fun and don’t drive. You should also hide your phone. You and the drunken Rembrandts routine you didn’t Snapchat to your ex will thank me in the morning.