Twenty-five years ago this month, a runaway bride wandered into a coffee shop, met up with a high school classmate and followed her and a group of acquaintances upstairs to a comically spacious Manhattan apartment.
They’ve been there for you ever since.
“Friends” turns the big Two-Five on Sept. 22, and in honor of that milestone, here are 25 ways you can celebrate:
1. Watch the four-episode arc in which Joey lands the lead in a movie shooting in the desert outside Las Vegas. By the time the gang comes to visit, he’s working at Caesars Palace dressed as a Centurion. (Season 5, Episode 22-Season 6, Episode 1)
2. Follow Joey’s lead and find your “identical hand twin” at Caesars.
3. Follow Ross and Rachel’s lead and get married at A Little White Wedding Chapel.
4. Follow Phoebe’s lead and show up drunk to the Caesars breakfast buffet.
5. See more of Matthew Perry in Las Vegas in the 1997 romantic comedy “Fools Rush In.”
6. See more of Courteney Cox in Las Vegas in the 2001 crime drama “3000 Miles to Graceland.”
7. Grab some pals and dance around in a fountain. Just preferably not the ones at Bellagio. They’re quite deep, and management tends to frown on that.
8. Revel in the fact that Chandler’s dad starred in an all-male burlesque show in Las Vegas.
9. Cringe when you remember it was called “Viva Las Gaygas.”
10. Visit Central Perk. As part of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Burbank, California, you can spend time on the show’s actual coffee shop set and reenact a scene. (wbstudiotour.com)
11. Bring Central Perk home. A new Lego set re-creates the centerpiece of the “Friends” studio. The whopping 1,079 pieces include brick versions of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe. There’s even a tiny Gunther. ($59.99; lego.com)
12. Bring a taste of Central Perk home. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has introduced a line of special edition Central Perk coffees, available in bean, ground and pod form. There’s also a citrus berry black tea blended with cornflowers and lemon peel. ($9.95; store.coffeebean.com)
13. Purchase the apothecary table Rachel bought from Pottery Barn. She ultimately had to convince Phoebe that it came from a flea market once she learned how much Phoebe hated Pottery Barn: “This stuff is everything that’s wrong with the world!” It’s part of a new “Friends”-inspired collection that also includes mugs, pillows, tea towels and canvas art prints.($1,099; potterybarn.com)
14. Spend a night with “Friends! The Musical Parody.” (8:38 p.m. Wednesdays-Mondays in the Showroom at the D Las Vegas, $59-$89)
15. Head to the movies. As part of a special three-night event, catch 12 fan-favorite episodes at most Las Vegas theaters. (7 p.m. Sept. 23, Sept. 28 and Oct. 2; fathomevents.com)
16. Watch the movie Rachel claims is her favorite (“Dangerous Liaisons”) as well as the one that actually is (“Weekend at Bernie’s”).
17. Locate the only comfortable seats in your favorite coffee shop, sprawl all over them and refuse to leave from the minute it opens until — and, sometimes, after — it closes.
18. Pull up a seat at a high-stakes poker table, wait a few hands, then excitedly quote Phoebe: “You guys, you know what I just realized? ‘Joker’ is ‘poker’ with a ‘J.’ ”
19. Visit Rachel, Nevada. On second thought, you’ll probably want to avoid the traveling circus of heat exhaustion and E. coli that’s headed that way this month to “Storm Area 51.” Maybe visit Chandler, Arizona, instead.
20. Find Penn Jillette and see if he’ll sell you an encyclopedia — not the whole set, just the “V” volume, like the one he convinced Joey to buy. (Season 4, Episode 3)
21. Make Rachel’s “traditional” English trifle. “First, there’s a layer of ladyfingers. Then a layer of jam. Then custard, which I made from scratch. Then raspberries. More ladyfingers. Then beef sauteed with peas and onions. A little more custard, and then bananas. And then I just put some whipped cream on top.”
22. Order “The Joey Special.” (That’s two pizzas.)
23. Play “Chandler’s dumb states game,” in which you have to name all the states in six minutes or less. Try to do better than Monica, who forgot 14 of them, and Joey, who somehow ended up with 56 including “South Oregon.” Unlike Ross, you should be able to avoid listing Nevada twice.
24. Plan your next road trip from Las Vegas to New York based on Phoebe’s itinerary: “If you take the northern route, there’s a man in Illinois with a beard of bees. But on the southern route, there’s a chicken that plays tic-tac-toe.”
25. Paint the inside of your front door purple, hang a picture frame around its peephole, and then proceed to leave it unlocked for the next decade.
The One with the Trip to Vegas
Unlike during the production of the 1999 Las Vegas episodes that were filmed on a soundstage in Burbank, California, the cast of “Friends” really did go to Caesars Palace — all the way back in 1994.
Based on the audience reaction to the taping of the pilot episode, legendary TV director James Burrows (“Taxi,” “Cheers”) knew he had a hit on his hands, borrowed a Warner Bros. jet and flew the actors to the Strip before the premiere.
They watched the first episode in the air.
“Jimmy took us to dinner, and he gave us each a little money to gamble with,” Lisa Kudrow said in the book “Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV” by former NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield. “He said, ‘I want you to be aware that this is the last time that you all can be out and not be swarmed, because that’s what’s going to happen.’ “
Matt LeBlanc confirmed their relative anonymity, based on their meal at Spago. “We went to Caesars for dinner. We sat at the big round table in the middle of the room. … Nobody knew us. People kind of knew Courteney (Cox) from that ‘Dancing in the Dark’ video.”
As for that gambling money, Burrows recalled, “They wanted to gamble, and I was the only one with money. They wrote me checks. (David) Schwimmer gave me a check for $200, and Jen (Aniston) did. I should have saved them.”