Here Are Some Of The Best And Worst Friends Episodes Ever
Let’s start by saying there are no “bad” Friends episodes, just those that are better than others. We’re here to reminisce about Ross and Rachel’s Vegas shenanigans and the infamous Gellar Cup during Thanksgiving. Not to mention all of the episodes where some of our favorite celebrities guest star (cough… Brad Pitt… cough).
So, take this ranking as you will because it’s, as Joey so eloquently says, “a moo point.” It’s time to take a page out of Ross’ book and pivot around in your chair because you’re going to want to get comfortable reading this “best and worst” list!
Best: “The One In Vegas, Parts 1 & 2”
We’re going to group together season five’s episodes 23 and 24, “The One in Vegas, Parts 1 & 2.” These two episodes embody everything that is the television series, Friends. Joey’s big acting break is put on hiatus, and he’s working as an atmosphere character at Caesar’s Palace. Pheobe accidentally spills the beans to Chandler about Monica’s lunch date with Richard. Oops.
Ross and Rachel, of course, have a happy hour that ends up with them drawing on their faces with a permanent marker and eloping. Not to mention Joey finds his “hand twin” right before getting thrown out of the casino with Pheobe. See, the Friends antics fans love.
Worst: “The One With Monica’s Thunder”
As most shows do, sometimes Friends did bottle episodes, meaning they used one setting and as few non-regular cast members as possible. In the case of “The One with Monica’s Thunder,” the six friends are in the apartment, with the plot surrounding Monica being mad at Rachel.
Why? Because she made out with Ross on Monica and Chandler’s engagement night. Honestly, this episode was probably one of the worst ways to start season seven. It was boring, and there were hardly any jokes that stuck around. Not to mention two of the main six, Joey and Phoebe, were mere afterthoughts.
Best: “The One In Massapequa”
Oh, to see Phoebe annoyed with a person is truly something to behold, especially when that person is her on-screen boyfriend portrayed by Alec Baldwin. Of course, “The One In Massapequa” wouldn’t be complete without Rachel and Ross’ wedding stories, Monica’s bomb of a speech, and Ross making Monica cry during his speech.
To say this is one of the “best” episodes would be putting it mildly. Because if you didn’t laugh until tears were streaming down your face at what Phoebe calls Parker at the end of the episode, then you don’t have a funny bone in your body.
Worst: “The One Where Joey Moves Out”
The Friends fandom might be a bit biased when it comes to the season two episode, “The One Where Joey Moves Out,” because no one wanted to see Joey and Chandler separated. Granted, it did pave the way for a fantastic episode later down the line, but at the time, ‘no thanks’ to this one.
It’s ironic, because their separation was justified, which made us think the episode could have been funnier. And who can forget the secondary plotline of Ross making a fuss over Rachel wanting to get a tattoo? Even back in the ’90s, that wasn’t alright! It’s her body, Ross. Let her do what she will.
Best: “The One With The Ball”
You know you have good friends when you’re able to do the most mundane activity for hours on end together. Well, “The One with the Ball” had us watching Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, and Joey toss around a ball for over ten hours.
Aside from the main ball-throwing plot, Rachel buys a hairless cat for a grand, Pheobe moves in with a guy and breaks up with him the next morning, and Chandler is called a “dropper.” We believe this is one of the best episodes because we’re just as speechless as the gang is when Phoebe puts the ball on the table. We were invested in that game, Phoebs!
Worst: “The One With Phoebe’s Ex-Partner”
This season three episode is considered one of the “worst” because no one should be allowed to betray Phoebe, and Ross and Rachel’s relationship only makes us want to pull our hair out. “The One with Phoebe’s Ex-Partner” revolves around Phoebe’s “friend” and how she exploits the song “Smelly Cat” for financial gain.
On top of that drama, Ross and Rachel are doing what they do best, being jealous and fighting over nothing. All in all, the episode is so full of unnecessary drama that the viewer wants to pretend it never aired.
Best: “The One Where Everybody Finds Out”
What’s not to like about season five’s “The One Where Everybody Finds Out?” For most of the season, the viewer watches as Monica and Chandler keep their relationship a secret, only to have one friend find out every couple of episodes. The secret finally ends with this episode, and we’re left with the lovely plot of “they don’t know that we know that they know.”
Of course, it’s considered one of the best because of Phoebe’s awkward flirting skills while pretending she’s attracted to Chandler. And let’s not forget the ending where Ross finally finds out and screams at a window. Yes, “at.” Not “out.”
Worst: “The One With The Tiny T-Shirt”
Unfortunately, “The One With The Tiny T-Shirt” is another season three episode that fell flat. It shows Rachel going on a hurried date with Mark, a guy from her office, not long after her split from Ross. All to get back at him for being annoyingly jealous. Keep in mind that Mark is one of the reasons for their split. Eye roll.
The episode also shows Monica dating Pete, even though she is not attracted to him. Everything going on in “The One With The Tiny T-Shirt” has the viewers sighing and wanting to tell the friends to take a page out of Frankie’s book and relax!
Best: “The One With The Football”
In “The One With The Football,” viewers see Monica and Ross in all of their sibling competition glory. What’s at stake? An ugly troll doll that is the trophy of the infamous Thanksgiving day American football game known as the “Gellar Bowl.”
While the other friends want a fun game before feasting, the two Gellars are out for blood, making the episode beyond relatable and funny. Oh, viewers also get to learn that Joey thought Peter Pan and Tinkerbell are from the Netherlands instead of Neverland. So, there’s that.
Worst: “The One That Could Have Been”
Friends fans usually agree that flashback/fat Monica episodes are typically uncomfortable. “The One That Could Have Been” is even worse because writers decided to make it a two-parter. A bold move if we’ve ever seen one! The duel episodes show an alternate reality for the friends.
Monica is fat, Ross is married to a lesbian, Rachel marries Barry, Phoebe is a stockbroker, Joey still works on Days of our Lives, and Chandler tries to become a writer. It’s a strange two-part concept that was not necessary for the series. At least the friends fell back into their “regular” routine in the second part. Still, we could have done without it.
Best: “The One With The Rumor”
While the Thanksgiving episodes are some of the most popular of the series, “The One with the Rumor” is arguably one of the best. Besides the obvious appeal of the gang’s typical holiday banter, Jennifer Aniston’s then-husband Brad Pitt guest stars. His character, Will, brings to light the origins of the “I Hate Rachel Green Club” and “the hermaphrodite cheerleader from Long Island” rumor.
Pretty much, Will and Ross were part of the club and started the rumor. It’s all just so absurdly funny that the viewer can’t help but feel part of the back and forth between Ross, Rachel, and Will. Bravo, writers!
Worst: “The One With The Memorial Service”
Out of the main six characters on Friends, there is one that fans began to dislike over time: the one and only self-centered Ross Gellar. This dislike was put to the test in the ninth season during “The One with the Memorial Service.” The entire episode revolves around Ross and Chandler pranking each other on their college alumni page.
It finally ends with Chandler writing that Ross has died, but no one from their graduating class seems to care. Of course, the gang throws Ross a fake memorial service. The entire episode relies way too much on the bad parts of Ross’ personality, making for pretty bland television.
Best: “The One With The Cop”
Thanks to “The One with the Cop,” no Friends fan can move without yelling “pivot, pivot, PIVOT!” over and over again. Aside from Ross, Chandler, and Rachel attempting to get Ross’ new couch up the stairs after he refuses to pay a delivery fee, the episode shows Phoebe finding a wallet that contains a cop badge.
After using the badge for her gain, she accidentally threatens the officer who owns the badge. Whoops. Of course, the altercation results in the cop asking Phoebe out instead of arresting her. The episode is full of subtle and physical humor that is the epitome of Friends.
Worst: “The One With the Evil Orthodontist”
With all the personal growth viewers see in Rachel during the first season, it was strange when she fell back into her old ways during “The One With the Evil Orthodontist.” Even though any episode with Barry the orthodontist is creepy, this episode brought his creep level to new heights.
In the episode, Rachel and Barry kiss on his exam chair, even though he is engaged to Mindy. Oh, and then Mindy asks Rachel to be her maid of honor even though Barry is Rachel’s ex-fiance. Awkward. Honestly, no one is sure why these two keep falling for the sleazeball. But we are sure that this episode is best forgotten.
Best: “The One With The Jellyfish”
“The One with the Jellyfish” is a masterpiece because Chandler has to pee on Monica’s jellyfish sting, and Ross yells, “we were on a break!” to Rachel after criticizing her grammar in an 18-page letter. The phrase became a staple in pop culture and was something that had us laughing to the point of tears.
This episode has three different plots of varying levels of humor. The first has Chandler, Joey, and Monica at the beach. Second, Phoebe learns about her birth mother. Third is Ross and Rachel doing what they do best, talking about their future before breaking up yet again. The mixture of dark humor and wit is genius.
Worst: “The One With Phoebe’s Rats”
As far as mundane and overlooked episodes go, “The One with Phoebe’s Rats” is far up on the list. The episode is full of weird drama, ranging from Joey trying not to sleep with Rachel as well as Ross’ new nanny, Molly, to Phoebe bringing rats to Rachel’s birthday party.
The episode did nothing for the rest of the series’ plot and didn’t need to happen to move forward with the story. All viewers got out of “The One With Phoebe’s Rats” was some awkward encounters between Rachel and her unlikable co-worker who is trying to put the moves on her.
Best: “The One Where Ross Is Fine”
“The One Where Ross Is Fine” might be one of the most relatable episodes on Friends. At least, the most relatable when it comes to Ross. In the middle of the awkward Joey-and-Rachel love story that no one asked for in season 10, we had Ross’ mental breakdown.
For the happiness of one of his best friends and the mother of his child/love of his life, Ross puts on a brave face. That is, until one night, he has too much to drink at his dinner party and starts insisting that he’s “fine” with everything, while on the verge of hysterics. Same, Ross, same.
Worst: “The One With Chandler’s Work Laugh”
Season five’s “The One With Chandler’s Work Laugh” was an absolute mess. Aside from the running gag that no one knows what Chandler does for a living, viewers could have done without this episode. Having an entire episode centered around how Chandler is a suck-up at work and uses an annoying laugh to engage his bosses is not something the people needed.
Throw in Ross taking Janice out on a date because his ex-wife Emily is remarrying, and you have a disappointing middle-of-the-season episode. A sad feat, considering the mid-season episodes are traditionally some of the best.
Best: “The One Where No One Is Ready”
“Look at me. I’m Chandler! Could I be wearin’ any more clothes?” is one Joey quote that even non-Friend‘s fans know. “The One Where No One Is Ready” is an early episode that showed the intelligence and wit behind the writing of the show. In this episode, the entire story is filmed in the apartment, with Ross trying to get everyone ready and out the door to a benefit.
This episode is considered to be one of the best because it shows how the writing and characters can engage the audience, even though they’re staying in one location — no easy task for a 20-minute long program.
Worst: “The One Where Ross Dates A Student”
“The One Where Ross Dates A Student” is one of those episodes that you sit back and shake your head at because you have no idea how the script was approved. Granted, Ross goes through a lot when it comes to his love life. That doesn’t mean they should have written in an episode where he, a college professor, starts to date one of his students!
Not only could the relationship get him fired, the entire situation is completely ridiculous. The only saving grace to this episode is that fans got to see Bruce Willis as a guest star. Still, that’s not enough to warrant the ick factor.
Best: “The One With Ross’ Tan”
“The One With Ross’ Tan” is great for so many reasons. The best being, of course, the awful spray tan job that happens to Ross. We thank him for going back to the salon, only to make his situation that much worse. It’s genius because the college professor was unable to follow simple instructions, resulting in the tan doubling up on his front with nothing on his back.
This episode also includes Rachel and Joey’s awkward first date that made them realize they’re better off as friends, a side-story in the plot that viewers could not be more thankful for.
Worst: “The One With The Ick Factor”
Like most shows, the first season usually is about working out all of the kinks with character development and the humor-to-seriousness ratio. Friends season one is no different, as fans saw with “The One with the Ick Factor.” In the episode, Monica lies about her age while out on a date with a college student.
That might not seem so horrible, but it got worse, way, way, worse. After the two slept together, the guy admits to only being in high school. Although the writers tried to cover up the serious issue with humor, fans couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable throughout the entire episode.
Best: “The One With The Prom Video”
More than 33 million households tuned in to watch the premiere of “The One with the Prom Video,” making it one of the most-watched Friends episodes of all time. Viewers looked on as Monica, Rachel, and Ross got ready for their high school prom in the ’80s — cue the poofy sleeves on the dresses and everyone’s huge hair (hi, Ross’ afro).
This episode is considered to be one of the best not only because of the marvelous prom content, but because viewers got to see how much Ross always cared for Rachel. Did anyone else cry when Rachel’s date showed and Ross didn’t have to take her anymore?
Worst: “The One With The Bullies”
To say the season two episode “The One with the Bullies” was unmemorable is putting it nicely. The episode followed a few different plot lines, one of which was Ross and Chandler being bullied off their couch at Central Perk by two men who then threaten to beat them up if they ever return.
Throw that in next to Monica wearing fake breasts at her new diner job after she loses all of her money on bad investments, and Phoebe running over her dad’s dog, and you have a mess of an episode. All in all, this one fell flat, and most people don’t remember that it ever aired.
Best: “The One With The Late Thanksgiving”
Of course, “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” is one of the all-time best Friends episodes. Also known as “The One with the Floating Heads,” the episode revolves around Monica not wanting to make Thanksgiving dinner because of the stress. She winds up being talked into it, only to have everyone show up late except Chandler.
This episode is one of the best because it showed just how well the six friends work together, even if they’re fighting through a door. But, let’s face it, fans love this episode because it ends on a very happy note, Chandler and Monica receiving the call about their adoption being approved!
Worst: “The One With The Stripper Crisis”
“The One with the Stripper Crisis” is one of the more cringe-worthy episodes in the Friends catalog. All because of a slight miscommunication between Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe, fans witness Danny DeVito playing a stripper. Even though any guest appearance by DeVito is typically stellar, this was too awkward to watch.
To make the episode worse, Ross figures out that his first kiss with Rachel in college was actually with Monica. That means that Monica’s first kiss was with her brother! Time to cherish something else, Monica. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time the series alluded to incest in the Gellar family (weird cousin, anyone?).
Best: “The One With The Embryos”
“The One with the Embryos” is one of the staple episodes that drove an entirely new storyline for the characters. In the episode, Monica and Rachel face-off against the guys in a game of “who knows who best.” The bet? The winner gets the girls’ apartment.
The girls end up losing and have to move out, giving viewers the first sneak peek into what life will be like in the coveted apartment without Monica at the helm. This episode is considered to be one of the best moments in the series and the peak of Friends’ writing and acting. We were introduced to Miss Chanandler Bong, for crying out loud!
Worst: “The One With Phoebe’s Husband”
A low point in season two was the episode “The One with Phoebe’s Husband.” One of the best parts about Phoebe’s character is that her past is up for interpretation, making it great for character one-liners but not an entire episode. This episode reveals that Phoebe is married to a gay ice dancer named Duncan for the sole purpose of him receiving a green card.
The rest of the episode was just as weird, revealing Joey’s adult film career, Chandler’s third body part, and Rachel protesting Ross’ new girlfriend. And after all that, Duncan tells Phoebe he’s straight. Insert mega eye-roll here.
Best: “The One With All The Resolutions”
“The One with All the Resolutions” is considered one of the best because not only was it for the turn of the century, but we got to see Ross in leather pants. This episode shows the friends as they pledge to turn a new leaf in 2000, from Ross wearing leather pants on a first date to Rachel vowing not to gossip.
Arguably, one of the best moments in this episode is when Ross is unable to put the hot, sticky leather pants back on. The water, baby powder, lotion mixture he concocts does nothing but make a mess and leave the audience in a laughing fit on the floor.
Worst: “The One With The Breast Milk”
“The One with the Breast Milk” is one of those episodes that fans want to pretend never happened. In the episode, Chandler and Joey freak out when they walk in on Carol breastfeeding Ben. Of course, that turns into the friends talking about it and actually trying the breast milk.
Honestly, there was no reason to make an entire episode based on one joke about adults trying breast milk. One joke is even pushing it! Everything in the episode seemed a bit forced and was beyond cringe-worthy. This episode is not considered to be one of the series’ finer moments.