Friends – Season 1 Episodes Ranked

FRIENDS — Season 1 — Pictured: (l-r) David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing — (Photo by Reisig & Taylor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

I’ve recently started re-watching Friends for the third time (yeah … it’s been a slow few months), so now seems as good a time as any to do some rankings!

As per my usual style, I’ll rank all of the episodes in each season whilst giving them a grade from A+ to F. Since there are 24 episodes per season and about 230 episodes in total, it might take me a while to get through them all!

Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:

23 – The One with the Evil Orthodontist

Rating: C-

Barry is one of the weakest Friends characters, and the fact that Rachel went back to him is insulting to her character arc.

The rest of the episode isn’t very funny either. Easily the worst of the season.

22 – The One with the Fake Monica

Rating: C

An idea that should have been golden on paper, but the Monica fraud plot doesn’t quite land.

It’s kinda fun to see Monica out of her element by experiencing a few new things, but her character hardly changes moving forwards.

21 – The One Where the Monkey Gets Away

Rating: C+

Marcel was a terrible addition to the show – even the cast hated having an animal on set!

The plot to this one is far too cheesy for my liking, and every character feels like caricatures.

20 – The One with the Thumb

Rating: C+

I know it was still early doors for the show – only episode three! – but “The One with the Thumb” hardly makes an impression.

The characters start to feel a little more fleshed out, but we aren’t quite there yet.

19 – The One with the Monkey

Rating: C+

The episode that introduced us to Marcel the monkey. No matter how funny it is, I’ll always be resentful towards it for that fact alone.

18 – The One with Two Parts: Parts 1 & 2

Rating: C+

Did this one need to be a two-parter?

Friends went on to do much more impactful double episodes since “The One with Two Parts”, so the original feels really undercooked by comparison.

17 – The One with the Ick Factor

Rating: C+

A premise so baffling I’m amazed it got green-lit.

Monica sleeping with a minor is a dark moment for her character, but the rest of the episode almost makes up for it.

16 – The One with George Stephanopoulos

Rating: B-

It’s still early doors for the cast, but the ladies’ slumber party is a good bit of friendship bonding and character development.

I’m too young to know who George Stephanopoulos is, so that plotline went way over my head.

15 – The One with the Dozen Lasagnas

Rating: B-

It has a fun cold open, but the rest of “The One with the Dozen Lasagnas” is pretty standard.

The Paolo plotline is a little annoying in these early episodes, but I don’t mind trudging through it when Chandler and Joey finally get their foosball table!

14 – The One with the Stoned Guy

Rating: B-

Quite an odd premise for an episode, but I’m glad Monica stood up for herself against the stoned guy.

13 – The One with the Butt

Rating: B-

The episodes with Joey’s acting adventures tend to be some of the better ones, but “The One with the Butt” isn’t quite there yet.

It’s a little out-there as premises go, but it’s not too bad.

12 – The One with the Sonogram at the End

Rating: B-

The first season of Friends focuses way too much on the emotional drama rather than the comedy, but “The One with the Sonogram at the End” strikes an endearing balance.

Points deducted for Carol’s actress never appearing in another episode after this – it’s really jarring!

11 – The One with the Candy Hearts

Rating: B-

A classic Chandler / Janice episode, but that scene is where this plotline peaks.

The ladies’ B-plot of burning their old items doesn’t feel like a Friends episode at all, but the jokes are alright.

10 – The One with Mrs. Bing

Rating: B

These ten episodes from now are ones I thoroughly enjoyed – it’s a shame that’s only about half of the season, but that’s not too bad.

“The One with Mrs. Bing” does a great job of driving a wedge between Ross and Chandler, and Chandler especially gets some great character-driven moments.

9 – The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate (a.k.a The Pilot)

Rating: B

I’m of two minds when it comes to the pilot – it’s the least “Friends” feeling of all the episodes, and yet you can tell the writers tried to cram in as many good jokes as possible.

Not everything lands, but each moment has become so iconic over time that I have to rank it in the top half.

8 – The One with the East German Laundry Detergent

Rating: B

Some of the early Ross / Rachel episodes are just about as charming as it gets.

It’s fun to see Rachel starting to stand up for herself, and Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer already have electric chemistry.

7 – The One with the Boobies

Rating: B+

One of those classic sitcom premises where everything gets out of control oh so fast.

Everyone trying to get back at each other leads to some proper sitcom hijinks, and I’m all for it.

6 – The One Where Nana Dies Twice

Rating: B+

Quite an underrated episode, the moment to moment jokes in “The One Where Nana Dies Twice” makes it stand out.

The initial shock of Nana still being alive is a big laugh, and then the Wake afterwards has loads of funny gags.

5 – The One with the Birth

Rating: B+

“The One with the Birth” is so emotional and climactic that it could have easily been the season finale.

The Ross / Susan feud is Season One’s most underrated aspect, so them getting locked in a closet leads to great moments. Also, the rest of the cast get some memorable B-plots too.

4 – The One Where Underdog Gets Away

Rating: B+

The very first Thanksgiving episode, and I forgot how good it was.

The gang getting locked out of Monica’s apartment is a great premise, and the ending where they learn to appreciate each other’s company rather than the occasion is just about as heart-warming as it gets.

3 – The One Where Rachel Finds Out

Rating: A-

The Season One finale, and the true birth of the Ross / Rachel will they / won’t they extravaganza.

On top of all the relationship drama, Chandler has some really funny one-liners. A really strong end to the season.

2 – The One with All the Poker

Rating: A-

David Schwimmer frequently names “The One with All the Poker” as one of his favourite episodes, and I can see why.

The cast have fully gelled by this point, and every character is acting at the top of their game. An early classic.

1 – The One with the Blackout

Rating: A

“The One with the Blackout” was when Friends was truly born.

The introduction of Paolo throws a nice spanner in the works, the cat mauling Ross is hilarious, but Chandler is the real MVP of this one – his awkward interactions with Jill Goodacre are some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and they single-handedly make this a top 10 episode.

Season Rating: B-

This season wasn’t my favourite – only half the episodes were worth my time, but that’s still better than I remembered. I used to rank it as the worst season, but there’s no chance that still holds up!

And now, as is customary for these types of lists, let’s look at the stats for the season:

  • 3A (13%)
  • 13B (57%)
  • 7C (30%)

As these lists go on and the stats grow, it’ll be interesting to see how Friends fares against some of the other shows I’ve done this for!

Aaaaand that’s my list. While you wait for me to catch up on Season 2, you can check out some of my latest blog posts below:

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