We’re into the golden era of Friends now, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an outright mediocre episode from this point on. So let’s get to some ranking!
Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:
25 – The One with the Screamer
I don’t like “boy who cried wolf” story archetypes, and “The One with the Screamer” follows that structure almost exactly.
Ben Stiller is a fun cameo, but I hate every scene where Ross isn’t believed. Also, Phoebe has a boring B-plot where she waits on a phone. That’s it.
24 – The One Where Rachel Quits
Rachel quitting is alright as plotlines go, but I found the Ross B-plot where he fills in for a girl scout to be extremely dumb.
23 – The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel
Chandler gets over a messy break-up, and Ross tries to teach his son that real men play with GI Joes instead of girly dolls. So yeah, “The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel” hasn’t aged all too well.
22 – The One with the Race Car Bed
Monica gets a race car bed. That’s it. That’s the plot. Also, Janice cheats on Chandler.
21 – The One with the Doll House
The doll houses are cool props, but otherwise there isn’t much to write home about.
20 – The One with the Chick. And the Duck
I’ve always found the inclusion of the chick and duck to be an odd creative choice, and it all stems from this average episode.
19 – The One with Phoebe’s Ex-Partner
The Phoebe plotline where her old songwriting partner returns is okay, but it’s the Chandler-girlfriend-prosthetic-leg story that always cracks me up.
18 – The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break
The beginning of the end of Ross and Rachel, and while it’s not perfect just yet it sets the ball rolling nicely.
17 – The One with the Giant Poking Device
The titular poking device has become one of Friends’ iconic cast images, but otherwise there’s nothing much to shout about.
16 – The One with the Jam
Good stuff, but at the end of the day it’s a filler story about Joey’s love of jam.
15 – The One Without the Ski Trip
Chandler’s dance of attention-seeking self-pity is a highlight of Season 3, and the bra-wire conversation is great, but “The One Without the Ski Trip” feels a little bitter after the Ross / Rachel saga.
14 – The One Where Monica and Richard Are Just Friends
Tom Selleck is always a joy to have on screen, but his fling with Monica isn’t even the second best thing about this episode.
I really like the bookswap plot, and the guy with revealing shorts gag is a classic. If only the A-plot with Richard and Monica was stronger.
13 – The One with Ross’s Thing
Ross’s titular “thing” is definitely one of the weirder plotlines that Friends ever did, but it kinda works. I actually like Phoebe’s plotline more, where she has to pick between two perfect guys.
12 – The One Where Chandler Can’t Remember Which Sister
An amazing premise for an episode, and I only wish they took some of the jokes and gags a step further.
11 – The One with Frank Jr.
This is one of the lowest-rated episodes of Season 3, and I don’t really know why.
The Phoebe / Frank Jr. stuff is decent, but I found the Joey DIY segments to be hilarious. But hey, to each their own.
10 – The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion
Jon Favreau’s Pete was a fun side character to have around, but I’m glad he didn’t outstay his welcome.
This is also the episode with the Robin Williams / Billy Crystal cameos, and Chandler’s boss keeps slapping his butt. An easy top ten finish.
9 – The One with the Hypnosis Tape
The beginning of the Pete Becker saga, but that’s not what I remember this episode for.
The titular hypnosis tape is such a fun gag, and I love Matthew Perry’s feminine acting.
8 – The One with All the Jealousy
Ross and Rachel’s relationship starts to show some reals cracks in “The One with All the Jealousy”, but Joey’s dance audition is the scene that always makes me laugh.
7 – The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy
A great season opener, the writers made sure to make “The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy” a memorable one.
6 – The One with the Tiny T-Shirt
I completely forgot how good “The One with the Tiny T-Shirt” is – Joey does a funny little dance, Ross gets pulled back from a door with some great physical acting, and Chandler’s sarcasm is at an all-time high.
5 – The One with the Flashback
The first flashback episode, and they nail it on the first attempt.
There are so many great on-the-nose jokes about the Friends’ futures, and every scene has at least one really funny moment in it.
4 – The One at the Beach
It feels weird that “The One at the Beach” isn’t a two-part finale, but it more than makes up for the lack of length with some great gags.
The strip-Happy Days game is funny, Joey’s sand-mermaid is hilarious, and the Ross / Rachel relationship gets some serious development.
3 – The One with the Morning After
A.K.A. The best display of acting this show has ever produced.
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston absolutely kill it, and you can genuinely feel the years of history and pent-up frustration in their relationship.
What drives the episode home, however, is the surprisingly funny antics going on with the rest of the cast in the side room. I’m really glad the writers were brave enough to do a more drama-focussed episode.
2 – The One with the Football
Easily one of the best Thanksgiving episodes, which is impressive given the overall quality of that particular subset of stories.
I really love the sibling rivalry between Ross and Monica, and Chandler and Joey even get their own competition in the form of wooing a lady. The jokes all land, and the final match is well handled.
1 – The One Where No One’s Ready
The best bottle episode in TV history, all you need is six friends and one room to create a hilarious story.
Monica is breezy, Joey and Chandler can’t help but bicker, and the Ross / Rachel relationship adds a decent bit of tension to the mix. It’s an episode that has everything, and each cast member gets their moment in the spotlight.
Season Rating: A-
Without a doubt one of the best seasons of Friends … But I know they can do even better.
Let’s have a look at the stats for the season:
- 5A (20%)
- 17B (68%)
- 3C (12%)
And the stats overall:
- 14A (20%)
- 40B (56%)
- 17C (24%)
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