Oh boy … We’ve finally reached what is widely considered to be the worst season of Friends. But is it actually an underrated season of this brilliant show?
No, it isn’t. In fact, it may even be worse than I remember. Let’s get to some ranking!
Before we begin with this sorry state of affairs, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:
23 – The One with Christmas in Tulsa
Not only is this a dreaded clip show episode, but Chandler almost cheats with a co-worker. This has a good shout at being the worst episode of Friends.
22 – The One with the Sharks
Out of all the non-clip show episodes, “The One with the Sharks” may be the very worst.
Monica misconstruing Chandler’s situation as him being into shark porn is a real low point, and the other plotlines of Joey sleeping with a girl before and Ross lying to Mike are so cliché.
21 – The One with the Lottery
Some people may like “The One with the Lottery”, but I see it as a failed attempt at recapturing some of the early seasons’ magic.
You’d think having all the Friends in one room would be electric, but their arguments are so contrived and stale. At least Emma’s first word – “Gleeba” – is pretty funny.
20 – The One in Barbados: Parts 1 & 2
For many, “The One in Barbados” was when the writers took things a step too far.
Phoebe picking between Mike and David is very cliché, and the whole Ross/Charlie/Joey/Rachel drama is forced and uninteresting. The worst season finale by a country mile.
19 – The One with the Boob Job
Joey making up the boob job excuse on the spot is easily this episode’s funniest moment, as otherwise it was a little boring.
Mike moves in with Phoebe, but they immediately break up when he tells her he doesn’t want to marry again – and it plays out in a less captivating way than the writers think.
18 – The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner
Chandler smoked, Ross and Rachel got locked out of their apartment, and it leads to everyone being late. Phoebe deserved better.
17 – The One with the Donor
Ross earns his spot as keynote speaker in Barbados, Charlie and Rachel have beef, Phoebe sees David again, and Monica and Chandler creep out a potential donor. None of those plotlines are great.
16 – The One with the Blind Dates
Steve the Stoned Guy was a fun returning character, but otherwise the blind date stuff doesn’t do it for me. Chandler and Monica also look after Emma, but nothing really happens there.
15 – The One with the Fertility Test
Joey memorises the wrong science facts to impress Charlie, and Phoebe secretly works at a luxury spa.
The clear stand-out is Janice, who once again makes Chandler question his life decisions.
14 – The One with the Soap Opera Party
Rachel starts to crush on Joey, Ross meets Charlie but she ends up going with Joey, and Chandler sees a feminist play on his own. This should have been a great episode, but it feels like something’s missing.
13 – The One with Ross’s Inappropriate Song
I remembered “The One with Ross’s Inappropriate Song” as being one of Season 9’s best episodes, so I was disappointed when it ended up being bog standard.
The titular song is alright, Phoebe meets Mike’s parents and has some decent dialogue, and Chandler and Joey find “Monica’s” sextape.
12 – The One with Phoebe’s Rats
Phoebe gets rats, Ross and Rachel get a hot nanny, and Gavin starts to tease and date Rachel.
In any other season “The One with Phoebe’s Rats” would have been bottom three, but it somehow ended up in the top half of this list.
11 – The One with Rachel’s Dream
“The One with Rachel’s Dream” is the patient zero of the “Rachel loves Joey” plotline, easily the worst plotline in the series.
Chandler and Ross go on a romantic trip and milk the hotel for all its worth, and Phoebe plays in protest outside Monica’s restaurant.
10 – The One with the Male Nanny
We’ve reached the top ten, and we’ve also finally made it to the episodes that I consider to be at least “decent”. That’s a really poor showing on the whole.
The male nanny plotline feels a little mean-spirited, and David returning is ultimately pointless, but the friends over-laughing at every Chandler joke is a great scene.
9 – The One with the Mugging
The plot revelation that Phoebe mugged Ross as a child is admittedly a fun one, and Chandler has some decent scenes in his advertisement intership.
My favourite part of “The One with the Mugging” has to be Jeff Goldblum – he effectively plays an exaggerated version of himself, and his chemistry with Joey is great. It’s a shame Joey relaxed a little too much by the end.
8 – The One Where Monica Sings
Joey gets some new eyebrows, Ross is mad at Rachel for kissing Gavin, and Rachel moves back in with Joey.
Monica also gets a surprisingly positive reception to her singing, oblivious to the pair of reasons why. The Chandler karaoke outro is one of my favourite outro / credit scenes of the series.
7 – The One with the Pediatrician
Ross still seeing his paediatrician is a bizarre plotline, but it somehow works.
This is also the episode where we meet Paul Rudd’s Mike for the first time (with a cool air-piano solo and all), and Monica refuses to move to Tulsa.
6 – The One Where Emma Cries
Chandler accidentally agreeing to move to Tusla kickstarts one of the stanger Friends overarching plots, and Emma’s crying gets annoying after a while.
The Ross / Joey dynamic is what makes this episode rank highly – Joey doesn’t understand air quotes, and he ends up hurting Ross over and over again by accident.
5 – The One Where No One Proposes
The aftermath of the Season 8 finale shows some warning signs for the dangerous writing to come, but it’s mostly harmless.
They play out the misunderstanding well enough, and Chandler and Monica are still trying for a baby.
4 – The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work
I like the parallels in “The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work”, and how three of the friends share the same job-related theme.
Rachel goes back to work (as the title suggests), Chandler learns advertising, and Phoebe acts as an extra on Days Of Our Lives.
3 – The One with Rachel’s Phone Number
“The One with Rachel’s Phone Number” contains one of the funniest plotlines in the entire series – Chandler needs to avoid Joey to get to Monica, which includes making up ridiculous excuses about time difference.
It can’t get more than a “B”, however, because both the Rachel phone number and the Ross / Mike boredom plotlines are quite dull.
2 – The One with Rachel’s Other Sister
The worst Friends Thanksgiving episode … but it’s still alright. And it’s the second-best episode of this entire season. Can you tell I’m not a fan of Season 9?
Christina Applegate makes for a really well-casted sibling to Rachel, and her petty comments do a great job of driving the cast up the wall. Also, Joey has to make up a non-raccoon excuse for missing an important float.
1 – The One with the Memorial Service
The only episode that I properly laughed at, “The One with the Memorial Service” is the saving grace in a sub-par season.
Joey is still in love with his toy Hugsie, Phoebe gets back with Mike (against Monica’s will), and the alumni war between Ross and Chandler – culminating in a fake memorial service – is absolutely glorious.
Season Rating: C
This isn’t necessarily a bad season per se, but it just felt so stale. You can tell the writers were running out of steam, and the overarching plotlines are some of Friends’ absolute worst.
Let’s look at the stats for the season:
- 1A (4%)
- 9B (39%)
- 12C (52%)
- 1D (4%)
13 C’s and D’s – that’s over half of the episodes! A poor effort on the whole. Let’s look at the stats for the series so far:
- 34A (16%)
- 119B (57%)
- 51C (24%)
- 5D (2%)
Aaand that’s my list! Before the tenth and final instalment of this series comes around, you can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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