Friends has proven to be an enduring show. Because it's available to stream through Netflix, it's has continued to create new fans long after its time on NBC ended in '04. Like most long-running sitcoms, Friends has standout episodes that all fans think of fondly. There's "The One Where No One's Ready," where the friends are preparing for a party, and everyone is taking forever. There's "The One Where Ross Finds Out," when Ross discovers that Rachel has feelings for him. They're iconic and quotes from those eps can be recited by many.
These episodes are monumental, and they often involve the show operating at the height of its powers. What makes Friends a truly great show to binge, though, are all the great moments in between. This show aired 24 episodes a year for 10 years, and that means there's a lot of great stuff to dive into. Once you dig past the episodes that everyone talks about, there are plenty of great gems to be found. Here are 16 underrated Friends episodes to make a part of your future binges.
This might be the funniest episode of Friends. A blackout causes most of the friends to huddle in Monica's apartment together, but that's not what makes the episode memorable. One friend has been separated from the group — Chandler is trapped in an ATM vestibule with Jill Goodacre. He, of course, can't speak to her, so all we hear is his internal monologue.
Chandler's internal monologue is a beautiful insight into who he is. He's riddled with anxiety, and also a huge weirdo. Even in his own head, he makes continuous sarcastic remarks. It's a beautiful series of scenes and sets Chandler up as the show's funniest character.
We're all familiar with the ritual of New Year's. We resolve to make some sort of change to how we behave or learn a new skill. As months go by, most people fail. The same is true on Friends. This episode is most memorable for Ross's resolution to do something new every day for the year.
He decides that he'll wear leather pants, and it does not go well. Chandler has resolved to stop making fun of people, but that proves difficult when combined with Ross's pants. We love each member of this group because they're occasionally awful to one another. This episode is filled with that awfulness.
On this episode, the friends all decide to play the lottery. That seems simple enough, but it, of course, leads to plenty of arguments as they decide to pool their tickets. Meanwhile, Chandler's waiting to hear about a promotion.
The side plot of this episode really pales in comparison to the central story, though. It's there that the cast gets a chance to work off each other. When Phoebe accidentally drops all of the tickets off the balcony, it feels like the only possible outcome. The friends were never going to win the lottery, but it was fun to watch them fight as if they might.
Friends occasionally kept secrets from its audience, including the identity of Rachel's baby's father. But during this episode, we learn that Monica had been keeping a secret we weren't even aware of. It's common knowledge that Chandler and Monica's relationship began in London at Ross's wedding. It isn't until years later that Monica reveals she was originally looking for Joey that night. Shock.
The revelation sends Chandler spiraling. Meanwhile, Rachel is doing a truly terrible job babysitting Ross's son Ben. When combined, these two plotlines make for a terrific episode that plays to the show's strengths. We can all agree that it's a good thing Monica found Chandler that night.
For many fans of the show, the golden age of Friends is the period of time when Ross and Rachel were dating. This episode takes place during that run, and it's one of the greatest conceits the show ever came up with. Because Rachel's parents aren't speaking with one another, Rachel has to have two separate birthday parties across the hall from one another.
The antics that ensue as a result are truly priceless. Perhaps the most notable is Ross's slow accumulation of all of Rachel's father's possessions. When Rachel's mother comes across Ross, she becomes convinced that Rachel is dating a clone of her father.
This episode is really a showcase for Jennifer Aniston. Rachel's pregnancy is a plotline throughout the eighth season of the show, but her panic about it is highlighted on this episode. At her shower, Rachel realizes she's not prepared to be a mother.
It's a normal panic, but it sends her into hysteria. Eventually, she becomes so irrational that she agrees to let her mother move in with her. Oops. Meanwhile, Joey, Ross, and Chandler are playing Bamboozled, a game so complicated it's impossible to explain. Chandler and Ross love it, though, and become incredibly competitive as a result.
There's one joke from this episode that completely validates its inclusion on this list, and it's the last line. As Chandler and Rachel pick through a cheesecake sitting on the floor outside their apartments, Joey stumbles upon them. Instead of judging them, as most of the friends likely would, he pulls out a fork (from his jacket, we might add) and dives in.
It's a moment that's totally in character, but also hilarious. The rest of the episode is great, too, filled with uncommon character pairings and genuine jokes. Joey and Phoebe have a plotline, as do Rachel and Chandler. We don't often get to see those pairs interact, and it's great when we do.
Like most sitcoms, Friends specialized in holiday episodes, especially ones focused on Thanksgiving. This episode, though, is focused on Christmas. More specifically, it's focused on Ross's concern that his son isn't interested in Hannukah the way he is in Christmas.
Because of his concern, Ross decides to dress up as the holiday armadillo. It's one of the strangest costumes ever, and Ben ultimately seems much more interested in Chandler's Santa costume. It's a silly conceit, but it gives the cast a chance to dress up in funny outfits. That's more than enough reason for the episode to exist, and it's pretty funny on top of that.
Each of the Friends Thanksgiving episodes is legendary for one reason or another, and this installment is no different. With Brad Pitt as a memorable guest star who hates Rachel and is joining the friends for dinner, this episode is highlighted by Pitt's presence. Though hunky in Friends's present-day, we learn that Brad Pitt's character was quite chubby in high school. What's more, he and Ross founded the "I Hate Rachel Green" club due to her proneness to bullying while she was a popular high schooler.
The episode's other standout plotline comes from Joey, who demands that Monica make a turkey even though most of her guests don't care for the meat. As a result, Joey eats the whole turkey himself and utilizes Phoebe's maternity pants to polish off the bird.
Phoebe is probably the least developed character of the six friends, and this is especially true on the show's early seasons. As the show progresses, Phoebe gets her own romantic entanglements, and she eventually falls in love with Mike. As played by Paul Rudd, Mike is like a seventh friend when he enters the series. He's as witty as Chandler and can handle whatever Phoebe throws at him. He's a perfect match for her.
Their wedding episode is one of the sweetest on the show's history. There's none of the drama that so often characterized Ross and Rachel's relationship. Instead, it's just sweet, wholesome, happy love between two people who deserve one another.
Joey's work on Days of Our Lives was certainly his most lucrative, but it also gave the show a chance to poke fun at soap operas. On this episode, Joey's character on the show is given the brain of another character. When he informs the actress playing that character that she's going to be killed off, she doesn't handle it well.
It's a great opportunity for guest star Susan Sarandon to make an appearance and show off her comedic chops. Elsewhere, Ross is learning how to play the bagpipes. Because why not? The scene where he plays them for the group is still one of the funniest in Friends history, mostly because Jennifer Aniston cannot keep a straight face. To be fair, neither could we.
Joey's career is the subject of quite a few Friends episodes. His work as an actor has its ups and downs. In this installment, Joey finds himself unemployed and without insurance as a result. Simultaneously, he gives himself a hernia and refuses to go to the doctor for treatment. Ultimately, Joey is able to harness the pain and put it to good use.
Rachel and Monica also discover that Ross has been using a fake English accent while he teaches. What's more, Rachel discovers that Ross never had their marriage in Vegas annulled as he'd told her he did. This episode has some interesting storylines, and plenty of great jokes to make it worthy of this list.
Friends takes a lot of trips over the course of the series. There's one to London, one to the beach, and another to the Bahamas. The Vegas trip doesn't receive much fanfare, but it comes at a really interesting time for the show since all the friends end up in Vegas because Joey is filming a movie there.
Part of the joy of this episode is how low stakes it is. Rachel and Ross do get married, but for the most part, this episode does little to change the show. Instead, it's filled with plenty of solid, memorable jokes, including Joey finding his "identical hand twin."
Some episodes of Friends can be boiled down to their titles, and this is definitely one of those. Ross gets a tan, and it does not go well. He ends up incredibly dark on one side, and his normal color on the other. We've all had bad tans. It's relatable.
Elsewhere during the episode, Joey and Rachel are going on their first real date. That relationship, which is somewhat underrated, was always a sweet idea that never got the chance to be fully realized. (Unpopular opinion, we know.) Ross, fake tan and all, was always waiting in the wings for Rachel. Whether you love that pairing or hated it, you always kind of knew that that's where the show was going to end up.
Ross walks in on Joey and Rachel kissing, and he doesn't handle it well. Of course, because he's Ross, he has trouble admitting that he's not handling it well. David Schwimmer is remarkably good at playing Ross as a manic, angry man who is barely capable of containing his emotions. He gets to do plenty of that on this episode as he tries to pretend he isn't bothered.
We also get a welcome appearance from Frank Jr., Phoebe's brother, who seems to be completely broken by his triplets. It's not a standout episode for the plot, but it's one of the funniest Friends has ever done.
This episode's main plot is focused on Joey's attempt to pawn a parked Porsche off as his own. It's one solid joke effectively extended over an entire episode, and it works. We also see Rachel and Ross working on getting an annulment, which proves more difficult than they anticipated.
This is really Friends doing what it does best. The characters are paired in ways that are tried and true, and Joey is off doing something ridiculous. Ross and Rachel may be the heart of this show for many people, and with good reason. Still, it's the rest of the ensemble that often brings the heartiest laughs. We're just saying.