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Ranking Every Season Of Friends From Worst To Best

"Friends" is considered one of the greatest sitcoms ever made. During "Friends: The Reunion," it was revealed that the series has been streamed over 100 billion times across all platforms, something any show in history would have a hard time accomplishing. It's stood the test of time as younger generations have introduced themselves to Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) by way of streaming and constant availability.

The series ran for 10 incredible seasons, each of which offered up iconic moments that are still discussed today. Ranking those 10 seasons is no easy task, as most of them are well-rounded — consisting mostly of great episodes with a few that fall flat. While hilarity ensues throughout all of them, some of the storylines the producers and writers opted for never sat well with the viewers, making our ranking of the seasons a little bit easier. We did our best to put them in order from worst to best — including the almost two-hour reunion — so scroll through our ranking to find out where your favorite season landed and if we listed your top episodes as well.

11. Friends: The Reunion

We decided to include "Friends: The Reunion" in our ranking because it really felt like an extension of the series. It was only the second time in the last 17 years that the six stars of the show were in the same room together, and watching them reunite on the set of the show that made them famous was an absolute joy. While there were plenty of great moments across the reunion — Tom Selleck's appearance, the table reads, and never-before-heard stories — it also had some issues that bothered long-time fans of the show and were expressed on Reddit

For starters, fans had a massive problem with James Corden hosting the interview portion of the reunion. The late-night host seems to be popping up in every project everywhere these days, and his selection didn't make sense. Additionally, the fashion show segment was silly, especially the inclusion of Justin Bieber, which seemed like an attention grab. Matthew Perry was also somewhat subdued during the entirety of the reunion — apparently due to the emergency dental surgery he reportedly underwent (via The Sun) before filming, which caused issues with his speech.

10. Season 9

Most "Friends" seasons range from good to excellent, except for one. Season 9 is easily the worst in the entire series, and that's not just our opinion. Fans have expressed serious disappointment in Season 9 and have complained about its episodes and storylines for over a decade, especially on Reddit. One of the most significant issues the fandom has with this season is the romance storyline between Joey and Rachel. They kiss in the season finale, but Rachel realizes she has feelings for her friend several episodes before. We wished those feelings would just go away, but they unfortunately never did. The Joey/Rachel story is the most hated in the entire series, and with good reason.

Additionally, the plot point of Chandler having to work in Tulsa, Oklahoma four days a week was flat out ridiculous. Why the writers went with this story is still baffling, and it made no sense to separate the only couple out of the group. While Season 9 was a rough go for the series, it still had some good moments. Paul Rudd was introduced as Mike, and Christina Applegate killed it as Rachel's other sister.

  • Worst episodes: "The One With Christmas In Tulsa," "The One in Barbados," "The One With the Donor"
  • Best episodes: "The One With Rachel's Other Sister," "The One With Ross's Inappropriate Song," "The One With The Lottery"

9. Season 1

This one shouldn't come as a surprise, as many sitcoms struggle with their first seasons — we're looking at you, "Seinfeld." "Friends" was no different as the six fresh-faced actors tried their best to develop their characters, but they were met with some issues in the form of questionable writing. We'll never understand the choice to put a live monkey in a sitcom, which we learned from the reunion was an absolute nightmare for David Schwimmer. Season 1 also includes some episodes that just didn't age well, specifically one where Monica finds out she's slept with a high-schooler who lies about his age.

It's also the worst season for several of the characters, especially Rachel. Producer David Crane admitted in the reunion that casting Rachel was tricky because the character veered toward being unlikeable due to her spoiled and selfish nature. This really came through for the character in Season 1, but Jennifer Aniston was able to walk that line and eventually made Rachel a fan favorite. The debut season definitely isn't terrible by any means and shouldn't be skipped on a series rewatch. It had its charms and planted the seeds of Ross and Rachel's relationship, but many fans probably won't be selecting any Season 1 episodes as their favorites.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One With the Fake Monica," "The One with the Ick Factor," "The One With the Evil Orthodontist"
  • Best Episodes: "The One Where Rachel Finds Out," "The One With the Blackout," "The One With All the Poker"

8. Season 10

Season 10 of "Friends" is the last season of the series that doesn't cross the line into greatness. The biggest downfall of the final season was the continuation of the Joey and Rachel romance, which only got more and more awkward as the season went on. The only highlight to this massive mistake of a storyline was Ross's response in "The One Where Ross is Fine," but their coupling is a moment we'd rather forget. Season 10 also arguably has the worst Thanksgiving episode of the bunch — a horrible way to close out a theme fans of the series loved so much. There really wasn't a Thanksgiving at all as Monica and Chandler sat alone in their apartment waiting for their four pals, who all showed up late.

One of the redeeming qualities of Season 10 was how everyone's story wrapped up in a nice bow, with Ross and Rachel finally getting back together. We also got to see a wonderful ending for Phoebe as she walked down the aisle with Mike, while Monica and Chandler became the happy parents to — SURPRISE — twins! Not much changed for Joey, but him ending the season as a single man seemed the most appropriate for the character.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One After Joey and Rachel Kiss," "The One With Ross's Grant," "The One With Ross's Tan"
  • Best Episodes: "The Last One," "The One Where the Stripper Cries," "The One With Phoebe's Wedding"

7. Season 2

"Friends" got a firm footing in Season 2 as the characters all established themselves nicely. We saw the beginnings of Ross and Rachel and Monica and Richard (Tom Selleck), as the rest of the gang navigated their single love lives. While the season delivered some of the greatest moments in the series — ahem, the prom video — it wasn't as well-rounded as the others we've ranked above it. It has more average episodes than it does great ones. One of the biggest issues with Season 2 was its constant grab for guest stars that was sometimes too much. Julia Roberts, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Brooke Shields, Charlie Sheen, and Chris Isaak were just some of the names to appear throughout the 24 episodes, and it seemed like a desperate attempt to bring in more viewers.

On the opposite end of things, Season 2 shined for several reasons. Jennifer Aniston has one of her best comedic moments ever in the premiere episode after Ross's new girlfriend Julie (Lauren Tom) is introduced to the group. Ross and Rachel's overnight date at the museum is another stellar moment with excellent writing, while Joey and Chandler's love affair with their chairs never fails to bring in the laughs.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant," "The One with the Superbowl," "The One With Phoebe's Husband"
  • Best Episodes: "The One With the Prom Video," "The One Where Ross and Rachel... You Know," "The One With Ross's New Girlfriend"

6. Season 4

By the end of Season 4, Episode 1, Ross and Rachel were broken up for good despite deciding to give their relationship a second go in the beginning of it. Their breakup led to a handful of episodes of them going at one another in the most hilarious way, which kicked off the season well. Season 4 also saw the spotlight shift from the warring couple to Chandler, who began to get more serious storylines. This was the infamous season with Kathy (Paget Brewster), who almost singlehandedly tore Chandler and Joey apart. It was also the season of Emily (Helen Baxendale), the unofficial nail in the coffin for Ross and Rachel's relationship.

While Kathy and Emily were a thorn in the sides of viewers, Season 4 thrived with some of the greatest episodes in the catalog's history. Phoebe's pregnancy, Monica and Chandler's hookup, and Ross saying the wrong name at the altar in the finale were just some of the season's major highlights. The finale was full of suspense — one of the tensest in the series — and solidified that year as one of the more emotional seasons of "Friends."

  • Worst Episodes: "The One With the Invitation," "The One Where They're Going to Party!," "The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie"
  • Best Episodes: "The One With the Embryos," "The One With the Jellyfish," "The One With Ross's Wedding"

5. Season 7

"Friends" Season 7 falls right in the middle of the pack. It's packed with laughs and primarily focuses on the upcoming wedding of Monica and Chandler, which plays out in the season finale. Courteney Cox shines throughout the season, delivering the best performance out of the six main actors. Some of the greatest moments include Ross's holiday armadillo gig, Rachel and Chandler battling over stolen cheesecake, and the theft of Monica's thunder in the premiere.

Season 7 would have ranked much higher on our list if it weren't for some episodes that went too far. Ross trying to kiss his cousin never sat well with viewers, while the jokes made toward Chandler's transgender father were beyond inappropriate. While not as controversial as the other two, Rachel hiring an assistant just because he was young and hot also hasn't aged well, with the theme of a character dating someone much younger or older all too common throughout the series.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One with Ross and Monica's Cousin," "The One With Chandler's Dad," "The One With Rachel's Assistant"
  • Best Episodes: "The One With the Holiday Armadillo," "The One With All the Candy," "The One With All the Cheesecakes"

4. Season 8

The Season 8 premiere kicked off by confirming what we all suspected from the Season 7 finale — that Rachel was pregnant. This was the main storyline throughout the year, and after the big reveal of Ross being the father, there were plenty of episodes that saw hilarity between the exes now that they were expecting a child together. While we complained about cameos earlier, we have to mention Brad Pitt stopping by during Season 8 to co-star alongside his then-wife, Jennifer Aniston. It's one of the better Thanksgiving episodes and was incredibly well written, pitting the spouses' characters against one another.

If Season 8 didn't start one of the worst storylines in the entire series, it might have been nearly perfect. While Joey and Rachel's romance officially begins in the Season 9 finale, it first starts to percolate in Season 8 when the former develops a crush on his pregnant roommate. The desire turns serious as he falls in love with Rachel, but she doesn't reciprocate his feelings. This causes significant tension between Ross and Joey, something that just didn't need to happen.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One With Ross's Step Forward," "The One with Joey's Interview," "The One Where Joey Dates Rachel"
  • Best Episodes: "The One With the Rumor," "The One With the Videotape," "The One With the Red Sweater"

3. Season 3

When it comes to the top three seasons of "Friends," we really needed to be nitpicky to rank them ahead and behind one another. These three seasons are the cream of the crop and almost absolute sitcom perfection. Ross and Rachel were a solid couple for the first half of Season 3, making for some of their best moments. Unfortunately, they split about halfway through, flipping the script entirely. This season gave us the whole "we were on a break" storyline, and Ross and Rachel's breakup scene is still a gut punch to this day.

Seasons 3 also introduced us to the chick and the duck, Pete Becker (Jon Favreau), Joey's gaggle of sisters, and the giant poking device. There are just too many great episodes to count, and only a few mediocre stories only bring the season down. We wish Pete had a longer and better story with Monica, as he really seemed like a good match for her, and it felt like a missed opportunity.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One Without the Ski Trip," "The One With All the Jealousy," "The One With the Metaphorical Tunnel"
  • Best Episodes: "The One With the Football," "The One Where No One's Ready," "The One the Morning After"

2. Season 6

While Season 6 has a few so-so storylines, it still managed to produce some of the biggest bangers in the catalog — and that just can't be ignored. Ross's relationship with his student Elizabeth was a real bummer and a plot point we wish we could forget, while Joey's time on "Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E." was not so funny. We weren't quite fond of Richard popping back in to disrupt Monica and Chandler's engagement, as it seemed like a cheap way to get one more Tom Selleck cameo. Tossing those stories aside, we're left with a great season full of incredible performances.

It's easily Ross's best season as he shines in more than a handful of episodes. Season 6 has the legendary dance routine between Ross and Monica, which was preceded by the Thanksgiving episode where Ross's parents found out he smoked pot in college. Mixed with stories about Rachel's trifle dessert, Phoebe's running, "The One That Could Have Been," and Ross's glow-in-the-dark teeth, Season 6 was one of the best "Friends" seasons, with many of the series' most talked-about moments.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One Where Ross Dates a Student," "The One Where Paul's The Man," "The One With Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E."
  • Best Episodes: "The One Where Ross Got High," "The One With the Routine," "The One With Unagi"

1. Season 5

There could only be one, and you might have guessed it from the get-go. Season 5 of "Friends" has so many highs, and very few lows, making it the only season worthy of the top spot on our list. The beginning of the season saw Monica and Chandler hide their relationship from their friends, which birthed many hilarious episodes. "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" is regarded as one of the best episodes in the series, as Chandler and Phoebe test one another limits.

We could have done without the "Rachel smoking" and "Joey's bag" subplots, but every season can't be absolute perfection. Think of everything else Season 5 gave us: PIVOT!, Mrs. Ross and Mr. Rachel, Ross's leather pants, the birth of the triplets, "The One With All the Kissing," Ross's sandwich, and Phoebe's hatred of PBS. There are just too many incredible moments to choose from, and Season 5 showed the best the six characters had to offer as the cast couldn't have perfected their roles anymore at that point.

  • Worst Episodes: "The One With Joey's Bag," "The One With Chandler's Work Laugh," "The One Where Rachel Smokes"
  • Best Episodes: "The One Where Everybody Finds Out," "The One In Vegas," "The One With the Cop"