A considered ranking of all the Friends from least to most awful
Spoiler: It’s not Ross
It was confirmed over the weekend that Friends would officially be returning for a special reunion episode. Most of us really didn’t need or ask for this, but there are still some die hard Friends stans out there trying to defibrillate its cold, lifeless corpse – so it’s happening.
By now, a lot of reasonable humans have realised that Friends is no longer funny or watchable, and is actually full to the brim with cringeworthy moments that never would have been allowed to be aired today. Back when we still leant on making fun of marginalised groups for laughs, though, it was great!
We all know the show has become a steaming hot pile of trash, but what about the individual characters responsible for this steaming hot trash pile? Some characters are particularly unbearable to watch now, and have aged a lot worse than their counterparts. So, based on levels of offensiveness, humour and overall vibe, here are the most awful of the Friends, ranked from best to absolute worst.
Rachel Green is the most iconic, underrated character in Friends. She has an actual character arc, unlike literally every other character, and she’s not just bearable but is actually pretty inspirational. Rachel starts off a pampered princess and ends up a powerful career woman who was this close to getting on the plane and leaving ball-and-chain Ross Geller to live le life de la incoryablé in Paris (right decision honestly, should have Home Alone-d that man child).
Also, something that is completely overlooked is that Rachel is genuinely very funny. She’s often remembered for her relationship with Ross and her outfits, but what about how she pronounces Joshua? Her hairless cat purchase? The beef trifle? Rachel is actually good craic and we haven’t been giving her enough credit.
Phoebe has one unique selling point: She’s quirky. She’s weird. She’s a weirdo. She doesn’t fit in. She doesn’t want to fit in. Reference aside, she’s basically just early 2000s Zooey Deschanel is 500 Days Of Summer with more of a dark past. Her jokes fall flat and you never really care about her storylines, which is why she has two significant love interests compared to Rachel’s one hundred.
But, she is one thing: progressive. Phoebe was married to a gay man. Phoebe won’t kill a box of rats that choose to live under her sink. Phoebe Buffay, the OG vegetarian and ally queen. She may have been laughed at her for “hippy” ways back then, but she’s actually aged like a fine wine to become one of the best Friends. She’s a good person, which is more than you can say for a lot of them.
The thing about the female friends is that they aren’t ever strictly “problematic” and never say anything particularly out of line, but many of the female friends’ characters have aged equally as badly as the men because they’re just so one sided and undeveloped. Like Phoebe’s one personality trait, Monica’s whole personality boils down to being clean and controlling. She has her moments, and her catchphrases, but let’s be honest, has she ever made you laugh out loud? Also watching every “Fat Monica” scene will make you deeply, deeply uncomfortable now, which means she’s one of the characters with scenes so painful you actually want to skip through. Sorry Mon.
Okay, Chandler is a funny guy. That’s his whole thing, and to be fair, it does stand up. He is one of the funniest friends, and his jokes tend to stand the test of time. Highlights include: Miss Chnandler Bong, when he puts himself in the box, hanging out in the canoo with the chick and the duck and pretty much every single interaction with Joey. However, he plays into the lesbian hating with Carol, and he is openly disgusted by Monica when she’s overweight in the flashbacks episode. He’s a bit of a pig, but boy does he make you laugh. Mid tier ranking for everybody’s fave sweater vest clad sarcastic loser.
Ross sucks. Ross completely, objectively, hands down, beta-male-tail-between-his-legs-’I-deserve-more-from-women’, sucks. There’s a mountain of evidence proving how problematic he is as a character, each more damning than the last. He’s homophobic, he blames every minor fault in his life on his gay ex-wife. Woe is me, my wife ended up being a lesbian, how embarrasing for me! He’s the biggest mansplaining, obsessive cuck that you can picture and still ends up with Fitty mcTitty Rachel Green despite all of his WHINING.
However, he’s not the worst character. Why? Ross is funny. You really can’t dispute this. The scene where Emily finally calls and he just hands the lamp to Chandler for no reason. The way he says “Hi” all depressy, ten syllables lower than his normal voice. When he gets drunk off all those margaritas and says “O is for OH WOW!” Ross is hilarious, despite all of his many, many flaws, and despite the holiday armadillo episode (not funny, you can’t tell me otherwise) so he’s second last – but he’s not worst. That spot is reserved exclusively for…
Bet you thought Ross was going to take the cake, but oh no. Joey is without a doubt the most unfunny, misogynistic character in this show. Strip away that early 2000s male model look and he really is just a creepy, dumb womaniser that likes food. If he wasn’t fit, he’d basically be disgusting.
Joey fans reading this, I know you’re livid right now, but let me tell you one thing: “Joey doesn’t share food” really isn’t the funniest gag in TV history. Neither is “how you doin’”. In fact, both are profoundly unfunny. Joey’s lines are the most predictable and univentive in this show, and by the end his whole character basically becomes hinged on his low intelligence levels and high drive for food. He is essentially an animal in a man’s body. If the show hadn’t ended I wouldn’t be surprised if Joey was humping female characters legs by season 15.
I understand this hurts, but let me impart on you some very valuable advice: Just watch another show.