Summary: Monica ends up sleeping with Chandler. Ross has a threesome with Carol and Susan but it doesn't go well. Rachel struggles to bring herself to have an affair with Joey since she is still married to Barry. The friends can't bring themselves to tell Phoebe that she is fired.
The Good: This was more really fun stuff. There's a nice message here about the bonds between the friends still bringing them to the same place anyways despite everyone's lives being so different. A lot of the conclusions were excellent. Ross and Rachel being drawn together again was lovely. Phoebe becoming a nicer person who plays guitar poorly is a nice way to end her story. Monica and Chandler were great again as they got closer in this episode. All of the story conclusions were great and satisfying. The episode had really funny moments too. The character interactions were wonderful and carried the episode, with several standout lines. Lastly, I loved seeing Joey's fancy apartment return in this episode, which was a nice detail.
The Bad: This was a rare case where the part 2 isn't as good as the part 1. Seeing the stories conclude was more predictable, meaning that this episode didn't fascinate me as much as the previous one. Also, I thought Chandler having only had sex once before Monica was inconsistent. Chandler was frequently with women throughout the early seasons, so I'm not sure why he hardly had sex in this alternate reality.
Best Moment: Joey and Ross talking about the threesome was hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: Like part 1, this was another extremely fun episode. While not quite as good as part 1, this was still really enjoyable.
Summary: The group of friends ponder the idea of what their lives would have been like if Ross never got divorced, Rachel stayed married to Barry, Monica was still fat, Chandler quit his job, Joey was still on Days of Our Lives and Phoebe was a stock broker.
The Good: Leave it to a formula break episode to come in and rescue the season. This was excellent stuff that capitalized on how much we care about these characters to provide a wonderful alternate reality comedy episode. There were so many easter eggs and callbacks throughout the episode, leading to several funny moments and memorable lines. Also, there's just something really fun about seeing slightly different renditions of these characters interact with each other. I thought that this episode nicely prevented itself from falling into the pitfalls of this season. With a different take on the main cast, the writers were forced to treat the characters like real humans, and that avoided the crutch of making an episode too cartoony. The writers were focused on the impact of making these characters slightly different from who they should be. Chandler and Joey's roles are swapped so they act slightly differently, Monica is less confident, etc. The other pitfall this episode avoided was having a very poor story. This episode was based on a genius concept that had much more creativity put into it than 90% of the episodes this season. Ironically, I thought some of the alternate reality characters are more in-tune to who these people are than the current renditions of the characters. Monica in particular stands out, and it's so refreshing to see a version of Monica that isn't unnecessarily loud and obnoxious, feeling more like the Monica from the first few seasons before her character was overblown.
The Bad: Phoebe's character didn't fully land for me. The jokes surrounding her weren't very clever, and her character was hurt by the consistent butchery of Phoebe in the past few seasons. SInce Phoebe's kindness has been severely downplayed in recent seasons, her character doesn't feel very different from what we are used to. The point of sweet Phoebe becoming a total hardass didn't land at all.
Best Moment: There were tons of great moments. My favourite was Monica and Rachel's conversation in Central Perk. There were great moments like Rachel trying to convince herself to cheat on Barry (throwing in a nice reference to "we were on a break" as well), and also Monica still being a virgin.
Character of the Episode: Monica.
Conclusion: This was an awesome episode that felt like a breath of fresh air in what has been a pretty disappointing season so far. I'm nervous that this high quality is only going to last for the alternate reality storyline, but hopefully I'm wrong.
Summary: The friends are upset because Chandler doesn't cry. Rachel gets Ross to stop dating Jill, but Jill learns this and tries to get back at Rachel. Joey discovers that Phoebe is apparently a porn star and decides to investigate.
The Good: This was a welcome return to form to an extent. The previous few episodes have been filled with thoughtless plot lines and jokes that just don't make me laugh very much. Some of the issues were rectified in this episode. The overarching story from the previous episode was fun to watch. Rachel trying to get Ross to stop dating Jill was amusing, and the conclusion to the story is really strong, also furthering the Ross/Rachel story. The Phoebe story is also very good. It's inventive and also leads to some really funny moments (see: Best Moment). Joey and Phoebe in particular are treated really well as characters, and they are funny throughout. Chandler's story isn't the best, but it does get some good laughs.
The Bad: The joke of Chandler crying at the end is stupid. What's worse is that the story could have easily been less infuriating if Chandler had been mockingly crying at the end instead. Furthermore, Monica is awful to Chandler as the writers continue to sabotage her character by playing up her loud and obnoxious side.
Best Moment: Joey and Ross return with movies of Phoebe doing porn and everything that comes afterwards is hilarious, from everyone deciding to watch the movies, to the names of the movies, to Phoebe walking in at the end.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: While not a special episode, this was very good comedy for the most part and I enjoyed it.
Summary: Rachel's sister Jill arrives at Rachel's apartment because her dad cut her off. Rachel tries to help her but is shaken when Phoebe reports that Jill and Ross seem to have a spark. Joey starts giving away free food, drawing Gunther's ire. Monica is sick but refuses to acknowledge it.
The Good: Jill is played well and her role in the story is fun. I especially liked Rachel's reactions to a potential Jill/Ross relationship, and the idea that her interference is what caused the relationship is pretty clever. Ross, Phoebe, Chandler and Monica have the odd funny line throughout the episode. Though his story is a little flat, Joey is consistently funny throughout.
The Bad: This episode really feels like a part 1. The main story moves glacially slow and the two side stories don't really have much to them. The show continues to be very unoriginal with its storytelling. The Monica and Chandler plot is awful and Monica somehow gets more and more cartoonish by the episode.
Best Moment: I'll go with the confused looks everyone gives when they hear a knock on the door, realizing that everyone is already there.
Character of the Episode: Rachel.
Conclusion: This episode was fine for a few laughs, though the side stories were forgettable. It's also hurt by being a part 1 of a two-part story.
Summary: Ross and Chandler argue over who came up with a joke. Monica gets mad at Phoebe when she says she is too high maintenance. Joey gets a job at Central Perk as a waiter.
The Good: There are a few odd funny moments here. I enjoyed Ross and Chandler getting Monica to decide who is telling the truth. Chandler telling Monica that he enjoys maintaining her was a sweet little moment.
The Bad: This episode is atrociously written. Of all three storylines, only Joey's has any real comedic potential to it and that story is the one used as a background C story, plus it isn't even funny. All we get is Joey overacting which is when he is at his least funniest. Everything that happens is far too over-the-top for me to actually laugh at. Chandler and Ross arguing is very dull. None of the jokes the writers come up with are funny, and calling them jokes is pretty generous. Monica is horrible in this episode. She has been teased since the beginning of the show for her overly anal behaviour, so why does it bother her so much when Phoebe says she is high maintenance? Very sloppy character writing. The likable Monica from earlier seasons has been replaced by this loud, angry, child of a woman in an attempt from the writers to make the show funnier. It hasn't worked at all.
Best Moment: Chandler ensuring Monica that he enjoys maintaining her.
Character of the Episode: Chandler.
Conclusion: Another terrible episode. The writing this season has taken a very big hit and the laughs per episode ratio has fallen of a cliff.
Summary: Joey and Janine go out with Monica and Chandler, but Joey is put in an awkward situation when Janine reveals she doesn't like them. Rachel buys furniture from Pottery Barn but has to lie to Phoebe who hates Pottery Barn.
The Good: Ross passionately defending Pottery Barn is hilarious and all of his petty acts in this episode made me laugh. Joey comes off well in his struggle to choose between Janine and his friends.
The Bad: Most of this episode was really bad. Phoebe and Rachel's story is terrible as Phoebe comes off as a total idiot for not picking up on Rachel's lies, and she looks even worse when she forsakes her morals for some nice furniture. What happened to the clever humour that made this show so good? The best episodes of the show have never relied on characters being stupid to be funny. Monica and Janine's conflict is very bad. They both act like children and it is painful seeing Monica so simplistic without any depth to her character. Chandler is treated similarly.
Best Moment: Ross venting about Phoebe hating Pottery Barn was hilarious, and I particularly liked his joke about Phoebe being a twin.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: Ross carried this episode but other than him, this was awful. This season is very hit or miss so far and has easily been the least enjoyable. I'm hoping this isn't the start of a downward spiral.
Summary: Janine invites Joey to Dick Clark's new year show taping. Monica and Ross tag along too. Joey is hoping to kiss Janine at midnight while Monica and Ross try to get on camera. Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel try to find where Monica has hidden their Christmas presents.
The Good: I thought this was a fine episode with consistent laughs. The presents story was a lot of fun and there were some good lines and clever jokes throughout. I especially enjoyed Monica's message that she left behind for Rachel, Phoebe and Chandler. Joey was the standout of this episode. Everything he did was very funny and he came off really well as he simply tried his best to get Janine to fall in love with him. He was very human in this episode and pleasingly his stupidity was used at a controlled level, maximizing its comedic value.
The Bad: This episode wasn't that memorable or funny. The routine wasn't as funny as the show thinks it is and most of Monica and Ross' antics unfortunately fell flat due to being too unrealistic and blunt to be particularly funny.
Best Moment: Rachel, Phoebe and Chandler reading the message that Monica left under the couch was wonderful. I also loved the mentions of the mysterious thing that Chandler kept in his room.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This was solid, if unspectacular, comedy.
Summary: Monica invites her parents over for Thanksgiving but hasn't told them about her and Chandler yet. Ross and Joey want to leave the party early to go hang out with Janine and her dancer friends. Rachel tries to make a nice dessert but messes it up.
The Good: Most of this episode was wonderful. Episodes where all of the main cast stay together the entire time are always the best and this was no exception. As stupid as some of these scenes were, they just worked because of the chemistry between cast members as well as the constant sense of fun, and the rapid-fire jokes. There are so many jokes in this episode that it's okay if a few of them miss. The highlight of the episode was everyone barraging the Gellers with sudden reveals, and it was a hilarious moment. Other parts of the episode were also great like Joey enjoying Rachel's dessert, Ross and Rachel's awkward hallway conversation and almost all of the wonderful random encounters between the friends throughout the episode.
The Bad: A few things were awkward. The clearly faked immediate reaction to Rachel's dessert was stupid (though of course the scenes following the immediate reaction were hilarious to make up for it). Phoebe's sudden love for Jack wasn't funny at all and further dented Phoebe's credibility. Lastly, Chandler trying to get Monica's parents to like him ended up being a weak storyline with bad jokes and a very forced resolution.
Best Moment: The Gellers being barraged with information from everyone. My favourite part of this exchange was Ross' terrified face when Monica revealed the truth about the playboys.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This episode was hilarious and continued the trend of excellent thanksgiving episodes. Sure there was some silliness sprinkled in, but for the most part the episode worked magnificently and had shades of the brilliance that "Friends" has showed in the past.
Summary: Ross whitens his teeth for a date, but is horrified when they get way too white. Rachel spreads a rumour that Phoebe kissed Ralph Lauren but is shocked when she realizes that Phoebe didn't actually kiss Ralph Lauren. Joey becomes girlier while interacting with Janine, much to Chandler's chagrin.
The Good: This was a fun episode. There was still a lot of stupid stuff (see: The Bad), but there were tons of great jokes. All three storylines are fun and they made me laugh consistently. Watchign Joey devolve into a woman had some fun moments. I particularly liked Chandler going to Joey's and Ross' only to find them doing girly things. It reminded me of the great joke where Joey kept running into Ross trying to hunt down the hot girl. Ross' teeth are decently funny and everyone's reactions to his teeth are quite funny. Rachel's story is excellent and it has some lovely moments. Phoebe's stupidity is great, Ralph Lauren's brief cameos are hilarious, and Kim interpreting Ralph ignoring Rachel was hilarious. All in all, it's a pretty great storyline.
The Bad: Joey becoming so girly is a bit out of character for him and it's a bit too much of a stretch. Hillary getting so mad at Ross for whitening his teeth didn't make any sense. Surely she would understand. It felt forced to end the scene with the two of them shouting at each other.
Best Moment: Chandler visiting both Joey and Ross to find them doing girly things.
Character of the Episode: Rachel.
Conclusion: This was a great return to form for "Friends", though I get the sense that this episode is the exception since it didn't really fix any of the problems I have had with this season. Still, it was great fun.
Summary: Rachel is weirded out by the way Phoebe runs and tries to avoid running with her. Chandler cleans the apartment and desperately tries to put everything back to avoid Monica's wrath. Joey gets a hot new roommate Janine and finds it difficult not to flirt with her.
The Good: Joey, Ross and Chandler are all really funny here. They get a number of great lines, and their conversations with each other are a highlight. The chemistry between the main characetrs is really carrying the show now. Rachel and Monica are good for the odd joke.
The Bad: The three plot lines are very stupid. Phoebe's odd running is a stupid joke, and what's worse is the justification she gives for running like that. Anybody would tire out rapidly wasting that much energy, so it's horribly inefficient. Furthermore, Phoebe continues her streak of being unlikable by being fairly rude to Rachel. Chandler being so afraid of Monica certainly doesn't say good things about their relationship, as does the fact that he doesn't seem to know that Monica won't like it when he cleans the apartment. The episode is chock full with overacting (mostly from Joey) which takes away from the comedy.
Best Moment: I'll go with the scene when Monica arrives at the apartment and Chandler tries to keep her out. There were some brilliant lines in that scene, and Ross curiously asking about what Chandler had was awesome.
Character of the Episode: Chandler.
Conclusion: This episode had consistent jokes and was funny, but the stories were really poor once again. I've noticed that the show is relying more and more on the chemistry between all six of the actors to create comedy than it used to. Thankfully the chemistry between the actors is strong enough to prevent the show from hitting mediocrity, but the cracks are definitely showing in the writing and the show isn't anywhere near as great as it used to be.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.