Thursday, January 30, 2014

Looking Back: Friends Season Three

I raved about season two of Friends. Most of the times I've started the series over, I've skipped season one and gone straight into the second season. As good as season two is when compared to the first season, season three is even better!
The first six episodes of the show are just amazing. As we were watching it, I just kept saying at the beginning of each episode, "Oh this one's a good one!"

The season starts just after Monica and Richard broke up. She would spend the first half of the season attempting to get over him and move on with her life. Richard's mustache would play a role through the rest of the series.

Tom Selleck actually makes one appearance in this season, and he's mustache-less! I was going to post a picture, but didn't want to disrupt the time-space continuum with such a controversial and reality-defining image!

Chandler and Janice spend the beginning of the season as a couple, before they breakup. Their breakup has one of my favorite moments in the show, when Chandler is throwing the darts and Joey suggests that he'd duck out of the relationship with Janice. Chandler turns around and Joey dives onto the floor.

Phoebe meets her birth mother at the end of the season, providing some depth to the least engaging character on the show (just my opinion). She also spends time with her step-brother, who was introduced in season two.

Joey's big moment for the season is a little tougher to define. He's back to being a struggling actor, now that the Days of Our Lives bit is over.

Season Three is largely centered, though, on Ross and Rachel (again). They begin the season as a happy couple, but in the middle of the season go through a traumatic breakup. The second half of the season deals with Ross and Rachel still being a part of the group, even when the two of them can't get along at all. Their "divorce" provides some hilarity, especially from Chandler. The breakup begins the saga of whether or not Ross and Rachel were on a break, an argument that would continue for the rest of the series, and has plagued even my facebook feed over the years. I still maintain that they were on a break.

The Thanksgiving Episode is revived in Season Three! The group heads outside to play football for the coveted Gellar-Cup! The troll-nailed-to-a-2x4 is a hilarious centerpiece to Ross and Monica's incredibly awkward childhood. The Dutch girl provides a nice outlet for a little Joey/Chandler rivalry as well. Especially when Joey tries to explain where Dutch people are from.

Guest Stars

The highlight of the guest stars for this season has to be Robin Williams and Billy Crystal who do a skit in one of the opens of the show. They're both hilarious, even if they're only there for a couple minutes.

Isabella Rosalini appears as herself and Ross attempts to seduce her based on his "list," which she wasn't actually on, thanks to Chandler.

Jon Favreau who later became Happy Hogan in the Iron Man films and was a major part of Elf, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, had a large role in this season as Pete, Monica's millionaire suitor and eventual-boyfriend. Pete attempts to become the UFC Champion, long before UFC was mainstream, and his first fight actually features a guest appearance from Tank Abbot, who somewhat famously held a knife to another wrestler's throat while he was in WCW.

David Arquette was in an episode, portraying a man obsessed with Ursula, Phoebe's twin. Notably, he would later marry Courtney Cox, and the entire cast actually used the last name Arquette in one of the credits after Courtney and David got married (Season 6 or 7 premiere, I think).

Finally, Ben Stiller plays "The Screamer." If you've never seen his episode of Friends, watch it. He's hilarious in the episode as Rachel's rebound from Ross.

My Top Five Episodes

#5 - The One with the Flashback

This is actually one of the few early episodes I remember watching live. I also remember the season finale from this year. Most of the memories have been lost over time, even though I did watch a lot of this show early on in its run. The entire premise of this episode is from Janice who wanted to know which member of the group has almost slept with another member of the group. They rewind to a year before the show started and show different members of the cast almost hooking up. As a fan of How I Met Your Mother, it's nice to see that Joey, not Mitch, is actually the pioneer of "The Naked Man." I always thought the scene with Phoebe and Ross on the pool table was hilarious, though.

#4 - The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy

The Season Premiere has a lot of funny parts, but the interaction with Ross and Rachel takes the cake. Rachel agrees to one of Ross's fantasies, which turns out to be Princess Leia in the gold bikini. Chandler ruins it for Ross, though in what has to be the single most awkward way possible. I don't want to spoil it, you need to see it for yourself!

#3 - The One with Frank Jr.

I'll be honest, the part with Frank Jr. is actually kind of annoying to me. The reason this is one of my favorite episodes, though, is because of Chandler and Joey. Joey is building an entertainment unit (with a mail cubby, built right in!). Right at the beginning of the show, Chandler is napping in his room and Joey is drilling a hole in the wall and almost gets Chandler with the drill. When he asks Chandler if he got him, Chandler yells, "No, you didn't get me! It's an electric drill! You get me, you kill me!" This is also when the door to Chandler's room gets sawn in half, which would remain for a long while in the show. 

#2 - The One with the Hypnosis Tape

Holly was laughing hysterically at this episode. It's one of my favorites. Chandler started smoking again during Ross and Rachel's breakup, and Rachel gives Chandler a tape that will hypnotize him while he sleeps. He doesn't realize that it's actually turning him into a woman. Every single line, movement and scene with Chandler in it is absolutely hilarious in this episode. It's a definite must-watch.

#1 - The One where No One's Ready

This is the first episode of the series that literally only had the six main cast members in a single place for thirty minutes. There are no guest stars. There is only one set. There are no real frills. This episode is left up to the six actors and they absolutely shine. It's one of the best episodes in the entire series. The writers still managed to have distinct stories for each cast member, even though the entire episode is in one place at one time. Joey and Chandler have an amazing fight over who gets to sit in a chair. Monica is still recovering from her breakup with Richard and hears an old message on her answering machine (remember those?) from him. Ross is desperate to leave on time and gets into a fight with Rachel because of it. Phoebe... is Phoebe. 

What do you think? What's the best episode of the season, have I missed anything? Stay tuned, we're in the middle of Season Four now!

1 comment:

  1. How you mention Jon Favreau's credentials and not mention he was D-Bob in Rudy is just absurd.
    Other than that, very good thoughts. I look forward to season four. Unless you're going on a break.