The college reunion in “The One Where The Stripper Cries” sort of saves the episode; Friends really knows how to do a good flashback. And Ross and Chandler’s rivalry over Missy Goldberg opens up probably the best can of Friends worms. (Side Note to any Aussies reading this: Kimberly Davis is in this episode too!)
I wasn’t sure if I should put Elliot Gould in this list because he’s a staple recurring character as Jack Gellar, Ross and Monica’s dad, but man, he’s ELLIOT GOULD. And also JACK GELLAR.
Definitely deserving of a mention.
Y’know how I keep saying “Oh this is my favorite cameo” or “This is the best best!” Well this is the worst. Elle MacPherson is a terrible, awful, painful actor, and as Joey’s roommate/girlfriend she is pretty much unbearable to watch.
Freddie Prinze Jr.
FPJ plays the titular manny in “The One With The Male Nanny” and thank God F comes after E because I was feeling really angry post-Elle. FPJ of “hack-ey sack, don’t let it drop” fame is gorgeous as Sandy, Emma’s sensitive manny.
A good story line is when Monica is getting bullied by her staff at her new job. Also when she accidentally gets Chandler a hooker instead of a stripper because of Stu, played by the deadpan Fred Stoller.
In his signature upbeat, vibrant manner, Fred Willard plays the Zoo Administrator, Lipson, that tells Ross Marcel has died (lies!) in “The One After The Superbowl”
Can we talk about how Gabrielle Union is 41 and looks about 28? I mean… Girl can age. In “The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress” Gabs plays Kristen, and has Ross and Joey both vying for her attention. Great moment: When trying to figure out fair rules for dating Kristen, Ross says spending a lot of money is just what he does on dates and Joey’s retort is, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to do what I do on dates!”
Gary Oldman could play Edward in Twilight and he’d make it captivating. In “The One With Chandler And Monica’s Wedding” Oldman plays an actor in a movie with Joey, who winds up getting drunk and delaying Joey’s arrival at the wedding. He also spits when he acts. It’s sort of weak, but as I already said: Oldman makes it werk.
George Clooney… And Noah Wyle
In the era of “cross-over episodes” the best was the implication of E.R. famed “doctors” played by Clooney and Wyle, reprising doctor roles in the Friends E.R. Also, swoon.
As Phoebe’s ridiculous brother, Ribisi brings true stoner vibe to the small screen.
I really liked David, the Scientist Guy and Phoebe’s Great Love (until Mike). There’s a really fine line between Hank Azaria playing endearing and annoying, and unfortunately when they brought him back in Season 9 (especially in “The One In Barbados: Part 1”) he crossed the line from charm-city into pathetic-town.
Speaking of crossover episodes, with Lisa Kudrow playing waitress Ursula in Mad About You, I guess it made sense to get Helen Hunt to Central Perk in order to mistake Phoebe for Ursula, thereby introducing us to Phoebe’s twin sister as a real thing that exists for real on another show and also in this one.
When Rachel goes to England to tell Ross she loves him on the eve of his wedding, Dr. House basically hates all over her on her across-the-pond flight.
In Season 3, “The One With Frank Jr.”, Isabella Rossellini walks into Central Perk, and Rachel gives Ross permission to hit on her, even though he bumped her off his celebrity freebie list. It doesn’t go well after Ross has to explain that he bumped her off the list because of geography and Isabella replies, “I have a list of five goofy coffee house guys and yesterday I just bumped you for that guy over there.”
Jay Leno plays himself interviewing erotic novelist and mom of Chandler, the amazingly named Nora Bing, in “The One With Mrs. Bing”.
Jean Claude Van Damme
I love it when Rachel and Monica fight, because it’s always so ridiculous, generally moderated by Phoebe, and always ends in me crying when they make up. In “The One After The Super Bowl”, they fight over who gets to date Jean Claude Van Damme. Because obviously.
Jeff Goldblum should have a guest spot on everything, ever. Just throw him out in the middleof the desert in Breaking Bad for a walk on. Or have him as a long lost Lannister cousin from the ancestral Jewish arm of the family. Just get him on TV as much as possible. In “The One With The Mugging”, Joey impresses Goldblum with his acting, but really, he just really needs to pee.
As an Ab Fab fan, Jennifer Saunders killed me as Emily’s stepmom at the end of Season 5/start of Season 6.
ON SECOND THOUGHT, GUM WOULD BE PERFECTION.
Dean Pelton plays “Nervous Male Passenger” in “The Last One”, which is pretty much the role he was born to play.
Unfortunate use of a brilliant comedic actress–I really want to love Jennifer Coolidge as Monica and Phoebe’s affected pseudo-British friend in “The One With Ross’ Tan” but next to the tan sub-plot, which is a total scream, Jen’s part is just flat, and not particularly funny. A wasted opportunity, for one of my favorites. Thank God we will always have the time she tells Adam Scott his face looks like a sphincter in Party Down.
Monica dates bajillionaire Pete Becker for a bit in Season 3, then he attempts to become an Ultimate Fighting Champion and it kills the romance. Regardless, Pete is a great character and his stories with Monica are all pretty funny.
Jon Lovitz brings the LOLs as a stoned restaurateur Monica is trying to impress in “The One With The Stoned Guy” in Season 1. He also makes a reappearance in Season 9 as a blind date for Rachel which is hilarious too. He plays the same character, “Steve”, in both, but somehow Rachel doesn’t recognize him despite knowing he owns a restaurant and also the time he was totally stoned in her apartment.
In “The One With The Donor”, hunky John Stamos plays sexy, perfect Zack, whose sperm Monica and Chandler are awkwardly trying to get.