“The One With the Evil Orthodontist” (Season 1, Episode 20)
What Happens: Barry wants Rachel back, so they have sex at his orthodontic practice… just before his new wife-to-be asks Rach to be her maid of honor. Chandler tries to hide his neediness from a new lady.
Why You Can Skip: Sometimes, Rachel’s bad choices are funny. Other times, they’re downright cringeworthy. Leaving a drunken voicemail (“And that, my friend, is what they call closure“) for Ross falls under the first category. Boning Barry in a dental exam chair? That’d classify as the second.
“The One Where Old Yeller Dies” (Season 2, Episode 20)
What Happens: The guys think Monica’s new man, Richard, is the coolest… for a dad. Phoebe discovers that her mother censored sad movies like Old Yeller to spare her daughter emotional pain.
Why You Can Skip: Phoebe’s tragic backstory is best played lightly (AKA not at an A plot).
“The One With All the Jealousy” (Season 3, Episode 12)
What Happens: Ross fears that Mark (Steven Eckholdt), the hot guy at Rachel’s new job, has a thing for Ms. Green. Joey can’t dance (despite what it says on his resumé).
Why You Can Skip: Ugh, Ross. She’s your freakin’ lobster. Get over the petty ridiculousness already, would ya?
“The One With the Fake Party” (Season 4, Episode 16)
What Happens: Rachel catches a hot client’s attention, despite the failure of her many over-the-top ploys to get him to notice her. Emily departs for England, leaving a forlorn (and in love?) Ross behind.
Why You Can Skip: In case you didn’t know, desperation appears a lot like Rachel, in a cheerleading outfit, with a fat lip and a bra stuck somewhere around her armpit. No one’s going to a salon to get that look, if you know what we mean. Also, Emily is lame.
“The One Where Ross Can’t Flirt” (Season 5, Episode 19)
What Happens: Ross tries (and fails) to be charming and slick when speaking with a pizza-delivery woman. When he learns he’s been cut from an episode of Law & Order, Joey films some silly scenes to make his grandmother believe he’s still in the episode.
Why You Can Skip: Because you’ve already seen Ross stammer, sweat and generally make a fool of himself with every single woman he’s encountered. Pizza girl is just more of the same.
“The One With the Apothecary Table” (Season 6, Episode 11)
What Happens: Joey’s girlfriend Janine (Elle Macpherson) admits she doesn’t like Monica and Chandler. Also, an apothecary table becomes a point of contention between Rachel and Phoebe.
Why You Can Skip: Much like Phoebe’s vendetta against Pottery Barn, Joey’s relationship with the wholly unlikable Janine is just short-lived enough to bypass altogether.
“The One Where They’re Up All Night” (Season 7, Episode 12)
What Happens: The gang pulls an all-nighter in an attempt to see a comet from the roof, which leads to a series of mishaps for each one of them.
Why You Can Skip: Because there are few things more annoying than Phoebe’s indestructible (and perpetually beeping) smoke detector.
“The One With the Stain” (Season 8, Episode 7)
What Happens: Monica thinks the new maid is stealing her clothes. Meanwhile, after breaking up with Phoebe’s twin sister, Ursula, Eric (Sean Penn) tries to date Phoebe.
Why You Can Skip: Although Monica’s anal-retentive, overzealous personality is endearing 98 percent of the time, there are episodes when her antics simply make us cringe — and this is one of them. Plus, Eric’s attempt at dating Phoebe, as long as he doesn’t look at her, is just silly.
“The One With the Memorial Service” (Season 9, Episode 17)
What Happens: When Ross and Chandler post false information about each other on their college’s alumni website, Ross is said to be dead. Meanwhile, Phoebe tries to get over Mike (Paul Rudd) with Monica’s help.
Why You Can Skip: There are some zany plots we just can’t get behind, and a fake, poorly attended “funeral” for Ross is one of them. Plus, since Phoebe and Mike ultimately get a happy ending, why make yourself sad by watching their low points?
“The One With Ross’s Tan” (Season 10, Episode 3)
What Happens: Ross’s attempt at a spray tan is completely botched, and Rachel and Joey’s romantic relationship gets stuck in a rut.
Why You Can Skip: Much like Ross’ leather pants fiasco and his frighteningly white teeth, Mr. Geller’s spray-tan mishap is one of his more memorable moments. But this episode is skippable for the awkward demise of Rachel/Joey, whose relationship becomes more passionless with every scene. (Remind us again why the writers ever went there?)