Well, I’m bloody boiling right now. Man, I miss Paul Ritter. That catchphrase was just one facet of what made Friday Night Dinner such a popular show. Other facets include the rest of the cast, which included Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal and Tamsin Greig amongst others. While we are not ever getting another series, Friday Night Dinner permanently has a place in UK Sitcom history because like the Inbetweeners it managed to be funny and relatable, which was easily achievable for show creator Robert Popper for reasons that will be elaborated on later. So, before I properly get into the list here is some history about the show.
Friday Night Dinner first debuted on Channel 4 in 2011 and ran for 6 seasons until 2020. The show follows the Goodman’s, a Jewish family who just want to enjoy their Friday Night Dinner in peace. The Goodman family is made up of Mum Jackie, Dad Martin and sons Adam and Jonny. Whether it was Adam and Jonny’s pranks and antics or their neighbour, Jim, and his dog, Wilson, Friday night’s for the Goodman’s are never without comedic hijinks. As well as the regular cast, Friday Night Dinner featured appearances from Sally Phillips, Tracy-Ann Overman and Harry Landis amongst others. Oh, and show creator Robert Popper has talked about how he drew inspiration from his own family’s experiences. Fantastic choice for inspiration. Anyway, let’s properly jump into the list now.
10: The Females (S6, E6)
Kicking off the list of the best Friday Night Dinner Episodes is the final episode: The Females. Now if you’re confused by the title, don’t worry I’ll quickly explain it now. For reasons known only to Martin, he refers to his son’s girlfriends as females much to the annoyance of Adam and Jonny. Now, in regards to the episode the boys both have girlfriends and bring them to dinner. So not only does Jackie get all excited but disaster nearly strikes when Martin accidentally smashes a light bulb into a pan of chicken soup. But luckily disaster is averted and the series ends on a classic note from Martin…
9: The Plastic Bag (S6, E2)
Following on from the previous Series 6 episode, let’s take a look at the second series 6 episode. Now as the title suggests, the A plot revolves around a plastic bag. And it just so happens to be an ‘eyesore’ that is in a tree in front of the Goodman house. So naturally Martin decides he’s going to get it out of the tree by any means necessary. Unfortunately these attempts just get more and more ludicrous. What starts out with a stick turns into climbing on a bin with a rake attached to a pole. Genuinely clever from Martin there. Oh and Jonny has a silly coat but we don’t need to talk about that…..
8: Congratulations (S4, E3)
So this episode should be all about how Adam won an award for a jingle he composed for his work but somehow Jonny manages to one up him. How does he manage that? Well he got married to a waitress in Las Vegas…after having only known her for a night. So, naturally Jackie is only slightly freaking out when she finds out one of her sons got married without telling her first. Also, the twist of Adam asking Jonny’s now ex-wife out for a drink is just a perfect ending. Oh, and the running joke of both Adam and Jonny thinking the celebration signs in the house were for them. Overall, a very solid episode.
7: The Piano (S3, E5)
Ever wanted to see a blind man smash a piano with a hammer? One, I’m not sure why you’d want to see that but luckily this episode is for you. But I hear you asking why the Goodman’s got a piano. Simply put, Martin. Why does he want a piano? Well, to have piano lessons apparently. But long story short, when the Goodman’s don’t pay the piano tuner he smashes the piano to bits as revenge. Now in case a blind man smashing Martin’s piano isn’t quite to your taste, then how about the family discovering Auntie Val is having an affair whilst going out to dinner. Now that’s a bit awkward…..
6: The Fox (S3, E2)
What does the fox say? Well nothing because it’s dead and in the Goodman’s freezer. I’m sorry for that joke…. Anyway, when the boys have to put some profiteroles in the freezer they discover Martin’s frozen fox. So why has Martin put a fox in the freezer? Well because he wants to have it stuffed and put it in his shed because it’s a talking point. Despite Martin being the only person who goes in the shed…. So somehow the fox situation ends up in the back of Auntie Val’s car. And if that wasn’t crazy enough, Martin then smashes a car window to get the fox…. Only for it not to be Val’s car. Overall, just another insane outing from Martin here.
5: Buggy (S2, E1)
At the halfway point of the best Friday Night Dinner episodes is Buggy. So what happens in this episode? Well it centres around two things: Adam’s diary and Jonny’s childhood toy: Pandy. Because they are great parents, Jackie and Martin suggest that they all read Adam’s diary. So, what possibly goes wrong? Well, Jonny finds out Adam threw his childhood toy in the bin. So naturally, Jonny tries to do the same thing to Adam’s childhood toy: Buggy. And this only results in even more mayhem involving a lawnmower…..
4: Mr Morris (S2, E2)
Remember when I mentioned Harry Landis was in Friday Night Dinner? Well here he is as Jackie’s mum’s boyfriend: the slightly insane Mr Morris. And if you needed any examples of Mr Morris’s insanity allow me to list some. Firstly there’s him crashing into the Goodman’s house, fighting Martin while both men are shirtless. And if that isn’t enough then he tries to fight both Adam and Jonny for accidentally pushing him down the stairs. Though that last one is maybe understandable given the circumstances…. Anyway, despite only appearing in a small number of episodes Mr Morris nearly always steals the show.
3: Anniversary (S3, E4)
Kicking off the top three best Friday Night Dinner episodes is Anniversary. Now as the title suggests it is Martin and Jackie’s wedding anniversary. So naturally Adam and Jonny end up walking into Martin wearing a rather revealing pair of swimming trunks. Now that is an image you’ll never want in your head again… So what did Martin get Jackie for such a special occasion? Well, a painting of her. While that sounds nice it does look rather like Margaret Thatcher. Also, Jonny gets a skull tattoo which causes Jackie immense pain and Jonny immense pain. But that’s because everyone keeps hitting the tattoo.
2: Mr Morris Returns (S3, E3)
Remember when I said Mr Morris only featured in a small number of episodes? Well here is another one. And if you thought his first appearance was mental you ain’t seen nothing yet. This is because he intends to marry Jackie’s mum. Obviously this is met with shock and horror from the rest of the Goodman family. So, because he’s feeling in a good mood he takes the Goodman’s bowling. While this seems like a good idea, Jim turns up at the bowling alley in a furry dog costume. Somehow this triggers Mr Morris so much he ends up fighting Jim.. with his shirt off. So much weirdness on display….
1: Tin of Meat (S5, E2)
And the best Friday Night Dinner episode is…. Tin of Meat. So what makes this episode so good? Well, Martin’s insistence that a tin of meat in his shed is lucky. Oh and this meat in his shed is over twenty years old. So naturally, Martin wants to prove how lucky the meat is by eating it in front of his horrified family. And shocker it somehow doesn’t end well for Martin. Other highlights include Martin fighting Auntie Val because she has the audacity to throw away some of his disgusting items like his slippers. What a fantastically stupid episode….
What are your favourite Friday Night Dinner episodes? Let me know in the comments below!