Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I don’t know about you all, but it’s always been one of my favorite holidays. Sadly, it just never gets the hype that Christmas gets – no brand new movie line up, no TV show or movie countdown, and sometimes we almost miss it through the sea of Christmas that is set out as of November 1st (if not earlier).
I’m totally NOT hating on Christmas – the movies, the music, the decorations. I just really appreciate the classics that took time to have some good, old-fashioned, Thanksgiving fun.
And by “the classics” I’m obviously talking about Friends. As a part of the original Must See TV Thursday line up, Friends aired on Thursdays, marking Thanksgiving usually a week early. Macy’s parade plus family time plus turkey coma plus a new episode of Friends made for great turkey days. (O did I forget the football? Hmm, must have slipped my mind…)
So with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I know that I for one like to celebrate this holiday with the best of the Thanksgiving episodes from Friends (arguably some of the best episodes of the show). I discussed this with my sister and besties from college who are the only people I know in real life who have watched the episodes as many times as I have. Our combined expertise has compiled this epic list for your viewing pleasure this Thanksgiving season.
Now, without further ado I give you….
9 ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Episodes Ranked Worst to Best
# 9 – The One with the Late Thanksgiving (Season 10, Ep. 8)
Monica doesn’t even want to make Thanksgiving dinner, but Phoebe challenges her to outdo her last year’s self and Monica has to accept. However Ross and Joey decide to head to a Rangers’ game which goes into extra periods. And Phoebe talks Rachel into entering Emma in a baby beauty contest. The crew is late for dinner and Monica locks them out of their apartment. Everyone must answer to the vein in her forehead.
Why it’s #9? I mean, once you see the rest of this list, this episode’s solid placement at #9 will make perfect sense. The stress and sadness of the last season even crept into this Thanksgiving episode.
#8 The One with Rachel’s Other Sister (Season 9, Ep. 8)
Rachel’s sister Amy shows up first thing in the morning. She can’t remember the baby’s name or Ross’s name, which provides a few laugh lines. Meanwhile, Ross and Rachel are trying to decide who will get Emma if they die. Amy thinks she should get the baby, whose name she doesn’t know. Monica is the front running choice. Chandler finally convinces them that he could totally raise Emma, then breaks all of Monica’s wedding China.
Why it’s #8? Some good old-fashioned slapstick give this a solid place but it lacks the classic one liners that put the top episodes in their top spots.
#7 – The One where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs (Season 7, Ep. 8)
Phoebe is living at Monica and Chandler’s and agrees to dog sit for some friends, so she hides the dog until he is discovered on Thanksgiving. Chandler, who doesn’t like dogs, pretends he’s allergic. Then through some back and forth with the dog, the dog runs off and Chandler must face his fear to save the dog. Rachel also invites her assistant Tag who she has a thing for.
Why it’s #7? All episodes with Tag are fun and light-hearted. All episodes with one of Chandler’s neurosis make you feel awkward and uncomfortable, no matter how much you can relate. Redeeming quality: the line in the meme below.
#6 – The One where Underdog Gets Away (Season 1, Ep. 9)
Let’s take a moment of silence for the remembrance of the very first Thanksgiving episode. Pause. That’s enough. Ok, so Rachel is broke and is trying to earn enough money to go on the family ski trip. One by one the other friends end up planning to have dinner together, while Monica makes everyone’s favorite kinds of potatoes. However before Rachel can catch her flight or the other 5 can start in on their feast, the Underdog balloon breaks free of its tethers during the Macy’s parade. When they head up to the roof to see Underdog take off, they inadvertently lock their keys in the apartment and all the potatoes are ruined.
Why it’s #6? Well I would love to give this an honorary higher position but they hadn’t really gotten into a Thanksgiving day groove yet.
#5 – The One with the Rumor (Season 8, Ep. 9)
Monica invites a formerly-fat-friend over for Thanksgiving. Rachel thinks he’s a dream boat and can’t remember him from High School. But don’t worry he remembers and still totally hates her. He forces Ross to confess his membership in the “I Hate Rachel Green Club” and also his involvement in the rumor that was started. Joey has to eat all of the turkey so he wears maternity pants to make more room.
Why it’s #5? I mean, come on. Brad Pitt guest starred in a Thanksgiving episode and pretended to hate his (then) wife. Also Phoebe’s request for Will to “just take off your shirt and tell us!!” is classic.
# 4 – The One with the Football (Season 3, Ep. 9)
Ross and Monica, giving yet another example of their extreme coolness as children, resurrect the Geller Cup and battle out their sibling rivalry on the football field. Joey and Chandler fight for the affection of a Dutch girl who decides to choose neither of them. Rachel goes really long and gets a pretzel. And Phoebe flashes the guys to get the ball. At the end of the show, Monica and Ross are both holding onto a fumble as it starts to snow.
Why it’s #4? Football and Thanksgiving go together like, well, football and Thanksgiving. Plus, the more we get to know the Gellers, the more we just so appreciate their quirkiness. And that trophy, who wouldn’t want that on their mantle?
# 3 – The One with All the Thanksgivings (Season 5, Ep. 8)
After stuffing themselves on Monica’s Thanksgiving fare, the gang recalls their Thanksgiving memories. Monica’s involve Chandler calling her fat one year and the following year, in an awkward attempt to seduce him, she cuts off his toe. All ends well though, because the emotionally stunted Chandler tells Monica he loves her as she dances with a turkey on her head.
Why it’s #3? Friends flashback episodes are nothing if not classic. The 80’s looked good on all of them and it’s great to see how long most of them have been friends.
# 2 – The One with Chandler in a Box (Season 4, Ep. 8)
After Chandler crosses the line and kisses Joey’s girlfriend, Joey is pretty upset and is ready to move out. Instead Chandler convinces Joey that he will do anything to get Joey’s forgiveness, which means spending all day in the box not talking. And while Monica is cooking dinner, an ice chip cuts her eye and she has to see an eye Dr, who turns out to be her ex boyfriend’s son, whom she invites over for dinner, then they kiss and it’s weird.
Why it’s #2? This episode has maybe one of the best Friends quotes ever. And it really highlights the complexity of the relationships among the friends. I mean, penance through quietly sitting in a box? Clearly they get each other.
# 1 – The One where Ross Got High (Season 6, Ep. 9)
Monica can’t tell her parents that she’s living with Chandler because her parents hate Chandler, thinking that he corrupted Ross into getting high back in their college days. But they’re coming for dinner, so Monica tells Ross he has to tell his parents the truth. Rachel tries to make dessert for the main event and pages get stuck together in the cookbook and makes the worst English Trifle ever. Joey obviously loves it.
Why it’s #1? Everyone has a beef (pun intended) with the holiday feast and Monica’s mom sets every one straight. Chandler comes out the star which doesn’t get to happen very often.
So there you have it. This definitive list should help guide you to Thanksgiving TV watching perfection. [In case you disagree, my sister and my two friends from college who are the only people I would ever EVER want to be in a Friends trivia battle with had their top 3 a little different – Katie had #1 Season 3, #2 Season 4, and #3 Season 8 and Aly had #1 Season 8, #2 Season 4, and #3 Season 6 so there ya go. Obviously they are
wrong less right than I am, but I love them anyways. My sister agreed with me (with my original text message list that has now been revised), but is planning on rewatching them all with her husband.]
Now if you’ve never just watched the Thanksgiving episodes, you can do it one of two ways – one, chronologically or two, using this list and going from #9 to #1 (Season 2 did not have a Thanksgiving episode, not really because it didn’t have a dinner or even dessert). I have linked to all of the episodes on Amazon and Friends is also currently on Netflix. Of course if you have cable, Nick at Nite is pretty great about showing Thanksgiving episodes the week before Thanksgiving. I would not suggest follow this Buzzfeed, which is obviously just wrong.
How would you rank the Thanksgiving episodes? Will you be watching them this week?
**Edited Thanksgiving 2015 because I am a fickle woman.**