Like many other people who grew up in the late 90’s/ early 00’s, the majority of our conversations tend to be spoken in Friends quotes. This is never more true than during the holidays. In the 10 seasons that Friends was on the air, the show gifted us with years of food puns and hilarious turkey related imagery. This year we look back on our favorite Thanksgiving Friends episodes and remember why we are grateful to have grown up with these wonderful cast of characters. Here are our favorite Friends Thanksgiving episodes, ranked from worst to best.
10. “The One with the List” (Season 2)
Ross and the boys come up with a list of reasons why he should not date Rachel (amongst the reasons are that she has “chubby ankles” why did she ever date him, again?) and she ends up, unsurprisingly, finding out about the whole thing. Monica also gets a job working with “Mockolate” (a chocolate substitute) and hilarity ensues. This episode gets its place on our list mainly because it’s not actually a Thanksgiving episode, even if it was it probably would have ended up at the bottom anyway.
9. “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”
In this particular Thanksgiving episode, when Phoebe brings Clunkers the puppy to the apartment, they all discover that Chandler is terrified of dogs and the comedy of errors begins with the dog being taken back and forth several times between Monica and Ross’s apartments. But this episode also includes the comedy of errors that is the beginning of Rachel and Tag’s relationship. Unfortunately, this one landed near the bottom of our list mainly because Chandler doesn’t like dogs, and that makes us not like this episode. Also, it may have landed towards the bottom because Ross tries to name all fifty of the United States, and nobody likes a know it all.
8. “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister”
This episode features the debut of Rachel’s other sister (the one that didn’t try to sleep with Ross). Christina Applegate guest stars as Amy Green, the super self-involved sister of Rachel who mocks Ross’s geekiness, calls out Monica’s former weight, and can’t remember her own niece’s name. This episode’s hilarity builds when Monica is freaking out about her “good wedding China.” We also get a sweet moment when Ross and Rachel inform Monica and Chandler that, should anything happen to them, the Bings would be Emma’s caregivers but with the contingency that if Monica passes, Emma goes to Ross and Monica’s parents. Eventually, Ross and Rachel relent to letting Chandler keep Emma, but realize he is not long for this world when he knocks over the box containing Monica’s fine China. R.I.P. Chandler.
7.”The One Where Underdog Gets Away”
This was the first Thanksgiving we got to spend with our ol’ Friends. However, in this first episode, Thanksgiving basically gets cancelled when Chandler notices the Underdog float in the Thanksgiving Parade had gotten loose, and they all race to the roof to watch, unwittingly locking themselves out of the apartment. Eventually they get back in, but Thanksgiving has already been ruined. Thankfully, they spy that Ugly Naked Guy has a guest, Ugly Naked Gal, and they realize that at least they all had each other. While this episode ends on a sweet note, it did take petty squabbling to get there and classic sitcom predictability, which definitely makes this a middle-of-the-road type episode. But it is a slightly more special episode because it was the first Thanksgiving episode, and it includes Ugly Naked Couple.
6. “The One with the Late Thanksgiving”
Rachel, Phoebe, Joey and Ross are all late to Thanksgiving dinner (after convincing a reluctant Monica to cook for them), and the Bings lock them out for their tardiness. They eventually get in when Monica and Chandler learn that they are finally getting a baby. This episode is a shining star in an otherwise “meh” final season of the show. There’s no mention of Rachel and Joey’s ill-advised (and very brief) romance, and it actually has some classic moments like the Friends getting their heads stuck in the door or Joey giving Chandler “the eye”.
5. “The One Where Ross Got High” (Season 6)
Though the main arc of this episode revolves around Chandler and Monica’s relationship, the real standout star is Rachel’s trifle. The creation of the half-shepherd’s pie half-trifle is one of the most memorable food moments of the show’s run (perhaps rivaled only by the cheesecake from Mama’s Little Bakery), giving us some of the funniest lines of the season. This episode also brings past secrets to light through a classic Geller sibling argument, culminating in probably the best reaction by Judy Geller (“Rachel, no, you weren’t supposed to put beef in the trifle. It did not taste good.”)
4. “The One With All The Thanksgivings”
This is the episode where the friends share their worst Thanksgiving memories. Lucky for us these make up some of the funniest Friends memes. Phoebe reminisces of a past life that lacked bandages. Joey got a turkey stuck on his head. Monica flashes back to Flock of Seagulls era Chandler and new nose Rachel. We learn a lot about Monica in this episode including what led to her weight loss and why she became a chef. Chandler also loses a toe, and also accidentally tells Monica he loves her. Overall there is a lot going on, especially with with the Chandler and Monica relationship, but have you SEEN Joey and Monica with turkey’s on their heads?
3. “The One with the Rumor” (Season 8)
Though Friends has had a plethora of amazing guest stars throughout its run, perhaps the most memorable role goes to Brad Pitt, who played Ross’ old friend Will in season 8’s Thanksgiving episode. Though his acting may be a bit exaggerated, Brad Pitt delivers (in our opinion) the most quotable episode of the entire Friends’ franchise. Whether it’s talking about the Green Bay Mermen’ moral victory or claiming that maternity clothes are Thanksgiving pants, this episode delivers countless brilliant lines that the 6 Nerdy Chicks have quoted year after year. Besides, what would Thanksgiving be if someone didn’t yell “Take off your shirt and tell us!?”
2. “The One with the Football” (Season 3)
The best Friends episodes are ones where the entire gang is together, rather than being split up into A and B storylines. A shining example of this is “The One with the Football.” It’s girls vs. guys in game of touch football while they wait for the turkey to be done, and it’s a microcosm of everything we love about these characters. Monica and Ross are hilarious competitive rivals, as they always are, and Rachel tries her best but doesn’t really know what going long means (although all of us here would go get a hot dog too). The remaining boys fight over a girl from
1. “The One with Chandler in a Box” (Season 4)
At the heart of every Friends episode is the friendship they all share. But what happens when best friends for life end up fighting over a girl? Chandler ends up in a box. A call back to one of the times that Joey failed Chandler, Chandler returns the favor by staying in the box during Thanksgiving dinner. Monica also gets the brunt of her friends’ judgment when she has her eye on her former flame’s son, played by the delightful Michael Vartan (what happened to him?!). A man in a box, potential incest, and a woman in an eye-patch– what is this, Game of Thrones?! In the end, Joey forgives Chandler, and we get the best Italian insult ever: “Va Fa Napoli!”
Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!