Most of today’s sitcoms have perfected the holiday episode – where they celebrate Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa with a little bit of heart and a bunch of laughs. But few shows focus on my personal favorite holiday – Thanksgiving. I don’t have to buy anyone a present and I get to eat stuffing while watching football until I bloat so badly my skinny jeans cut of the circulation to my legs? Holiday perfection.
But one show always focused on Turkey Day – Friends. So before TBS and/or Nick @ Nite airs the inevitable marathon of all of the Friends Thanksgiving episodes, let me break them down for you, since I’ve watched them all approximately 9,352 times.
10.) “The One With The List” (Season 2)
This one barely counts as a Thanksgiving episode, hence why it’s ranked last. There’s no turkey – Monica was testing out “mockolate” recipes, so there was pumpkin pie with a mockolate cookie crumb crust, mockolate cranberry cake, and mockolate chip cookies. Plus, just when you thought Ross and Rachel were going to get together, Ross made that stupid pro-and-con list about her and Julie, and we had to wait five more episodes for our second-favorite couple to get together. (Sorry, I’m a Monica and Chandler fan.)
9.) “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” (Season 7)
There was some storyline about Phoebe dog-sitting and Chandler being afraid of dogs, but more importantly, it’s the one where Rachel finally confesses she has feelings for her assistant Tag and he kisses her. Now, I thought Tag was pretty hot, but we all knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere, so the whole thing just seemed kind of stupid – a moo point, if you will.
8.) “The One with the Rumor” (Season 8)
Most people were really excited to see Jennifer Aniston’s real life husband (at the time) Brad Pitt show up as a Thanksgiving guest star, but I just found it sort of weird. I mean, he was playing someone that hated her sooooooo much in high school that he started an “I Hate Rachel Green Club” with Ross – and a rumor Rachel was born a hermaphrodite who had “a hint of a penis.” Wonder if that was foreshadowing for the power couple’s divorce a few years later? Although I can sympathize with Will’s bitterness – complex carbohydrates are one of my greatest enemies as well.
7.) “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” (Season 1)
Honestly, Season 1 wasn’t my favorite; instead, I prefer the later episodes. But the first Friends Thanksgiving did lay the foundation for the rest of them – and it’s the only one to answer the question of why none of these people spent the holiday with their families. Sorry about the VD, Joey.
6.) “The One with Chandler in a Box” (Season 4)
I love Chandler, and I don’t like that he’s in a box for the majority of the episode, even if he’s there because he committed the cardinal sin of hooking up with his best friend’s ex. There’s also a storyline that has Monica flirting with Richard’s cute son, but that’s just weird.
5.) “The One Where Ross Got High” (Season 6)
This is the first and only episode that any of the cast spends Thanksgiving with their parents – in this case, Mr. and Mrs. Gellar. Monica tells Chandler that her parents hate him because they think he smoked weed in their house back in college, when it was in fact Ross who was sparking one up. The truth comes out about that – and lot of other things, including Monica and Chandler’s cohabitation status – leading the Gellars to say that Chandler is “a wonderful human being” for putting up with the annoying siblings. And of course, there’s that meat trifle Rachel made.
4.) “The One with the Football” (Season 3)
This is a pretty accurate reflection of how holidays look in my family – except we play kickball on Easter instead of football on Thanksgiving. But much like the “Gellar Bowl,” someone usually gets hurt and there is definitely some crying, although no one gets flashed.
3.) “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” (Season 9)
What normal holiday doesn’t involve a fight between siblings? None that I’ve ever been to. Rachel and her shallow sister Amy (guest star Christina Applegate) have it out over all kinds of issues, including that Amy is not “Emily’s” godmother. You know, ‘cause they occasionally have to remind us that Ross and Rachel had a baby, since we never actually see the kid.
2.) “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” (Season 10)
This one ranks high on my list since I am pretty much Monica in this episode for every holiday with my family. I clean my house from top to bottom, I cook for hours, I take special food requests… and no one freaking shows up on time. And they aren’t even at something as important as a baby beauty pageant or a hockey game. So I feel you, Monica, I feel you. Plus, if you don’t get teary-eyed at the end of the episode when the Bings get the call that a birth mother is interested in them adopting her baby, you’re dead inside.
1.) “The One With All The Thanksgivings” (Season 5)
Everyone flashes back here, but of course. The best one is to Thanksgiving of 1987, when Monica first met Chandler (and his amazing hair cut). She overhears him telling Ross “I just don’t want to be stuck here all night with your fat sister.” Monica slims down by Thanksgiving 1988 and tries to get revenge by seducing now-Miami-Vice style Chandler, only to instead get it by dropping a knife on his wicker shoe and causing him to lose his toe. This is the first time Chandler has heard the whole story and freaks out, leading to Monica putting a turkey on her head and dancing around – as well as the first Chandler/Monica “I love you.”
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