We’ve Ranked All of the ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Episodes and Please Don’t @ Us


It might be a rule in the sitcom world that you must include Thanksgiving special episodes in a comedic series. For some reason, the American tradition just lends itself to more visual gags, jokes and hijinx than any other holiday, and is also more inclusive than Christmas, which is not celebrated by several religious groups.

And so, we are gifted almost every season of our favourite TV shows, with an episode full of turkey, kitchen mishaps and, most importantly, the spirit of gratitude as the characters overcome all of the Thanksgiving obstacles and enjoy what really matters.

Now, sadly, Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated in Australia (although that does not stop me from observing it after living in the US for 12 years) so some of the more “in” jokes might be lost on us, but we can still appreciate the laughs these specials bring and no show does it better than Friends.

So, we decided, in honour of Thanksgiving 2021 (November 25), to rank the nine turkey day episodes of Friends from best to worst. Here we go.

9. The One With the Football, Season 3

Meh. This episode was okay, but it definitely ranks last for me. Maybe it’s because the focus is on sport (yawn) instead of food or perhaps it’s due to the throwback to Monica and Ross’s childhood…I don’t know. I just know that this is one of those Friends episodes that I can happily skip when it comes on.

Also, the subplot with Chandler and Joey vying for the affections of Margha (who has been forced to spend Thanksgiving freezing in a park because her roommate is having sex with a businessman) is just gross. Honestly, she would be better off staying in her apartment with the loud businessman sex where at least it was warm.

8. The One Where Underdog Gets Away, Season 1

Is it just me, or is everyone kind of a downer in this episode? Chandler hates Thanksgiving because it reminds him of his terrible parents, Rachel is sad because she’s now poor and therefore cant’ spend the holiday skiing with her parents in Aspen and Joey (or at least one of his characters) has VD.

At least at the end of the episode, they all enjoy some cheese sandwiches, realise the true meaning of the holiday and vow to always spend it together, setting us up for the subsequent eight special episodes.

7. The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs, Season 7

I love Chandler — he’s definitely my favourite character — but I just cannot get on board with his hatred of dogs.

Also in this episode, Rachel is being very inappropriate with her new assistant, who is vulnerable after being dumped by his girlfriend. I know the #MeToo movement was a few years off in this episode but c’mon Rach, do better.

What saves this episode is the game of trying to name all of the states in the US that the gang are playing, with Ross taking it to extremes, as always.

6. The One With the Late Thanksgiving, Season 10

Poor old Monica, why does she agree to host this event every year for people who clearly don’t appreciate her?

After being emotionally blackmailed into hosting turkey day (because lord forbid someone else steps up to the plate to do it) Monica and Chandler (well, Monica) go to great lengths to make the day special for their mates.

Said mates, however, have better things to do than keep a schedule and go off to Rangers games and beauty pageants to serve their own interests.

Thankfully, at the end of the episode, Monica and Chandler find out they are getting a baby to adopt (even though I doubt the agency would be open on a public holiday) so all is forgiven.

5. The One With Chandler in a Box, Season 4

As I said, I love Chandler, so an episode in which his dialogue is limited was never going to be my favourite.

However, this episode is still very clever and funny as we see Chandler agreeing to spend Thanksgiving in a box, in order to atone for the sin of hooking up with Joey’s girlfriend, Cathy. If you thought a wooden coffin could keep Mr Bing from being the King of Sass, you thought wrong.

We’ll just ignore the creepy subplot where Monica makes out with her ex-boyfriend’s son, shall we?

4. The One With Rachel’s Other Sister, Season 9

It might be because I have a very morbid sense of humour, but I love the fact that this episode revolves around the gang trying to figure out who would get Emma — or, Emmett as Amy calls her — if Ross and Rachel were to meet an untimely demise.

Christina Applegate shines in this episode as Rachel’s delightfully self-centred sister while Monica’s neuroses about using the “fancy plates” take it all to the next level.

3. The One With the Rumour, Season 8

Look, this one has Brad Pitt in it as someone who hates Rachel and he played the part while the pair were happily in love.

What more do you want us to say? It’s iconic, although the use of someone being intersex as the rumour/the punchline is obviously unfortunate and would not fly today.

2. The One With All the Thanksgivings, Season 5

You’ve gotta love a throwback episode, although again, the fat jokes aimed at Monica are really unfortunate and not at all progressive. However, if you ignore that part it’s a great episode. Especially as it turns out that Monica got the ultimate, if not unintentional, revenge on Chandler for being the main purveyor of these digs, by chopping off his toe.

Cementing this episode’s place in the number two spot is the fact that present-day Chandler tells Monica he loves her for the first time, and he does it whilst she is wearing a turkey on her head and a little fez on the turkey.

1. The One Where Ross Got High, Season 6

I must have watched this one a million times and yet it still makes me laugh every time.

I love that, even as adults, Monica and Ross don’t want their parents to know who they are dating or that they smoked pot in college — a concept very foreign to me as my mum has always known all of my skeletons.

The scene-stealer of this episode, however, is Rachel’s trifle monstrosity which no one wants to alert her to for fear it will derail the day and prevent Ross and Joey from going to hang out with a bunch of drunk and stretchy dancers.

Ross wincing “it takes like feet!” is still a winner to this day, even if Rachel’s meat trifle was not.

All seasons of Friends are currently streaming on BINGE. 

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