With Thanksgiving peering its head around the corner, holiday junkies like myself may be looking to celebrate with more than turkey and pumpkin pie. Unlike Christmas and Halloween, which both have a wide catalog of films to choose from, Thanksgiving seems to be left out on the cinematic outskirts.
However, that doesn’t go to say there’s nothing to watch. The iconic 1994 to 2004 sitcom, “Friends,” was sure to add a Thanksgiving episode to each season they aired, leaving fans with a 10-episode list filled with belly-aching laughter and holiday cheer.
Here are the “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes, ranked worst to best:
#10. “The One with the List” (Season 2, Episode 8)
Beginning with the aftermath of Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) first kiss, “The One with the List” shows Ross needing to decide between his girlfriend, Julie (Lauren Tom), and the girl he’s loved since high school. In doing this, Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) help Ross make a pros and cons list that Rachel later on finds, creating a downward spiral early in their romance — or at least in this episode.
Though this episode is funny on its own and feeds the classic Ross and Rachel storyline, it hardly makes any reference to Thanksgiving despite being named a Thanksgiving episode. The only time the holiday is mentioned is when Monica (Courtney Cox) goes for a job interview and has to create recipes for a new chocolate product called “Mockolate.” Therefore, the lack of a Thanksgiving theme in this episode earned its last-place spot.
#9. “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” (Season 7, Episode 8)
This season-seven Thanksgiving episode was underwhelming in that it, too, felt detached from the holiday. Plus, who doesn’t like dogs? Apparently Chandler.
When Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) sneaks a dog she’s watching for a friend into the apartment, everyone finds out Chandler doesn’t like dogs. Though he comes around in the end, the episode still doesn’t live up to some of the other seasons.
#8. “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” (Season 9, Episode 8)
Christina Applegate stars in this episode as Amy Green, Rachel’s self-centered sister. When Amy comes to Thanksgiving dinner and learns she is not the guardian of Ross and Rachel’s baby should anything happen to them, she sparks a chaotic Thanksgiving.
In all, Applegate was hilarious in the role, playing exactly who you wouldn’t want to leave a child with, and does a great job at throwing witty digs at each of the characters that, by season nine, we know and love to throw jabs at.
#7. “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” (Season 1, Episode 9)
This episode should have been called “The One with All the Potatoes,” as Monica hosts her first Thanksgiving dinner amongst the six friends once all of their holiday plans fall through, catering to each of their potato needs.
When the Underdog balloon from the parade goes loose in the city and they all rush to the roof to see it, everyone ends up locked outside of the apartment, leaving the food to burn.
Although Thanksgiving dinner is ruined, they all realize the true meaning of the holiday: being together. Plus, this episode has the added comedy of Joey ending up on a poster for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and the traditional breaking of the wishbone, albeit with a grilled cheese sandwich.
#6. “The One with Chandler in a Box” (Season 4, Episode 8)
When Chandler kisses Joey’s girlfriend, Joey forces him to spend Thanksgiving in a box to make it up to him. Meanwhile, Monica has a run-in with her ex-boyfriend Richard’s (Tom Selleck) handsome son, who she invites back for dinner.
This episode is filled with some priceless one-liners, weird scenarios — such as going after your ex-boyfriend’s son — and the adorableness that is Chandler and Joey’s undying friendship.
#5. “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” (Season 10, Episode 8)
As the final Thanksgiving episode of “Friends,” this one did not disappoint. After everyone convinces Monica and Chandler to host dinner, they all show up an hour late, prompting a situation involving a locked door and a stuck head.
Between Joey’s beady “weird eye-contact thing” he uses as a plea for forgiveness, Rachel entering her baby in a beauty pageant and Monica and Chandler receiving emotional news at the end of the episode, “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” is not one you want to skip over.
#4. “The One with the Rumor” (Season 8, Episode 9)
This Thanksgiving episode could not have been any better.
Brad Pitt, who at the time was married to Aniston, guest stars as Will Colbert, Monica and Ross’ friend from high school. It turns out he despises Rachel, even admitting that he and Ross created an “I Hate Rachel Green” club in high school where they spread rumors about her.
Phoebe is the standout character in this episode as she does and says what any of us would if Pitt showed up at our Thanksgiving dinner, all starting with an over-exaggerated “wow” and ending with an extended impromptu hug.
#3. “The One with All the Thanksgivings” (Season 5, Episode 8)
In one of the classic flashback episodes, we see a wholesome family gathering at the Geller house, where a college-aged Ross introduces Chandler to his family and Rachel for the first time. The episode starts with the friends in the current time talking about each of their worst Thanksgivings. This prompts a memory of the time Monica assumed her revenge on Chandler for making fun of her weight, and let’s just say he went back to college with one less toe as a result.
“The One with All the Thanksgivings” has it all: awkward seduction mechanisms that include a macaroni-and-cheese box and a knife, wild hairstyles and even a head stuck inside a turkey. For some classic, bring-your-friend-home-from-college comedy, be sure to watch this episode.
#2. “The One Where Ross Got High” (Season 6, Episode 9)
Monica and Ross’ parents come to Thanksgiving dinner, though they are unaware of Chandler and Monica’s relationship and the fact that they had recently moved in together. It turns out, Jack (Elliott Gould) and Judy (Christina Pickles) dislike Chandler because Ross got high in college, and when they walked in and smelled it, he told them it was Chandler.
Between Rachel cooking beef into the trifle, the realization that Ross was actually the one who got high and the announcement of Monica and Chandler’s living arrangement, this episode delivers one of the best truth-realization scenes of all time.
#1. “The One With the Football” (Season 3, Episode 9)
This season-three Thanksgiving episode is comedic perfection from start to finish and arguably the best episode in the show’s roster.
Despite Ross and Monica’s turbulent history of playing Thanksgiving Day football games, the six friends decide to go for it anyway, leaving each of their characters’ hilarity and quirks to shine through the holiday’s beloved sport.
Be prepared for nonstop laughter as you watch the friends battle it out on the football field.
Leave behind that screen-time void you may have been left feeling most Thanksgivings and get ready for laughter and a good time this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!