TV shows usually do special episodes for holidays like Valentine's Day, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and so on. Although, most shows kind of skip Thanksgiving. But not Friends. Friends made Thanksgiving its main holiday, thus becoming the go-to show for this holiday. Each season the writers would find new ways to tell a funny Thanksgiving story that focuses on character development and character relationships, while also capturing the spirit of the holiday.
Over the course of ten seasons, the friends have done all the traditional Thanksgiving things together, like watching the parade, the football game, and, of course, feasting on some delicious food. But, they've also had to deal with all kinds of problems, like people being late, dinner getting ruined, and family arguments. Today, we're ranking all ten Thanksgiving episodes of this timeless 1990s classic.
10 “THE ONE WHERE CHANDLER DOESN'T LIKE DOGS” (SEASON 7)
The season seven Thanksgiving episode “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” follows several minor plotlines, but sadly none is particularly interesting. Phoebe is sneaking around with a dog in her bag, which forces Chandler to admit that he doesn’t like dogs. Big deal. Is it really so wrong not to like dogs?
Meanwhile, Rachel doesn’t know what to do about her assistant Tag, whom she has a crush on. This is where Joey comes in (and honestly his lines are the highlight of the episode), offering some actually good advice and explaining the “moo point.” All the while, Ross is refraining from eating any food until he can name all 50 states from memory. Look, it’s not a bad episode, but it isn’t a particularly memorable one either.
9 “THE ONE WITH THE LIST” (SEASON 2)
The season two Thanksgiving episode is a bit different, as it primarily revolves around the love triangle between Ross, Rachel, and Julie, and the titular ill-advised list. While Thanksgiving is merely a B-plot in which Monica gets to prepare experimental Thanksgiving meals with a completely synthetic chocolate substitute Mockolate.
Unfortunately, Monica’s attempts to make Mockolate taste good fail miserably. And, if Phoebe’s to be trusted, the food tastes like evil. Meanwhile, Ross makes a list and then breaks up with Julie to be with Rachel. But, just like Mockolate, Ross and Rachel’s happiness is short-lived. Understandably, Rachel is disappointed, hurt, and can’t forgive Ross for doing something so appalling. The second season is the only season of Friends not to have a traditional Thanksgiving episode.
8 “THE ONE WITH THE LATE THANKSGIVING” (SEASON 10)
The season ten Thanksgiving may not be the funniest Friends Thanksgiving episode, but it does have some pretty memorable moments. Of course, the biggest highlight of the episode comes at the very end when Monica and Chandler get the call from the adoption agency telling them that they’re getting a baby. That is a happy moment that we will never forget.
The main plotline with everyone being late to the Thanksgiving dinner due to a baby beauty pageant and a hockey game is pretty fun, especially Phoebe and Rachel getting way too into the baby beauty pageant, the rock-paper-scissors-fire-water-balloon game, and the floating heads.
7 “THE ONE WITH THE RUMOR” (SEASON 8)
Guest-starring Brad Pitt as Ross and Monica’s formerly very overweight friend Will, “The One with the Rumor” has Pitt saying lines like “Look at her standing there with those yams. My two greatest enemies, Ross. Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates” and that's just too funny for words.
In the time-honored tradition of Monica’s Thanksgiving dinners, secrets start coming to light. Rachel is shocked to find out that, in high school, Will and Ross founded the “I Hate Rachel Club” and spread a rumor that she was a hermaphrodite. Will is equally shocked that Ross is expecting a baby with his arch-nemesis. Also, Ross made out with a fifty-year-old librarian. Meanwhile, Phoebe wants to rip Will’s shirt off and Joey puts on Phoebe’s maternity pants to finish a nineteen-pond turkey all by himself. “The One with the Rumor” is a hilarious Thanksgiving episode and having Brad Pitt certainly doesn’t hurt.
6 “THE ONE WITH CHANDLER IN A BOX” (SEASON 4)
The season four Thanksgiving episode is one of the weirder Friends installments. Monica hurts her eye, goes to the ophthalmologist who turns out to be Richard’s son and invites him over for dinner. Meanwhile, Joey punishes Chandler for kissing his girlfriend by having him spend six hours in a wooden box.
Everyone makes fun of Monica for going out her ex-boyfriend’s son, but she doesn’t stand for it, delivering one of her most iconic lines: “Fine! Judge all you want to but, married a lesbian, left a man at the altar, fell in love with a gay ice dancer, threw a girl’s wooden leg in a fire, live in a box.” Although the love triangle between Joey, Chandler, and Kathy was pointless and kind of annoying, it did give Joey and Chandler’s bromance space to grow. "The One with Chandler in a Box" has some unforgettable moments and Chandler making jokes out of a box is just too funny.
5 “THE ONE WITH RACHEL'S OTHER SISTER” (SEASON 9)
Guest-starring Christina Applegate as Rachel’s other sister, Amy, the season nine Thanksgiving episode is all about self-centered and unfiltered Amy Green. Applegate and her character brought a much-appreciated, fresh perspective to the annual Thanksgiving episode that resulted in some big laughs. In a matter of hours, Amy managed to insult everyone at Monica’s Thanksgiving dinner with her snobbish and indifferent attitude.
Amy’s plans for becoming the legal guardian of ‘Emily’ after Ross and Rachel die read like a lifetime movie. But, when she finds out that she wouldn’t get the baby in case of their death, Amy becomes an even worse version of herself. Amy and Rachel’s argument about Emma escalates and leads to a physical fight during which one of Monica’s fancy plates gets broken and she nearly faints. This exaggerated representation of uncomfortable family reunions at holiday dinners is both hilarious and relatable.
4 “THE ONE WITH THE FOOTBALL” (SEASON 3)
The third season brought back the traditional Thanksgiving episode in a big way. Putting the sibling rivalry between Ross and Monica to the forefront, “The One with the Football” takes place almost entirely at the park where the six friends play football. The friendly game soon turns into a battle for the Geller Cup and then into a gender battle between the guys and girls.
All the while, Joey and Chandler use the game to compete for the attention of a Dutch girl. In a game where apparently anything goes, Ross pulls down Monica’s pants and Phoebe distracts Chandler with her breasts. The episode ends with Ross and Monica still huddled over the ball, while everyone else eats dinner at Monica’s.
3 “THE ONE WHERE UNDERDOG GETS AWAY” (SEASON 1)
The one that kicked off the traditional Thanksgiving episode/dinner at Monica’s, “The One Where Underdog Gets Away,” set the standard for all the Thanksgiving episodes to come. Monica hosts her first Thanksgiving dinner, making three kinds of potatoes and a separate non-Thanksgiving meal for Chandler, who, we find out, is boycotting the holiday because that's when his parents told him they're getting divorced.
Meanwhile, Joey’s family doesn’t want to spend Thanksgiving with him because he has syphilis and stuff (well, at least according to a poster), and Phoebe’s family is postponing Thanksgiving till December. Oh, and the Underdog gets away so they all go up to the roof to watch but no one brings the keys. They end up locked out of the apartment, causing Monica’s dinner to get burnt and Rachel to miss her flight. The episode ends with the six of them having Chandler’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner and toasting to a sucky Thanksgiving, lousy Christmas, and a crappy New Year.
2 “THE ONE WITH ALL THE THANKSGIVINGS” (SEASON 5)
“The One with All the Thanksgivings” gives us a glimpse into the past, featuring flashbacks to past Thanksgivings. After devouring Monica’s Thanksgiving dinner, the group gets to talking about who has the worst Thanksgivings story. Chandler, of course, doesn’t want to give up his King of Bad Thanksgivings title.
But, when Rachel tries to tell the story of Monica’s worst Thanksgiving things get interesting. Phoebe thinks it’s the one when Joey got her turkey stuck on his head, which is exactly as it sounds. But Monica tells the story of the 1987 Thanksgiving when Chandler came over for the first time and called her fat. However, that’s still not the Thanksgiving Rachel had in mind. Rachel thinks it's the 1988 Thanksgiving when Monica (now thin) tried to get revenge on Chandler by seducing him and accidentally ended up cutting off his toe. All the flashbacks are absolutely hilarious and packed with lines that sound funnier when you know what happens in the future. The episode ends on a sweet note though with Monica putting a turkey on her head to apologize to Chandler and Chandler saying he loves her for the first time.
1 “THE ONE WHERE ROSS GOT HIGH” (SEASON 6)
“The One Where Ross Got High” hits all the notes of a traditional Friends Thanksgiving episode but it's cranked up to eleven. Monica and Ross’s parents are coming over for dinner, but Monica still hasn't told them about her and Chandler because they don't like Chandler.
Chandler is determined to win them over, however, Ross then reveals that the reason Judy and Jack don't like him is that Ross lied about Chandler smoking pot in college to save his own skin. When Ross refuses to come clean to his parents, Monica does it for him opening the floodgates to a myriad of secrets and confessions. In just thirty seconds, a whole lot of information is thrown into the air, like the fact that Monica and Chandler are living together, that Ross got married and divorced again, and that Rachel wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle. It's hands down of the funniest Friends scenes ever. If the main premise of the episode had been Rachel's half a Traditional English Trifle and half a Sheppard's Pie desert it would have been a hilarious episode. However, the brilliant execution of the individual characters' arcs makes "The One Where Ross Got High" the best Thanksgiving episode and one of the funniest Friends episodes overall.