A FRIENDS Thanksgiving episode is never complete without Monica’s iconic one-liners, Rachel messing something up, and Joey’s love for food. Every season of FRIENDS has at least one Thanksgiving episode, so a battle of the bests is inevitable.
Most of the Thanksgiving episodes take place almost entirely in Monica’s apartment. Rightly so, considering Thanksgiving is all about being together and thankful for everything. But for us FRIENDS fans, if we’re asked to be thankful for one thing (and no, you can’t say thongs), it would be this iconic show itself.
If you’re planning to rewatch the best episodes of FRIENDS, or simply want to celebrate Thanksgiving with FRIENDS, this article will hopefully be of help to you. I’ve ranked all the Thanksgiving special episodes of FRIENDS from ten to one.
Feel free to disagree with me, we all have our favorites!
10The One With Rachel’s Other Sister (Season 9, Episode 8)
This popular Thanksgiving episode is known for one of the best cameos in the series: Christina Applegate. She played Rachel’s obnoxious, privileged, and annoying sister, Amy. Amy is someone you would love to laugh at, but not for a long time.
Most of the time, Amy comes out as annoying and her antiques aren’t funny but shallow. It is tiresome to watch her after one point, and the laughing cues do not help. Moreover, this episode in particular is also not exactly a typical Thanksgiving episode. So, not a treat for the eyes in my opinion.
9The One With the List (Season 2, Episode 8)
This episode has little to do with Thanksgiving, although it is considered to be a Thanksgiving episode. It is more of a Ross and Rachel episode and an important one in the context of their relationship.
In this episode, Ross, along with Chandler and Joey, makes a pros and cons list comparing Rachel with his current girlfriend, Julie. There’s also the subplot of Monica trying to prepare a recipe for a horrendous substitute for chocolate—Mockolate.
But it’s mostly all messed up, with Rachel and Ross ending up in a big fight because of Ross’ list. This is not one of the best Thanksgiving episodes in my opinion.
8The One Where Underdog Gets Away (Season 1, Episode 9)
This is the first Thanksgiving episode in the series. Although it is not as funny and well-written as the top episodes in this list, this one definitely has its spark. In this episode, the gang’s elaborate Thanksgiving plans are ruined when they get locked out of Monica and Rachel’s apartment.
There’s a Monica breakdown after this, where we hear her complain about how everyone in the gang wants a different kind of potatoes. Monica’s outburst is justified, but nothing really changes, since she continues to be the one to host Thanksgiving every year. Not that we’re complaining, though!
7The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs (Season 7, Episode 8)
The only reason why I ranked this so low is because of the name—Chandler doesn’t like dogs! But trust me when I say this, it is not all that bad. After Phoebe brings a dog to Monica’s apartment, Chandler wants it gone because he is apparently allergic.
But Phoebe had been keeping the dog there for three days straight and Chandler did not have any allergic reaction by then. Chandler then reveals that he hates dogs and wants nothing to do with them. The rest of the episode is all about the friends teasing him for it and is just pleasing to watch.
6The One With the Late Thanksgiving (Season 10, Episode 8)
Ahh, the last FRIENDS Thanksgiving episode to have aired. In this episode, the four friends arrive late at Monica and Chandler’s Thanksgiving dinner for different reasons. Ross and Joey were busy watching a game while Rachel and Phoebe went to a spelling competition (and won, to our and Ross’ surprise!)
Apart from the fact that it was quite mean if you think of it in a realistic way, there’s not much to complain about in this episode. There’s Joey’s obsession with food and Rachel and Phoebe’s funny deeds together, and Chandler trying to help out Monica.
Watch out for Chandler trying to wash cranberries with soap!
5The One With the Rumor (Season 8, Episode 9)
This is considered to be one of the most loved episodes of FRIENDS, featuring the most popular cameo of the series—Brad Pitt as Will Colbert. However, looking back at it (minus the nostalgia), it does not seem that funny to me.
What Will and Ross did in high school to Rachel is not funny at all, and it did seem like Will hated Rachel for no reason. Of course, there was the inside joke because Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston at that time. But even in that context, the episode isn’t a memorable one I guess.
But keeping all that aside, this episode has the feel of Thanksgiving more than the others. There’s a proper dinner and guests coming over to eat, there’s a funny (at least back in the ’90s) reveal and there’s Chandler pretending to watch the game so he doesn’t have to help! Brilliant stuff.
4The One With the Football (Season 3, Episode 9)
This one is my personal favorite and would have made it to the top three, if only it had something a little more to do with Thanksgiving. Although this does qualify as a Thanksgiving episode, there are not a lot of Thanksgiving things happening, considering the gang decided to do something different that day.
In this episode, the friends go to play football. There’s a constant competition between Monica and Ross to win the Geller Cup, a prize that they had childhood memories of. The friends playing football is a treat to watch, so it definitely counts as one of the best Thanksgiving episodes of FRIENDS.
3The One With All the Thanksgivings (Season 5, Episode 8)
If you’re a Mondler fan, this episode is definitely special for you. It is in this episode that Chandler finally told Monica he loves her. Before everyone found out, of course! There’s the iconic shot of Monica with the turkey head, and also a number of Thanksgiving flashbacks.
Although the episode consists mainly of flashbacks, it is fun to watch the friends walk down memory lane. However, it is a little problematic if we look at it from today’s perspective. Especially how Chandler deals with his childhood trauma about his parents’ divorce and how the friends make fun of him with a hint of transphobia.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Chandler bumming us out.Joey Tribbiani
Nevertheless, keeping all those problematic elements aside, the bad memories are fun to go through.
2The One With Chandler in a Box (Season 4, Episode 8)
Apart from this episode being extremely enjoyable and funny, I love how it depicts Chandler and Joey’s friendship. The episode deals with some teen-fiction-like issues compared to the other episodes on the list. Issues such as cheating on your boyfriend with his best friend and kissing your ex-boyfriend’s son are childish but still made us break into laughter.
The cold open of this episode is my absolute favorite, followed by Monica’s iconic line describing every friend, Monica looking like a pirate the entire episode, and Rachel’s interesting habit with regard to gifts. All in all, this Thanksgiving definitely deserves to be among the top three on my list!
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 the fire, lives in a box!Monica Geller
1The One Where Ross Got High (Season 6, Episode 9)
I can actually bet that every true FRIENDS fan knows Ross and Monica’s iconic exchange from this episode by heart. This episode is everything we love this show for, making it number one on my list.
In this episode, Rachel tries her hand at making a trifle, and we all know what happened afterward. What I love most about this episode is its entertainment value. It is full of laughs, superb one-liners, and some chaotic moments involving the gang as well as Mr. and Mrs. Geller.
It is not surprising at all that this is still one of the most watched episodes of FRIENDS because it portrays all the friends as they are. Rachel is busy being ignorant, Monica is busy being an autocrat, Joey is happy thinking about food and girls, Ross is hesitant about not being the golden boy to his parents, Phoebe is having her time being sarcastic, and Chandler is just being funny with his one-liners.
Now that you have your options, this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to re-watch your favorite FRIENDS Thanksgiving episodes with a big piece of Rachel’s special trifle!
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