Amb Ranks the Entire Collection of Thanksgiving-Themed “Friends” Episodes

Well, my friends, look at that: it’s Thursday, and I’m here, so it must be time to talk television! When I pitched this guest posting gig to Kaitlyn and Sarah, one of the things I said was television and movies are some of my favourite things to write about; even still, I’m not sure the girls quite realized what they were getting into. It’s one thing to explore the emotional resonance and humanistic themes that emerge when you’re traveling through space and time with an alien in a telephone booth; it’s quite another to re-imagine yourself and your entire writing crew as a certain fictional crew who happen to spend a lot of time at a certain fictional coffee shop.

[caption id="attachment_2552" align="alignright" width="168"]duck and owl Oct 10 picture 1 Who are we kidding, I’d travel through space and time in a shoebox if Matt asked me to.[/caption]

If you weren’t here last week, or if you haven’t had a chance to check out the latest, koala-themed edition of The Duck and the Owl contributor page, then you might not know that this post is coming to you live from the northern part of your northern hemisphere. I live (and write, and watch too much television) in Canada, and we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. This very weekend, in fact! To mark the occasion, I thought I’d take a look back … at previous turkey dinners shared with some Friends.

Amb Ranks the Entire Collection of Thanksgiving-Themed “Friends” Episodes:

#10 "The One With the List" (Season 2, originally aired on November 16, 1995)

Not a bad episode of “Friends” by any means (Does such a thing even exist in the universe as we know it? Discuss.), but the least Thanksgiving-y feeling of the Thanksgiving episodes, in my opinion. Although it does bring us some of that trademark Ms. Chanadeller Bong sarcasm: “Oh, I know, this must be so hard. 'Oh no, two women love me. They're both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet's too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight!'"

#9 "The One With the Late Thanksgiving" (Season 10, originally aired on November 20, 2003)

Even though this episode has “Thanksgiving” right there in the title, it doesn’t feel particularly Thanksgiving-y to me either. I want to see everyone together around a table (maternity wear optional) not on opposite sides of an apartment door. Plus, that whole “Emma in a baby beauty pageant” is just a little too shades of Honey Boo Boo for me. It moves beyond the tenth slot, however, because of Joey’s brilliant strategic thinking:

#7 "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" (Season 1, originally aired on November 14, 1994)

The one that started them all, this was the original “Friends” Thanksgiving episode and it set the scene for the others to come. It’s a great mix of character-driven humour (Chandler hates Thanksgiving because it reminds him of his parents' divorce), random silliness (Underdog got away!) and ongoing gags that continued for the series entire ten year run (Ugly Naked Guy loves Thanksgiving too!)

#6 "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" (Season 9, originally aired on November 21, 2002)

I love this episode because it marks the first appearance of Rachel’s older sister Amy, who cracks me up. Christina Applegate, who plays Amy (and who won an Emmy for the role!) has enough Rachel-ish mannerisms that we can totally picture these two growing up together, but a delivery all her own. To this day, without fail, if my sister and I are looking at baby pictures, we’ll turn to each other and say :

"Do you ever worry that Emma's going to get your real nose?"

#5 "The One With the Rumor" (Season 8, originally aired on November 22, 2001)

Or, as anyone who’s ever seen the episode calls it, “The One With Brad Pitt”. I love this episode. Click here to find out how much.


#4 "The One With the Football" (Season 3, originally aired on November 21, 1996)

This is the episode in which fans realized that Friends Thanksgiving episodes were going to be just as an important holiday tradition as the coveted Geller Cup. And speaking of the Geller Cup, I love the way that Ross and Monica’s relationship (and entire childhood) is revealed through the story of a simple game of touch football:

#3 "The One With All the Thanksgivings" (Season 5, originally aired on November 19, 1998)

Joey. Wearing a turkey. Enough said.

#2 "The One With Chandler in a Box" (Season 4, originally aired on November 20, 1997)

Poor Joey’s feelings are hurt, poor Monica is wearing an eyepatch, and poor Chandler’s in a box. If that doesn’t say Happy Thanksgiving, then I don’t know what does!

And finally, #1 The One Where Ross Got High" (Season 6, originally aired on November 25, 1999)

The writers over at agree with me that this episode should take the top spot on our list. (See?! Other people spend time thinking about this too!! And they’re professionals!!!) When Monica and Ross' parents Jack and Judy (the great Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles) come to have Thanksgiving at their little Harmonica's, everything falls spectacularly apart for everyone. It starts with Monica trying to keep her relationship with Chandler a secret, and the whole thing escalates into the Geller siblings hilariously ratting each other out about a series of incidents ("Hurricane Gloria didn't break the porch swing, Monica did!"..."Ross married Rachel in Vegas, and got divorced, AGAIN!"), culminating in the revelation that Monica is living with Chandler. Of course, as correctly points out, that’s not even the best part of the episode:

“The real pièce de résistance of Rachel's horrendously failed attempt at making a trifle when she mistakenly adds a layer of beef to her dessert. In the words of Joey, "I mean, what's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!"“

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving now or later, I hope you all have delicious, trifle-free weekends, and I’ll see you back here next week!

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We're Sarah and Kaitlyn, roommates from Milwaukee who started this blog to promote creativity and life.
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