This week, I had a lot of busy work that allowed me to work with Netflix on in the background. I'm really bad at Netflix bingeing (I know, crazy, right?), and so sometimes I take breaks and re-watch episodes of my favorite shows. Since it was the week before Thanksgiving break, I decided to torture myself and watch every single Thanksgiving episode of "Friends." While it left me with a craving for turkey and mashed potatoes, it was interesting experiment, and I'm glad I did it. The "Friends" Thanksgiving episodes are iconic for a reason, and this binge reminded me why they're historically some of the best in the "Friends" cannon. The following is a definitive ranking of all 10 Thanksgiving episodes, ranked from worst to best.
10. "The One with the List" (Season 2)
I accidentally almost skipped over this one entirely because I forgot it was even *technically* a Thanksgiving episode. The only thing mildly Thanksgiving about it is the story line of Monica desperately trying to make up recipes making the Thanksgiving desserts with Mockolate. This episode is more plot-driven, as it's the follow-up to Ross and Rachel's epic kiss in the rain at Central Perk (aka, one of the best scenes in the show, but I digress). For a holiday episode, as it's actually super depressing. Ross does stupid Ross things, as he typically does, and blows his shot with Rachel by making a pro/con list for dating her. This is actually one of my least favorite episodes of "Friends," and hands down the weakest of the Thanksgiving episodes.
9. "The One with Rachel's Other Sister" (Season 9)
I love Christina Applegate, but she's by far one of the worst secondary characters on "Friends." This episode irritates me because Applegate's character, Rachel's other sister Amy, is seriously awful. At first her calling Emma the wrong name was kind of funny, but then it became old. I got quickly bored with her constantly insulting everyone else. This episode just does nothing for me, and though it centers legitimately around Thanksgiving, it's just not very good.
8. "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" (Season 7)
This episode, while much better than the previous two, is just so-so otherwise. The premise isn't terrible: Phoebe is watching an adorable dog, Clunkers, for her friend (though, I mean, who knew they actually have friends outside of each other?) and Chandler makes up a lie that he's allergic to dogs, when really, he just hates dogs. It's a very Chandler moment, because, of course, Chandler would hate dogs and puppies, and have some ridiculous reason for not liking them. (It's because he can't tell what they're thinking, naturally.) This episode also features an awkward interaction between Rachel and her assistant Tag. I always thought that relationship was a little weird/creepy, so I don't necessarily enjoy that storyline within the episode. The truly redeeming quality of this episode however, is that it gives us one of Joey's most iconic and easily quoted lines. "It's a moo point!"
7. "The One with the Late Thanksgiving" (Season 10)
I enjoy the premise of this episode, because Monica, after 10 long seasons, finally stands up for herself and tells her friends she doesn't want to host Thanksgiving at her apartment this year because it's exhausting and stressful. I always felt bad for Monica for always having to host, especially because, even though I love the friends, but they're a needy bunch when it comes to Monica and Thanksgiving. The above image is one of my favorite, because Monica, mad that the group all had excuses for being late, even though they're brats and still insisted she host Thanksgiving, locks them all out of the apartment. Rachel has a great one-liner, they all talk Monica into letting them in, and Joey eats pie off of his shirt, all in true "Friends" fashion. The best part of this episode comes at the end, where Monica and Chandler get a call from the adoption agency and find out there's a birth mother interested in them as parents. It leaves you all warm and fuzzy inside, and it's a great moment.
6. "The One Where Ross Got High" (Season 6)
This a classic episode, filled with Thanksgiving goodness, and a good go-to if you're looking for a truly Thanksgiving episode of "Friends" to watch. Of course, no one can forget Rachel's ridiculously funny, yet totally disgusting meat trifle. Which, apparently, someone has recreated because people are crazy.
I feel for Rachel, because I am her in the kitchen, and probably wouldn't question it either. Besides the trifle thing, this episode features Jack and Judy Gellar, two of my favorite secondary characters. They're super underrated and hilarious, and this episode showcases them at their best. Monica finds out her parents hate Chandler because Ross threw Chandler under the bus in college after his parents caught him smoking, blaming Chandler. This whole mix-up escalates after Monica forces Ross to tell his parents the truth, and the Gellar siblings end up screaming at each other all of the secrets neither of them wants their parents to know. It's one of the best minutes in the show hands down. Shout out to Pheebs for having the most ridiculously funny and random one-liner again.
5. "The One With Chandler in a Box" (Season 4)
This is such a classically good episode in so many ways. It's got all of the typical Thanksgiving trappings you look for in these episodes, but with a lot of added fun. Monica's eye patch is of course, super fantastic. Though I never understood how exactly she hurt her eye, because the ice in the eye thing they said happened always seemed super weird. Speaking of weird, Monica's and Richard's son's awkward kiss on the balcony...lol, wut? So strange. However, all of the judgment leads to one of my favorite sequences in "Friends" (pictured above), and so I deal with it. I love the premise of Chandler's box as well, because I appreciate Joey calling him out for being a bad friend. The whole deal with Kathy was always kind of shady to me, and I never liked how Chandler chose Kathy over his best friend. After she breaks up with him, in front of everyone else, because it's "Friends," duh, he and Chandler have a bromance moment, and all is right in the world. All around a solid episode.
4. "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" (Season 1)
This is the O.G. of "Friends" Thanksgiving episodes, and it has everything you could possibly want and more in an episode. We start to learn of Chandler's hatred of Thanksgiving and aversion to all foods Thanksgiving related. Monica offers to cook for the first time. Joey becomes the new face of VD and gets dumped in the subway and ditched by his family. Rachel tries to get to Vail so she can ski and "shoop, shoop" down the mountain with her family. Since she's been cut off, she has no money, and hilariously asks for an advance on her tips. Ah, Rach, you're my spirit animal. Of course, the gang pools their money together and gets her a ticket to go, which, cue the warm fuzzies. Of course, because it's "Friends," everything goes horribly awry as they get locked out of Monica's apartment, Rachel misses her flight, and the food gets burnt. So the gang enjoys Chandler's meal of grilled cheese, tomato soup, and Funyuns. I love everything about it.
3. "The One with the Rumor" (Season 8)
Brad Pitt is everything in this episode. (Ugh, RIP Brad and Jen. Ten years later and I'm still not over it). Pitt's guest appearance is probably the best one on the show, and he is actually perfect. He plays Will, an old buddy of Ross's who Rachel used to bully, back when he was 150 lbs. heavier. It turns out he and Ross started the "I Hate Rachel Green Club" and spread the rumor she was a hermaphrodite. Seeing this play out over the Thanksgiving dinner table is perfection and so high school. I love it.
2. "The One with All the Thanksgivings" (Season 5)
This one is only No. 2 by a very slim margin, because it is a fantastic episode. After Joey gives a spiel about being thankful for thongs, the gang decides to quit being thankful and instead, they reminisce about all of their crappy Thanksgivings. They don't disappoint. We finally learn why Chandler is irrevocably scarred by Thanksgiving (It has to do with his parents' divorce). Pheobe's was spent getting her arm blown off in the Civil War. But in this life, Chandler's was still worst. We also get to hear about the two most ridiculous Thanksgivings in the Gellar household. The first one, where Chandler tells Ross, "I don't want to get stuck with your fat sister," which Monica hears, isn't as ridiculous, but it does feature Monica in a fat suit, Rachel's old nose, and Chandler's Flock of Seagulls haircut, so it's fantastic in that way. The second one features a newly thin Monica, a drooling Chandler, and Monica, trying to fake seduce him, accidentally drops a knife and cuts off part of his toe. Whoops. This leads to Chandler getting angry, Monica putting the turkey on her head, and the best GIF to ever come out of "Friends."
1. "The One with the Football (Season 3)
When I think of a "Friends" Thanksgiving episode, this is immediately the episode that comes to mind. I'd argue it's the most iconic of them all, and what really made us all fall in love with the "Friends" Thanksgiving. This episode is beautiful in every way. I love that the gang switches it up and gets out of the apartment to go play flag football. It produces some of the funniest scenes in the whole series. First, the competition between Chandler and Joey for the Dutch girl is too funny. (Joey: "Where are Dutch people from?") Secondly, the Gellar sibling rivalry is out in full force, and quite frankly, at its finest. Everything about when they actually play is seriously the best though. Pheobe flashing Chandler is hilarious, Rachel being hilariously bad and getting picked last, Ross pantsing Monica...just everything is perfect. This is one of my favorite episodes in the series, and by far the strongest of the Thanksgiving ones.
So if you're bored over Thanksgiving break, here's a nice binge-watching list for you. I'd strongly recommend watching all of them, especially if you're a die-hard "Friends" fan. Watching the progression is really fun, and re-living some of the most iconic scenes in the show is the best. So enjoy!