I consider myself the biggest Friends fan out of everyone I know. I’ve gotten my family, friends, and boyfriend hooked on the show to the point where most of us drop vague references to the show in our conversations to each other more frequently than a sane person probably should.
I know that Friends isn’t everyone’s favorite show, and that’s fine, but it’s a comfort show for many, and it’s especially fun to watch around in November due to its famous Thanksgiving-themed episodes. Every season, Monica hosts a killer Thanksgiving dinner, but there’s almost always a twist — usually a surprise guest or two — that causes mayhem to break out at the apartment.
So with my self-certified “Friends expert” status, I have taken the liberty to rank all ten of the famous sitcom’s Thanksgiving episodes for you to enjoy this holiday season from my least favorite to the best one. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the marathon! Scroll down to see who topped the list!
- Season 2, Episode 8: The One With The List
This episode is the only one on the list that doesn’t have an actual Thanksgiving meal in the episode. So what deems it a Thanksgiving episode? Monica has gotten a job making special Thanksgiving recipes with “Mockolate,” which is just disgusting fake chocolate. The lack of a Thanksgiving meal is part of what puts this episode at the bottom of the list, but the main plotline of this episode — a list that Ross makes comparing Rachel and Julie, his other love interest — creates a depressing aura around the episode that no one needs while preparing for a happy holiday.
- Season 4, Episode 8: The One With Chandler in a Box
This is another episode that has arguments (comedic arguments, but arguments nonetheless) left and right, which makes it less of a feel-good episode than some of the other ones on the list. Chandler and Joey are in an argument because Chandler kissed Joey’s girlfriend, so Joey’s punishment for him is that he has to spend Thanksgiving in a box (which is eerily similar to a coffin, if you ask me). The saving grace to this episode, however, is Monica having to wear an eyepatch after an ice mishap, leading to some good pirate jokes. This is a pretty good episode, but it doesn’t even come close to touching the other ones on this list.
- Season 7, Episode 8: The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs
Chandler is probably the best Friends character (there, I said it!) but this episode gives away his most fatal flaw: he doesn’t like dogs. Joey encourages him not to spill this huge secret, and I wish Chandler had listened because his character gets knocked down a peg or two because of that fact. The best part of this episode is the game they all play to see who can list all 50 states in under five minutes, leading Ross to basically combust, Joey to claim he won with 56 states, and Phoebe to veer off and list the different types of celery instead. Another good episode, but it isn’t nearly as memorable as the ones higher up on this list.
- Season 1, Episode 9: The One Where Underdog Gets Away
It’s the first Thanksgiving with the gang! After all of their family plans fall apart, everyone gets to spend Thanksgiving together. Joey’s circumstance for not being able to spend Thanksgiving with his family is that he did a modeling shoot for NYC’s health department, which ended up being a poster about having STDs. The gang gets locked out of the apartment while dinner is cooking to catch a glimpse of the Underdog balloon floating away, creating an argument once they get back in and the dinner (with many types of potatoes) is burnt. However, we have a heartwarming ending when the gang realizes it’s a successful Thanksgiving simply because they are with each other, creating a great pattern for seasons to come.
- Season 9, Episode 8: The One With Rachel’s Other Sister
Rachel’s sister, Amy, is definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. She comes to visit for this episode, but she causes lots of drama by insulting pretty much everyone else — including the baby, Emma — at the dinner. In addition, Monica desperately tries to avoid anyone breaking her and Chandler’s wedding china, which turns into a disaster by the end of the night. In the end, this is a good episode, even with Amy’s cringe-worthy lines and Monica’s insane measures to protect her wedding plates.
- Season 5, Episode 8: The One With All The Thanksgivings
This episode is a classic for many reasons. First, we get to see some of the characters in throwback scenes, which gives both great context for their history together and a great scene where Chandler loses a toe thanks to his wicker shoes. We also get to see the famous scene where Monica puts the turkey on her head and dances for Chandler. This episode is a perfect mix of hilarious and heartwarming, and it will definitely put you in the mood for Thanksgiving.
- Season 10, Episode 8: The One With The Late Thanksgiving
The last of the Thanksgiving episodes, this one throws everything you could possibly love about this sitcom into one episode. The gang is late to Thanksgiving dinner after using some sly convincing to get Monica to host even though she doesn’t want to, but everyone gets distracted and shows up late to dinner, leading them to poke their heads through the door to try to get in. There’s a baby beauty pageant, a giant foam finger, Monica’s extreme competitiveness, and an intense game of rock paper scissors, which led to one of the greatest bloopers of this show. Plus, the ending of this episode is one of the best ones of the entire series, and it’s a tearjerker. Definitely add this one to your list.
- Season 3, Episode 9: The One With The Football
This episode is another classic, if not just for the football scene itself. The six friends decide to engage in a friendly game of football, which turns into an ultra-competitive game to win the Geller Cup (a horrifying trophy with a troll doll on top). The two Gellers and the other two guys take it up to another level, but we get a good dose of girl power when Phoebe scores her first touchdown. Plus, Monica and Rachel’s football outfits are one of the most popular Friends Halloween costumes, which really goes to show how much of a classic this episode is. It’s a great episode, combining some Geller competitiveness with the Thanksgiving tradition America knows and loves — football!
- Season 8, Episode 9: The One With The Rumor
This episode is a close second on this list just because of one reason: Brad Pitt. His character, Will, reveals that he and Ross had had an I Hate Rachel Green Club in high school and that he had started a socially-damaging rumor. The banter between Jennifer Aniston and her then-husband makes this episode great; plus, it has one of Phoebe’s best lines ever: “Oh, c’mon, Will! Just take off your shirt and tell us!” This episode is hilarious, and if you aren’t a fan of Friends and their writing of Thanksgiving episodes so far, then just watch it for Brad Pitt.
- Season 6, Episode 9: The One Where Ross Got High
This is my favorite Friends episode of all time. I’m not exaggerating. I could probably sit down and recite this entire episode if you asked me to. For one, this episode has the most iconic storyline of any Thanksgiving episode: Rachel’s trifle. She adds beef, sauteed with peas and onions, to a traditional English trifle and the gang has to pretend they like it — peak comedy if you ask me. On top of that, Ross and Monica’s parents come to dinner, which forces Monica to navigate how to tell them that she and Chandler are living together, which has more obstacles than they might think (and leads to my favorite scene of the entire series). Definitely top your Friends Thanksgiving marathon (or any Friends marathon at that, really) with this classic.
That was all ten Thanksgiving episodes on Friends, ranked. I hope you choose to add some of them to your Friends marathon this Thanksgiving season!