A Definitive Ranking of the 'Friends' Thanksgivings episodes

If you are any sort of self respecting college student with access to the internet and a desire to avoid your responsibilities with the upcoming holiday season, we know you are looking for things to watch on Netflix. Thanksgiving is this week. This is a time to go home, eat your mom’s cooking, and avoid your relative’s probing questions by binge-watching episode of Friends in your childhood bedroom. In the spirit of the holiday, I have gathered up all of the Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes in order from best to worst!


10. "The One with the List" (Season 2)

The gist: Ross tries to decide whether he will stay with Julie, or be with Rachel. To decide, Chandler and Joey help him make a pro/con list for the ladies, including items like “her ankles are a little chubby,” and “she’s too into her looks” for Rachel’s cons. Rachel finds the list, and is, for good reason, pissed as all hell. Meanwhile, Monica is hired to try to make Mockolate, a synthetic chocolate substitute, the “it food” for Thanksgiving. In the process, she nearly poisons the group with how disgusting it is, while Rachel tells Ross that she cannot give him another chance.

Why this rating?: Do you remember the Thanksgiving episode for Season 2? Yeah, neither do we, because this barely counted as one! This is pretty sad, because we all start to worry that Ross and Rachel will never be a thing, and there’s all this crying and yelling (both on the show and from us watching!). The Mockolate subplot is the only thing that makes this very Thanksgiving-y and guess what? THIS IS TOO SAD FOR THANKSGIVING!!!

Best quote:  "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.'" -Chandler

9. "The One with Rachel’s Other Sister" (Season 9)

The gist: Rachel’s spoiled brat sister Amy comes to town, and ends up spending Thanksgiving with the gang when her married boyfriend’s wife comes to town. She’s super rude to everyone. She says things like “your baby is not that cute” or “wow you are so much cuter than that loser she used to date.” She demands that Rachel give her Emma is she and Ross should die (“You know what would be great? If you guys died!”), which causes her and Rachel to get into a fight. In the ensuing tussle, they break a plate. This is not just any plate, but some of Monica’s wedding china. Chandler stops the fight, proving he can be a real father. Amy is still the worst sister, but the two make up anyway. Chandler accidentally breaks all of the china.

Why this rating?: Amy is like one of those girls who is so unbearable that any situation is destroyed by her even being in the room. She is just one of those characters who grinds your gears.

Best quotes:

Ross: I know! I mean a PhD is just as good as an MD!

Rachel: Yeah, oh sure Ross yeah! If I have a heart attack at a restaurant, I want you there with your fossil brush!

8. "The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs" (Season 7)

The gist: Phoebe has been hiding a dog in Monica and Chandler’s apartment for three days. Chandler, who hate dogs, freaks out. Rachel’s assistant, Tag, comes over and she contemplates telling him that she has a huge crush on him. Ross tries to play Chandler’s game to name all 50 states in six minutes, and forfeits dinner until he can. Monica and Phoebe sneak the dog back in just as Chandler tries to go and rescue it from Ross’s apartment. Joey lets it loose that Rachel likes Tag. In the end, the dog gets to stay, Tag likes Rachel too, and Ross never names all 50 states.


Best quote: "If he doesn't like you, this is all a moo point...It's like a cow's opinion, it just doesn't matter. It's moo." -Joey

7. "The One with the Rumor" (Season 8)

The gist: Monica invites the formerly fat but now super hot Will from high school over for Thanksgiving. (He’s played by Brad Pitt, arguably the best part of this episode.) Rachel tries to hit on him, but it turns out he and Ross had an “I Hate Rachel” club in high school because she was so mean to them. It is revealed that they started a rumor that Rachel had “a teeny-weeny," a.k.a., had both male and female genitalia. Rachel had started a rumor that Ross made out with their 50 year old librarian, which turns out to be TRUE! Monica tells them to stop being stupid and remember that they are having a baby together. Joey eats an entire turkey. He has to put on Phoebe’s old maternity pants to do it.

Why this rating?: Brad Pitt is hot but this episode is still pretty frustrating. It is all the drama of high school but without any of the hilarious flashbacks of how they looked back then. 

Best quote: “Will, just take off your shirt and tell us.” -Phoebe

6. "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" (Season 1)

The gist: Ross and Monica have to have Thanksgiving in New York because their parents decide to go to Puerto Rico. Chandler, who hates “the Pilgrim holidays,” joins them, as with Phoebe, whose grandma celebrates it in December. Rachel tries to raise money to go skiing in Vail. Joey ends up having to stay because his family thinks he has a venereal disease when he is a part of a health modeling campaign gone wrong. They all get locked out while watching the runaway Underdog balloon. Thanksgiving dinner is ruined, but they all bond together over grilled cheese and Funions.

Why this rating?: This is such a cute example of the budding friendships between all of them that it makes your heart melt.

Best quote:

Chandler: So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm very thankful that all of your Thanksgivings sucked.

All: That's so sweet.

Ross: And hey, here's to a lousy Christmas.

Rachel: And a crappy New Year.

5. "The One with the Late Thanksgiving" (Season 10)

The gist: Monica and Chandler try to not host Thanksgiving. Phoebe convinces Mon by telling her to “beat past Monica.” Joey and Ross decide to be late so they can go to a hockey game. Phoebe and Rachel are late because they want to put Emma into a baby beauty pageant. While these four are trying to find an excuse for being late, Monica and Chandler lock them out. They stick their head through the door until Joey gets stuck. When they pull him out, he ruins all of Thanksgiving dinner. Monica and Chandler get a call that a woman in Ohio has chosen them to adopt their baby. Everyone is happy.

Why this rating?: Everyone hunkering in the hall to make excuses is simply hilarious, and watching Monica grease Joey with turkey grease is even funnier. Chandler’s obsession with the cranberries- or “chanberries-“ is a little annoying, as are the Monica’s forehead vein jokes. The ending is just so adorable that it makes up for any of the weird parts.

Best quote: “Happy needless turkey murder day!” -Phoebe

4. "The One with Chandler in a Box" (Season 4)

The gist: Since Chandler stole Joey’s girlfriend, Joey makes him stay in a box for penance. Monica busts her eye and has to go to the eye doctor, Tim, who turns out to be incredibly cute and also Richard’s son. She invites him over for Thanksgiving anyway. Despite the ick factor, they make out on the balcony. The ick factor comes back when he reminds her of Richard. Monica, garbed in an eye patch for her bad eye, has to make him leave. Meanwhile, Kathy breaks up with Chandler while he is in the box because she doesn’t want to come between Joey and Chandler’s friendship. Joey is moved by Chandler’s silence and forgives him, wrenching off the lid and telling him to “go chase her!”

Why this rating: Any best bud moment with Joey and Chandler is automatically the amazing. The comedy of hearing Chandler joking from the box to his moments of silence later literally make you double over with laughter.

Best quote: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little emotional scarring,” -Tim

3. "The One with the Football" (Season 3)

The gist: The friends all decide to play football together. Monica and Ross become team captains, after years of not being allowed to play football. Several years ago, the fight for “The Geller Cup,” ended with Monica breaking Ross’ nose and a ban on football. The sibling rivalry ends in a girls vs. boys war. The girls very nearly win until Rachel catches the ball for the touchdown, throwing it down in a victory dance. With the ball still in play, Ross and Monica tackle each other over it. The episode ends with the two still huddled over the ball in the snow, while the other four actually enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

Why this rating?: This episode is the cutest. With moments like Phoebe flashing Chandler to distract him, Monica whipping out the Geller Cup, which is actually a Troll Doll nailed to a 2x4, and Chandler and Joey battling over a cute Dutch girl, it is a complete treasure.

Best quote:

Monica: [Rachel is decorating a dessert with marshmallows] Um, Rachel, you want to put the marshmallows in *concentric* circles.

Rachel: No, Mon, *you* want to put them in concentric circles. *I* want to do this.

[sticks a marshmallow up one of Monica's nostrils]

Monica: [to Phoebe] Every year. 

2. "The One with All the Thanksgivings" (Season 5)

The gist: The friends talk about what they are thankful for, and devolve into a competition for the worst Thanksgiving memories.  Ross tries to be the king of misery, with talk of his second divorce and his eviction. Chandler remembers parents getting divorced when he was nine because his dad was sleeping with the house boy. Phoebe flashes back to a past life in the Civil War where here arm was blown off by a bomb while working as a military nurse. Joey once got his head stuck in Monica’s turkey while trying to scare Chandler in a 1992 memory. They flash to Senior year Monica and Rachel, with pre-weight loss Monica and pre-nose job Rachel. Ross brought Chandler home from their first semester of college, and Monica overhears him call her the “fat sister.” The next year, a now skinny Monica tries to seduce Chandler because as she says, “I just want to humiliate him. I wanna, I want him to be like naked and then I'm going to point at him and laugh” While trying to make a steak knife looks sexy, she drops it and accidentally cuts off his pinkie toe. Current time Chandler is so upset at this that he leaves the room. To cheer him up, Monica puts the turkey on her head, complete with a fez and sunglasses, and he says “I love you” for the first time.

Why this rating?: Seeing the friends in the past is glorious. They are all so cute and young. We get to see all of them in the former glory (or lack thereof). Getting to hear Chandler say those three little words is a wonderful moment. Plus, we get to see not one, but TWO friends with their head in a turkey!

Best quote:

Joey: I put it on to scare Chandler!

Phoebe: Oh my God! Monica’s gonna totally freak out!

Joey: Well then help me get it off! Plus, it smells really bad in here.

Phoebe: Well, of course it smells really bad. You have your head up a dead animal!

1. "The One Where Ross Got High" (Season 6)

The gist: Monica’s parents are coming over for Thanksgiving. She has not told them that her and Chandler are living together, because they apparently don’t like him. Joey and Ross want to go to a Thanksgiving dinner with Janine, Joey’s new hot dancer roommate, and her hot dancer friends. Rachel has been allowed to make the dessert this year, a traditional English trifle, and Monica has made no backup. The Geller parents arrive, and we find out from Ross that the reason they hate Chandler is because Ross got high in college a lot but blamed it on Chandler. Rachel works on the trifle, which turns out to be half an English trifle and half of a shepherd’s pie. Ross and Joey decide not to tell her and instead convince everyone to eat it anyway so that they have a chance to get to the hot dancers faster. Ross lags in telling the Geller parents the truth about his college drug problem, and he and Monica start tattling on each other until it finally comes out that Monica is indeed living with Chandler. The Gellers end up thanking Chandler for putting up with both of their children. The trifle tastes like feet, but Joey still loves it.

Why this rating?: This episode is a pure gem. Hearing about old high college Ross is hilarious. The Geller sibling rivalry is an incredible moment. Rachel struggling with the trifle is a moment of glorious TV amazingness. Watching each character try to disguise their disgust for this dessert is like a joy. Joey actually thinking it is delicious is a moment that fills us with glee.

Best quote:

Ross: It tastes like feet!

Joey: Well, I like it.

Ross: Are you kidding?

Joey: I mean, what's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!

So here we have your to do list for the next holiday week. Let’s hope that you end it eating turkey, not with your head in a turkey! Happy Thanksgiving Collegiettes!