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The Ultimate Friendsgiving (with Episode Pairings from "Friends")

November 26, 2015

This year, I won't be traveling home to Puerto Rico to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I'm staying in New York, spending it with my best friends from back home. From elementary to high school, we all watched our favorite TV show, Friends, dreaming of the day that we'd all be wacky 20-somethings living in New York, having one zany adventure after the next. Weirdly, this is exactly what has happened.

This year, the gang and I decided to opt out of tropical weather and do our own thing, just like our favorite TV characters did for 10 seasons in a row. So we wondered—what's the best way to recover after the eventual food coma sets in? Marathon every Thanksgiving episode of Friends.

Photo by NBCUniversal

The One Where Underdog Gets Away

Season 1, Episode 9

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One by one, everyone's plans for Thanksgiving fall through, so they decide to spend it together. Monica plans a full feast, complete with a potato dish for those missing the ones their moms would make: lumpy for Ross, with peas and onions for Phoebe, and tater tots for Joey. During the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Underdog inflatable comes loose—and the gang goes to investigate, locking themselves out of Monica’s with the oven on—so they end up dining on grilled cheese (light and dark cheese!), Funyuns, and wine. Oh, and Joey's latest modeling gig makes him the face of venereal disease.

Photo by NBCUniversal

Chandler: “I’m very thankful that all your Thanksgivings sucked.”
Ross: “And hey, here’s to a lousy Christmas.”
Rachel: "*And a crappy New Year!"

The One with the List

Season 2, Episode 8

This episode focuses on Ross and Rachel drama (he is going out with fellow paleontologist, Julie, but realizes his heart beats for Rach), and goes ahead and makes an ill-advised pros and cons list on Chandler's computer. That does not end well. Monica is hired by a company that creates synthetic chocolate and submits her friends to an awful Mockolate dessert taste test, including Mockolate cranberry cake, some Mockolate-chip cookies, piping hot Mockolate, and coconut Mockolate holiday bars.

Photo by NBCUniversal

Phoebe: “Oh sweet Lord, this is what evil must taste like."

The One With The Football

Season 3, Episode 9

The guys sit around watching football while Monica's working on the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce and supervising Rachel's marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole. The gang decides to take a break for a game of football, where the hyper-comptetitive Gellars go head-to-head.

Photo by NBCUniversal

Monica: “Rachel, you wanna put the marshmallows in concentric circles.”
Rachel: “No, Mon, you want to put them in concentric circles. I want to do this...”
* Stuffs marshmallow up Monica’s nose *

The One With Chandler In A Box

Season 4, Epsiode 7

This one. So good. The team gives out "Secret Santa" picks, and Rachel is revealed as a serial gift-exchanger. Monica, mid-Thanksgiving prep, gets a shard of ice in her eye, leading her to the office of ophthalmologist/recent ex/excellent mustache-wearer, Richard, but instead is treated by his hunky son. Chandler broke Joey's trust, and to prove his friendship agrees to spend all of Thanksgiving hanging out in a box.

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Rachel: “Ross, would you pass the yams?”
Ross: “Sure. Oh, and Joey’s got the mashed potatoes if you want to exchange them.*”

The One With All the Thanksgivings

Season 5, Episode 8

After a very filling Thanksgiving meal, they all go around talking about their worst Thanksgivings ever: Phoebe lost an arm in two (!) past lives, Chandler’s parents announced their divorce (“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Chandler bumming us out,” says Joey), Joey got Monica’s turkey stuck on his head, Chandler hurt Monica's feelings (and pie-eating habits) as teenagers (even after she made him some non-Thanksgiving mac and cheese), and Monica accidentally severs Chandler’s toe (while trying to seduce him with carrots). Oh, and there was a turkey dance.

Joey: “I am thankful for this beautiful fall we’ve been having.”
Everyone: "Aww!" "That’s sweet, Joey!" "Very nice!"
Joey: “Yeah, the other day I was at the bus stop and this lovely fall breeze came in out of nowhere and blew this chick’s skirt right up. Oh, which reminds me, I am also thankful for thongs.”

The One Where Ross Got High

Season 6, Episode 9

Rachel makes a "traditional English trifle," which turns out to be half-trifle, half-shepherd's pie. Ross is caught in a web of lies when it's revealed that the Gellar parents dislike Chandler because Ross told them Chandler was a pot-head (so he wouldn't get caught smoking himself).

Photo by NBCUniversal

Ross: It tastes like feet!
Joey: I like it.
Ross: Are you kidding?
Joey: What's not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Good!

The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs

Season 7, Episode 8

Chandler challenges everyone to name all 50 states (Phoebe gives up and chooses to name all the types of celery… “I only got one: regular celery.”). Rachel invites her recently-dumped, super-attractive assistant, Tag, over to join them. Monica makes a pumpkin pie across the street in Ross’s apartment, and sees a dog Phoebe has been sneaking around the apartment for the past three days and—SPOILER ALERT—Chandler doesn’t like dogs. Joey explains moo points.

Rachel: If a guy just broke up with his girlfriend, how long do you think is an appropriate time to wait before you... make a move?
Phoebe: I'd say about, a month.
Monica: Really? I'd say three or four.
Joey: Half-hour.

The One With The Rumor

Season 8, Episode 9

Monica invites a long-forgotten friend from high school to Thanksgiving; he lost a lot of weight and is now a babe. No one remembers that Rachel was mean to him in high school and he comes with a grudge, bringing up his I Hate Rachel Green Club... which he co-founded with Ross.

Photo by NBCUniversal

Monica: "It just doesn’t seem worth it to make a whole turkey for just three people. It’s a lot of work!”
Joey: "But you’ve gotta have turkey on Thanksgiving! I mean, Thanksgivng with no turkey is like Fourth of July with no apple pie. Or Friday with no two pizzas.”

Will: My two greatest enemies. Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates.

The One With Rachel's Other Sister

Season 9, Episode 8

Rachel's awful younger sister, Amy, drops in unexpectedly. After her married boyfriends cancels their Thanksgiving plans, she joins the gang for Thanksgiving at Monica's, where she mistakes Emma for "Emily," Phoebe for Emma, and does a wonderful job of insulting everyone. Monica decides to pull out her wedding china, but makes everyone eat off it very. carefully.

Rachel: "Um, look, I was thinking, if it's okay with Monica, I would like to invite Amy to Thanksgiving."
Ross: "You know, I think that's a great idea. It'll be like the pilgrims bringing the Indians syphilis."

The One With The Late Thanksgiving

Season 10, Episode 8

The final Thanksgiving! To everyone's disappointment, Monica didn't want to cook—but, notoriously unable to resist a challenge, she decided to take it on. While she and Chandler get cooking, Ross and Joey hit up a hockey game, and Phoebe convinces Rachel to enter Emma into a baby beauty pageant, and all four make it late to Thanksgiving dinner. Monica and Chandler lock them all out for their rudeness. After Joey gets his head stuck in the crack of the door, he is pushed through the door, crashing into Monica's much troubled-over Thanksgiving spread. Unfazed by the mess Monica walks into the room and announces that she just heard back from the adoption agency... They got a baby!

Photo by NBCUniversal

Monica: "This dinner is going to be so great. In your face, last year me!"

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Betsey
  • bexwithanx6
Gabi Benedit

Written by: Gabi Benedit

domestic dilettante.


Betsey December 3, 2015
bexwithanx6 November 27, 2015
Friends is my favorite!! This article is spot on.