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Every Friends Thanksgiving Episode Ranked Worst To Best

At one point or another, pretty much every TV show makes an episode involving a holiday. While Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day are popular choices, beloved sitcom "Friends" became specifically known over its 10-season run for its Thanksgiving episodes. While the tradition started in the first season, it seemed like it might have been a one-off after the holiday was ignored in Season 2 (only mentioned in passing in a storyline in "The One With The List"). However, after making a strong impression with its Season 3 Thanksgiving episode, a "Friends" tribute to the holiday became an annual thing, something fans anticipated just as much as the turkey dinners they shared with their own friends and families.

Not every "Friends" Thanksgiving episode is equally successful, though. Don't get us wrong, all of them have their high points, with many including some of the show's best and most memorable jokes, one-liners, and physical comedy. However, some of them suffer from underwhelming plot points, the friends behaving badly, or jokes that haven't aged very well. Still, when it comes to Thanksgiving entertainment, each episode revolving around the holiday offers at least a few laughs and the wholesome fun of spending time with your favorite crew. Here's our ranking of every "Friends" Thanksgiving episode from worst to best, from "watch it once or twice" to "required holiday viewing."

9. The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs (Season 7)

Season 7's Thanksgiving outing, "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs," is probably the least memorable of all the "Friends" Thanksgiving episodes because it pushes the usual hallmarks of the holiday's festivities to the side. Instead, we get Ross (David Schwimmer) desperately trying — and failing — to name all 50 states, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) confessing her crush to her assistant Tag (Eddie Cahill), and the gang finding out that Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) has been hiding a cute dog in Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler's (Matthew Perry) apartment for days.

The main drama revolves around the revelation that Chandler doesn't like dogs, something he's managed to keep a secret by claiming he's deathly allergic to the furry creatures. It's no real surprise then that when Chandler throws out an ultimatum that it's either him or the dog at Thanksgiving dinner, everyone, including Monica, sides with the dog.

While the episode has its moments, it's far from a standout. Still, it has one distinguishing feature: Joey's (Matt LeBlanc) introduction of the concept of a "moo" point. While Joey's idea is clearly based on his misunderstanding of the phrase "moot point," his explanation has its own delusional logic. As Joey sagely explains, a moo point is "like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's 'moo.'" In the world of "Friends," outside of Joey's unforgettable words of wisdom, this episode is "moo," too.

8. The One Where Underdog Gets Away (Season 1)

This is the episode that kicked off the association of "Friends" with Thanksgiving episodes, but between Monica's struggle to make the holiday dinner, Ross' competitiveness with his ex-wife Carol's (Jane Sibbett) girlfriend Susan (Jessica Hecht), and Rachel's mission to earn $100 so she can fly to Colorado for a ski trip with her family, the episode isn't as funny or heartwarming as future Thanksgiving outings.

The centerpiece of "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" happens when the giant balloon likeness of the Underdog cartoon character escapes during the Thanksgiving Day parade and the friends race to the roof of their building to observe the once-in-a-lifetime mayhem. Unfortunately, neither Monica nor Rachel bring the keys to their apartment with them, leading to an asinine argument about whether Monica was making a statement or asking a question when she said "got the keys" as she raced out. We also witness the burning of Monica's Thanksgiving dinner.

While the group ultimately comes together to celebrate over Thanksgiving-averse Chandler's preferred holiday meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese, up until then they aren't especially compassionate toward one another. It's that caustic streak that puts the episode so far down in the rankings, and perhaps why it didn't make enough of an impression for the "Friends" writers to consider doing another Thanksgiving episode until Season 3.

7. The One With Rachel's Other Sister (Season 9)

True "Friends" fans know that Rachel grew up with two sisters, but while we meet Reese Witherspoon's Jill Green in Season 6, it isn't until Season 9's Thanksgiving episode, appropriately titled "The One With Rachel's Other Sister," that we first meet Amy Green, played by Christina Applegate. Amy shows up uninvited just as Ross and Rachel are preparing to head over to Monica and Chandler's place with baby Emma for Thanksgiving dinner. Hoping she'll take the opportunity to get to know her niece, Rachel makes the questionable decision to bring Amy along.

Much of the episode emphasizes Amy's confident obliviousness, especially when she expresses her excitement over the prospect of adopting Emma if Ross and Rachel kick the bucket, despite the fact that her surprise visit is the first time she's laid eyes on the baby. The conversation this triggers about who'll take care of Emma in the event of her parents' untimely deaths is pretty morbid, particularly for a holiday episode, yet it's handled lightly enough that it never becomes depressing. Still, the episode is overall pretty lackluster — though the highlight is pretty hilarious: a recurring gag in which Joey tells a string of lies where he inexplicably claims raccoons have infiltrated the coffee shop and Monica's apartment.

6. The One With the Football (Season 3)

Season 3's Thanksgiving episode is noteworthy for taking the gang out of Monica's apartment and into a local park for a round of touch football, something many families do during the holiday. The setup has some fun high points, especially when it offers more background on where Ross and Monica's competitive streak comes from. Their confession that their parents banned them from playing football because of an incident when they were kids, and their continued reverence for the Geller Cup (an awkward-looking "troll doll nailed to a two-by-four," as Chandler puts it), offers an amusing peek into their pasts. Plus, the football playing in the episode offers plenty of opportunities for hilarious physical gags, whether it's Phoebe rushing Ross only to circle him screaming, or Rachel reacting to something mysterious hitting her head. (Rain drop? Bird poop? We'll never know.)

However, the gender politics on display in the episode haven't aged all that well. In an uncharacteristic bout of toxic masculinity, Chandler and Joey almost come to blows over a Dutch girl who stops to watch their game. Meanwhile, after the teams are split along gender lines, the girls don't seem to believe they can win against the boys simply because they're boys, even though Monica has already single-handedly tackled Chandler without issue. This leads to lowlights like Phoebe flashing Chandler to distract him from playing. Consequently, "The One With the Football" is a mixed bag.

5. The One With the Late Thanksgiving (Season 10)

By the time the final season of "Friends" rolled around, it was a given that each year one episode would be dedicated to the Thanksgiving dinner Monica hosted in her apartment. So Monica and Chandler throw the audience and their other friends a curveball when they insist in Season 10 that they aren't going to host the festivities that year. Of course, the others quickly figure out a way to change Monica's mind — then thank her by showing up 45 minutes late to dinner because they prioritize other things. Joey and Ross attend a hockey game, and Rachel and Phoebe enter Emma into a child beauty pageant; neither duo leaves early enough to ensure they make it to Monica's on time.

While the group definitely takes Monica's hard work for granted in "The One With the Late Thanksgiving," it also leads to the hilarious image of the offending friends poking their heads through the small space allowed by Monica and Chandler's door chain, which makes their world-class groveling all the more entertaining. Furthermore, it's the rare dinner where Monica ultimately doesn't care about everything that went wrong because by the end of the episode, she and Chandler get the heartwarming news that they're going to be adoptive parents.

4. The One With Chandler in a Box (Season 4)

"Friends" was a great sitcom from its very first moments to its last, but by Season 4, fans felt like the characters were their friends, too — so it works just fine when the show carries an ongoing storyline into that year's Thanksgiving episode. For several episodes prior to "The One With Chandler in a Box," Joey has been dating Kathy (Paget Brewster), whom Chandler has a crush on. But when he acts on it and kisses her, Joey is understandably hurt and left wondering if his and Chandler's friendship is as deep as he believed it was.

Chandler has tried apologizing in every way he can think of, but nothing has worked — until Joey suggests that he spend six hours in a box on Thanksgiving to match the six hours Joey spent trapped in their entertainment center while their place was robbed earlier in the season.

Hilarity ensues as Chandler uses nothing more than his voice and the fingers he can fit through his box's air hole to participate in the festivities, until Joey silences him with the demand that Chandler do a better job thinking about what he's done. Combine that with Monica inviting her ex-boyfriend Richard's son, Tim (Michael Vartan), over for dinner — only to become grossed out when she learns he kisses just like his dad — and the revelation that Rachel exchanges every gift she's given, and it all makes for a rollicking, highly entertaining episode.

3. The One With the Rumor (Season 8)

When it comes to great guest casting, there may be no better example than Brad Pitt's turn in the "Friends" episode "The One With the Rumor." Not only is he one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, at the time he was married to Jennifer Aniston! So when he shows up in Season 8's Thanksgiving outing as a former high school classmate of Ross, Rachel, and Monica, leading to the revelation that he co-founded an "I Hate Rachel Club" with Ross in high school, the gag works on two levels. Pitt seems to revel in the opportunity to be funny, digging into his character Will's enduring hostility toward Rachel. 

The setup culminated in the revelation that he and Ross had started a rumor that Rachel was intersex. Even though audiences would rightfully recognize the insensitivity of mining that kind of rumor for comedy today, Aniston does a great job humorously expressing Rachel's indignation, especially as she slowly realizes why certain people in high school reacted to her in the unfair and discriminatory ways they did. Meanwhile, Pitt and the "Friends" cast as a whole work together like a well-established team, trading banter and barbs with such expert comedic precision that the episode is especially memorable.

2. The One With All the Thanksgivings (Season 5)

Throughout its decade-long run, "Friends" had several standout episodes featuring flashbacks, and one of the funniest is Season 5's "The One With All the Thanksgivings," where the gang shares stories about their worst past experiences with the holiday. Of course, there's Chandler's tale of holiday woe in which his parents chose Thanksgiving dinner to announce their divorce, but that was described in the first Thanksgiving episode back in Season 1. So this time another plotline takes center stage, a flashback to when Chandler accompanied Ross home for the holiday during college and met Monica and Rachel. The show uses the opportunity to tell the story of why Monica lost weight and how that led directly to Chandler losing a toe.

While Chandler's "flock of seagulls" hairstyle and Monica's attempts to be sexy in the flashbacks are hilarious on their own, this episode reaches even greater heights with a throwback to the time Joey put the Thanksgiving turkey on his head to scare Chandler and ended up getting stuck. Even better, Monica repeats the gag in the episode's final moments to make Chandler laugh, leading him to finally confess his love for her — and to her scaring the bejesus out of an unsuspecting Joey.

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

Season 6's Thanksgiving episode is titled "The One Where Ross Got High," but fans may be more likely to think of it as "The One Where Rachel Screws Up the Trifle." The outing includes a very funny storyline about how the Geller parents, Jack (Elliott Gould) and Judy (Christina Pickles), despise Chandler because Ross blamed his college-age pot smoking on him. There's also a wacky ongoing gag in which Phoebe recalls her romantic dreams about Jack Geller and Jacques Cousteau.

However, the highlight of the episode is Rachel's dessert fail. She attempts to make a traditional English trifle to polish off the holiday dinner, but the pages of the cookbook get stuck together, resulting in her making a dish that's half trifle and half Shepherd's pie. To help her avoid embarrassment, Joey and Ross get everyone to pretend to enjoy her whipped cream and beef creation, leading to some epic line readings by the cast, especially Ross' declaration, "It tastes like feet!"

Laughs abound throughout the episode, which puts every one of the six friends' foibles on full display. And it ends on a perfect note as Jack and Judy get brutally honest with Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe, while embracing Chandler for his willingness to stick by both of their wayward children. It's a hilarious episode that feels perfect for the holiday it's celebrating and for each of the "Friends" characters we love.