The Definitive Ranking of ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Episodes

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Friends is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and they gave us some of the best holiday episodes. So, with Thanksgiving coming up, I decided it would be fun to rewatch every single Thanksgiving episode one afternoon. I’ve ranked them from least memorable to most memorable. Sadly, there are only nine episodes since season two didn’t have a Thanksgiving episode. If, for some reason, you haven’t watched the series, here’s your one and only spoiler warning.

9. Season 1, Episode 9 “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”

Friends Season 1, Ep 9 The One Where Underdog Gets Away
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

I honestly completely forgot about this episode. The first Thanksgiving episode from the series hadn’t managed to get the perfect blend of comedy and emotions. Much like the rest of season one, it’s not high on my list of all of the episodes. I also wish we’d gotten to see the runaway Underdog balloon.

In this episode, Ross is trying to get “belly time” with his unborn child. Monica is planning a quiet Thanksgiving with Ross and Phoebe when Joey joins because his family banned him after a modeling gig goes awry. Rachel also ends up joining after the gang gets locked out looking at the Underdog balloon.

8. Season 8, Episode 9 “The One with the Rumor”

Friends Season 8, Ep 9 The One With the Rumor
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

Much like the last entry on the list, I forgot most of this episode. All I remembered was Brad Pitt guest-starred (which I could’ve lived without). Call me crazy, but I don’t think his appearance in the episode added much to it other than some drama. It just feels like it didn’t age well compared to the other episodes.

Monica invites an old high school friend of Ross, Will, to Thanksgiving dinner before finding out he hates Rachel. During dinner, he lets it out that he and Ross spread a rumor that Rachel has both male and female “reproductive parts.” Joey also eats a whole turkey by himself to preserve the Tribbiani “family legacy.”

7. Season 7, Episode 8 “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”

Friends Season 7, Ep 8 The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs
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This is so low because, in earlier seasons, we see Chandler deal well with a dog being around. So, when he reacts badly at first to Phoebe sneaking a dog into his apartment, it’s out of character. Overall, it was a funny episode, but there weren’t enough heartwarming moments for me to enjoy like other episodes.

In this episode, Phoebe sneaks her friend’s dog, Klunker, in while they’re out of town. While trying to sneak him out for a walk, she’s caught by Monica and Chandler. Ross decides to name all 50 states from memory, and Tag and Rachel share their first kiss when Tag joins the group for Thanksgiving dinner.

6. Season 9, Episode 8 “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister”

Friends Season 9, Ep 8 The One With Rachel's Other Sister
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

To me, season nine’s Thanksgiving episode fell short compared to the rest of the season. I couldn’t stand Rachel’s sister, Amy, portrayed by Christina Applegate. And it just felt like a lot of unnecessary drama, but in the end, it all worked out.

Amy shows up unannounced for Thanksgiving dinner and inexplicably starts an argument when she asks who gets Emma, Ross and Rachel’s daughter, if they both die. By the end of the episode, Chandler earns Ross’s trust enough to raise Emma if he, Rachel, and Monica die. Phoebe also teaches Joey how to lie.

5. Season 10, Episode 8 “The One with the Late Thanksgiving”

Friends Season 10, Ep 8 The One With the Late Thanksgiving
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

The last Thanksgiving episode starts with Monica and Chandler announcing they won’t host the meal this year, but Phoebe convinces them to cook. Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, and Joey all run late to dinner and get locked out. They manage to get their heads in the doorway, with Joey getting stuck bad enough to break the lock chain off the wall.

I originally had this ranked below season nine’s episode before the ending of the episode. When I binged the series the first time, I cried at the end because Chandler and Monica found out they were chosen by a girl in Ohio to adopt her baby. All in all, it was heartwarming but not as memorable as the higher-ranked episodes.

4. Season 3, Episode 9 “The One with the Football”

Friends Season 3, Ep 9 The One With the Football
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

This episode is so iconic with my friends and me; I even bought my best friend Rachel’s shirt from the episode. This is by far one of the most accurate portrayals of sibling rivalry. My stepbrother and I had the exact same competitive side when it came to basketball. So maybe I’m biased, but I had to rank this one higher just because of that.

While the turkey for the group’s Thanksgiving dinner finishes cooking, they decide to play a “friendly” football game. That is until Ross and Monica’s competitive sides show up. Joey and Chandler compete over a Dutch model that chooses neither of them. Rachel feels left out while playing and almost catches the winning point. However, when she doesn’t, Ross and Monica refuse to let it go.

3. Season 4, Episode 8 “The One with Chandler in a Box”

Friends Season 4, Ep 8 The One With Chandler in a Box
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

This episode had an almost-perfect balance of comedic moments mixed with emotional moments. And I have to say it, I’m with the group: Monica trying to date her ex-boyfriend’s son, who is closer to her age, was a little weird. Joey letting Chandler out of the box is also a nice moment. It felt authentic, like it would actually happen in real life.

Joey makes Chandler sit in a box for kissing Kathy, his now-ex-girlfriend, played by Paget Brewster, for six hours (like Joey did when he was locked in a television console when the duo got robbed). However, he lets him out after Kathy breaks up with Chandler. Ross and Rachel argue over what gifts that actually matter.

2. Season 6, Episode 9 “The One Where Ross Got High”

Friends Season 6, Ep 9 The One Where Ross Got High
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

This episode has one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. That same scene also reemerges as a trend on TikTok every year, and I couldn’t be happier with that. This episode has aged beautifully and brought us Rachel’s cooking. It also shows why Rachel doesn’t cook in the show much.

Ross reveals why his parents don’t like Chandler, leading to many truths from the past coming out, including Ross getting divorced again, Monica and Chandler living together, and Joey’s line, “I wanna go!” Ross and Joey also try to skip dinner to hang out with Joey’s roommate and her dancer friends.

Best: Season 5, Episode 8 “The One with All the Thanksgivings”

Friends Season 5, Ep 8 The One With All the Thanksgivings
Warner Bros. Television | NBC | Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

If you say this isn’t one of the best episodes of the series, you’re lying to yourself. We get glimpses of Ross and Chandler in college, Monica’s weight transformation, and Joey getting a turkey stuck on his head. We also get the first time Chandler says “I love you” in the series when Monica is dancing with a turkey wearing sunglasses and a hat on her head.

After eating their Thanksgiving dinner, the six share stories of their worst Thanksgiving. Phoebe tells one about her past life, and Joey shares how he got a turkey stuck on his head and ruined that year’s meal. Monica shares the year where Chandler called her fat and then the following year when she accidentally cut off his toe.