Thanksgiving is just days away. So before you dash off to spend time with your family, its only fair it you block off a night and spend some time with your . Heres the one true guide for a Thanksgiving Marathon. Va fa Napoli!
The One with the Football (Season 3, Episode 9)
Plot: The gang decides to play an impromptu football game despite Monica and Rosss parents warning them specifically not to. The Geller Cup ensues. Monica and Rosss relationship has never been better illustrated into a single episode.
Rachel: Maybe there’s some kind of league that we can join.
Phoebe: Isn’t there a National Football League or something?
Joey: Yeah, but they only play on Sunday and Monday nights.
Rachel: Oh shoot. I work Monday nights.
Fate of the Turkey: Eaten post-game by everyone but Ross and Monica. Likely digested into more muscles for the next Geller Cup.
NYC Inaccuracy: It’s highly unlikely that there is open space in a Manhattan park for an impromptu two-part football game on Thanksgiving day. People wake up early to stake out their space for that shit. It is, however, highly likely that a random bleach blonde Dutch girl is hanging out inside that park picking up men.
Best Friend: Phoebe for being crafty with her boobs and for her still-epic That Girl t-shirt paired with that in-game hairdo.
Random Observation: The two children on the swings are the children of series co-creator Marta Kauffman. Imagine being Marta Kauffman’s children? You would be rich and caffeinated.
Drink Pairing: Beer, what else goes with a football game?
The One with Chandler in a Box (Season 4, Episode 8)
Plot: Joey has not forgiven Chandler for stealing his girlfriend, even though it is almost Thanksgiving. As penance he instructs Chandler to sit in a wooden shipping box for the entire holiday. Meanwhile Monica gets an ice chip to the eye and is forced to see her exs son for medical attention. Romantic sparks fly between the two despite the pseudo-incestuousness of it all.
Joey/Rachel: “Va fa Napoli!”
Fate of the Turkey: Awkwardly eaten during a semi-incestual group date. That turkey was dead, prepared, cooked, being masticated, and still the most comfortable person at that table.
NYC Inaccuracy: That there would be a local on-call optometrist on a national holiday, especially if he’s filling in for his father instead of celebrating with him. New York is famous for its 24/7 service, but even in NYC your local specialist is sending you to the ER on Thanksgiving. Father/son medical practices are pretty common thorough.
Best Friend: Chandler. If you can be the funniest character while spending the majority of the episode in a wooden box apologizing then you win. He also gets to kiss the very pretty Paget Brewster.
Random Observation: In this episode Ross claims he came up with the idea for Die Hard. He’s also claimed to have come up with the idea for Got Milk. I wonder if Ross also wrote Too Many Cooks.
Drink Pairing: Brandy, to warm your icy eye. Hopefully delivered by a St. Bernard.
The One With All The Thanksgivings (Season 5, Episode 8)
Plot: This year our spend the holiday flashing back to Thanksgivings past. Chandler remembers his fathers coming out story and his parents eventual divorce, Phoebe has a few violent past life regressions, and Monica recalls her early interactions with Chandler. Everyone gets some new information on previous events. This is one of the series best episodes.
Joey: I don’t have any past life memories.
Phoebe: Of course you don’t sweetie, you’re brand new!
Fate of the Turkey: There were several turkeys over several time periods. The turkey in the present was presumably eaten before the episode began and one of the past turkeys was offered to young Chandler by his father’s heavily accented lover (who is also the family’s “house boy”).
NYC Inaccuracy: The gang doesn’t interact with the city that much this year so I’ll take this opportunity to point out the absurd sizes of their apartments.
Best Friend: Monica, for deciding to be a chef because Chandler told her to, losing all that weight and wearing that awful red velvet dress to scorn Chandler, slicing off Chandler’s little toe, and then putting the turkey on her head before Chandler professes his love for her. Sure, she did all those things for a man but if that isn’t some empowering revenge I don’t know what is. Also, she was sexy with the carrots, box of mac and cheese, and knife.
Random Observation: Chandler loses his toe in this episode. This is a nod to the fact that Matthew Perry is missing part of his middle finger on his right hand. I wonder what the nubbin means…
Drink Pairing: Champagne, to honor Phoebe’s past life as an armless French nurse.
The One Where Ross Got High (Season 6, Episode 9)
Plot: Joey and Ross try to leave the family Thanksgiving dinner to get across the hall and party with Janine and her sexy dancer friends. Rachel tries to make a dessert to disastrous and hilarious results. Ross reveals why the Geller parents dont like Chandler.
Judy: “Phoebe, I’m sorry but I think the Jacques Cousteau is dead.”
Fate of the Turkey: Consumed during the speculation on Jack Geller’s sex appeal.
NYC Inaccuracy: Long Island parents would never visit their children in Manhattan on Thanksgiving unless they had very specific reservations. There’s no space to cook (in a normal, non-TV, apartment) and it’s not worth the parade traffic to get from their friends and family. And no, before you ask, they didn’t spend the day at the parade. They would never go to without young children.
Best Friend: Joey takes the cake, I mean trifle, this round. He also gets all the overheating hot drunk girls.
Random Observation: Rachel spent hours making that trifle and yet doesnt try a piece herself? Thats strange. Then again shes incredibly thin. Apparently Rachel has heretofore unknown incredible self-control. This isn’t really a fact.
Drink Pairing: Irish coffee. It’s the perfect drink for a holiday with your parents; keeps you perky, gets you drunk, looks like a non-alcoholic beverage. Win, win, win.
The One Where Chandler Doesnt Like Dogs (Season 7, Episode 8)
Plot: Our are preparing Thanksgiving dinner while Phoebe attempts to secretly keep a dog in the apartment despite Chandlers dislike for them. Meanwhile Rachel is doing her best to pique the interest of her assistant/crush, the younger Tag.
Chandler: And, Joey, while I’m gone don’t let Ross look at any maps of the States or the globe in your apartment.
Joey: Don’t worry. It’s not a globe of the United States.
Fate of the Turkey: Devoured off screen by everyone but Ross, who should probably redo the 6th grade. He cheated for leftovers during the credit sequence, though. Hopefully they gave Clunkers a piece fatty piece.
NYC Inaccuracy: Nobody would be able to hide a dog in an apartment for that long. They constantly need to be taken out and paraded around the neighborhood for walks. Not to mention the bathing and barking would become fairly obvious in such tight quarters. New Yorkers lack of geographic knowledge outside of their own city was a pretty accurate assessment, though.
Best Friend: Phoebe wins for bringing Clunkers into the mix with a web of absurd lies.
Random Observation: Previous episodes have shown that Rosss apartment is a floor below Monicas… which would have made it impossible for Monica to see the gang feeding the dog on her couch. However, based on other previous evidence, it may be the case that Monica gains superpowers around the holidays.
Drink Pairing: White wine spritzers would be the perfect drinks to flirt with Tag over.
The One with the Rumor (Season 8, Episode 8)
Plot: This is the Brad Pitt episode. That is how we all know it. Pitt guest stars as Rosss old high school friend who, like Monica, has lost a lot of weight since then and become incredibly attractive. His longstanding issues with Rachel come to a head when its discovered that he and Ross spread a scandalous rumor about her in high school.
Joey: Here come the meat sweats.
Fate of the Turkey: Because it would have been like the Fourth of July with not apple pie or Friday with no two pizzas, the turkey was reluctantly made specifically at Joey’s request. He consumed all 19 lbs. of it in one go while wearing Phoebe and Rachel’s hideous maternity stretch pants.
NYC Inaccuracy: There aren’t any major inaccuracies in this episode but it is a little strange that so many people who moved to be a big city would be so interested in an old high school friend that they’d invite them to Thanksgiving dinner. But it’s an excuse to see Brad Pitt, so .
Best Friend: Rachel is our girl this year, having survived the co-founders of The I Hate Rachel Green Club, the revelations about Billy Tratt, and finally put the rumors of being born intersex to rest. She was also correct about Ross’s torrid underage affair with Mrs. Anita Altman (RIP).
Random Observation: Ross and Will were best friends in high school at the same time Rachel and Monica were. One member of each pairing lost a ton of weight later in life. I wish wed gotten to see Brad Pitt in a fat suit too.
Drink Pairing: Martini. At only about 125 calories and with no sugar added this is a great choice for Will, who’s very calorie and health concious. Also a great choice for scheming revenge over.
The One with Rachels Other Sister (Season 9, Episode 8)
Plot: Rachels middle sister Amy, played by Christina Applegate, appears suddenly for Thanksgiving. Her presence causes many arguments, mainly about who will take custody of Emma is every other one of her guardians suddenly died. Meanwhile Monica is babysitting her good china and Joey accidentally skips an important work event.
Monica: Ross and Rachel don’t know what they’re talking about. I mean, it’s not like they’re so responsible. Emma is the product of a bottle of Merlot and a five year old condom.
Fate of the Turkey: Neither the turkey nor Monica’s wedding dishware servived the evening.
NYC Inaccuracy: No matter how rich Mr. Green is, there is no way Amy thought Ross’s already gorgeous (and immeasurably overpriced based on its neighborhood) apartment was a split level. Only families with two parents working in finance can inhabit a split level.
Best Friend: Chandler, who proved he would make a really great adoptive parent if Ross, Rachel, and Mr. and Mrs. Geller all died. He also pointed out, correctly, how arousing Rachel and Amy’s physical altercation was.
Random Observation: The original plan for this episode was to bring Reese Witherspoon back as Rachel’s sister Jill. Because of scheduling conflicts the producers cast Christina Applgate as Amy instead. I for one am very happy because Christina Applegate who was/is astoundingly talented and has never gotten enough work. Justice for Samantha Who!
Drink Pairing: Cosmopolitan. I don’t wanna go out on a limb here, but I’m just that spoiled white girl Amy’s drink of choice would be a Cosmopolitan. You’re lying if you say you wouldn’t want to ask about times she got her lips done over a few.
The One with the Late Thanksgiving (Season 10, Episode 8)
Plot: The final Thanksgiving episode. So bittersweet like Mockolate, I assume. Monica decides to host Thanksgiving, yet again, despite not wanting to this year. The gang is all an hour late for dinner after Ross and Joey go to a hockey game and Phoebe and Rachel secretly enter Emma into a beauty pageant. The ensuing arguments suddenly look very petty when Monica and Chandler receive an unexpected phone call…
Monica: “Thanksgiving is over. The vein has spoken.”
Fate of the Turkey: It got cold and it’s grease was used on Joey’s stuck head before it was knocked to the ground and destroyed. What a way to go out.
NYC Inaccuracy: Parents in NYC do not enter their children in beauty pageants. That is strictly the South’s emotional territory. In NYC children compete through knife fights or Equestrian events, depending on their household income.
Best Friend: Joey obviously, for giving the world Nacho Chandler, having the giant finger, stealing Ross’s pocket, and being unable to feel his ears.
Random Observation: Chandler said that next year there would be one more person with them on Thanksgiving. In season 8’s Thanksgiving episode Monica says the same thing to a pregnant Rachel. Jennifer Aniston clearly never wants children so why do the tabloids keep obsessing over it?
Drink Pairing: Sake Bomb, because we need to attack to cast into doing a Thanksgiving reunion special and these are the only bombs we have on hand.