How to Celebrate Thanksgiving According to ‘Friends’

Tori Miller
Contributing Writer

Cover photo courtesy of Flickr

Warning: “Friends” spoilers ahead!

The hit 90s sitcom “Friends” taught audiences how to be there for someone once the rain starts to pour, while showing how to have a proper, or not so proper, holiday party. Over the course of 10 seasons, “Friends” brings nine Thanksgiving episodes to the big screen. Each one has something special while keeping some holiday themes relevant throughout. According to “Friends,” here are the top five things that you need in order to have the perfect Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Wear an Uncooked Turkey on Your Head

This joke first premiered in season five episode nine titled “The One with All the Thanksgivings.” Initially shown through a flashback, Phoebe catches Joey with a turkey stuck on his head while goofing around in Monica’s apartment. He states that he wants to “scare Chandler” and that “it smells really bad in there.” Later on, the focus shifts back to the present, where Monica uses the same tactic. This time around, Chandler actually gets to see the turkey. Monica uses the turkey, along with a silly dance, as an apology for accidentally cutting off Chandler’s toe in the past. This results in a huge “Friend’s” moment when Chandler says “I love you” to Monica for the first time! 

2. Have an Intense Game of Two-Hand Tap Football in the Local Park

In possibly the most iconic Thanksgiving episode, “The One with the Football,” the heated sibling rivalry between Ross and Monica Geller is centerfold. While dinner is cooking, the six friends put on their sporty attire and prepare to throw the pigskin around. Ross and Monica “bunny up” to become captains, and everyone splits into two teams for the madness to begin. After some rough play, multiple accounts of Rachel “going long,” and some not-so-subtle attempts at impressing a certain Dutch lady watching the game, there is a hilarious reveal that the Geller Cup still exists from Ross and Monica’s childhood. The funniest part of this season three episode has to be Ross and Monica still holding the football on the field even after it got dark and snow started falling. 

3. The Appearance of Some Kind of Obscure Food at the Dinner Table

The first appearance of an obscure Thanksgiving food was in the episode “The One Where Underdog Gets Away.” This was the first “Friends” Thanksgiving episode to ever air, and the first time we got to see why “Mr. Chandler” (as the house boy says) doesn’t want any more turkey. Throughout the episode, Chandler boycotts Thanksgiving and refuses to eat any of the food associated with it. Fans get to finally hear the story of Chandler’s parents’ divorce, along with the episode ending to the famous grilled cheese toast line, “I’m very thankful that all of your Thanksgivings sucked.”

Another instance where we see some nontraditional holiday food is when Rachel attempts to make a trifle in the season six episode “The One Where Ross Got High.” She mixes two recipes together, one for an English trifle, and the other for a shepherd’s pie. While Joey loves the weird combination, everyone can agree beef sauteed with peas and onions doesn’t belong in a dessert.  

4. Invite an Interesting House Guest to Spice Up the Party

In the season eight episode “The One With the Rumor,” Monica has her old high school friend Will Colbert come for a visit. Played by Brad Pitt, Will brings the conversation at the dinner table to life. It’s revealed that he and Ross were founders of the “I Hate Rachel” club. This infuriates Rachel. To make matters worse, it’s then explained that the club was also behind a horrible rumor about Rachel that was spread around Long Island. 

Another guest in Monica’s apartment for Thanksgiving is Rachel’s rude sister Amy, who was played by Christina Applegate. Amy brings her passive aggressive attitude and immature tendencies to the dinner table, where she continuously picks fights with Rachel. They fight about everything between shopping discounts, bad personality traits, and who should have custody over Emma, Ross and Rachel’s daughter. If you do invite a house guest, make sure they bring something other than craziness to help celebrate the holiday. 

5. Make Sure to Reminisce on the Past

When you’re with your family or friends around the holidays, make sure you bring up good or funny memories. In the season five episode, “The One With All the Thanksgivings,” the cast reflects on what they believe would be their worst Thanksgiving. This turns into a hilarious montage of flashback memories of when the friends were back in their younger years. 

The most memorable flashbacks happen when Ross and Chandler came back from college and make an appearance at the Geller house. Fans get to see awkward encounters between Ross and Rachel, along with ironic interactions between Monica and Chandler. Through these memories, we discover that Chandler once called Monica fat, and that she accidentally dropped a knife on his toe. We also get to see Phoebe as a hypothetical nurse in the war, revisit Joey sticking the turkey on his head, and when Ross first mentions dating Carol.

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