Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 20, 2024

All 10 Friends Thanksgiving episodes ranked

By MINGYUAN SONG | November 10, 2023

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COURTESY OF TOMMY SONG

Stella may have never seen a single episode of Friends before, but she sure can draw. This is the most prized decor on my wall.

To celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and to do a bit of research for this magazine article, I watched every single Thanksgiving-themed Friends episode — one episode a day — over dinner with my girlfriend, Stella. What makes this ranking different from the millions of rankings out there is that I am a huge fan of Friends, while Stella hasn’t seen a single episode. So the average of our scores will hopefully provide a fresh perspective. Just a warning, Stella’s intolerance for laugh tracks will be a consistent theme here; she’s more of a Brooklyn Nine-Nine fan. 

10th place: Season 9, Episode 8, “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”

Neither of us liked this episode very much. Rachel’s sister was really obnoxious and it didn’t have the typical heartwarming vibes that a Thanksgiving episode should carry. There were some funny bits here and there, like whether or not Chandler would be a good parent. 

Average score: 6/10

Tommy’s score: 6/10

Stella’s score: 6/10

Ninth place: Season 3, Episode 9, “The One With the Football”

The football episode! I watched this mostly for nostalgia, but almost all of this iconic football episode happens on a random set, not the classic apartment or Central Perk. It’s a fun episode, just not for this selective rewatch experience. Stella was a little bored since she didn’t really understand football. She also thought the Dutch woman bit was random — me too.

Average score: 6.5/10

Tommy’s score: 6/10

Stella’s score: 7/10

Eighth place: Season 1, Episode 9, “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”

Stella thought that the laugh tracks were overdone, but I didn’t. This is a big debate among fans of sitcoms, but I think that the more you watch, the more it will merge into background noise. Stella liked the plot, although a few things here and there were a little cliche (like the potatoes). I loved how heartwarming the ending was, just like all the other episodes. This is why I love Friends to begin with. Stella also thought that the ugly naked man at the end was random, which I get (it’s a bit abrupt without any context). 

Average Score: 7/10

Tommy’s score: 8/10

Stella’s score: 6/10

Seventh place: Season 6, Episode 9, “The One Where Ross Got High”

I never liked the part with Ross’ rage all that much, so this wasn’t as interesting. However, seeing the tension of keeping Monica and Chandler’s relationship away from everyone was fun. This episode wasn’t too memorable for Stella. The only good thing that came out of the episode is that I now want to make the “moistmaker.” Time to watch “Binging with Babish: The Moistmaker from Friends.” 

Average score: 7/10

Tommy’s score: 7/10

Stella’s score: 7/10

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

I didn’t like the plot of Chandler not liking dogs, but the side story with Ross naming all 50 states was A+. Stella liked the dog and thought the state game was funny. We played the “Can you name the U.S. states?” game on Sporcle afterward, and collectively, we were able to name all 50! Stella did get mad at me though, since I didn’t let her cheat with the state song. 

Average score: 7.5/10

Tommy’s score: 8/10

Stella’s score: 7/10

Fifth place: Season 2, Episode 8, “The One With the List”

Compared to the first season, Stella was more invested in the plot in the second. Nothing was forced, and the storyline was easy to believe. The list of insecurities revealed more about the characters, too. I didn’t like it as much as the first, maybe because it didn’t have as much of a Thanksgiving spirit. The list is a classic, but I did find myself cringing at some moments.

Average score: 8/10

Tommy’s score: 7/10

Stella’s score: 9/10

Fourth place: Season 4, Episode 8, “The One With Chandler in a Box”

This was a true classic with Chandler in the box — a lot of Thanksgiving spirit, a beautiful display of Chandler and Joey’s friendship and some sprinkle of funniness with Richard’s son, Rachel’s gift exchanges and chick and duck! Stella didn’t like it as much because she didn’t understand a lot of the references and was missing a lot of context. (I think that’s her fault though.)

Average score: 8.5/10

Tommy’s score: 10/10

Stella’s score: 7/10

Third place: Season 5, Episode 8, “The One With All the Thanksgivings”

Stella says that I can’t just rate everything a 10, but uh, yeah I can. Come on, it’s the most iconic episode with Monica’s turkey dance, Chandler saying “I love you” and all the flashback scenes, too. Perfection. Stella loves rom-coms, and this one has all the relationship developments, so she loved it, too. She got to know every character a little more as well. 

Average score: 9/10

Tommy’s score: 10/10

Stella’s score: 8/10

Second place: Season 10, Episode 8, “The One With the Late Thanksgiving”

I am sick of giving out 10s, but they have just been too good. This was a very heartwarming episode with Monica and Chandler getting a kid, and the classic scene of the four of them sticking their heads through the door. Stella loved the ending, too. Super sweet. 

Average score: 9/10

Tommy’s score: 10/10

Stella’s score: 8/10

First place: Season 8, Episode 9, “The One With the Rumor”

This one had everything: a lot of funniness, Joey and the turkey and Brad Pitt. The back-and-forth humor was very well-timed. Stella liked all the comedy bits, especially the small jabs. This episode was just very well written in general; everything flowed naturally. This felt the most “Thanksgiving” out of them all with everyone getting together and having some snarky exchanges with each other.

Average score: 9.5/10

Tommy’s score: 10/10

Stella’s score: 9/10

Whether you are a big fan of Friends or not, I urge you to watch these few episodes, or at least the top few. Maybe they will inspire you to host a Friendsgiving of your own! I know I will. And now that Stella has watched 10 episodes of my favorite show, it’s time to watch all eight seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine with her — unfair, I know. 


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