"Reliving past pain and getting depressed is what Thanksgiving is all about."
That's right, haters of the popular late 90s sitcom (God, was it seriously the 90s? I feel so old), although many worthy shows tried, no other show captured the spirit of this particular holiday year after year. In fact, there was a time -- and that time is still now -- where all our expectations of Turkey-day were based on various "Friends" Thanksgiving episodes. If someone doesn't accidentally make a beef 'n onions trifle tomorrow or fight over the Geller Cup, we're going to be a little disappointed.
Channel Surfing bloggers Malavika Jagannathan and Sara Boyd reminisce fondly about their top five "Friends" Thanksgiving moments.
"The One With Chandler in a Box"
Plot: Angry that Chandler kissed his girlfriend Kathy, Joey agrees to be less mad if Chandler spends all of Thanksgiving Day in a box. Wacky premise aside, it's kind of awesome and I've always wanted to inflict this punishment on someone.
Side-plots: Everyone ends up doing Secret Santa that turns into a mushy, sentimental side-plot about Ross and Rachel (that I generally ignore) in which Rachel proves she doesn't always exchange gifts by showing him all the things she'd kept from their relationship. Monica injures her eye, but doesn't want to see optometrist ex-boyfriend Magnum... er... Richard (Tom Selleck), so she sees the on-call doctor instead. Turns out he's "Alias"-hottie Michael Vartan, who is oddly enough Richard's son! (Seriously, this is the show's weirdest premise. There's no fricking way Tom Selleck has a kid that's as hot as Michael Vartan). However, it does spawn some of the episode's best lines.
Ross: Hey, you know, Mon, if things work out with you and Richard's son, you'll be able to tell your kids that you slept with their grandfather.
Monica: Fine, judge all you want to, but... Married a lesbian; Left a man at the altar; Fell in love with a gay ice dancer; Threw a girl's wooden leg in the fire; Livin' in a box!
"The One With The Rumor"
Plot: Monica invites an old high school friend Will Colbert (Brad Pitt before Jolie-r times) for Thanksgiving, without realizing that he still loathes Rachel for taunting him in high school for his weight. The former fattie, now svelte and attractive, catches Rachel's eye, but she's still blissfully ignorant of who he actually is. At dinner, Will reveals that he and Ross formed the "I Hate Rachel Green Club" in high school and spread a rumor that Rachel was a hermaphrodite. Rachel is incredibly upset, but then is reminded that she was equally vicious when she spread the news that Ross made out with the 50-year-old librarian. (Miss Altman also made out with the exchange student from Thailand who was also in the "I Hate Rachel Green" club.)
Side-plot: Monica announces she won't be making a turkey because there aren't enough folks who want to eat it. Joey convinces her to make it anyway, swearing that he'll finish it himself. He comes in wearing Phoebe's maternity pants, now the "Thanksgiving pants" and does it. The End.
Fun fact: Chandler is pretending to watch a Thanksgiving game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers and Phoebe claims an affection for Green Bay because "it’s only like my favorite bay." Chandler yells, "Anderson just scored again" at one point to convince Monica he is actually invested in the game, then says there's no one by that name to Phoebe. Actually, both the Packers and the Lions had players with the last name Anderson -- Wide receiver Scotty Anderson for the Lions and safety Marques Anderson for the Pack in that season.
Phoebe: Well the Lions technically won, but it was a moral victory for the Green Bay… Mermen. (Fact-check: The Packers beat the Lions 29-27... oddly enough the Lions had zero wins that season going into the game) Also, the Mermen = way better name.
Will: Look at her standing there will those yams. My two greatest enemies, Ross. Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates.
Will: That's right. We said your parents flipped a coin, decided to raise you as a girl, but you still had a hint of a penis.
Monica: You started that?
Rachel: What, you heard that?
Monica: Well, everyone in our school heard it.
Chandler: Everyone in my school heard it. You were the hermaphrodite cheerleader from Long Island?
Monica: And Ross, if it weren't for Rachel's rumor, I mean, no one in high school would even know who you were. She put you on the map!
Ross: As a romancer of the elderly!
"The One With The Football"
Plot: Not only does this episode mark one of the best Thanksgiving Day specials for the show, but it could arguably be one of the best "Friends" episodes ever. In season three, during their annual preparations for the turkey dinner, the story comes out about Ross and Monica's family football game "The Geller Bowl" in which the winner receives "The Geller Cup" (aka: as Chandler puts it, a nasty troll doll nailed to a 2x4.) It was only appropriate that a 3-on-3 game occurred, headed by some serious sibling rivalry between Ross and Monica.
Side plot: In the midst of the game, Chandler and Joey meet a Dutch woman who is supposed to be smoking hot but I, personally, found to be just weird looking. The football game is no longer the competition for these two, now it's all about who can score the Dutch girl. (Sidenote: It's revealed that Joey believes the Netherlands are a made up place where Tinker Bell and Peter Pan live -- and Joey thinks the woman's name is "Dutch.") Also, Rachel sucks at football and is always told to "go long" and Phoebe uses "the ladies" as a distraction technique after the game turns into a guys vs. gals showdown.
Monica: All right people listen, I’ve got exactly twenty-eight minutes before I have to baste again.
Chandler: Wow! Just like in the pros.
Monica: Losers walk!
Ross: Yeah, losers talk!
Chandler: No, no, no, actually losers rhyme.
Monica: No! Listen, I’m not gonna go through this with you again, okay. Just once I wanna beat when you can’t blame it on the broken nose, the buzzer, or the fact that you thought you were getting mono. Let’s just call this, tie score and it’s halftime.
Ross: Okay, first of all, I don’t play with cheaters, and second of all, you know I had swollen glands!
"The One Where Ross Got High"
Plot: It's Thanksgiving at the newly dubbed Geller-Bing apartment! The two lovebirds host their first big event and try to keep the cohabitating news -- ahem, and the whole "we're dating" news -- from Mom and Pop Geller after the hidden fact emerges that Jack and
Judy Geller aren't fans of the Chan man. Ross admits the reason for their disapproval stemmed from a time in college where the two caught a wiff of Mary Jane and thought Ross was smoking the reefer. Ross corrected them by lying and saying Chandler was puffin' the cheeba and had just jumped out the window. Smooth.
Side plot: Perhaps an arguably equal main plot, Rachel is given the chance to cook her very first Thanksgiving dessert and chooses a traditional English trifle -- complete with beef, sauteed with peas and onions. (The recipe book's pages were stuck together, giving half the recipe for English trifle and half the recipe to Shepherd's Pie -- a fact new cook Rachel was not aware of.) Meanwhile, Phoebe takes her annual Thanksgiving Day nap only to have a steamy dream about one Jack Geller -- no longer just Monica and Ross' dad, now dream hunk! Oh, and Joey's new hot roommate Janice (played by Elle MacPherson) is hosting a party with her dancer friends and invites Ross and Joey who clearly, want to hang out with hot drunken dancers rather than the typical crew, so try and hurry through dinner and er, Rachel's meat-custard dessert.
Chandler: What about all that "friends forever" stuff?
Ross: I don’t know, I was all high.
Ross: It tastes like feet!
Joey: I like it.
Ross: Are you kidding?
Joey: What’s not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Gooooood.
"The One With All the Thanksgivings"
Plot: Two words: Fat suit. Ah yes, the fifth season's Thanksgiving special marked the second brilliant appearance of Monica as the heffer Geller, big fat goalie and "cheater, cheater compulsive eater." As the crew tries to digest their latest Thanksgiving feast -- and not having enough energy to turn on the TV -- the group looks back at their worst Thanksgivings of all time. Before the show got lazy and became the king of flashback clip shows, it brought a trip down memory lane like a champ. With a few wardrobe changes from the '80s (and in Phoebe's case, mid-1800s), the group brought viewers never-before-seen flashbacks including a young Chandler learning of his parents divorce ("More turk-eee, Meester Chand-a-lerrr?"), Phoebe's missing limbs from two Thanksgiving Day wars and a post-nose job Rachel and recently slimmed down Monica plotting against Chandler for calling Monica fat the Thanksgiving before. Let’s just say Chandler has a little less to be thankful for that Thanksgiving Day.
Side-plots: In the final flashback, we learn that slimmed-down Monica plans to get her revenge on Chandler for calling her fat by seducing him, then laughing at him while he's naked. It doesn't go quite as planned. Monica's attempt to be sultry with a various kitchen objects ends with a knife going through Chandler's wicker shoe, severing his toe. At the hospital, Monica brings a carrot instead of the toe to be reattached, giving Chandler the same name of "Sir Limps A Lot." But the best sideplots (in our opinion) are the two random Phoebe wartime flashbacks in which she loses her limbs while screaming "gauze!" Trust us, it's hilarious.
Chandler: I am so sorry. I really am. I was an idiot back then. I rushed the stage at a Wham concert for crying out loud!
The Doctor: This isn't your toe, this is a small, very cold piece of carrot.
Rachel: You brought a carrot?!
Mrs. Geller: Oh my God! There's a toe in my kitchen.
On that note, Happy Thanksgiving. Try not to wear wicker shoes and remember that trifle doesn't include beef and onions.
-- Malavika Jagannathan, firstname.lastname@example.org and Sara Boyd, email@example.com