Everything I Need to Know About Thanksgiving, I Learned From ‘Friends'

Notice a difference in the acronym this week? I couldn’t decide how best to phrase what I was trying to say, so… bear with me.


That’s kind of fun, huh? Good thing it is one week only, I already forget how to write that out and I just wrote it. By now, everyone knows I have a creepy encyclopedic knowledge of Friends. I like Friends more than I like my friends, and I have a feeling that you all do too. I mean, who wouldn’t prefer Chandler Bing to anyone they know in real life? (Except that I have a Chandler Bing in my life, and you can feel free to be jealous of that.) You know what Friends does really, really well (besides love triangles and self-deprecating humor and hairstyles)? Holidays! Let’s get to it!

EINTKAThanksgivingILF Friends 

Season 1. Misery loves company.
In the very first Thanksgiving episode of Friends, we quickly learn the following important consistencies with the characters: Chandler hates Thanksgiving, Monica is the most dominant (read: most difficult) personality, Joey is a struggling actor, Rachel is a tad out-of-touch with the real world (read: spoiled), Ross is involved in a complicated relationship with his ex-wife and Phoebe is…well, Phoebe. Thanksgiving begins with a disappointed Ross settling for Thanksgiving at Monica’s because their parents will be away this year, joined by Phoebe (who is celebrating with her family in December because her grandmother’s boyfriend is “lunar”) and Chandler, who does not actually celebrate Thanksgiving due to a traumatizing experience when he was younger. Eventually, Joey joins the group because, though he intended on celebrating with his family, they eventually suspected he had a venereal disease due to a bad modeling gig. Chaos ensues when the Underdog blimp cuts loose from the Macy’s Day parade, and the Friends accidentally lock themselves out of the apartment, burning dinner and causing Rachel to miss her flight to Vail.

Though everyone is bummed at first, they realize how lucky they are to have one another. Chandler is especially pleased.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m very thankful that all your Thanksgivings sucked.”

Also, enunciate.
Rachel: When we left, you said “got the keys.”
Monica: No I didn’t. I asked, “got the keeeyyyys?”
Rachel: No, no, no, you said, “got the keyyyys.”
Chandler: Do either of you have the keyyyys?

Season 2. Fake chocolate isn’t chocolate.
The least Thanksgiving-y episode of the whole series involves Monica acquiring a cooking gig with a new company promoting “mocklate,” which is, as it sounds, fake chocolate. Her job is to create recipes using mocklate and though she tries her darndest to find the good in the product, it tastes more like evil than dessert.

Perhaps we didn’t have Thanksgiving back in 1995 because we were too immersed in the Ross/Rachel/Julie love triangle. On Thanksgiving, or on any other day, I shall remind you to never make a pros/cons list. (As I have reminded you before, ahem number 4.)

Season 3. Football and Thanksgiving are not always a good idea.
Everyone lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvves the episode with the Geller cup, am I right? Every Friend is at the height of their personality. Rachel is ditzy and sensitive, Phoebe is quirky and fun, Monica and Ross are crazy competitive, Joey is cocky and smooth, Chandler is adorably endearing. It is just the best. And you know what I learned?

Never play football on Thanksgiving because everyone will fight, dinner will be postponed and you might end up laying on the ground when the snow starts to fall.

 Or if you are like me and/or Rachel Green, you will feel totally useless because sports are for jerks.

Also, the Gellers are the nerdiest and I love them. Ross and Monica are on their most sibling-ish behavior in this episode, likely why it is in my top 5 of all-time.

Monica: Losers walk!
Ross: Yeah? losers talk!
Chandler: No, no, no, actually, losers rhyme.

Season 4. Make good decent dating choices.
Chandler pulls a really bad friend move and kisses Joey’s girlfriend Kathy. Joey is rightfully upset with him and, using Joey logic, decides that the only way he can make up for it is by spending time in a shipping crate. On Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, Monica gets ice in her eye and has to be rushed to the optometrist, who happens to be her recent ex-boyfriend’s son. (Played by Michael Vartan, almost as good looking as Tom Selleck.) They flirt back and forth a bit and Monica decides to invite him over for Thanksgiving. When her friends keep giving her a hard time for her weird decision, Monica highlights all of their relationship faults:

“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 a fire, live in a box!”

And yes, I knew that from memory.

The point is, don’t kiss your roommate and best friend’s girlfriend, and don’t date your ex-boyfriend’s son, and don’t do any of the things Monica said either.

Season 5. Focus on the positive.
For whatever reason, the Friends sit around talking about their worst Thanksgiving memories. Chandler discusses his parent’s divorce announcement, Phoebe talks about all of the past Thanksgivings in which she lost limbs in her other lives, Joey mentions a holiday where he got a turkey stuck on his head, etc. Unfortunately, when Rachel recalls a story in which Monica and Chandler first met, secrets are revealed (clearly the reason Monica’s hair is so big) including the fact that Chandler doesn’t have one of his pinky toes and it is Monica’s fault! Shocking that they had never mentioned this before!

Naturally, Monica puts a turkey on her head (a common Friends Thanksgiving occurrence) and dances around to make Chandler laugh and then he tells her he loves her and since they are still in the height of their secret relationship, it is the first time he says that to her and this really bothers me because later (in TOW Everybody Finds Out) everyone acts like it is the first time Chandler says “I love you” to Monica and it really isn’t, but whatevs. What am I, the consistency police?

Also, don’t call your virginity your “flower.” It’s creepy.

Season 6. But actually, holidays are for revealing secrets.
“What is with everyone today? It’s Thanksgiving not truth day!” Ross

In TOW Ross Got High (best episode title ever?), Judy and Jack Geller come over to Monica’s for dinner and Chandler tries to secretly win them over so that Monica can finally tell her parents that not only is she dating Chandler, but they are living together. Ross eventually tells Chandler that he used him as a scapegoat in college so that he didn’t get in trouble for smoking pot. Monica is furious at Ross and it becomes, in one of my favorite Friends traditions, a secret-revealing fest.

Monica: Dad, Chandler didn’t melt your records, Ross did. And Dad, you know that mailman you got fired? He didn’t steal your Playboys, Ross did.
Ross: Yeah, well Hurricane Gloria didn’t break the porch swing, Monica did.
Monica: Ross hasn’t worked at the museum for a year.
Ross: Monica and Chandler are living together!
Monica: Ross married Rachel in Vegas, and got divorced! Again!

So, go ahead and share some secrets this year. Come on, it’ll be fun.

I also learned that traditional English trifles do not have beef in them.

 If you haven’t seen this blooper, or any Friends bloopers in general, I am going to recommend you stop reading this right now and watch David Schwimmer try to pull off “it tastes like feet.” It will make your day, promise. Almost as great as PIVOT.

Season 7. Naming the states is hard.
At Chandler’s work, they decided to play a game where they have to name all fifty states (fifty-six if you’re Joey) in six minutes. When Ross gets cocky about it being “insanely easy,” he bets that he can name them all before dinner, or he won’t eat.

Chandler: Okay Ross, time is up.
Ross: Oh, just give me another minute.
Chandler: Okay look Ross, if you don’t know them by now, you will never know them. Okay? That is the beauty of this game, it makes you want to kill yourself.

(In the middle of the night.)
Ross: Delaware.
Chandler:  Alright.
Ross: I want my turkey now.
Chandler: You got it…you got Nevada twice.
Ross: …I know.

My friends and I play this game from time to time, and I love seeing how people think about the states: alphabetical, by sports teams, by electoral votes (I’m serious, what a bunch of nerds), by places we have been, etc. I suggest everyone plays this year. My family plays “name the Simpsons characters” sometimes. That is a ton of fun, as well, though you really, really cannot beat me at that game, so never play against me.

Is this why I’m single?

(And if you have a friend that doesn’t like dogs, do not be mean to him. It really isn’t all that weird. Poor Chandler.)

Season 8. Don’t be mean to people in high school. 
They might be Brad Pitt one day.

 “My two greatest enemies, Ross: Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates.”

And there are also a bunch of secrets revealed in this episode. I mean, seriously, guys. Thanksgiving is all about telling people stuff.

Why do you think Ross’ hair is so big?

Season 9. Don’t use your fancy china for Thanksgiving dinner.
Monica obviously does not want to use her wedding china for Thanksgiving dinner, but Chandler convinces her that it is a great idea. After a combination of Rachel and her sister Christina Applegate’s scuffle and Chandler not-so-confidently grabbing Emma’s diaper bag, all of the wedding china breaks. Poor Monica. I don’t actually know why she owns so many fancy things when she is A) married to Chandler and B) friends with her friends. What a bunch of hooligans.

I also learned that, as parents, you should have a solidified back-up plan in case you die, and perhaps you shouldn’t break the news over Thanksgiving dinner because feelings may get hurt.

Ross: Hey, dude, you okay? Sorry about before.
Chandler: That’s okay. You’re totally right. I don’t know anything about disciplining a child. But it did hurt my feelings, and I want you to know that if I die, you don’t get Joey.

Season 10. Be punctual.
In the very last Friends Thanksgiving episode (sob, sob, sob!), Monica and Chandler don’t really want to host the holiday, but when everyone freaks out, they give in and agree to have dinner at their place. Due to various events (baby pageant, hockey game), the four friends are late to Monica and Chandler’s, only to discover they have been locked out because the Bings are furious at their lack of punctuality, especially when they were forced to host dinner in the first place.

To be honest, this episode would be rather lackluster except it is saved by the end.

Amidst the arguing between the six pals, the phone rings and Monica finds out that she and Chandler were chosen by a knocked up girl in Ohio and that they are finally going to be parents. This little tear-jerker moment makes you realize the holidays truly are a time for fighting, and making up and receiving great news.

Main Thanksgiving header comes from one of my fave fave Friends tumblrs: http://friendsdaily.tumblr.com.

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