Season 1: 'The One Where Underdog Gets Away' (Nov. 17, 1994)
Usually, the Macy’s Day Parade is pretty bland. But when an 80-foot-long inflatable Underdog escapes the parade festivities, the friends gather on the roof of their Manhattan apartment building to watch as shooters from below “take out” the giant balloon. If that doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, there’s always Chandler’s memory of his ninth Thanksgiving, when his parents announced they were getting divorced. Wouldn’t you boycott all ”pilgrim holidays” if your parents ruined your pumpkin pie dessert?
WHAT’S COOKIN’: When the turkey is overcooked and the apartment fills with smoke, Monica has to resort to an old standby: grilled cheese sandwiches.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Chandler’s heartfelt toast: “I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m very thankful that all your Thanksgivings sucked.”
Season 2: 'The One With the List' (Nov. 16, 1995)
This second-season outing might be the least Thanksgiving-ish episode, but we’re given our first sweet taste of “Mockolate” — the synthetic chocolate substitute created by aspiring chef Monica. With a taste “that’ll last till Christmas,” Mockolate fizzes and bubbles on your tongue (kinda like eating an Alka-Seltzer), then sort of crumbles into tiny pieces of, um, “deliciousness” in your mouth.
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Pumpkin pie with Mockolate cookie-crumb crust, Mockolate chip cookies, Mockolate cranberry cake…
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Phoebe: “Oh, sweet Lord, this is what evil must taste like!”
Season 3: 'The One With the Football' (Nov. 21, 1996)
Six players. Two teams. One Geller Cup. Oh, and a hot Dutch girl named Margha. When Monica and Ross reminisce about an annual childhood tradition — a Thanksgiving football game that typically ended in name-calling and someone getting hurt — the friends decide to have their own version of “The Geller Bowl.” Rachel and Chandler almost score — Rachel during the football game; Chandler with the hot Dutch girl.
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Sibling rivalry! Monica and Ross won’t let go of the football at the game’s end, claiming the ball is still in play, even when their respective teams have left to eat Thanksgiving dinner.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Ross (to Monica): “Cheater, cheater, compulsive eater!”
Season 4: 'The One With Chandler in a Box' (Nov. 20, 1997)
Fall for your best friend’s significant other? You could try begging for forgiveness, or, if you’re Chandler, you could offer to spend Thanksgiving dinner serving penance inside a coffin-size wooden box. Chandler gets awfully cozy in his new digs (just don’t cover his air hole).
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Monica, under much pressure: She’s making dinner for her new love interest, who also happens to be her eye doctor, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend’s son. By the end of the night, she’s wearing a pirate’s eye-patch after a mishap involving ice chips.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Rachel: “Oh, I’m gonna take a nap. Turkey makes me sleepy.” / Monica: “We haven’t eaten yet.” / Rachel: “I know, but all that work you’re doing to get it ready and?” [Leaves the room]
Season 5: 'The One With All the Thanksgivings' (Nov. 15, 1998)
Monica used to be fat. Like, waddling-around, can’t-see-your-feet, fifteen-chins fat. And way back when? Rachel had a beak-shaped honker of a nose. Ross? The guy dressed like he fell out of an episode of Miami Vice. And Chandler, well, Chandler used to dress like an idiot too, but he also used to have a pinkie-toe. When the friends each reveal their worst Thanksgiving memories, the mystery behind Chandler’s severed toe is finally solved — Monica (accidentally) did it! She’s quickly forgiven, though, after performing an interesting interpretation of a “turkey-trot” — dancing with a turkey on her head.
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Clean one turkey. Stick head inside. Garnish bird with oversized sunglasses and party hat. Shake hips and chest. It’s sexy. Trust us.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Joey: “I am thankful for this beautiful fall we’ve been having. Yeah, the other day I was at the bus stop and this lovely fall breeze came in out of nowhere and blew this chick’s skirt right up. Oh, which reminds me: I am also thankful for thongs.”
Season 6: 'The One Where Ross Got High' (Nov. 25, 1999)
Joey reveals his tips on how to fake-enjoy a meal so as not to hurt the chef’s feelings: rub stomach, make “mmm” noises, and smile as wide as possible. (Makes you wonder how expensive those acting classes really are.) Also this Thanksgiving, Monica invites disaster — a.k.a. her parents — to dinner, where the topics include Ross’ three divorces, Chandler’s alleged pot-smoking habit, Rachel’s horrendous cooking, and Phoebe’s inappropriate crush on Jacques Cousteau.
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Rachel, who’s in charge of dessert, decides to prepare an English trifle. It has ladyfingers, jam, custard… Sounds delish, right? Except there’s a recipe mixup, so it also has beef sautéed with peas and onions, topped with another layer of custard and some bananas. The consensus? It’s garbage. Ross thinks it ”tastes like feet.” But the culinary venture isn’t a complete failure — Joey can’t wait for seconds.
MEMORABLE QUOTE Joey: “What’s not to like? Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat? Gooooood.”
Season 7: 'The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs' (Nov. 23, 2000)
Can you name every U.S. state in less than six minutes? Get a pen and try to beat Joey’s tally from the game at the center of this episode. (He comes up with 56.) Somehow he manages to do better than Phoebe, who’d rather name types of celery. (She comes up with 1.)
WHAT’S COOKIN’: For Ross, not much: Determined to starve until he lists all 50 states, he goes hungry (and a little insane) when his list falls short at 46. It takes him until the wee hours of the morning, but he finally lists 50 and sits down to enjoy a turkey dinner. (He comes up with two Nevadas.)
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Joey (advising Rachel on the crush she’s invited to dinner): “If he doesn’t like you, then this is all just a moo point.” / Rachel: “Huh. A moo point?” / Joey: “Yeah, it’s like a cow’s opinion, you know, it just doesn’t matter. It’s ‘moo.'”
Season 8: 'The One With the Rumor' (Nov. 1, 2001)
Bully kids in high school, and hate clubs will be formed in your honor. When Will Colbert (guest star Brad Pitt) shows up for Thanksgiving, he reminisces about his favorite high school extracurricular activity: acting as president of the “I Hate Rachel Green” Club. Membership was low, but rumors spread by the club were pretty damaging. The lesson? Don’t pick on the dork; he might grow up to look like Brad Pitt. (Okay, probably not. But he also might tell everyone at school you’re a hermaphrodite.)
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Brad Pitt, smokin’ hot! Also, Monica suggests skipping turkey because she hates all the leftovers. Who hates Thanksgiving leftovers?! That’s like hating Christmas morning or the house that gives king-size candy bars at Halloween! Joey shares our sentiment, and demands Monica cook a 19-pound turkey, which he agrees to finish himself.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Will Colbert: “Look at her standing there with those yams. My two greatest enemies, Ross: Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates.”
Season 9: 'The One With Rachel's Other Sister' (Nov. 22, 2002)
Amy Green (Christina Applegate, who won an Emmy for her guest spot here) shows up. She isn’t sure if Phoebe is a name or a funny sound. She notes that Joey is much less attractive in real life than he was on Days of Our Lives. She calls Emma, her own niece, Emmet. Yep, Rachel’s sister is your typical nightmare-from-hell relative: She visits unannounced, asks to borrow something, and then ends up crashing for days.
WHAT’S COOKIN’: Dinner is served on Monica’s beloved “fancy plates” — which are usually off limits, as Monica would rather gaze lovingly at them than use them for something practical, like, say, food. Much to her chagrin, the plates are used without her approval. And although Amy is the boorish one through most of the episode, it’s Chandler who accidentally breaks all of Monica’s china. Her expression makes us wonder what she loves more, her husband or the china.
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Phoebe: “Yeah, we thought it might be nice to use the fancy china for dessert too.” / Monica: “Oh, how nice. Maybe later we can all go blow our noses on my wedding dress!”
Season 10: 'The One With the Late Thanksgiving' (Nov. 20, 2003)
Monica hustles around all day to cook the perfect meal, which is inevitably ruined (a recurring theme in these holiday episodes). This year’s Thanksgiving hijinks and hilarity: Joey gets his head lodged in the door, extracts it, and in the process knocks over the entire feast.
WHAT’S COOKIN’: For Joey, a plan to deal with an expanding waistline from eating too much turkey: Borrow Rachel’s maternity pants!
MEMORABLE QUOTE: Rachel: “Happy Thanksgiving!” / Phoebe: “Oh yeah! Happy needless-turkey-murder day.”