Every season of Friends features some kind of Thanksgiving episode, where our six favorite peeps barricade themselves in Monica’s apartment, eat turkey, and say weird things to each other. (It’s quite a respite from the non-Thanksgiving episodes of Friends, where the characters barricade themselves in Central Perk and say weird things to each other.) Some of the funniest scenes in Friends’ history happen during these episodes, from Monica’s dancing turkey moment to baby Emma’s bizarre beauty pageant. At first watch, they’re warm and fuzzy episodes, stuffed with a kind of cranberry sauce sweetness. But further inspection reveals something very annoying: Literally everyone except Monica sucks. Yup, I said it.
Granted, this is just isolated to the Thanksgiving episodes. Phoebe, Joey, Rachel, and Chandler are flippin’ hoots during the other 364 days of the year. (And, no, I didn’t forget Ross. ☕ ) However, Monica is the only non-garbage character on Turkey Day. An obvious reason why is that she cooks a full meal every year for her ungrateful friends; however, it goes further than that. Each Thanksgiving episode features at least one of the friends acting ridiculous, and Monica cleans up the mess—both metaphorically and literally. She is, without a doubt, the saving grace of Thanksgiving. Allow me to explain…
Season One: “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”
Ross, Phoebe, and Joey have the audacity to ask Monica to make three different types of potatoes for dinner, and—like a saint—Monica agrees. But when Monica airs her totally justifiable complaints about feeling overwhelmed, they respond by mocking her. To top it all off, Monica’s food gets ruined after Rachel—yes, Rachel—accidentally locks them out of the apartment. But instead of acting sad, the friends make flippant remarks about how they didn’t really want to be at Monica’s dinner, anyway. Then why did she spend all day slaving in the kitchen, you jerks?! Seriously, FOH.
Season Two: “The One With the List”
Monica is hired as a chef for the chocolate substitute brand, Mockolate, and her boss asks her to create Thanksgiving-themed desserts with the product. She whips up three different dishes—including “mockolate chip cookies”—and asks Phoebe and Rachel to try them. Of course, Phoebe and Rachel show no gratitude. Instead, they tear Monica’s recipes to shreds. We get it: Mockolate sucks—but y’all couldn’t muster up any sincerity? Goodbye.
Season Three: “The One With the Football”
Ross chooses to thank Monica for cooking him Thanksgiving dinner for the third year in a row by taunting her during their game of touch football. No need to say to, “Thank you,” Ross. “Cheater, cheater—compulsive eater” is fine.
Season Four: “The One With Chandler in a Box”
Even after stabbing herself in the eye, Monica still makes a Thanksgiving feast for her friends. And how do they thank half-blind Monica? By shaming her for inviting her ex-boyfriend’s son to dinner—the dinner she cooked, mind you.
Season Five: “The One With All the Thanksgivings”
Rachel decides to tell the whole gang about Monica’s worst Thanksgiving despite Monica begging her not to. (Is your mind fuzzy from the turkey Monica made you, Rachel?) Nothing says, “Happy holidays” like reliving your biggest high school trauma.
Season Six: “The One Where Ross Got High”
Chandler is desperate to please Monica’s parents when they come for Thanksgiving dinner. However, Monica’s parents secretly hate Chandler because they think he smoked pot in their house back in the day. As it turns out, it was Ross who actually got high—he just didn’t want to to tell his parents. Monica tells Ross to come clean, and he refuses, which makes the entire Thanksgiving dinner awkward AF. Ross eventually confesses to his parents, but he makes sure to spill some tea about Monica, too, because he’s the worst.
Season Seven: “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”
Chandler reveals that he hates dogs during this episode—specifically, the dog pictured above. It just doesn’t get more horrifying than that.
Season Eight: “The One With the Rumor”
OK, I lied. No one is trash during season eight’s Thanksgiving. They’re all too blinded by Brad Pitt’s beauty.
Season Nine: “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”
Monica asks her friends to do one thing: not break her plates. And what do they do? Break all of her GD plates. These people don’t deserve her!
Season Ten: “The One With the Late Thanksgiving”
After 10 years, Monica finally gets the courage to tell the crew she isn’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner for them. Of course, this is unacceptable: Phoebe uses reverse psychology to trick Monica into cooking dinner for everyone. But when 4 P.M. rolls around, no one shows up to Monica’s apartment. They’re all almost an hour late to a dinner Monica didn’t even want to make! And the cherry on top? Phoebe and Rachel forget to pick up the chocolate pies, which was the only thing Monica asked them to do for the meal.
Do you see it now? Monsters! Thank God she and Chandler moved to the suburbs. They don’t need these spoiled brats wreaking havoc on another Thanksgiving.