This Thanksgiving was really different, and that’s okay.
To be honest, Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. I have wonderful memories of going to see the Thanksgiving Day parade with my dad and my siblings, and I always love spending time with extended family. But everything else is kind of meh. The food’s not my fave – I was a vegetarian for a long time, and even many of the sides, while delicious, are not my ideals. I also struggle a lot with my relationship with food, which has made the grandiose Thanksgiving meal complicated for me to enjoy ever since childhood.
Our little family of four was just us for Thanksgiving this year. Tamara cooked amazing food and we ate pie and it was lovely. We went for a long hike with the boys in the morning and we (sort of) watched the parade while peeling apples. But do you know what I really wished I could do for Thanksgiving this year?
Lay on the couch All Day Long with a mouthful of pie, watching the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends.
There will never be enough written about the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. I know, from my middle school students, that the show has been making a comeback. But the kids today will never know the anticipation and the bliss of waiting for the evening Thanksgiving episode of Friends to come on. My best friend Christy and I used to call each other during the commercials to discuss what had happened so far and it was amazing. The show aired on Thursday evenings, so it was kismet that their Thanksgiving episodes ended up being some of the highlights of their ten-season-long series.
I thought about ranking the episodes, but that’s been done. Instead, here are my fave episodes, a few favorite lines, and a memory:
My favorites of all the Thanksgiving episodes:
“The One With The Football” – this episode is amazing. For me, it’s sort of Peak Funniness of Friends – from Season 3. The Geller cup is amazing, all of the subplots are hilarious, and I think this episode was probably one I watched at the peak of my obsession with the show.
“The One With The Rumor” – this might be the episode of Friends I quote the most. SO MANY GOOD THANKSGIVING QUOTES. If you ask for the sweet potatoes without saying “YAMS!” in imitation of guest star Brad Pitt, then you’re not really doing Thanksgiving.
“The One With Chandler in a Box” – amazing episode. My all-time favorite line from the show is in this episode. The other characters are giving Monica a hard time for having a crush on her ex-boyfriend’s son, and she delivers the ultimate comeback, pointing at each person as she names one of their problematic romantic decisions: “Judge all you want, 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, lives in a box!”
My favorite lines from the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends, which I repeat as often as possible on the holiday:
“These are my Thanksgiving pants!”
“What‘s not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!”
“Potatoes are ruined, potatoes are ruined, potatoes are ruined!”
“Got the keys?”
“Don’t you put words in people’s mouths, you put turkey in people’s mouths!”
“My two greatest enemies: Rachel Green and complex carbohydrates.”
A sweet Friends episode Thanksgiving moment:
We spent Thanksgiving 2016 in Las Vegas. It was my sister, who was living and teaching out there for a semester; my mom, who flew out with us; and me, Tamara, and four-month-old Edgar.
Edgar was little enough that we actually could watch the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends all day long, so we had it on in the background throughout the day. I think we actually had found some sort of Netflix playlist that played them all in order.
It was after dinner, and Edgar was snuggled on my lap while we all watched the Season 10 Thanksgiving episode, “The One With The Late Thanksgiving.” I had completely forgotten that this episode ended with Monica and Chandler getting a call from the adoption agency, letting them know that they were getting a baby.
It had been a long, hard wait for Baby Edgar, and I was an overtired new mom snuggled with her baby boy – a picture I hadn’t thought was possible a year earlier. I cried tears of joy and hugged Edgar and Tamara and was so incredibly grateful. I also got tweaks, thinking of myself at 19, watching that same episode at my parents’ home in Staten Island, with no freaking idea how much life would changed in the next 13 years.
Oh, Friends – I love you forever.