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"The One With All The Thanksgivings" (also known as "The One With The Thanksgiving Flashbacks") is the eighth episode of the fifth season of Friends, which aired on November 19, 1998. The plot sees the main characters recalling Thanksgivings from when they were younger.


Ross's complaint that his divorce and eviction means he is having the worst Thanksgiving ever prompts the others to tell their stories of bad holidays that they had gone by before. Chandler reminds everyone of the Thanksgiving where his parents told him they were getting a divorce. Phoebe then tells of a worse one from a past life where she lost an arm, though Ross disqualifies her story, limiting the tales to true lives. Rachel says she knows Monica's worst Thanksgiving, but Phoebe interrupts with a story about the Thanksgiving when Joey got a turkey stuck on his head. Joey intended to freak Chandler out with the turkey, so Phoebe, and later Monica, after she comes home, attempt to pull the turkey out. This results in Chandler being scared when he returns. Monica then tells the group what she thinks is her worst Thanksgiving. In 1987, Rachel, who has a big nose, comes over, upset about Chip Matthews dumping her for Nancy Branson. Ross brings Chandler home from college for Thanksgiving (with Ross having his Afro and Mustache and Chandler with a "Flock Of Seagulls" Hair Style). Rachel tells Monica, who is overweight, that she is through dating high school boys and wants to date men. Ross overhears this and tells Chandler that he is thinking of asking Rachel out and tells Chandler his plan. But, hearing it might be all night and Ross offers to let him stay at his house, Chandler blurts out that he doesn't want to be around his 'fat' sister, which was overheard by Monica. Disgusted that he actually meant that, Monica stops overeating.

5x08 Knife

Monica accidentally drops the kitchen knife on Chandler's foot.

Joey turkey head

Monica's Turkey Head Freaks Joey Out!

Back in the present, Chandler apologies to Monica for insulting her. Rachel reveals that story is not the story she was referring to. The flashbacks continue to 1988; Ross and Chandler (this time dressed like members of Miami Vice) arrive for dinner to find Monica has slimmed down, and Chandler now finds her attractive. Monica tells Rachel that she wants to humiliate Chandler for calling her fat, so Rachel suggests tricking him into taking off his clothes. Based on Rachel's suggestion that she act like everything around her turns her on, Monica tries to seduce Chandler by rubbing various objects, including a knife, against herself. She accidentally drops the knife and severs his toe, due to the fact Chandler's shoes are very weak. He is rushed to hospital to have it reattached but, in the commotion, Monica unknowingly mixed up the digit with a small piece of carrot. In the present, Chandler becomes upset after learning that he had lost his toe because he called Monica fat, and angrily leaves. When Monica comes by his apartment seeking his forgiveness by putting a turkey on her head, puts a fez hat and large glasses on it, and dances for him, making him inadvertently tell her he loves her for the first time in their relationship. And the turkey on Monica's head freaks Joey out. A tag scene shows another of Phoebe's past life memories as she serves in a World War I field hospital in 1915, and again loses her arm.

Cast and Crew[]

Main Cast[]

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast[]

Morgan FairchildNora Tyler Bing
Elliott GouldJack Geller
Douglas Looper – Paramedic
Alec Mapa – The Housekeeper
Christina PicklesJudy Geller
Joshua Preston – Young Chandler
Michael Winters – The Doctor


Directed By:
Kevin S. Bright

Written By:
Greg Malins


Entertainment Weekly rates the episode "B+", calling the "pre-nose job" Rachel and "Fat Monica" great sight gags and citing Joey's line "It's not so much an underpant as it is a feat of engineering" (in reference to a thong) as the best of the episode. The authors of Friends Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to Friends write "This unusual episode is one of the series' best ever, with the non-stop comedy roller-coaster suddenly throwing a brilliant surprise ending at you".

Debra McGuire was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series, while the mixers were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special. The popularity of this episode saw it included on one of the first region 1 "best of" DVD releases.



  • No. 3 in "UK's 6 Favorite Friends Episodes Countdown"
  • In the first Thanksgiving flashback showing Chandler learning that his parents are divorcing, an unidentified gray haired man plays his father. When his father appears later in the series he's played by Kathleen Turner.
  • In this episode we see that Chandler's toe was severed. This was a play on the fact that Matthew Perry was missing part of his right middle finger.
  • In the flashback where Joey gets the turkey stuck on his head, Joey complains that it smells bad and Phoebe replies "Of course it smells bad; you have your head in a dead animal." In "The One Where Chandler Gets Caught" this flashback is reused, but this time Phoebe's reply is "Of course it smells bad; you have your head up a turkey's ass." Apparently they used another take when selecting the scene.
  • In 1992 Monica says that the turkey on Joey's head is intended to feed 20 people at her parents' house. This maintains the continuity in "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" (S01E09), which establishes that that episode in 1994 was Monica's first Thanksgiving as the cook/host.
  • Matthew Perry actually grew a goatee for the scene when Joey scared him with the turkey.
  • In the 1987 flashback, Monica is seen wearing a sweater which looks visually similar to the scarf the 4th Doctor wore on Doctor Who in 1980-81. The events in this flashback show Chandler meeting Monica and Rachel for the first time. This obviously is before the events shown in the prom video as Rachel is still dating Chip at this time.
  • When Monica sits down on the sofa, Chandler bounces up in the air. This wasn't in the original script and was suggested by Matthew Perry.
  • Chandler says he rushed the stage at a Wham concert. He already mentioned that band in "The One With All The Haste".
  • The flashback to 1988 shows Rachel with her new nose, Monica drastically having lost weight and Ross telling his parents about his new girlfriend, Carol, who would be his first wife. The joke about Carol playing lacrosse and golf and "for both teams" is a reference to her lesbianism which would emerge during her marriage to Ross.
  • Chandler suggests to Monica she could become a chef. Years later she would achieve this goal and later marry Chandler. Rachel and Ross would also marry each other years later (twice: at the end of this season and again after the series finale).
  • Douglas Looper, who played the paramedic, reappears as various extras throughout the show, including "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry" as the vampire in Ursula's porno movie and the husband of the wheelchair-bound woman who has very mild contractions in "The One Where Rachel Has A Baby, Part 1".
  • After severing his toe, people called Chandler "Sir Limps-a-Lot" for a year. This is a reference to Sir Mix-a-Lot, whose most famous song "Baby Got Back" will be at the center of a major storyline in "The One With Ross' Inappropriate Song" (S9E7).
  • The way in which Chandler talks to the duck "oh I'm a duck, quack quack, quack" is in the same tone as Tommy, Rachel's date who the gang saw yell at the duck in "The One With The Screamer". The actual line used is very similar too.
  • The flock of seagulls haircut worn by Chandler is seen again in "The One Where The Stripper Cries" in a flashback to when Rachel and Monica visit Ross and Chandler at college.
  • The magna doodle has a heart and wings emblem with the number 327 inside and the word bye underneath. It's not clear what this refers to.
  • Monica refers to Rachel's virginity as her flower. Monica refers to her own virginity this way in "The One That Could Have Been, Part 1".
  • Phoebe's flashbacks coincidentally coincide with two actual battles occurring during the Civil War and World War I respectively.
    • While there was no battle that occurred on the Thanksgiving of 1862 (November 27th), the Battle of Cane Hill took place the following day in Washington County, Arkansas.
    • On November 25th, the Thanksgiving of 1915, the Battle of Ctesiphon was fought in present-day Iraq.
  • Containing Phoebe's Civil War Thanksgiving flashback, this is the only episode of the show to feature a brief scene set before the 20th century.
  • This is the first Thanksgiving episode of the show to feature Jack and Judy Geller celebrating Thanksgiving with their children, despite being shown in the flashbacks. The next season's Thanksgiving episode is the first and only one to feature the complete Geller family celebrating the traditional holiday together in the present timeline, this time with all members of their children's gang joining them.


  • When Monica drops the knife that severs Chandler's toe, the camera angle changes to look up and someone's shadow moves across the ceiling.
  • In the opening scene when Phoebe is trying to turn on the TV, the TV remote is laying on the table at an angle. When the shot changes it is laying straight, and then it is at an angle again. Then it was straight again, then back at an angle.
  • There is a huge space next to Phoebe in front of Rachel's room visible in some shots, which is clearly to give space for the cameras when shots are needed from that angle.
  • When Monica accidentally throws the knife in the air, you can see as it is flying through the air it has no tip on it, but when we see it heading for Chandler's toe, it has a point.
  • At the end of the episode where Monica is dancing with the turkey on her head, she places the fez on the top of the turkey and the glasses over the turkey's arms. When the camera angle changes, the fez jumps to a pinned-on position tilted back and the glasses are under the arms.
  • The opening scene is immediately after Thanksgiving dinner is over. There is no explanation given for why Monica has another uncooked thawed turkey available to put on her head at the end of the episode. (Presumably it could be, like the huge turkey on Joey's head, intended for a later dinner with her parents.)
  • When Chandler is in the hospital, the doctor's gloves keep disappearing and reappearing.
  • Monica clearly hates the three-dimensional portrait of Gladys in "The One With Ross' Grant"; however, the portrait of Gladys can be seen in Monica's apartment. Also, Monica also asks who's Gladys in the Season 10 episode, when having it hung at her place somewhat implies that she should have known who she is. It could also be true that she did not know that the portrait was called 'Gladys'. Secondly it can be seen that Gladys is red but in the later episode she's blue. 
  • There is a bug flying around Chandler's head shortly after he says he loves Monica.
  • During the kitchen scene in 1988, the position of the glass bowl in front of Monica moves a few inches to the right between the first scene of Monica scraping carrots and Rachel leaving the kitchen even though she never touches it.
  • Even though several minutes pass, the clock remains at five past eight from the moment when Monica first enters the kitchen to when Chandler enters.
  • When Chandler says "Nothing, I said you're so great and then I just stopped talking" there is a feather that slowly drops behind him.
  • Actor Joshua Preston[young Chandler] has brown eyes but Matthew Perry had/has blue.

Continuity Errors[]

The dates of the flashbacks in this episode create many continuity errors that do not correspond to the rest of the series.

  • The flashback in 1992 shows that Joey was already in the group; however, the Season 3 flashback episode "The One With The Flashback" takes place in 1996 and flashes back three years to 1993, and shows how Joey first met the group.
  • The flashback where Joey gets the turkey stuck on his head, you can see the white-and-black tiled bathroom floor. The floor should be all white since Joey didn't put in the new tiling until "The One With Frank Jr."
  • The Thanksgiving 1988 flashback sees Ross talking about his new girlfriend Carol, whom he later marries. However in "The Pilot," which took place in 1994, Ross and Carol divorce after a seven year marriage, which would mean they would have married in 1987.
    • Ross could have been thinking of their entire relationship when he mentioned the seven years and just referred to that as the length of their marriage, or like Rachel, they were friends before dating. In "The One With All The Haste", he told Emily they'd dated for 4 years before getting married.
  • In this episode we see Chandler as a child finding out his parents are getting a divorce. On his plate is some turkey and vegetables and all the other thanksgiving food, but in "The One Where Underdog Gets Away", we learned that Chandler was eating dessert and had a bite of pumpkin pie in his mouth when his parents told him they were getting divorced. However, the flashback takes place just after he was told about the divorce, so he may not have still been eating the pie at this point; although this still doesn't explain why the house boy offered him more turkey if he had just finished dessert.
  • The closet door has the handle on the right but this didn't switch to this side until Season Three.


External links[]

Episode Navigation[]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Preceded by
"The One Where Ross Moves In"
"The One With All The Thanksgivings Followed by
"The One With Ross' Sandwich"