Friends Central

"The One With The Late Thanksgiving" is the eighth episode of tenth season of Friends, which aired on November 20, 2003. It is the last Thanksgiving episode of the series.


Monica and Chandler tell the group that they do not want to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, but when Phoebe claims that the previous year's Thanksgiving hadn't been all that good, and suggests that Monica could compete with herself to make this year's dinner even better, Monica can't resist the challenge and agrees to make a Thanksgiving dinner for the group. Chandler sees Monica making the whole dinner and wants to help, but he doesn't want to make anything too high-profile, so Monica has him make the cranberry sauce.

Phoebe wants to enter Emma in a Tri-State baby beauty contest; Rachel is initially against the idea, but changes her mind quickly when she hears that first prize is $1,000, which they end up winning. Ross meanwhile gets three prime tickets for the New York Rangers, but Chandler told them not to go as they would be late for Monica's dinner. Ross and Joey agree that they won't go, but they go to the game anyway.

Phoebe, Rachel, Ross, and Joey all come back 45 minutes late for dinner. Monica and Chandler are furious that no one turned up on time for the meal they didn't even want to cook in the first place, so they lock everybody out. Not knowing this, the group attempts to make up the excuse that they got the time mixed up, but Monica and Chandler slip them a note saying they know they're out there.

Eventually, the four peek their heads in through the chain on the door in an attempt to apologize, and the two nearly relent, but retract their stance once they discover that Rachel and Phoebe forgot to buy the dessert pies. Rachel and Phoebe had misheard her request while Ross and Joey criticize the two for this. However Chandler states they are no better because they went to the game without him. Eventually the four decide to go home and celebrate Thanksgiving day away but Joey's head soon gets stuck in the crack, prompting the other three to put items down his pants. Monica answers a phone call while Chandler pulls on the door to free Joey. However, Chandler and the others exert so much force that the chain breaks, causing Joey to crash into part of the Thanksgiving dinner (including the cranberry sauce), making a giant mess. Chandler expects Monica to be furious over the mess, but Monica doesn't care because the phone call she just answered was from the adoption agency and she just found out that she and Chandler have been selected by a girl from Ohio to adopt her baby. The fight is instantly forgotten, and the six friends sit down for their late Thanksgiving meal and celebrate the wonderful news.

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

Cali Sheldon - Emma Geller-Greene
Noelle Sheldon - Emma Geller-Greene


Directed By:
Gary Halvorson

Written By:
Shana Goldberg-Meehan



  • This is the last Thanksgiving episode in the series.
  • In a blooper for the episode, when Ross asks Chandler "guess what Joey's got" Matt LeBlanc answered "gonorrhoea". This is a callback to the first Thanksgiving episode with Joey's VD posters.
  • In "The One With The Rumor" (S8E9), when Rachel is pregnant, Monica says that next year there would be one more person with them on Thanksgiving. In this episode, Chandler says the same line. 
  • Running gag: Chandler makes a big deal of him making the cranberry sauce.
  • Before the baby pageant begins, Rachel wears the same black and white top she wears in The Last One, Part 2, when Ross tells her he loves her at the airport.
  • Monica and Chandler find out they are getting a baby.
  • The Magna-doodle has an image of a little dog and a girl with the words "Lil dog and Sara" underneath.  It's not clear what this refers to.
  • In the commentary for the episode, Marta Kauffman explains that Jennifer in particular was very much against the idea that Rachel would put her daughter through a beauty pageant.
  • The name heard over the tannoy at the pageant was the name of Marta's real-life nanny.
  • The external shot of the building where the pageant is held is The Plaza.
  • The scenes in the hallway with Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey were shot in one continuous take. This meant they had to learn 20 pages straight rather than the usual four and then take a break while another scene was shot. On the other hand, there was often a hour between takes for Monica and Chandler.
  • Chandler refers to American writer Ernest Hemingway when he says "Hemingway Bing". Among his best known works are 'A Farewell To Arms" (1929) and "For Whom The Bell Tolls" (1940).
  • When Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey are doing the 'floating heads', the actors are very uncomfortable so they did the scene in one take. David Schwimmer had to stand on a box to get the height.
  • The tools referred to are those which Chandler used to open the secret closet. .


  • Rachel tries to open Monica and Chandler's locked door with her old key, which she says she's had since she moved out. However, in The One On The Last Night, when Rachel is moving out, she returns her key to Monica. And, even if she hadn't, in The One Where Rachel Tells..., Joey and Phoebe have Treeger break down the door, which leads to him changing the lock, so Rachel's old key wouldn't have worked, unless Monica and Chandler somehow changed the lock back to their previous lock. Although, at The Last One, Part 2, it is revealed that all the friends had keys to the apartment.
  • When Rachel and Phoebe are talking in the Baby Beauty Contest and Rachel is holding Emma, Emma's head instantly changes position between shots several times, often going through 180 degrees. Clearly they couldn't get her to do the scene in one take and therefore the editing suffers. This was also because the only way they could keep Emma happy was by keeping her fed with snacks. In certain shots she's seen to be trying to reach behind Jennifer for the food.
  • The food/sauce stain Joey gets on his shirt (after running into the cart) changes between shots.
  • When Monica says "cranberry sauce" the position of her arms change between shots.
  • When Joey sees all the food, and Chandler says "The cranberries", in the first shot, Monica's arms are loose, in the next shot, her elbows are on the table, when she says "A monkey could've made them."
  • A shot of a New York street at night is shown, however in the next shot you can clearly see it's still light outside the windows.
  • There is a street overview right after the hall scene where the Twin Towers are visible. Given that the older seasons prominently showed the Towers, the fact that 9/11 did occur in the Friends universe and that this episode takes place in 2003, it shouldn't be there. However this is stock footage rather than updated film.
  • Monica says that she won a pie eating contesting by eating 12 pies and a part of one tin in two minutes. This would average at around 9.8 seconds per pie.
  • Ross and Joey attend a New York Rangers game however the NHL does not schedule games on Thanksgiving day.
  • When Joey and the gang pop their heads through the door, you can count 13 links on the security chain, later when Joey gets his head stuck in the door, you can count 12 links.
  • Joey's head gets stuck in the door, but after Ross says "Really, girls, not cool." you can see that there is enough room for him to remove his head.
  • When Rachel says the line, "I'm so happy for you." to Monica and Chandler, her lips move to say the line before the line is even finished being said. Then when she says "So happy for you", her mouth is shut closed.
  • When Rachel returns to the apartment to get the food from the oven, she takes the baby monitor with her and presumably leaves it on the table. The monitor is never seen again despite Emma being left alone in an empty apartment behind two closed doors.

Episode Navigation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Preceded by
"The One With The Home Study"
Series Ten Episodes Followed by
"The One With The Birth Mother"