Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the Friends episodes involving the holiday. They’re so special that TV marathons have even been dedicated to them.
As beloved as these episodes remain, there’s something we need to talk about: how Ross ruined pretty much every Thanksgiving. Seriously, he was the worst.
As much as I rooted for Ross and Rachel and enjoyed the eldest Geller a lot of the time, sometimes Ross was just plain awful — especially during the holidays. More often than not, he could be selfish, self-absorbed, whiny and paranoid, to name a few of the negative characteristics he usually displayed on Thanksgiving.
Really, if Ross could’ve actually behaved like a civilized, respectful adult, Friends’ Thanksgivings might have been enjoyable. Granted, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey contributed to the holiday’s usual disasters, but somehow Ross was the most annoying. He just couldn’t leave well enough alone and always ruined Thanksgiving — and here’s how.
Season 1: “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”
In Season 1, Monica decides to host Thanksgiving, since her parents are going on a trip. Rather than saying, “Thank you, Monica, you are the best sister ever,” all Ross does is whine because he just has to have lumpy mashed potatoes, in addition to the two other kinds Monica has to make as well.
Then, when Monica tries her hardest to give him what he wants, he only complains. While she’s busy in the kitchen making dinner for everyone else, Ross says, “It’s just not the same without Mom in the kitchen.” To make matters worse, after they get locked out of the apartment (while they’re on the roof looking at the Underdog balloon, of course) and the food burns, Ross has the nerve to say, “This doesn’t smell like Mom’s.”
That’s not the only part of the episode where Ross is super irritating. After learning that Susan has been reading to his and Carol’s unborn child, Ross can’t let her steal the show, so he makes poor Carol sit for hours while he tells his life story to their son. Seriously, Ross? You don’t think Carol has better things to do — on Thanksgiving?
Season 2: “The One with the List”
Even though Thanksgiving wasn’t technically celebrated in this episode, it’s still considered the Thanksgiving episode of Season 2 — and yes, Ross is 100 times worse in it compared to Season 1.
After he and Rachel kiss for the first time, he has to decide if he wants to pursue a relationship with Rachel or keep dating Julie. Well, Joey and Chandler suggest he make a pro/con list for “what’s wrong” with each woman and then he can go from there. Idiots.
So, what does he have to say about Rachel? Not only does he call her “spoiled,” “kind of ditzy” and “too into her looks,” but he says she is “just a waitress.” Ross, why are you the way that you are?
Season 3: “The One with the Football”
It’s not Thanksgiving without football, which is what leads to the gang playing the sport in order to win the infamous Geller Cup. Ross and Monica have always been competitive, but Ross makes it all so much worse.
First of all, he doesn’t even pick Rachel, his girlfriend, for his team. Of course, he doesn’t have to pick her just because she’s his girlfriend — but come on, the game doesn’t even mean anything! He also ends up with Rachel on his team by default, because she is last to be chosen. Rachel could’ve easily complained about having to play football, but she actually wants to participate and do something Ross likes to do. The least he could do is have fun with her, rather than being so serious.
Oh, and Ross also ends up trading Rachel for Joey, because he’s always been boyfriend of the year, right?
Season 4: “The One with Chandler in a Box”
In this episode, they choose Secret Santas and Ross wants to trade Monica for Rachel, but he soon learns that the year before, when they were dating, Rachel exchanged the necklace he got her for something different. What did she get in return? “Credit.”
Ross is furious, of course, and won’t let it go. He’s so mad he has the nerve to say to Rachel, “I’m not completely devoid of sentiment. I have feelings.” Whoa, Ross, calm down. Yes, maybe Rachel is too picky when it comes to gifts and shouldn’t return them, but that’s crossing the line.
Like the badass she is, Rachel throws Ross’ comments back in his face by showing him all of the little things she saved from when they dated that meant something to her.
Season 5: “The One with All the Thanksgivings”
At the beginning of the episode, Ross basically declares that he’s having the worst Thanksgiving ever by saying he’s not sure if he should be more thankful for his second divorce or his eviction. *rolls eyes*
This pushes everyone to start discussing their worst Thanksgivings. In one flashback, Ross brings Chandler home, and Chandler is beyond rude to Monica. He even calls her fat. But Ross barely defends his sister, making him the worst brother ever.
Then, in a second flashback, Monica tries to show off her weight loss, which she is super proud of, but rather than focusing on that, her mom just has to make Ross the center of attention. He starts bragging about his new girlfriend, Carol, and can’t help but rub it in Monica’s face. Well, we all know how that turns out.
Season 6: “The One Where Ross Got High”
In what is probably the best Thanksgiving Friends episode, Ross is, once again, the most terrible human being ever. Monica and Chandler haven’t told Jack and Judy Geller that they’re living together, because, well, they don’t seem to like Chandler very much. They soon learn it’s all Ross’ fault because he told his parents that Chandler smoked pot in college, when in fact it was really Ross.
All Monica and Chandler want Ross to do is tell the truth, but when does he ever do that? He avoids it like the plague and ends up acting like a complete pain in the ass. He won’t even step up and defend his best friend, Chandler, who is trying really hard to get Jack and Judy to like him. Then, Ross is the one who ends up spilling the beans to his parents about Monica and Chandler’s living arrangements. Ross, you are the worst friend ever.
Moving on. Ross also has zero consideration for Monica’s Thanksgiving because all he wants to do is leave so he and Joey can hang out with Joey’s roommate, Janine, and all of her “hot dancer friends.” Oh, and how about Ross not telling Rachel she made a mistake with the trifle? The only reason he doesn’t tell her (and gets everyone else to lie too) isn’t to spare her feelings — it’s so she won’t start over. If she starts from scratch, then Ross would have to stay even longer and would never get to see Janine and her “hot dancer friends.”
Season 7: “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”
It’s pretty bad that Chandler doesn’t like dogs, but it’s more painful to watch Ross whine about Chandler’s United States game. Throughout the entire episode, Ross isn’t allowed to eat Thanksgiving dinner until he can name all 50 states. Well, he can’t, which makes him whine even more.
But before he realizes he can’t name every state, he acts like he knows it all. He also makes a grand speech in front of his friends and declares, “You know, I hate to lecture you guys, but it’s kind of disgraceful that a group of well-educated adults — and Joey — can’t name all the states. Have you ever seen a map or one of those round colorful things called a globe?” Ross, have you?
Season 8: “The One with the Rumor”
This is when Rachel learns that Will (played by Brad Pitt) and Ross had an I Hate Rachel Green club in high school. They even started the horrible rumor that she was a hermaphrodite. Wow, Ross, that’s something you should be really proud to share with your son and daughter. He apologizes for it and tries to make Rachel’s Thanksgiving less awful than it already is, but it doesn’t make the situation any better.
Season 9: “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister”
Believe it or not, but Ross actually isn’t that bad in this episode — and he has Rachel’s sister, Amy, to thank.
Season 10: “The One with the Late Thanksgiving”
This is the Thanksgiving Monica didn’t want to host in the first place, but everybody else talks her into it. Minus Chandler, they all show up late. Ross and Joey go to the New York Rangers game knowing very well they’ll be late. They even try to concoct a story, like being mugged, so Monica doesn’t get mad. Really, Ross? He always knew how to support his sister the right way.
As for why Rachel and Phoebe arrive late, they’re busy at the pageant they entered Emma in, which angers Ross. He can’t believe they would treat Emma like some kind of “show dog.” Oh, but as soon as he learns she got first and won $1,000, he’s totally on board. He can’t even stick to his principles and ends up only caring about the money in the end.
That’s Ross at Thanksgiving in a nutshell. If you need something to be thankful for this year, be thankful that Ross isn’t at your Thanksgiving.