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17 Tiny Details To Look For During Your Annual Friends Thanksgiving Marathon

Refinery29 logo Refinery29 11/26/2020 Rachel Paige
David Schwimmer et al. sitting at a table © Provided by Refinery29

Your Thanksgiving traditions more than likely include turkey, cranberries, stuffing, maybe a casserole or two, and watching all 10 Friends Thanksgiving episodes. While you may choose, say, a Brooklyn Nine-Nine marathon for Halloween, Friends has owned Thanksgiving as its annual end all, be all extravaganza for three decades now. Those Friends Turkey Day episodes also happen to be some of the most iconic episodes from the series. We laugh, we happy-cry — I mean, in season 10’s Thanksgiving episode, Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) learn they get to adopt a baby, for crying out loud.

But whether you’ve only watched all the episodes once through or many (many, many) times over the years, Thanksgiving is always a good reason to sit down and watch all 10 of them again. And who knows, you might spot something new in this rewatch, like, for example, one of these more subtle details…

Season 1, Episode 9, “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”

Monica’s Apartment Looks A Bit Different

Sure, all TV show sets go through updates throughout the seasons, but it should be noted that in the beginning, Monica’s apartment included a few extra support beams in her kitchen. They’re jarring to see when you hop, and when Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) walks into the apartment at the 7:45 mark, the beam is just right there in our faces, and it’s even got a plant on it.

Chandler’s Has One Of His Classically Underrated Quotes This Episode

When Joey’s (Matt LeBlanc) talking about how he wants a job modeling for the health department and hears that they’re looking for someone to be the face of lyme disease, Chandler quips, “Good luck, man. I hope you get it.” 

Season 3, Episode 9, “The One With the Football”

The Hidden Meaning Of Phoebe’s “That Girl” T-Shirt

“The One With the Football” from Season 3 is all about the iconic football game out in the park, which has the Friends dress in their best sporty outfits. For Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), that means she’s wearing a t-shirt that says “THAT GIRL.” It’s actually a reference to a TV show that ran in the late 1960s called That Girl, in which Marlo Thomas starred. Thomas, if you recall, just so happens to play Sandra Green, Rachel’s mom. You can spy it at around the 4:30 mark here:

Replay Video

And There’s Yet Another Underrated Chandler Quote

After everyone learns that Ross and Monica were banned from playing football by their mom, and the group decides to head to the park to attempt a game, Chandler jokes, “How are we going to get there? Because my mom won’t let me cross the street.”

This Episode Has An Alternate Ending

The episode airs with Monica and Ross (David Schwimmer) still out in the park, fighting over the football. However, there’s an alternate ending scene that shows things going a little bit differently for the siblings. In this other version, Monica decides that it’s time to, once and for all, get rid of the trophy and drops it down the trash chute in the building. But come on, Monica’s not going to give up that easy. She has Phoebe standing down at the bottom ready to catch it — only Ross has the exact same idea.

Season 4, Episode 8, “The One with Chandler in a Box”

Chandler’s Magna Doodle Apology

There has long been a Magna Doodle on the door of the apartment across the hall from Monica’s, and in “The One with Chandler in a Box” it belongs to Joey and Chandler. Sometimes it has funny jokes on it, or random drawings, but not often does it actually relate back to the episode’s plot. In this case, it does, as Chandler has written “I’m sorry” on it, dozens of times — just one of many ways he’s tried to apologize to Joey for kissing his girlfriend. 

The Thanksgiving Potato 

When Joey heads to Central Perk to look for Chandler in “The One with Chandler in a Box,” he first talks to Gunther. On the counter, instead of there being a display full of muffins, bagels, and other pastries, there’s just a potato. Like, one lone potato. Nothing more. It starts at the 7:40 mark, and stays through the whole scene, so it’s doubtful that it’s a one-off mistake. Someone really left a potato there for every take. 

The Other Other Side Of Monica’s Apartment

Michael Vartan guest stars in this episode as Richard’s (Tom Selleck) son, and you might be so busy swooning over him that you miss the fact that the backside of Monica’s apartment is accidentally revealed, along with some studio lights. Right after Timothy and Monica kiss out on the balcony, if you take a peek through the windows inside you can clearly see where the Friends stage ends and the studio space begins, along with two giant overhead lights for filming.

Season 5, Episode 8, “The One With All the Thanksgivings”

The New Episode Title

Season 5’s Thanksgiving episode is called, “The One With All the Thanksgivings.” However, on HBO Max, it is now called, “The One with the Thanksgiving Flashbacks.” Nice try, but only one title will live on in our hearts. 

Gladys Makes An Appearance 

During the 1992 flashback to Monica’s apartment in “The One with all the Thanksgivings,” Gladys shows up. You know Gladys — Phoebe’s terrifying painting that she tries to give to Rachel in Season 10. But, here she is in season 5, hanging on the wall in Monica’s apartment when Phoebe lived there. You can catch her staring at the 5-minute mark, but she’s dressed in red, not blue. Glad to know she really has been haunting everyone for years. 

Season 6, Episode 9, “The One Where Ross Got High”

Ross Both Loves, And Hates, His Trifle

The big pay-off joke at the end of the episode is that Rachel has accidentally put beef into her “Traditional English Trifle” trifle, and then politely forces everyone to eat it. While everyone sucks it up and takes a bite, it appears that Ross eats it, and also doesn’t eat it, at the same time. If you look closely at his plate in-between different shots, you’ll see that at first he has too much, and then none, and then some trifle on his plate, a clear continuity error. At least he enjoyed some of it?

A Peek Off-Set

No one should be surprised to hear that Friends filmed on a studio sound stage, and every now and then we got a look at the backstage portion we’re not supposed to see. In “The One Where Ross Got High,” you can actually see a vacant area where Rachel’s bedroom is supposed to be. At the 20-minute mark when everyone starts yelling, when Ross’ dad starts talking about the porch swing, behind him is clearly the rest of the studio space, complete with staging markers on the ground. 

Season 7, Episode 8, “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”

Phoebe Actually Laughs at Ross 

It’s not every day that Ross makes a joke that’s good, and it’s not every episode that we see one of the six main cast members actually break. But, both of these things happen in “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs.” Chandler goes on to list a bunch of silly reasons as to why he doesn’t like dogs, with Ross interjecting, to fake scream, “she just ate a treat out of my hands!” Phoebe, who happens to be holding the dog, fades away for a moment as actress Lisa Kudrow can’t help but laugh and buries her head in the dog’s fur at the 8:30 to hide her giggling. 

Season 8, Episode 9, “The One With the Rumor”

Another Magna Doodle Tribute

Season 8’s “The One With the Rumor” features a drawing of a globe with “One New York” written at the bottom. Without a doubt this is a tribute to 9/11, as Season 8 started in Fall 2001. 

Season 9, Episode 8, “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”

Ross’ Kitchen Needs a Little Work

It’s not often that we see Ross’ kitchen, and maybe there’s a reason for that? As in like, it’s not completely finished — or at least it appears that way in this episode. While Rachel and Ross are talking about inviting her sister to dinner, they head into the kitchen to talk. If you look at the wall space behind Ross, it’s clear that the walls don’t exactly meet together and the the set pieces needed to be shoved a bit more to close the gap. Whoops.

Color Coordination At Play

Usually everyone is dressed in their own style and color choices, but for Season 9’s “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister,” everyone is color coordinated to their counterpart — Rachel and Ross are both in Earth tones, Monica and Chandler are in dark blue and black, and Joey and Phoebe are in red. This might be to simply draw more attention to outsider and guest star Christina Applegate, who is all in black. 

Season 10, Episode 9, “The One With The Late Thanksgiving”

Emma’s Hungry for Food, Too

Rachel and Phoebe decide to enter Emma in a baby beauty pageant, and clearly Emma has other things on her mind — like food. While Rachel and Phoebe are talking, Emma is snacking on something. She’s literally eating the whole time. And if you watch her movements closely, you can see that she’s reaching for something just behind Rachel, which is more than likely someone feeding her snacks to keep her happy during this scene. Is it the woman in pink? Unclear, but hey, at least Emma is happy!

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