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The One Where Underdog Gets Away

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The One Where Underdog Gets Away
Season 1, episode 9
9th overall episode of Friends
The friends watch Ugly Naked Guy eating his Thanksgiving dinner.
Episode Information

November 17, 1994

Written by

Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss

Directed by

James Burrows

Episode Guide

The One Where Nana Dies Twice


The One With The Monkey


"The One Where Underdog Gets Away" was the ninth episode of the first season of Friends which aired on NBC on November 17, 1994. The six friends' plans for the Thanksgiving holiday all go awry in one way or another.



Joey's VD poster

With their parents away, Monica and Ross decide to have Thanksgiving dinner at Monica's.

Rachel plans to go to Vail to spend Thanksgiving with her family, but, with her waitress' salary, can't raise the money for the plane tickets. However, her friends all chip in and buy her one.

Joey wants to spend Thanksgiving with his family, but a poster featuring him as a man with VD makes them, as well as a number of women, think that Joey is actually infected with the sexual disease. This leads him to opt to have dinner at Monica's.

Chandler is boycotting "all the pilgrim holidays" because they remind him of the time his parents got divorced. He instead plans to stay in and eat what Monica calls a "traditional holiday feast": tomato soup, grilled cheese, and a large bag of Funyuns.

Phoebe is celebrating two Thanksgivings, one in December with her lunar-calendar grandmother and one with Monica on actual Thanksgiving.

While Monica cooks the meal, Ross decides to spend some "talking time" with his baby but finds it difficult to talk to Carol's uterus. When Carol reminds him not to do this to be in competition with Susan, he gets over it and starts recounting the story of his life to the fetus.

Meanwhile, dinner preparations are going great, with Monica preparing everyone personalized versions of their favorite dishes. This includes three types of potatoes: lumpy mashed potatoes, like Ross and Monica's mom Judy makes; mashed potatoes with peas and onions, like Phoebe's mom used to make; and tater tots, a Tribbiani holiday tradition.

Chandler interrupts with news that the Underdog balloon has escaped the parade, hence the episode's title. This puts a hold on the preparations, and everyone rushes to the roof to watch. As they leave Monica shouts to Rachel "Got the keys?" While Monica meant it as a question, Rachel thought it was a statement and, assuming Monica has the keys, leaves them behind.

After the excitement on the roof, everyone returns to the apartment and find that they're locked out of the apartment, which has Monica's Thanksgiving dinner and Rachel's plane tickets inside. Monica and Rachel fight over who should have had the keys. Chandler and Joey happen to have a drawer full of dozens of extra keys, one of which eventually works. By the time they get in, however, everything's burned and Rachel has missed her flight. Ross comes in to smell the burning ruins, just in time to set off a fight between the whole group, with Chandler saying that "now this feels like Thanksgiving."

By now, Thanksgiving is pretty much ruined for everyone, but Phoebe spots Ugly Naked Guy with his Thanksgiving turkey, and a surprise - Ugly Naked Gal. Seeing the ugly naked couple makes everyone realize how their friendship is more important that missed flights, STDs, and ruined dinners.

An alternative meal is prepared: grilled cheese and tomato soup, as donated by Chandler. He notes that through everyone else's misfortune, he actually had a great time as he got to spend it with all his friends, and everyone ends up making a toast - literally - to a "sucky", but nonetheless nice, Thanksgiving.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

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

Supporting Cast

Jane Sibbett - Carol Willick
Max Wright - Terry
Jessica Hecht - Susan Bunch
Lara Harris - Obsession Girl


Directed By:
James Burrows

Written By:
Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss


  • This is the first Thanksgiving episode in the series.
  • Phoebe suggests that Ross put his head in the turkey. In "The One With All The Thanksgivings" (S5E8), to scare Chandler, Joey actually does it.
  • Chandler tells Rachel about the moment his parents told him they were getting divorced, which is shown in "The One With All The Thanksgivings".
  • This is one of the very rare times when Ugly Naked Guy has someone at his apartment (in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" (S5E14), he has Ross over).
  • This is the first appearance of Jane Sibbett as Carol in the series; she replaced Anita Barone who played her in "The One With The Sonogram At The End" (S1E2).
  • Carol's occupation as a teacher is mentioned in this episode.
  • Although it reminds him of his parents' divorce, Thanksgiving becomes one of Chandler's most significant holidays during the course of the series:
    • In "The One With The Football" (S3E9), Chandler revels with joy about being chosen over Joey by a foreign stranger (although his childish celebrations make the girl decide to choose neither of them);
    • In "The One With Chandler In A Box" (S4E8), Chandler starts dating Kathy, with Joey's blessing, after he and Joey have one of their worst fights ever;
    • In "The One With All The Thanksgivings", Chandler accidentally lets it slip to Monica that he loves her;
    • In "The One Where Ross Got High" (S6E9), Chandler bonds with Ross' parents after Ross falsely accuses Chandler of getting high during their college years, when it was actually Ross who got high;
    • In "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" (S7E8), Chandler wins a bet with Ross because the latter can't list the fifty states in six minutes, making him skip Thanksgiving dinner;
    • In "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" (S9E8), Chandler doubts his skills as a father but manages to be a good one to Rachel and Amy who fight at his apartment;
    • In "The One With The Late Thanksgiving" (S10E8), Chandler and Monica receive a phone call telling them that a girl from Ohio has picked them as her baby's parents.
  • The song that plays when Joey's posters are seen is "Don't Stand So Close To Me" (1980) by The Police. The B-side of the single in the UK was a song called "Friends."

Memorable Quotes

  • Chandler: And this is from the Cry for Help Department: Are you wearing make up?
    Joey: Yes I am. As of today, I'm officially Joey Tribbiani, actor slash model.
    Chandler: That's funny. I was thinking you look more like Joey Tribbiani, man slash woman.
  • Monica: Rach, do you still think you are gonna make it to Vail?
    Rachel: Absolutely. Shoop, shoop, shoop. Only $102 to go.
    Chandler: I thought it was $98.50?
    Rachel: Yeah, well, it was, but I, I broke a cup, so...
  • Phoebe: Okay, Ross, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but back off.
  • Chandler: I prefer to keep a safe distance from all this merriment.
  • Monica: Chandler, here you go, got your traditional holiday feast, you got your tomato soup, your grilled cheese fixin's, and your family size bag of Funyuns.
  • Joey: Hey, hey! That tone won't make me go any faster.
    Monica: Joey!
    Joey: That one will.
  • Phoebe: Look, I'm trying to cheer you up, but you have to meet me halfway.
  • Joey: I got one keyhole and a zillion keys. You do the math!
  • Monica: Potatoes are ruined. Potatoes are ruined. Potatoes are ruined.
  • Phoebe: Oh hoo, you get the bigger half! What did you wish for?
    Joey: The bigger half.
  • Chandler: I'm very thankful that all of your Thanksgivings sucked.
    All: That's so sweet. [they touch glasses]
    Ross: And hey, here's to a lousy Christmas.
    Rachel: And a crappy New Year.

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 Nana Dies Twice"
"The One Where Underdog Gets Away" Followed by
"The One With The Monkey"

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