As soon as the Friends episode The One With the Holiday Armadillo debuted on the night of Dec. 14, 2000, it was an immediate hit. It was the second most-watched program of the night, behind only to ER.
In the main storyline, Ross attempts to introduce his young son, Ben (played by Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse), to Hanukkah, but Ben isn’t interested. Ross caves and decides to rent a Santa suit at the last minute, but the costume shop is all sold out of them. So Ross ends up stuck with the animal costume, which he puts on to surprise his son. It’s especially funny once Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, surprises them both by showing up wearing a Santa suit. It’s pretty funny but also sweet.
Now, Warner Bros. Television is auctioning off a studio-authorized reproduction of the costume and dozens more items from all 10 seasons of Friends, from the studio’s props department. Joey’s bedtime penguin Hugsy, a studio-authorized reproduction of the picture frame on Monica’s door and one of Rachel’s dresses will also go up for sale.
“Ross’s intentions are so sincere and so earnest, and it’s almost heartbreaking when you think about it, how much he wants to bond with his child in this way,” Miller tells Yahoo Entertainment. “And everybody shows up to support him! It’s a group hug kind of a vibe and that is another thing about Friends that has continued to sustain it. It’s one of those things that hits us right in our softest, mushiest feelings.”
Proceeds from the auction, one of the events marking the 25th anniversary of Friends, will benefit the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people. It kicks off on Dec. 3, this year’s Giving Tuesday, and runs through Dec. 17.
The Holiday Armadillo costume alone is expected to bring in $10,000 to $15,000.
And people have paid a lot for Friends props in the past.
One of those gold-rimmed picture frames, from Rachel and Monica’s apartment, that had been photographed for a DVD collection of the NBC show sold for more than $52,000 at a December 2011 auction.
Unlike the frame, the Holiday Armadillo costume appeared on the show just once, but it’s still iconic.
“I think it’s a good episode, because one of the things that Friends did really well was do completely absurd storylines but commit to them so well and pull them off,” Miller explains. “I think about ‘The One With the Embryos,’ where they’re playing that contest about who knows who better, that’s a really ridiculous premise. Adults just wouldn’t do that. But they commit to it so well, and it’s this incredible moment of TV comedy, and the same is true for ‘The One With the Holiday Armadillo.’”
She also points out the characters’ chemistry and the sharp writing.
Nineteen years after it debuted, Friends fans continue to appreciate the utterly original character and the episode.
My sister made me a sweater with the holiday armadillo on it and I just- pic.twitter.com/6DoTqK7Tzy
— Kels (@KjZoolander) November 21, 2019
There are some great Christmas films, it's true. But what are your favourite holiday-themed episodes of television? I'll never not love the Holiday Armadillo. Over to you, friends... pic.twitter.com/CJIJ0EYkrn
— steph kimble 👩🏻🏫 (@MissS_Kimble) November 17, 2019
This is a friendly reminder to everyone who needs to book a Santa suit for the holidays. Do it early- unless you want the holiday armadillo drinking egg nog with you Christmas Eve.
— Amelia Betzer🌻 (@AmeliaBetzer) November 15, 2019
Going to tell my kids Santa's fake but the Holiday Armadillo is real. pic.twitter.com/qScy3vPM8r
— The One With All The Wrestling (@FriendsWrestle) November 20, 2019
And not just during the holidays. People were mentioning him a few months ago on social media.
— Jessica (@JessicaLauw) July 31, 2019
— oakescaroline (@oakescaroline) July 30, 2019
They’ll undoubtedly still be talking about him a few months from now.
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