Every year, Americans celebrate those things that they’re thankful for by getting together for a good meal and, maybe, some late-night shopping. Even better, every year our television is filled with exceptional Thanksgiving-themed episodes. From rom-com to supernatural thriller, just about every show features its own take on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has given us a ton of happy memories. Well, maybe not a ton of happy memories, but certainly a lot of memories nonetheless. There are the full bellies, the pies, the leftovers and, of course, our favorite Thanksgiving television shows. From the recurring Friends episodes about Turkey Day to specials like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, there’s something as magical with the combination of television and Thanksgiving as there is the combination of mashed potatoes and gravy.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Can we call a Thanksgiving special a TV “episode”? We probably shouldn’t, but then again, can you blame us when it’s Charlie Brown?
How I Met Your Mother: “Slapsgiving”
How I Met Your Mother had some classic episodes, but few rival the hilarity surrounding a bet… a bet of slaps. Even amongst these elite television episodes, few make us more thankful than watching Barney get tied up, untied and then slapped after a big turkey meal.
Will & Grace: “Moveable Feast”
A poignant look at family, friendship, lies and what’s important, “Moveable Feast” features the show’s main characters as they rush from one family gathering to another. Throughout the episode, things are revealed that make the characters want to stay despite the fact they must leave to go to another Thanksgiving party. We won’t spoil the episode, but it’s memorable in its thoughts on life.
Friends: “The One with the Rumor”
Friends has given us so many great episodes, but this one features Brad Pitt. While this wasn’t enough to give it priority over some of the other episodes, the revelation that Brad’s character was once part of a club of Rachel haters (Rachel being portrayed by his then-wife, Jennifer Aniston.) In a case of life-meeting-future-art, we thought that was too funny to not include on the list.
Cheers: “Thanksgiving Orphans”
A look at life outside the Cheers bar, this episode gets its rave reviews because the cast was having fun, Shelley Long looked ridiculous as a Pilgrim woman, and there was a giant food fight at the end.
Mad About You: “Giblets for Murray”
This episode followed the typical sitcom formula of taking an already tense situation (seriously, no family can be that weird) and letting the viewers laugh merrily as it devolves into chaos. Perhaps the best moments of this episode, though, were when Paul and Jamie tried to convince each other they were adults… as they sneaked out of the apartment to hide things from their family. It also introduced “BOO-fay” as an alternate way to pronounce “buffet.” Seriously, who says “boo-fay”?
That ’70s Show: “Thanksgiving”
Who wouldn’t want to come home to Red on Thanksgiving? Laurie did, and mischief ensues…
The Simpsons: “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”
In this early Simpsons episode, Bart exposes the sheer nastiness of cranberry “sauce.” (Ay caramba!) He then proceeds to ruin Thanksgiving, run away and make us listen to Lisa’s horrible emo poetry. All in all, a really great holiday episode!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Pangs”
There’s just something amazing about watching a girl who can kick vampire ass struggle through Turkey Day. Also, the whinings of an emo vampire about the patheticness of Thanksgiving is pretty funny.
South Park: Starvin’ Marvin
The Thanksgiving episode to rule them all. Who can forget that Starvin’ Marvin was first introduced around Thanksgiving, that Chef fought mutant turkeys like Braveheart and that appetizers are what we eat to make us more hungry?
More TV from Thanksgivings past
TV roundup: Thanksgiving comedy
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo recap: A very unhygienic Thanksgiving
Kim Zolciak celebrates Thanksgiving early