10 Thanksgiving episodes we’re thankful for
A turkey feast a month too early? It must be the time of year Americans call “Thanksgiving”, and, more excitingly, time for some fun-filled holiday television.
While Thanksgiving isn’t a thing in the UK, we’re used to feeling simultaneously hungry and envious when watching these special episodes on our screens. Though to be fair, by the time they air in the UK it’s usually Christmas anyway.
Here are ten of our favourite Thanksgiving episodes from US telly.
1. Friends, 5×08: “The One with All the Thanksgivings”
The classic Thanksgiving television episode, in which Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe recount their worst memories of Thanksgiving. It leads to some hilarious flashbacks of the gang in their teens, as well as a decades late but equally hilarious apology scene at the end of the episode.
2. How I Met Your Mother, 3×09: “Slapsgiving”
The slap bet got really tired by the later series of How I Met Your Mother, but the first Thanksgiving in which Marshall first touted the idea of turning Thanksgiving into a yearly horror story for Barney is still a classic. This episode also provides a funny reminder that Ted is an unreliable narrator, in the man Ted recalls as Robin’s date to Thanksgiving.
3. Will & Grace, 3×09: “Lows in the Mid-Eighties”
What’s Thanksgiving without ’80s flashbacks? In this offering from classic sitcom Will and Grace, we travel back to 1985 when Grace first invited her then-closeted college boyfriend Will to meet her family. It all goes up in flames, of course, and Will admits that he’s gay to Grace for the first time.
4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 4×08: “Pangs”
A Buffy-take on Thanksgiving of course involved the Scoobies being attacked by the vengeful spirit of a Native American, just as Buffy’s busy preparing dinner for all her friends. This episode also marks the neutering of Spike from bloodthirsty vampire to being unable to hunt as a result of a chip in his brain.
5. Gilmore Girls, 3×09: “A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving”
In this special holiday edition of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory attempt to live the dream by attending four different Thanksgiving dinners. All right, some don’t sounds as good as others – Tofurkey, anyone? This episode was also probably a British introduction to deep-fried turkey, a morbidly exciting possibility.
6. Full House, 1×09: “The Miracle of Thanksgiving”
Here’s a real throwback Thanksgiving: who can remember the raw emotion of the group’s first Thanksgiving without Pam? Danny is determined to make the day extra special, but there is some disagreement over whether to hold the festivities at home or at a restaurant. There are dramatic outbursts, of course, but it’s Jesse who steals the episode in a heartbreaking tribute to Pam.
7. Gossip Girl, 1×09: “Blair Waldorf Must Pie”
Dan invites Serena and her family to share Thanksgiving with his family, completely unaware of the romantic past of Rufus and Lily, in one extremely awkward Thanksgiving edition of our favourite rich kid drama. Meanwhile, Blair begins a downwards descent after learning her father will not be returning for Thanksgiving.
8. Everybody Loves Raymond, 3×10: “No Fat”
The Thanksgiving episode that actually did not make us the slightest bit hungry, but was hilarious nonetheless. After attending the Senior Health Fair, Marie decides that she and Frank ought to start eating healthier if they want to live longer. It leads to a fat free Thanksgiving, complete with a turkey made entirely from tofu. Bon appetit!
9. New Girl, 2×08: “Parents”
One way of making the holidays super special is to transform it into a Parent Trap throwback, and that’s exactly what Jess did in this second season episode of New Girl. It also featured an amazing guest appearance from Jamie Lee Curtis as Jess’ mum.
10. Friends, 6×09: “The One Where Ross Got High”
What better way to end the list than with another Friends fave? In this holiday classic, Monica and Ross’ parents Jack and Judy are in town for Thanksgiving. There’s only one problem – they don’t like Monica’s new boyfriend Chandler, and no one knows why. That is until Ross figures it out and everyone’s dirty secrets come to light.