Our 7 Favorite TV Thanksgivings


In the life of any long running show certain things are inevitable: the road trip episode, the “trapped somewhere together,” and perhaps most inevitable of all, the Thanksgiving Episode. Thanksgiving episodes are a blessing and a curse for modern television. They provide a chance to bring characters together to reflect on relationships in a setting that’s familiar to every American. They’re also a challenge because they require writers to devise a way for every relevant character to be together around the Thanksgiving table even when logic dictates that they should have somewhere else to be. After all, how often have you spend Thanksgiving with your roommates? Or your co-workers? Or your team of crime-scene investigators? Obviously the Thanksgiving episode works better on some shows than others so we scoured YouTube for some of our favorites.

The West Wing usually outdid itself with holiday episodes but none of them can top “Shibboleth,” an episode that finds press secretary CJ Cregg scrambling to secure a pardon for a turkey and most importantly, finds President Bartlett phoning the Butterball Hotline to ask some critical turkey questions.

The Friends gang, despite all having families of their own, always ended up spending Thanksgiving together but somehow it didn’t seem weird at all. After all, Monica was a professional chef; who would turn down a gourmet meal with your pals for your mom’s dry turkey?

A moment of silence please for the unfairly cancelled Happy Endings. Gone too soon, remembered by all.

That 70’s Show didn’t bother to invent a reason for the whole gang to be hanging out on Thanksgiving, but they did use the holiday as an excuse to bring the Foremans’ 70’s nuclear family together by reintroducing Laurie, the big sister from hell.

The Big Bang Theory is basically a nerd minstrel show and also the worst, but their execution on Thanksgiving TV tropes is pretty on point. Football, characters assembled in unlikely locations, cartoonishly awkward relatives. All the pieces fit.

Gilmore Girls was a show about two women who talk too fast, make excessive pop-culture references, and eat constantly. In other words, it was the best show ever. Lorelai and Rory celebrated their fair share of Thanksgivings over the show’s run but their epic year of four Thanksgiving dinners was easily the best. Enjoy all four because I am a cornucopia of generosity.

I couldn’t find the fourth one so here’s this instead.

Finally a special treat from our resident Brittany Snow enthusiast: a traditional Thanksgiving from 60’s set American Dreams was a precursor to the Mad Men craze, giving us a look back at mid-century America and reminding us that things weren’t as simple as we like to remember.

Share this article on social media. We hope your Thanksgiving is a bit less dramatic than these TV families, but if it’s not let us know in the comments and we’ll commiserate.