The Best Thanksgiving Episodes from All Your Favorite Shows

The One with All the Thanksgivings Episode in Friends thanksgiving episodes

Like most holiday-themed episodes, thanksgiving episodes are a right of passage for TV shows. These can make the viewer's favorite moments and fill the viewer with relatable events, like bringing the family together and celebrating each other. Find here a list of the best Thanksgiving episodes. 

1. New Girl “Thanksgiving”

Where to view: Season 1, Episode 6

New Girl Thanksgiving episode
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

This episode has everything: turkey troubles, Jess inviting over a new crush for Thanksgiving, and Schmidt demanding total control in the kitchen. Anything a viewer thinks can go wrong does go wrong, but the episode brings laughs. 

2. Gilmore Girls: “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”

Where to view: Season 3, Episode 9

Gilmore Girls TV Series
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Almost everything about Gilmore Girls screams fall as many turn to their favorite fast-talking mother/daughter duo in autumn. This episode highlights the stress of the holiday, and  Lorelai and Rory try to handle going to multiple Thanksgiving and get it all done without getting too stuffed with food.

3. Bob's Burgers “Turkey in a Can”

Where to view: Season 4, Episode 5

Bob's Burgers Animated Series
Image Credit: 20th Television Animation.

The Bob’s Burgers crew faces anyone’s worst nightmare: the turkey was sabotaged before Thanksgiving. What starts as a plot surrounding how to make a perfect turkey is a metaphor for Bob not wanting Tina to grow up too quickly.  Come for the laughs; stay for the banter between Bob and the grocery store man selling him multiple turkeys. 

4. Friends “The One with the Thanksgivings”

Where to view: Season 5, Episode 8

Friends TV Series
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

In true sitcom fashion, Friends has a lot of Thanksgiving episodes, but this one takes the turkey. This Thanksgiving episode is packed with the most Thanksgiving, with flashbacks to the crew going through the motions of Thanksgiving celebrations with hilarity and hijinks. Of course, this episode created the iconic ‘turkey on the head’. 

5. How I Met Your Mother “Slapsgiving”

Where to view: Season 3, Episode 9

How I Met Your Mother TV Series
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

This episode is significant because Lily and Marshall are hosting their first Thanksgiving as a married couple. Barney remains on edge, anticipating the third slap in their “slap bet”. The whole setup: after losing a slap bet to Marshall, Barney is constantly afraid of when Marshall will enact his payment and bring on the third slap – hence the name ‘Slapsgiving.’ 

6. Seinfeld: “The Mom & Pop Store”

Where to view: Season 6, Episode 8

Seinfeld TV Series
Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

For a show where nothing happens, this episode seems to have it all: George buying a car allegedly owned by Jon Voight, Elaine going to a jazz club to win the chance for her boss to carry the Woody the Woodpecker balloon at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Jerry getting in the way of everything. Come for the hijinks, stay for the Bryan Cranston cameo. 

7. Friday Night Lights “Thanksgiving”

Where to view: Season 4, Episode 13

Friday Night Lights TV Series
Image Credit: Universal Television.

This is a dramatic and engaging season four finale, where the Taylors host Thanksgiving dinner before the big game against the Dillon Panthers. This episode has everything Friday Night Lights loves; including, of course, Buddy Gerrity attempting to deep fry a turkey. 

8. Ugly Betty “Four Thanksgivings and a Funeral” 

Where to view: Season 1, Episode 8

Ugly Betty TV Series
Image Credit: ABC Studios.

Thanksgiving looks different for everyone who works at MODE; Daniel goes to the country club, while Betty attempts to spend time with her family. Amanda and Marc take advantage of the offices' closure by staying in Wilhelmina's office to see Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and frolicking around in the fashions. Wilhelmina also hosts a Thanksgiving dinner, and learns that Thanksgiving doesn’t always go as planned. 

9. Glee “Thanksgiving” 

Where to view: Season 4, Episode 8

Glee TV Series
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Many Glee fans will forever know this episode as the one that features the mash-up of “Let's Have A Kiki” and “Turkey Lurkey Time.” The episode has a healthy mix of fun and drama, and of course, New York City as Rachel and Kurt perform the medley in their oversized loft. 

10. Community: “Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations” 

Where to view: Season 4, Episode 5

Community TV Series
Image Credit: Universal Television.

Family gets complicated in this Thanksgiving episode of Community, surprisingly, the only one the show makes. Jeff plans to meet his dad for the first time, and most of the study group go to Shirley’s family dinner, where she tries to avoid her in-laws, who she reveals don’t like her. Understanding the importance of found family, Jeff throws the group a surprise Thanksgiving dinner in the study room.

11. Brooklyn 99 “Thanksgiving” 

Where to view: Season 1, Episode 10

Brooklyn Nine-Nine TV Series
Image Credit: Universal Television.

As is the case with many Thanksgiving episodes, things do not go according to plan – Amy's plan specifically. Here, viewers learn a lot about the characters, Jake's semi-hatred for the holiday, Terry's ability to get hangry and that Amy is actually a terrible cook. 

12. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs”

Where to view: Season 9, Episode 10

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia TV Series
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

A simple premise for an episode goes awry: the gang tries to rent a movie but can’t due to their un-squashed beef with the McPoyles. While the viewer may never get genuine compassion or awareness from the gang for their actions, it's funny to watch them grapple with their “beefs” and consider those they’ve hurt. 

13.Gossip Girl “Blair Waldorf Must Pie!”

Where to view: Season 1, Episode 9

Gossip Girl TV Series
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

In the first Thanksgiving of Gossip Girl, Blair un-invites Serena to her home, leaving Dan to swoop in to save the day, having Serena and her family over. Viewers also get to see how Blair deals with her issues with her father and her struggles with disordered eating. This drama-packed episode promises to deliver on food, family fights and the heightened stress the holidays bring. 

14. Modern Family “Three Turkeys”

Where to view: Season 6, Episode 8

Modern Family TV Series
Image Credit: Colleen Hayes/American Broadcasting Companie.

Again, in true sitcom fashion, Modern Family delivers Thanksgiving episodes yearly, but this one also takes the turkey. Worried that Phil and Luke will ruin the turkey and the dinner simultaneously, Claire makes a second secret turkey. Be prepared to laugh with this family as they navigate family drama, attitude, and the hilarity of being together. 

15. Succession “I Went To Market” 

Where to view: Season 1, Episode 5

Succession TV Series
Image Credit: HBO.

In true Succession fashion, this episode packs on the drama and the tension. In this episode, the viewers meet Cousin Greg’s grandpa, Logan Roy’s brother, and watch as Logan attempts to vote no confidence against his father.

16. Cheers “Thanksgiving Orphans”

Where to view: Season 5, Episode 9

Cheers TV Series
Image Credit: Paramount Network Television.

This is another Thanksgiving episode highlighting the importance of found family, as many of the beloved characters don’t have families to spend the holiday with. They gather for a Thanksgiving feast, which turns into a well-timed food fight, ending right when the turkey is ready. Come for the banter between the characters and the chaos; stay for the nostalgia the episode provides. 

17. Insecure “Lowkey Thankful” 

Where to view: Season 4, Episode 3

Insecure TV Series
Image Credit: HBO.

In this episode, Issa and Molly prepare to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Lawrence plans on going to Condola's “Friendsgiving” but isn’t sure he’s invited or welcomed, making him question their relationship. The night progresses and the characters get more than just turkey and stuffing this holiday as they get served harsh truths and realities about their relationships. 

18. Master of None “Thanksgiving”

Where to view: Season 2, Episode 8

Master of None TV Series
Image Credit: Netflix.

Family and acceptance are at the heart of this episode, which takes the characters through a decade of Thanksgiving celebrations. The viewer is taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride as they watch Denise’s character and identity grow. 

19. The West Wing “Shibboleth”

Where to view: Season 2, Episode 8

The West Wing TV Series
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

CJ has to make one of the more significant decisions made in the White House during Thanksgiving: which turkey will be pardoned and which will become Thanksgiving dinner. The rest of the cast is also dealing with pressing issues: granting asylum, school prayer, and what tool to use to cut the turkey. The episode promises smart writing, fast-talking and a lot of drama. 

20. The Sopranos “He Is Risen”

Where to view: Season 3, Episode 8

The Sopranos TV Series
Image Credit: Chase Films.

There was only one way The Sopranos would pull off a Thanksgiving episode: with tons of chaos, drama and politics within the group as Tony attempts to conceal plans and even un-invite guests to the dinner. Guess he does have the makings of a varsity athlete after all. 

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