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SideReel Gives Thanks for Thanksgiving Episodes

There’s an embarrassment of riches at Thanksgiving — on your television as well as on your plate! Let's get real: Thanksgiving meals are AMAZING, but there comes a point where you just can't eat anymore without severe pain, and you lose the ability to do much of anything but lay on the couch, rubbing your stomach, and praying for the ability to house your internal organs somewhere on the outside of your body. But there's another way! "How?!" — You. It's easy! Keep your mind occupied with some of the greatest Thanksgiving-themed television episodes ever to air! Laugh (or cry) out some of that indigestion. After all, why learn a lesson about overeating when you don't have to?   Seinfeld  S6E8: The Mom & Pop Store To paraphrase the dearly missed Stefon, this episode has it ALL — which, for a show about nothing, is somewhat amusing. George buys a car that may or may not have belonged to Jon Voight, Kramer gets some elderly shopkeepers in trouble, Elaine's romantic life is impeded by Mr. Pitt's whims, and Jerry agonizes over whether he was invited to a Thanksgiving party hosted by one Tim Whatley, DDS (played by Breaking Bad 's Bryan Cranston). Perhaps no other show has so fully captured the feeling of obligation that comes with what is ostensibly one of our most beloved holidays.   King of the Hill  S4E7: The Hank's Giving Episode I'm an unabashed, unapologetic King of the Hill fanatic, but I suspect that even if I weren't, I'd still be charmed by the mix of cynicism and earnestness in this episode. Traveling for this most American of holidays is generally a nightmare, but getting delayed due to weather (which is perfect at your destination) is heartbreaking. Getting your perfectly-smoked turkey blown up on the tarmac because it's a suspected bomb is... what's beyond heartbreaking? Heartdisolving? No, the Hills never make it to Montana, but they do spend a night at an airport foodcourt with their closest friends... and the Souphanousinphones.   WKRP in Cincinnati  S1E7: Turkeys Away "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." This is the episode that saved this quirky 70s sitcom from cancellation, and quite frankly, set the standard by which all sitcoms' Thanksgiving episodes should be judged. Premise: WKRP's hapless management devises a fantastic publicity stunt: a free turkey giveaway! Except, uh, these turkeys are alive, and the delivery method is a real... high wire act. Dropping birds out of an airplane? What could go wrong?   Grey's Anatomy  S2E9: Thanks for the Memories Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy gave its characters some much-needed breathing room after the frenetic rocket launch that was its debut. That being said, it wasn't until 9 episodes in and this Thanksgiving-centered episode that we truly saw the characters solidifying into the multi-dimensional people we came to love, hate, and mourn. Notably, Izzy's obsessive streak is fully revealed for the first time, and we're given a glimpse into George's very un-Georgelike family of hunting nuts.   Gilmore Girls  S3E9: A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving Expectations of attendance at four different Thanksgiving celebrations actually sounds like the perfect thing for those speed-talking, junk food-loving titular girls, and yet, as it happens, not so much ! After some endearing machinations, the most popular girls in Stars Hollow please everyone — and one even gets a kiss! And that little girl who got kissed is now engaged to the guy who plays Pete Campbell.     ER  S6E8: Great Expectations There was a time, children, that ER was a very big deal, and during that long-ago era, Juliana Margulies' Nurse Carol Hathaway (and her romance with George Clooney's Dr. Doug Ross) was the heart of the show (which is ironic, because she was supposed to have committed suicide in the pilot). And it is in this very special Thanksgiving episode that she gives birth to the Hathaway-Ross twins, Tess and Kate — and also brings into the show Maura Tierney's Abby Lockhart, who would eventually fill the gap created by Margulies' exit from the show. Oh, children, it was truly an age of wonder.   Friends  S1E9: The One Where Underdog Gets Away Despite my documented dislike of Friends , I have to give it the recognition it deserves: it really did produce excellent Thanksgiving episodes. This is the one that started it all, with the twin amusements of Joey as the face of an anti-STD campaign, and Chandler's plan to boycott the holiday (for reasons that would continue to be explored years into the show's run). But the episode's centerpiece, namely the escape of the Underdog balloon from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, that sets the plot — and the show's winning streak — into motion.   A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving  Special No, it's not an "episode" per se, but not including it on this list would be an act of television critic sacrilege for which I'm unprepared. Since its premiere in 1973, this heartwarming Peanuts special has aired every single year. It features Snoopy in a Pilgrim costume and opens with Charlie Brown still unable to kick that elusive football down the field. Right, like I really need to tell you what happens here.     Leah E. Friedman  is the editor of She will eat Stove Top Stuffing over the sink right out of the pot she loves it so much. You can follow her musings on  Twitter .

'ER' alum Paul McCrane helps stage 'Major Crimes'

Paul McCrane knows the value of working in front of a camera in calling the shots from behind one.Familiar from roles on "Harry's Law" and "24," and also from such movies as "Fame" and "The Shawshank Redemption," the actor arguably is most famous as tightly wound Dr. Robert Romano -- who had fateful encounters with helicopters twice -- on "ER." He got his first directing opportunity on that show, and he has built that into a steady second career, the latest evidence being Monday's (Aug. 27) episode of TNT's new "The Closer" spinoff "Major Crimes."RELATED: Our Favorite Female Crime Solvers"I know a lot of the folks over there," McCrane tells Zap2it, since he also directed one of the final "Closer" episodes. "I was very flattered that they asked me to do that, considering that obviously when a show is ending, they want it to go out strong. I guess I didn't screw it up too...

'ER,' 'Army Wives' Actors to Guest Star on USA's 'Suits' (Exclusive)

  Harvey Specter is about to meet his match. With less than one month to go before  Suits  premieres its second season, the USA Network drama is firming up a slew of guest stars -- and one of them has a personal history with the hotshot Manhattan lawyer. In the sixth episode of the new season "All In," scheduled to air July 26, Harvey's personal history with a client forces he and Mike ( Patrick J. Adams ) to take on an unorthodox case from which they'd normally pass on. Read More...

'ER' Star Books 'Pan Am' Trip

Goran Visnjic, known to many as Dr. Luka Kovac thanks to his years on NBC's 'ER,' has booked a multi-episode guest arc on ABC's 'Pan Am.' According Entertainment Weekly, Visnjic will play a Yugoslavian immigrant on four episodes of the 1960s-set drama. The character is said to be torn between his communist homeland and the opportunities presented by life outside the Eastern Bloc. After leaving 'ER,' Visnjic did a guest spot on 'Leverage' and appeared in the BBC minseries 'The Deep.' 'Pan Am' stars Christina Ricci and Mike Vogel and follows the exciting lives of Pan Am flight attendants and pilots. The series takes place during the height of Pan Am's high-flying jet-setting days. Catch a preview of the new series after the jump.

'ER' actress coming to 'Private Practice'

An  ER  veteran is coming to ABC’s  Private Practice . Alex Kingston, who played Dr. Elizabeth Corday on the NBC hit, has signed on for several episodes of ABC’s medical drama. She’ll play a therapist on the show and working with Violet’s storyline on the show.'s:+Hollywood+Insider)&utm_content=Google+Reader

Kellie Martin On 'Drop Dead Diva,' 'The Jensen Project' and Getting Killed On 'ER'

We haven't seen much of Kellie Martin in the last few years -- a couple of Lifetime movies, some guest shots, and that's about it -- but it's been for a good reason: she took the time off to figure out how to be a parent. After her daughter Maggie was born three-and-a-half years ago, Martin told me last week, "I didn't want to get overwhelmed with having to feel like I had to work and not have this time with her." She read every parenting book she could find, but parenting was still a mystery to her. "I had no idea what to do with a kid, I mean I was clueless, so I needed some time to figure this out." This week, audiences will see Martin twice: Fans of Lifetime's 'Drop Dead Diva' will see Martin guest star on July 11 as the victim of a Ponzi scheme who hires Grayson Kent to take her case. And on July 16, Martin will star in NBC's 'The Jensen Project' as Claire Thompson, a nanobiologist who works with her husband and 15-year-old son to fight evil when the project they spent years developing falls into the wrong hands. If the show, produced by Wal-Mart and Proctor and Gamble as part of their 'Family Moments' series, does well, it has a shot of being made into a series. But before we talked about that, I needed to express my shock that the 'Life Goes On' and 'ER' star was old enough to play the mom of a teenager (she's only 35, for heaven's sakes)... To Read More Click Here .

Trio of ER Alums Score Pilots

ER alums Laura Innes, Shane West and David Lyons are coming back to prime time - with two of them sticking with NBC. Innes, who played Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER, has joined NBC's Event, a conspiracy thriller set at a secret facility, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Innes will play the leader of the facility's inmates. Lyons has nabbed the lead in the Peacock's The Cape, in which he will play an ex-cop framed as a criminal who becomes a masked hero. Lyons played Dr. Simon Brenner on the 15th and final season of ER last year. West, who played Dr. Ray Barnett on the medical drama, will star in the CW's Nikita, featuring Maggie Q as the titular assassin. West will play a recruiting agent whose job is to bring in the original Nikita after she goes rogue. Source Here

Ratings: ER Serves Up Most-Watched Drama Finale Since 1996

Thursday's ratings recap: * 8 pm/ET Survivor returned with a season-low 11.2 million total viewers, thanks in part to NBC's ER retrospective, which drew 10.56 mil. Bones placed third with 9 mil, a dip of 570K from its previous outing. ABC's comedies were not laughing, as both In the Motherhood (5 mil) and Samantha Who? (4.8 mil) plunged 26 percent. Smallville (3.8 mil) saw a 50K uptick. * 9 pm ER 's two-hour (and rather awesome) series finale was the night's most-watched program, averaging 16.2 million viewers and even flirting with 18 mil at the 10 0'clock mark. That tally represents the largest audience for the final episode of a drama series since Murder, She Wrote circa 1996. (Be sure to check out Trish's fantastic recap of the ER ender.) CSI 's William Friedkin-directed 200th episode placed second at 9 pm, drawing a season low of 14.38 mil. Facing stiff competition, Hell's Kitchen (7 mil) saw one-third of its audience get flambeed. Supernatural gained 110 thou, hitting 3.28 mil. * 10 pm Placing second behind ER, Eleventh Hour returned to an audience of 10.38 mil, down 12 percent from its last fresh episode. Source here

ER's Jerry Shares the View from the Front Desk

ER has weathered 15 years on the air by maintaining a strong ensemble through several cast changes. One consistency in the roster is Abraham Benrubi (also formerly of Men in Trees), who plays Jerry Markovic, the smirky front-desk clerk. Jerry has been around for all 15 seasons, give or take a season or four. Benrubi tells what it was like acting opposite nearly everyone in the cast, whether he thinks Jerry is gay, and what happens to Jerry after NBC closes the doors on County General. To Read The Interview Click here .

Truth Is, Mekhi Phifer's Joining Lie to Me

Just as ER prepares to tee up its series finale, one of its alumni has booked a meaty new gig. Mekhi Phifer, who for six seasons walked the halls of County General as Dr. Gregory Pratt, has booked a multiple-episode appointment on Fox's Lie to Me , has learned exclusively. Phifer will appear on the freshman drama series as Ben Reynolds, an FBI agent who partners with Dr. Lightman (Tim Roth) to track a serial rapist terrorizing the D.C. area. Reynolds serves as The Lightman Group's government liaison on the case, as he has spent six months pursuing the elusive criminal. Phifer's arc kicks off Wednesday, May 6. Source here