10 Shows That Served Up Classic Thanksgiving Episodes

Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday commemorating the Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together peacefully to break bread. While we all know how that ended (yikes), Turkey Day has continued on as a great American tradition of stuffing ourselves while we watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and football.

But when the last parade float has passed and there are still a few hours left before Black Friday shopping begins, you might find yourself yearning for some classic Thanksgiving television. And that, my Friends, is exactly what this list is for. Without further ado, and in no particular order (save your arguments for political topics, thanks), here are some Thanksgiving offerings that will satisfy everyone's TV taste.


1. Friends

When it comes to Thanksgiving TV, Friends is at the top of the pack. They've given us heads in turkeys, special guest stars like Christina Applegate and Brad Pitt, and Ross' psychotic obsession with his sandwich made of leftovers. No show has better or more quotable Thanksgiving material. Bonus: There are 10 Turkey Day episodes, plus one based entirely on our love of leftovers. There are more than enough episodes to keep the whole family entertained long after dinner is over.

"The One Where Underdog Gets Away" Season 1
"The One With The List" Season 2
"The One with The Football" Season 3
"The One with Chandler In A Box" Season 4
"The One With All The Thanksgivings" Season 5
"The One With Ross' Sandwich" Season 5
"The One Where Ross Got High" Season 6
"The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" Season 7
"The One With The Rumor" Season 8
"The One With Rachel's Other Sister" Season 9
"The One With The Late Thanksgiving" Season 10

Both hilarious and disturbing.


2. Gossip Girl

Gobble gobble, Upper East Siders! If you prefer your Thanksgiving meal with a side of drama (and Kristen Bell's delicious narration) Gossip Girl has you covered. If you think your family has issues, try a few of these episodes on for size. Parents getting arrested, eating disorders exposed, and more than one ends with an empty table and/or a punched face.

Though anyone who's seen Gossip Girl has wanted to punch Dan Humphrey at one time or another.

"Blair Waldorf Must Pie!" Season 1
"The Magnificent Archibalds" Season 2
"The Treasure of Serena Madre" Season 3
"Gaslit" Season 4 (It's barely a Thanksgiving episode, however, so feel free to skip)
"It's Really Complicated" Season 6


3. The Cleveland Show

I know, I know. Including this show must be a mistake, right? Wrong! Of every show on this list, The Cleveland Show has (arguably) the funniest Thanksgiving episodes. Watching Cleveland wear a turkey costume, Holt (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) run away to Las Vegas to elope, and Auntie Momma be "outrageous" is absolutely hysterical. If you want some light-hearted, turkey-centric, Seth MacFarlane-approved fun, this is the perfect choice.

You can worry about exercising later.

"A Brown Thanksgiving" Season 1
"Another Bad Thanksgiving" Season 2
"A General Thanksgiving Episode" Season 4
"Turkey Pot Die" Season 4


4. Mad Men

If the bloated feeling in your stomach and tryptophan running through your system aren't enough to depress you, AMC's Mad Men will certainly do the trick. Watching Don's family life deteriorate, Peggy navigate an affair with a married man, and Betty watch her weight will certainly give your Thanksgiving the somber reality check it probably didn't need.

"The Wheel" Season 1
"Public Relations" Season 4
"Dark Shadows" Season 5
"In Care Of" Season 6


5. The Middle

If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a large family Thanksgiving or you are spending the holiday alone and find yourself missing the chaos, The Middle is the perfect Turkey Day television choice. Every Thanksgiving episode is focused on the family trying to have the best holiday possible while dealing with whatever problems pop up along the way. Ultimately, what makes these episodes special are their focus on family. Each episode ends with the Hecks grateful as "heck" for the time they've spent together. Corny, but if you don't like it you can just ask for mashed potatoes instead. After all, that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

"Thanksgiving" Season 1
"Thanksgiving II" Season 2
"Thanksgiving III" Season 3
"Thanksgiving IV" Season 4
"Thanksgiving V" Season 5
"Thanksgiving VI" Season 6
"Thanksgiving VII" Season 7


6. How I Met Your Mother

So you're spending Thanksgiving with your friends? Or maybe you just really like one of CBS' top comedies and Neil Patrick Harris. Either way, How I Met Your Mother has a cornucopia of delicious holiday episodes for you. Watching Lily fear she's pregnant with a turkey-sized baby and Barney get terrorized on "Slapsgiving" is a hilarious way to spend the holiday.

"Belly Full of Turkey" Season 1
"Slapsgiving" Season 3
"Slapsgiving 2: Revenge Of The Slap" Season 5
"Blitzgiving" Season 6
"The Rebound Girl" Season 7


7. Will & Grace

Nothing quite says the holidays like snarky banter, huge laughs, and a generous dollop of emotional dishonesty. This NBC comedy's Thanksgiving episodes deliver those things in spades. They revolve around family turmoil, being honest with your loved ones, and learning to accept your friends and family for who they are. An important and inspiring message that delivers loads of laughs along the way.

"Homo For The Holidays" Season 2
"Lows In The Mid-Eighties" Season 3
"Moveable Feast" Season 4
"Queens For A Day Part 1" Season 7
"Queens For A Day Part 2" Season 7

And if the dinner goes horribly you can just pull a Jack.


8. Bob's Burgers

If you are looking for a family friendly Thanksgiving television choice or have that one relative way too obsessed with cooking the turkey just right, Bob's Burgers is the perfect choice. Every Turkey Day-themed episode of this series has Bob hysterically trying to make the perfect holiday meal while dealing with the show's usual insanity. This ranges from having to pull his sister-in-law through a snowstorm while the kids make dinner to dealing with a mob of enraged killer turkeys. These episodes are guaranteed to leave you and your loved ones laughing.

"An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" Season 3
"Turkey In A Can" Season 4
"Dawn Of The Peck" Season 5
"Gayle Makin' Bob Sled" Season 6


9. The King Of Queens

Even though it's been over for awhile now, this television show remains "The King" of Thanksgiving. From its realistic portrayal of Hunger Games-esque Thanksgiving grocery shopping to the invitation of a possibly dangerous stranger into their home, The King Of Queens delivers the mildly dark, reality-driven laughs we all need around the holidays. After all, nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a lively debate over whether or not the man knocking on your door asking to use your phone is a murderer.

"Supermarket Story" Season 1
"Roamin Holiday" Season 2
"Dark Meet" Season 3
"Loaner Car" Season 5
"Thanks Man" Season 6


10. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

This is, without a doubt, the best Thanksgiving special of all time. Shown every November on ABC here in the U.S., A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving taught all of us to be thankful for what we have. A slapdash dinner of toast and jelly beans may not seem like a lot to be thankful for, but this special has defined the holiday's spirit since it first aired Nov. 20, 1973. I encourage everyone (especially those few who have never seen this special) to watch it together with their loved ones. It is a lovely reminder that there is always something to be thankful for and we should all appreciate our blessings.


For those of you in the United States or celebrating the holiday abroad, I wish you a happy and healthful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for every SideReel user on the site. YOU make this website a wonderful and fun television-viewing community.



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Nov 21, 2016 9:44PM EST

I loved this list! Friends has such hilarious holiday episodes

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Nov 21, 2016 11:54PM EST

Can't stop lol over the Bob's Burgers gif. Love this list!


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Nov 23, 2016 12:05AM EST

You missed the season three Gilmore Girls episode "A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving" where they have to fit in four thanksgivings and Jackson deep-fires a turkey.

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Nov 24, 2016 2:06PM EST

@TelevisionFanboy. Wow! This is so impressive, both your knowledge of the shows and each of their Thanksgiving episodes plus the way you've given us each season they're in. I cannot imagine how much time this took to compile.

Kudos, TelevisionFanboy, there really is something here for everyone, I like the way you put some darker shows in as well as the funny ones - great for all of us, depending on the mood we're in. Kind of a Thanksgiving tv Pick 'n Mix. : )

I couldn't agree more about the Cleveland Show, we started off the day before anyone arrived with it, those eps are truly hilarious!

We're now halfway through the Friends episodes - I had forgotten how funny they all were, and how yummy Brad Pitt was, his character was hilarious. Yams...more yams...

What I love about this is that there are shows I haven't seen (Gossip Girl) plus real favorites. So, I will be spending however long it takes laughing my way through all of them - really. It's already been so much fun having them on in the background, today.

Next up, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them. Everyone around the tv for that one, with me misting up at how much I love this show! : )

I really want to get all the Will and Grace eps watched before the end of today - I love what you wrote about the series. Plus, look at poor Jack in that gif! rofl One of the finest comedies, ever. Debra Messing, she was hilarious then, now she is so funny in real life with her Twitter quips.

Bob's Burgers is a show I haven't seen but the gif is so cute it makes me want to see more, so I'm looking for a box set! #Black Friday countdown! :D

Thanks, TelevisionFanboy, this is just exactly what (imo) we all need right now, a really good dose of laughter (plus some truly great drama) from some of the best tv shows ever to grace a tv screen!

: )

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Nov 24, 2016 3:25PM EST

Thank you everyone for the positive comments! I hope you have/had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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