When I think of Thanksgiving TV episodes, I immediately think of Friends. In my opinion, Friends has the all-time best Thanksgiving TV episodes. All of them are hilarious and never fail to get me in the holiday season. As a result, there are more Friends TV episodes on this list than from any other show (I am admitting my bias in advance), but I did my best to include Thanksgiving episodes from a range of shows. I know Thanksgiving this year is going to be very different for all of us and we might not have as many plans as we normally would. Binging some Thanksgiving TV episodes with your immediate family or using Teleparty could be a fun activity this holiday season.
- Friends, The One With the Football, Season 3 Episode 9
It is Thanksgiving and the gang decides to play American football. The friendly game quickly escalates as Monica and Ross reveal their sibling rivalry. When they were younger, their family would compete in a Thanksgiving football game for the Geller Cup. The tensions over those past family games are evidently still very present for Monica and Ross, making them take this “friendly” game very seriously. The competitive banter between Ross and Monica, combined with Rachel being told to go long every play (and no one passes it to her) and Phoebe being Phoebe, makes this Thanksgiving episode hilarious.
- Friends, The One Where Ross Got High, Season 6 Episode 9
This episode has Rachel’s iconic trifle, which she accidentally adds beef to, ruining the Thanksgiving dessert (Joey, of course, still enjoys it). The main plot is that Monica’s parents are over for Thanksgiving dinner, and they don’t know that Monica and Chandler are a serious couple because her parents don’t like Chandler. It turns out that the Geller parents thought Chandler was a stoner because Ross used Chandler as a cover for his own illicit activities. At the end of the episode, when Ross comes clean to his parents that he was, in fact, the one smoking, not Chandler, chaos erupts as everyone begins to expose each other’s secrets. This episode is a classic and is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. I would watch it solely for the trifle subplot.
- Friends, The One With All the Thanksgivings, Season 5 Episode 8
What could you want more from a Thanksgiving episode than someone getting a turkey stuck on their head? In this episode, both Joey and Monica have turkeys stuck on their head at different points. Each character goes through their worst Thanksgivings, and we go back to the past to relieve each one with them. When relieving the past Thanksgivings, we learn more about Monica and Chandler’s past relationship and learn how Monica accidentally cut off one of Chandler’s toes. All of the flashbacks to the past are so well done and comical. The outfits alone that Ross and Chandler wore when they were in high school will have you laughing. This is a classic Thanksgiving episode that is perfect to watch on Thanksgiving or before to get you in the holiday spirit.
- How I Met Your Mother, Slapsgiving, Season 3 Episode 9
One of my favorite parts of How I Met Your Mother is the slap bet between Marshall and Barney. Marshall gets to slap Barney across the face 5 times as hard as he wants whenever he wants. Throughout the duration of the show, we get to see the slaps play out. It is one of the most creative, well-done recurring aspects of a TV show. In this Thanksgiving episode of HIMYM, Marshall has a countdown for the slap, causing Barney to freak out with the suspense and anticipation of the slap. At the same time, Robin and Ted have a lot of awkwardness because although they are broken up at this point in the series, they slept together the night before. The awkwardness at the Thanksgiving dinner table is something that everyone can relate to, and the slap bet adds extra humor to this episode.
- New Girl, Thanksgiving, Season 1 Episode 6
New Girl never fails to put a smile on my face. This is a Thanksgiving episode I will definitely be watching this Thanksgiving because I think we all need a bit of Jessica Day’s positivity—this year especially. In this episode, Jess invites a cute coworker to the apartment for Thanksgiving dinner to try and impress him. He is as odd as her, to the guys’ dismay, and their awkward interactions are very entertaining. Schmidt takes charge in the kitchen, with Cece as his assistant who is set on making his job of preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner on short notice even harder than it already is. Let’s just say the turkey ends up in the dryer and causes the smoke alarm to go off. If you need to watch a Thanksgiving unfold that is more chaotic than your own to make your family look “normal” this is the one to watch.
- Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf Must Pie, Season 1 Episode 9
If you are looking for something with a bit more of a dramatic flair, then you can’t go wrong with any of the Thanksgiving episodes from Gossip Girl. My personal favorite is the first Thanksgiving episode. This classic episode provides all the suspense and drama that you are looking for in a Gossip Girl episode, within a festive Thanksgiving atmosphere. Dan invites Serena and her family to his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, while Blair is freaking out because her Dad isn’t showing up for her dinner. If you are looking to escape to the upper east side this Thanksgiving break, I recommend bingeing the Gossip Girl Thanksgiving episodes, they are guaranteed to whisk you away from your own problems by consuming you with the drama and glamour of the Waldorf’s and van der Woodsen’s.
I hope everyone has a safe, fun Thanksgiving, despite these crazy times.