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The Best Thanksgiving Specials to Watch on TV

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

It’s that time of year again! ‘Tis the season for stuffing (pun intended) your face with turkey and cranberry sauce until gravy drips down your gluttonous chin and nursing a food baby consisting of green bean casserole and one-too-many slices of your grandma’s pumpkin pie. ‘Tis also the season for watching old (and new) Thanksgiving specials on TV.

Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, or yourself this holiday, here are a few TV specials that will never fail you (in no particular order):

1. Friends: Season 5 Episode 8: “The One With All The Thanksgiving Flashbacks”

This show is pretty much famous for its Thanksgiving specials. There are way too many to choose from, but some would argue that Season 5 Episode 8: “The One With All The Thanksgivings” is one of the best. The gang’s all together, and people are walking around with turkeys on their heads. What’s not to like?

2. How I Met Your Mother: Season 3 Episode 9: “Slapsgiving”

Want a fresh take on Thanksgiving? How about Slapsgiving? In typical Marshall and Barney fashion, they decided to rename the holiday after their bet on slapping. For those of you having to deal with political fights with your family over the mashed potatoes, watching this might be a great outlet.

3. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Okay, this one is self-explanatory. I mean come on. It doesn’t get much more classic than this.

4. New Girl: Season 1 Episode 6: “Thanksgiving”

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy
Forget about texting your mom how long to put a 25-lb turkey in the microwave. Ask her how long to put it in a dryer before it explodes. This show is famous for its depictions of BAD Thanksgivings. This particular episode is just the first ever Thanksgiving special and therefore holds nostalgic benefit, but be sure to binge the rest of them right after.

5. Fresh Off the Boat: Season 2 Episode 8: “Huangsgiving”

Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions, and this one might be just the one for you. With family pressure on her, Jessica rushes to provide the best Huangsgiving when she’s chosen to host.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 4 Episode 8: “Pangs”

Yep, you read that one right. While Buffy might not seem like the obvious choice to spend your Thanksgiving with, this episode won’t disappoint. This episode proves that demon-slaying doesn’t stop even for the holidays.

7. The Office: Season 7 Episode 9: “WUPHF.com”

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Everyone loves The Office, and this year you can crown your own Hay King. With this cast of familiar and loveable characters, you’ll definitely feel that holiday warmth.

8. Master of None: Season 2 Episode 8: “Thanksgiving”

Warning: this one really tugs at the heartstrings. This particular episode shows the unfolding, coming-out story of one of the main characters, Denise, over several family Thanksgivings. With both well-placed humor and heart, this is an episode you won’t soon forget.

9. Gilmore Girls: Season 3 Episode 9: “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”

Just in case the title of this one didn’t give it away, this episode is a mashup of Rory and Lorelai attending FOUR different Thanksgiving dinners. And just when you thought your one dinner obligation was too much…

10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1 Episode 10: “Thanksgiving”

Maybe you’re actually into spending Thanksgiving with your coworkers. If you are (and even if you’re not), this is the perfect episode for you. Thanksgiving at the precinct— festive and efficient? You decide.


These are just a few of many more episodes and specials that’ll be making their circulation on people’s screens and living room televisions this Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a safe, warm, and relaxing Thanksgiving break!

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Pranathi is a graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder. In her time with Her Campus at CU Boulder, she served as Editor-in-Chief and Campus Correspondent.