Content Warning: mention of eating disorders
Oh, Thanksgiving. Foreigners know it as the holiday where we all stuff our faces and yell at each other. Americans know it as the time of year where we give thanks, watch football, and see our extended families. If one thing about Thanksgiving is sure; it’s that it certainly makes for good entertainment. Here are five classic Thanksgiving episodes to get you in the holiday spirit and take your mind off current events, rated out of ten for their cultural icon status.
Sometimes there is nothing like “Gossip Girl” for a little escapism, and this episode is no exception with the beautiful NYC visuals and to die for costumes (the food looks fantastic too!) This Thanksgiving special also tugs at the heartstrings. Through flashbacks, we see our protagonist Blair Waldorf struggle with her eating disorder and her parents’ divorce. It is the first time in the series where the audience feels deep empathy for Blair, and it all collimates in the end with a sweet Friendsgiving and Blair reconnecting with her mom. While this episode is sweet, it is the lowest as we never revisit Blair’s eating disorder again, and there is no commonly quoted or referenced scene.
Iconic rating: 4/10
It’s the show that makes everyone cry! While there is some humor, “This Is Us” is all about getting to the heart of the Pearson family. Again told through flashbacks and the present day, Pilgrim Rick explores thanksgiving traditions, including the adorable homemade pilgrim hat that Jack, the family patriarch, made. The actual plot deals with family trauma as Randall, one of the show’s protagonists, uncovers a big family secret. It shows the realism of family thanksgivings.
Iconic rating: 5.5/10
While it is not specified whether this episode takes place on Thanksgiving, it has all the makings of a classic Thanksgiving watch. The plot focuses on the Rose family as they conclude that they have never had a proper family meal. David and Moira attempt to cook enchiladas for a family dinner. The outcome is hilarious as the two learn how to cook. It ends with great family bonding, even though the food is less than great. We have to deduct points for it not being an actual Thanksgiving episode, but the scene of David and Moira trying to decipher the directions to “fold the cheese” is enough to make it to number 3 on this list.
Iconic rating: 7/10
This is personally my favorite thanksgiving episode. Capturing the warmth and small-town charm of Stars Hollow, this “Gilmore Girls” episode showcasing several characters as the mother-daughter protagonist duo takes on attending and eating three thanksgiving dinners. With wit and a healthy dose of family drama. “Gilmore Girls” provides a more comedic take on a real family holiday.
Iconic rating: 8/10
“Friends” technically has nine Thanksgiving episodes, but it seems that this one is the fan-favorite with it appearing as number 1 on numerous rankings of all of the Friends turkey day specials. While the name may sound entirely unrelated for Thanksgiving, the real plot of the episode centers around the fact that Monica and Ross’s parents hate Chandler, which now presents a problem as Monica and Chandler’s relationship is getting more serious. Rachel also messes up a Thanksgiving dessert recipe. In truly one of the most referenced scenes in TV history, all the friends air their dirty laundry in a comedic screaming match. Between Chandler and Monica’s heartfelt moments and a hilarious, dysfunctional thanksgiving, this Friends episode is the pinnacle of TV Thanksgiving episodes.
Iconic rating: 10/10
While there are hundreds more Thanksgiving episodes, here is a small sample of the most classic one’s TV has to offer. May they make you laugh and ease your mind during this stressful time. Wishing all Greyhounds a safe and fun Thanksgiving