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8 Thanksgiving Episodes to Watch While You Hide From Your Family

Let’s face it. Thanksgiving can be a pretty tough time for some people. On the plus side, you spend a lot of time with your family, but on the other hand, you spend a lot of time with your family. If you, like many other Americans, find yourself in need of a break from your strange family members that you haven’t seen in a year, use these episodes to help you get some alone time and feel better about your own crazy family. 


Gilmore Girls: “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” (S3, Ep. 9)

In true Gilmore fashion, Lorelai and Rory commit to four different Thanksgiving dinners, causing them to rush from Lane’s Korean tofurkey dinner, to Luke’s classic diner dinner, to Sookie and Jackson’s deep-fried turkey dinner, to Emily and Richard’s very formal dinner. Their inability to cancel plans results in absolute comedic chaos. This is a great episode for anyone who wants to feel better about how much they ate at Thanksgiving dinner, or anyone who might want to compare their family shenanigans to the Gilmores’. This is a classic Gilmore Girls episode, and is sure to put a smile on your face.


How I Met Your Mother: “Slapsgiving” (S3, Ep. 9)

“Slapsgiving” is one of the many Thanksgiving episodes that How I Met Your Mother has to offer. In this episode, Marshall deals out one of his five slaps (that he won in a bet against Barney and can deal out at any time) in the middle of their Thanksgiving dinner. This whole episode revolves around Marshall’s “slap countdown,” and ends with Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris singing a fantastic duet about the bright red hand mark on Barney’s face. Many other hilarious things happen in this episode, and it is perfect for those who just feel like slapping our family members in the face (or are just in need of some comic relief.)


This Is Us: “Pilgrim Rick” (S1, Ep. 8)

This Is Us is known for its ability to tug on its audiences’ heartstrings. In this episode, a flashback shows Jack, Rebecca, and the Big three when they got stranded on the way to Rebecca’s mom’s house for Thanksgiving. Their travel struggles lead to them creating a new tradition that involves convenience store hot dogs. The episode then jumps to present day, where the family attempts to keep the tradition alive without Jack. This is the ideal episode for anyone in the mood for family bonding, longstanding traditions, and a good cry. 


Friends: “The One With All the Thanksgiving Flashbacks” (S5, Ep. 8)

In this hilarious episode of Friends, the gang looks back on all of the terrible Thanksgivings they have experienced through the years. Chandler recalls his parents telling him they are divorced over dinner. Joey remembers getting his head stuck in a turkey, and Monica tells her story of meeting Chandler at Thanksgiving dinner that let’s just say, didn’t go very well, and ultimately resulted in him losing a toe. This episode is full of the classic mayhem that follows the six friends around, and it can make any bad Thanksgiving seem like a grand time in comparison to the terrible times that each of the characters experienced. 


That ‘70s Show: “Thanksgiving” (S1, Ep.9)

In classic That ‘70s Show fashion, Eric gets himself into quite a pickle when Laurie brings her flirty college friend home for Thanksgiving. When she and Eric kiss, everything goes awry: Donna gets mad, Kitty frets the arrival of Red’s mother, and ultimately, the children forget to pick up their grandmother. While everything falls apart in the Foreman residence, watching this episode will definitely make you feel better about your own situation and crazy family problems. Essentially, it’s your typical ’70s Show holiday.


Seinfeld: “The Mom and Pop Store” (S6, Ep.8)

This episode, unlike the others on this list, doesn’t have to do with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at all. This episode discusses the famous ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.’ Elaine wins a spot holding Woody the Woodpecker in the parade, George buys Jon Voight’s car, and everyone is invited to Tim Whatley’s Thanksgiving-eve party except Jerry. Watching this episode, like all other Seinfeld episodes, will give you a good laugh, and make light of the strange things that happen in our lives. The special guest stars make this episode one to remember. 


New Girl: “Parents” (S2, Ep. 8)

When Jess invites her divorced parents to the loft for Thanksgiving, she makes a plan to “parent trap” them in order to make them get back together. Because this is a comedy show, and her plan is ridiculous, Jess’s plan eventually backfires. Also, throughout the episode, Schmidt and his older brother engage in a “manliness” competition over who gets to use the name Schmidt, and this ultimately goes poorly for Winston. Much like many other New Girl episodes, this episode will give you a good laugh and is perfect for anyone who likes the movie The Parent Trap, understands the struggles of having divorced parents, or just wants to escape reality for a while.


Grey’s Anatomy: “Thanks For the Memories” (S2, Ep. 9)

This episode of Grey’s Anatomy epitomizes the struggles that surround being with friends and family during Thanksgiving. While Izzie spends all day making a dinner party, Meredith and Christina escape to the hospital, and George goes hunting with his family, and eventually, everything goes wrong. Just like every other episode of Grey’s, this episode teaches its audience to be grateful for the small things that make us happy each day. Even if things are going poorly, there is always something to be thankful for, and you can always rely on your family and friends to make your life just a little better.


Thanksgiving can be a pretty busy and overwhelming time for families all across America, but hopefully, these episodes will make your holiday and your family a little more tolerable. Happy Thanksgiving!


photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Mariah Iverson is a senior studying sociology at the University of Utah. She grew up in Apple Valley, California and moved to Utah to be closer to her family. She enjoys listening to music, reading, cooking, drawing, traveling, and helping others. She enjoys writing about her favorite TV shows, cooking, LGBTQ experiences, and advice, and in her free time she can be found laying on the ground outside taking in the world. Enjoy Mariah's articles and everything she has to offer!
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