Timothy Olyphant and his swagger triumphantly led Justified through six
Thanksgiving is filled with food, friends, family, and tons of drama. It’s no wonder television shows have made a special point of filming themed episodes. This is an ideal holiday to mine comedy and conflict from characters. Here are several shows that pulled off the theme in respectable fashion.
1. Friends – “The One with the Rumor” (2001): Monica always loved cooking dinner for the gang, so the show delivered a riotous Thanksgiving dinner every season. This episode featured Jennifer Aniston’s then-husband, Brad Pitt, as a high-school nerd turned hottie who couldn’t stand Rachel.
2. Mad About You – “Giblets for Murray” (1994): This episode is a magnificent comedy of errors. Paul and Jamie Buchman host their very first holiday dinner amidst a cast of overbearing parents, siblings, friends, and in-laws. Murray the dog eats the turkey and chaos ensues. At one point, a turkey goes out the window into NYC traffic.
3. NCIS – “Child’s Play” (2009): One by one, the characters’ Thanksgiving plans evaporate. After fearing he’d be alone for the holiday, Ducky is thrilled to open his home to Gibbs, Ziva, Tony, McGee and Abby for dinner.
7. South Park – “Black Friday” (2013): This episode illustrates the inhumane madness we know all too well after the clock strikes midnight. It’s also surprisingly profanity free albeit filled with cartoon blood.
5. Roseanne: “Thanksgiving ’93” (1993): Darlene moves out of the family roost to live with David: “Darlene, the fact that we’re having Macaroni and cheese on thanksgiving Is like cool and nonconformist, right? I mean, it’s not pathetic or anything, is it? Are you kidding? This is totally cool.”
6. Gossip Girl – “Blair Waldorf Must Pie” (2007): Blair freaks out over her father’s absence at the Thanksgiving dinner table. She confronts her mom over her dad choosing Paris over his family. Then she storms out of the room in front of — egad — all of the guests before stuffing a pie into her face.
7. 3rd Rock from The Sun – “Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick” (1996): The aliens are puzzed by this bizarre human holiday where people gather at the grocery store and then roast dead birds. Then they gorge themselves and lay around moaning, hypnotized by tryptophan, just like humans do.
8. Peanuts – “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973): Poor Charlie Brown falls for Lucy’s tricks again in this holiday classic. After the day’s adventures, Snoopy and Woodstock crack the wishbone (to awesome results) and savor a piece of pumpkin pie at their doghouse.
9. The Big Bang Theory “The Thanksgiving Decoupling” (2013): Sheldon gets drunk while reminiscing over his dead father. He behaves badly and vomits. Meanwhile, Penny’s estranged husband could potentially wreak havoc on her relationship with Leonard.
10. Felicity – “Thanksgiving” (1998): Ben tries to punish Felicity by not passing anything at the dinner table. Ben was upset about Felicity’s relationship with Noel. Their friends don’t let Ben get away with his rude ways.
11. Mad Men – “Dark Shadows” (2012): Betty grows bitter over her weight gain in comparison to Don’s new (and slim) wife, Megan. Betty attends Weight Watchers meetings, and her discontent is evident as she eats her sparse Thanksgiving meal at the family table.
12. Gilmore Girls – “A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving” (2002): Lorelai and Rory struggle to make their way through four Thanksgiving dinners. Highlights include Drunk Sookie and a deep-fried turkey.
13. Living Single – “Thanks for Giving” (1994): Grumpy Queen Latifah and her female friends must cope with their dates who don’t get along with each other. Guest stars include Heavy D and the one and only Deion Sanders.
14. Beverly Hills, 90210 – “The Kindness of Strangers” (1993): Good-hearted Brandon Walsh brings a homeless man to the family table. Amidst all the schmaltzy, fuzzy feelings, Steve gets expelled from high school, and Dylan almost walks into a wall (at 26:50). Good times.
15. Frasier – “A Lilith Thanksgiving” (1996): The Crane men — Frasier, Niles, and Martin — head to Boston where he must meet with terrible Lilith about their son’s education. Niles must cook the whole Thanksgiving dinner, and the execution is as nerve-wracking as you’d expect.
16. Melrose Place – “Cold Turkey” (1993): This clip is the height of melodrama when sad, wistful Billy calls Alison on Thanksgiving and her new boyfriend, Steve, answers the phone. This brief moment illustrated the whole dynamic of the Billy-Allison friendship.
17. Friends – “The One with the Football” (1996): Yes, another Friends episode. The gang watches a football game and decides to hold their own match to compete for the illustrious Gellar cup. The girls play dirty, and it is glorious.