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September 27th, 2023

friends thanksgivingMonica tries to surprise Chandler with a funny moment in a Thanksgiving episode of “Friends.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


With Thanksgiving only a couple weeks away, I’ve been working to get myself into that spirit and get excited for all things turkey day-related. Like Halloween, one of the things I like about getting into the Thanksgiving spirit is catching up on some of my favorite Thanksgiving-themed episodes of some of my favorite TV shows. So here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes I’ve seen, be sure to let me know what some of your favorites are!


The One With All the Thanksgivings (Friends)

This season 5 episode of “Friends” never fails to make me laugh. It takes place on Thanksgiving Day shortly after the meal and all the friends reminisce about what they consider their worst Thanksgiving holidays, and hilarity ensues. It’s very well written and very funny and I enjoy watching it every year. We get to see the beginnings of the overall group’s friendship dynamic, we get to see a couple of the main characters dance around with a turkey on their head (which also makes my mom laugh every time). In general, I love this flashback episode and it’s one I try to find around this time every year to watch. And this is only one of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes from just this show. 


Slapsgiving (How I Met Your Mother)

This season 3 episode of “How I Met Your Mother” is another one that gets me rolling just thinking about it. This takes place in the few days leading up to Thanksgiving, which will be the first time newlyweds Lily and Marshall will be hosting at their apartment. Hilarity ensues not only as Lily works to make the apartment perfect for the meal, but also as Ted and Robin work to figure out their relationship, having recently broken up. A subplot of the episode also features Marshall torturing Barney with a slap countdown clock (as the result of Marshall winning a slap bet earlier in the show) and ultimately renaming the holiday Slapsgiving. The episode is funny, very well written, and hearing Marshall sing his original song “You Just Got Slapped” gets me laughing every time I hear it. 

Bart vs. Thanksgiving (The Simpsons)

This episode takes place on Thanksgiving day and follows the aftermath of Bart ruining Lisa’s centerpiece for the meal. After being sent to his room, Bart runs away with his dog to a homeless shelter for his meal and after seeing how badly off the homeless population of Springfield is, he learns his lesson about being a better person and the true meaning of Thanksgiving before finally apologizing to Lisa. This is one of the earlier “The Simpsons” episodes and one of its better ones. The story is well written, the voice work is great, the tension is actually portrayed very well, and it’s great to see everyone in the Simpson clan learn a lesson about the true meaning of the holiday. This is one of my favorite “The Simpsons” episodes overall and I can’t wait to watch it for this year. 


Punkin Chunkin (Modern Family)

This Thanksgiving episode sees follows some tension between the three families in the show as they argue about whether to follow your dreams or be more realistic throughout everyday life. The funniest subplot in this episode to me follows Cam as he tries to prove his story about chucking a pumpkin is true, which the families go out to test later in the episode with hilarious results. There’s also a part of the show where siblings Alex and Haley try to cover up some damage done to Claire’s van (also very funny throughout the episode) that makes me laugh every time. Overall, the humor is great throughout the episode and if you look beyond the humor, there’s also some legitimate wisdom for people to take with them. 


The One With the Football ( Friends)

This “Friends” episode is another one of my favorites and is another Thanskgiving episode I try to find almost every year. In this Thanksgiving episode, the gang plays a game of touch football on Thanksgiving, and not only do Ross and Monica's competitive streaks flare up with the game itself, there is also tension between Chandler and Joey for the attention of a model who is at the park. I love this episode because it’s hilarious, the chemistry between everyone in the cast is fantastic, and it’s also just an enjoyable episode. Fans of the show will also enjoy this episode. 


Turkeys Away (WKRP in Cincinnati)

I actually watched this episode in its entirety for the first time recently and I was left rolling on the floor laughing so hard. The radio station decides to take a more hands-on approach by doing what’s supposed to be the greatest Thanksgiving promotion in radio history - dropping live turkeys from a helicopter. The scene where the man on site is describing what’s going on is comedic perfection and the last line in the episode –”God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” is sure to get anyone laughing hard.