10 Thanksgiving-Centered TV Episodes to Get You in the Holiday Mood

Of course, *that* Friends episode made the list.

It’s that time of year: the time where it’s cold out and you want nothing more than to snuggle under some covers and forget about the rest of the world. Or, maybe you just want to take a quick respite before it’s time to start shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and/or holiday gifts. Well, good news: You can still get in the holiday spirit without leaving the couch. All you need to do is settle in for a marathon of Thanksgiving TV episodes. 

Below are ten perfect Thanksgiving episodes that will have you craving turkey, or at least a chance to share with loved ones all the things you are thankful for. We’re not quite ready for mistletoes and menorahs just yet, so ease your way into the holiday season with Turkey Day-themed TV instead. Keep scrolling for the 10 best Thanksgiving episodes.

This Is Us: Season 1, Episode 8, Pilgrim Rick

this is us thanksgiving episode

This Is Us is known for its tear-jerking plotlines and this Thanksgiving episode is no exception. It’s filled with sentimental family throwbacks of a past Thanksgiving when dad Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was still in the picture, but the present-day plotlines are a bit more difficult. There are relationship troubles, secrets, and arguments—in other words, just another episode of This Is Us.

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

thanksgiving tv episodes

You can’t help but smile when watching “Slapsgiving.” This episode features Barney’s third slap, which is one of the show’s most hilarious running gags. Plus, Marshall sings the song “You Just Got Slapped,” which may just be the greatest Thanksgiving song ever created. Once you’ve finished this episode, you might as well head to Season 5, Episode 9 for “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap.”

Friends: Season 5, Episode 8, “The One With All The Thanksgivings”

friends thanksgiving episode

It’s no secret that we love Friends. As Hello Giggles writer Elizabeth Entenmann explains: “If creating Thanksgiving episodes was a competition, Friends would absolutely crush it and win all of the awards. Like clockwork, there’s one Thanksgiving episode for every season—which is probably marathoning on TBS right now. But this episode is the winner, because it’s a flashback episode, and we love flashback episodes. Every friend gets their own storyline to tell via flashback. Some are sweet, some are sad and some are downright bizarre (looking at you, Phoebe) but all are so perfectly Friends, and we love it.”

Gilmore Girls: Season 3, Episode 9, A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving

gilmore girls thanksgiving episode

Who wouldn’t want to spend Thanksgiving with the myriad of kooky characters in Stars Hollow? “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” features our girls doing what they do best (other than talking and being generally brilliant): eating! (Eating four full Thanksgiving meals, that is.) Of course, they handle it like the championship eaters they are.

New Girl: Season 1, Episode 6, Thanksgiving

new girl thanksgiving episode

New Girl illustrates how friends can be the real family. In “Thanksgiving,” Jess is nervous about a potential paramour (Justin Long) she’s invited to the loft’s first Thanksgiving. Of course, her friends are there to support her. Want more? There’s a Thanksgiving-themed episode in almost every season—and we won’t judge you if you decide to rewatch the entire series to see them all.

Bob’s Burgers: Season 3, Episode 5, ”An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”

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Who doesn’t want to be a Belcher? Bob’s Burgers celebrates kookiness in a way few other shows can. In “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal,” Bob’s love of the holiday is tested when landlord Mr. Fischoeder (played with aplomb by Kevin Kline) pays the Belchers to pretend to be his family so he can impress a long lost love.

Gossip Girl: Season 1, Episode 9, Blair Waldorf Must Pie

gossip girl

Want to celebrate the holidays with some high-class drama? Look no further than this Gossip Girl Thanksgiving episode. Dan invites Serena and her family to spend Thanksgiving with him and his at their Brooklyn loft, which becomes awkward due to their parents’ past romantic history. Blair spirals when she learns her dad isn’t coming home for the holiday, and Nate spends an uncomfortable dinner with his not-so-dear mom and dad.

Orange Is The New Black: Season 1, Episode 9, Fucksgiving

orange is the new black thanksgiving episode

If you’re looking to celebrate your holidays with a little grit, this Orange Is The New Black thanksgiving episode will absolutely deliver. Piper is looking forward to a visit from Larry on Thanksgiving but instead is thrown in solitary confinement and is served a holiday meal of moldy bologna. It’s a pretty dreary Thanksgiving for most of the prisoners, but, as the title hints, there is some steamy sex at the end of the episode.

The Mindy Project: Season 1, Episode 6, Thanksgiving

the mindy project thanksgiving episode

It’s pretty common to have at least one family member you’re less than excited to see at the Thanksgiving dinner table—but what about an ex? In this episode of The Mindy Project, Mindy shows up to Thanksgiving at friend Gwen’s house to see that her former blind date, Dennis, is there with his new girlfriend. Awkward is only the beginning of the chaotic way this dinner plays out.

Modern Family: Season 6, Episode 8, Three Turkeys

modern family

Like New Girl, Modern Family has quite the selection of Thanksgiving episodes—but there’s one that stands out above the rest. In “Three Turkeys,” Phil takes on Thanksgiving dinner with Luke as his sous chef, cooking turkey #1. Anticipating their failure, Claire secretly prepares a backup turkey (turkey #2). Gloria and Jay get caught in a lie, pretending they were away in Mexico, when they were really at home cooking a turkey for themselves (turkey #3)—and it all ends up creating a hilarious and chaotic turkey mix-up.

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