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The 10 best Thanksgiving TV episodes

Between turkeys stuffed in the head, family drama, big binges and lots of laughter

The 10 best Thanksgiving TV episodes  Between turkeys stuffed in the head, family drama, big binges and lots of laughter

Today is Thanksgiving, one of the most beloved holidays in the States that falls every year on the fourth Thursday of November and many of us have come to know thanks to TV series. From Gossip Girl to Succession, from Grey's Anatomy to How I Met Your Mother, there is no show that has not dedicated at least one episode to this special day. So under sitting comfortably on the couch in our home, refreshed by the warmth of our plaid over the years we've eaten stuffed turkey with Blair and Serena; had a food marathon with Lorelai and Rory; slapped slaps with Barney and Marshall; laughed with Monica and Chandler; witnessed the family dramas of Denise and Dev; given thanks for the good things that happened to us with Phil and Claire; and dreamed of reconciling our divorced parents like Jess. Are you ready to relive these moments? Get ready to press play and enjoy the holidays with the 10 best Thanksgiving TV episodes.


Friends "The One with All the Thanksgivings" (S5x08)

Friends is one of the series that has celebrated Thanksgiving the most, producing a themed episode for each of its ten seasons. The most iconic, however, remains the one from the fifth, thanks in part to the very popular scene in which Monica dances with a whole turkey stuck on her head. The image has become one of the symbols of the sitcom, but do you remember what happens in the episode? After lunch, Monica, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross decide to share the worst Thanksgiving they have ever experienced. Ross, on his second divorce, thinks the worst is the current one; for Phoebe, it goes back to one in which, in a previous life, she was a war nurse who lost her arm. The award for the most compelling story goes to 1988's Monica, who, in an attempt to get back at Chandler for calling her a whale, cuts off his toe. The plus in this episode besides the turkey stuck in his head is Chandler confessing to Monica that he is in love with her.


How I Met Your Mother "Slapsgiving" (S3x09)

For any newlywed couple, planning their first big party is a challenge. Marshall and Lily would also like their luncheon to be memorable, but in addition to their friends, they happen to have a complete stranger, Bob, Robin's new flame, around, and they have to handle Barney, who is terrified that Marshall will slap him in compliance with an old bet. This is how the song You Just Got Slapped, but also the popular Slap Bet gag, is born.


Gilmore Girls "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" (S3x09)

Knowing the Gilmore Girls' uncanny ability to gobble up large quantities of food, especially junk-food, attending no less than four Thanksgiving dinners doesn't seem too difficult a challenge, and instead...The first stop on this gastronomic tour de force is the Korean lunch hosted by Lane and her mother, then it's Sookie's turn and the fried turkey at Jackson and his friends', while the third stop of the day is at Luke's diner to eat with him and his nephew Jess. One more effort for the chic banquet set at Emily and Richard's home. Here, as is almost always the case throughout the series, Lorelai ends up fighting with her parents. The cause? This time the accusation leveled against the two is pushing Rory toward Yale University.


Gossip Girl "Blair Waldorf Must Pie" (S1x09)

The episode opens with an argument between Serena and Blair that leads them to spend Thanksgiving divided: the former at Dan's house and the latter with her family. If for Blair it will prove to be a sad day between missing her father who is in France, her inability to accept her parents' separation and the specter of bulimia, for Serena it will, on the other hand, be full of surprises. Between cocktails and stuffed turkey, Miss van der Woodsen will discover that her mother, Lily, and Rufus, Dan's father, had been in love when they were young. An episode full of flashbacks that, thankfully, ends with the two best friends making peace.


New Girl "Parents" (S2x08)

Why not take advantage of the holidays to reignite the old spark? So Jess invites her divorced parents, Joan and Bob, played by two special guests, Jamie Lee Curtis and director Rob Reiner, to spend Thanksgiving with her and her roommates. The two are supposed to arrive at the luncheon at two different times, but Bob apparently gets the time wrong and arrives only minutes after Joan. In reality, there is nothing casual about it. It is a plan by Jess to make them fall in love again that will need the help of Cece and Nick. While this re-run of The Parent Trap is taking place in the apartment, on the rooftop, Winston and Schmidt are waiting for Schmidt's cousin to arrive.


Modern Family "Three Turkeys" (S6x08)

In the Dunphy household, it's up to Phil and son Luke, aided by a Nigella Lawson recipe app, to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Claire pretends to trust, but to be on the safe side, she prepares a backup turkey in case the one cooked by her husband doesn't turn out well. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria, who were supposed to be in Mexico, decide to relax at home enjoying the feast alone without revealing to the rest of the family that their flight was canceled and they stayed in town. The couple's plan goes up in smoke when a short circuit forces everyone to move right into Jay and Gloria's house. Thus begins a series of gags, funny misunderstandings, and turkeys popping up all over the place.


Buffy The Vampire Slayer "Pangs" (S4x08) 

Angel secretly returns to town to defend Buffy from an undefined threat. Unaware of her ex's presence and the impending danger, the slayer hopes to have a normal Thanksgiving feast without supernatural drama. To this end, she engages in planning the perfect dinner party. Unfortunately, her plans go awry when the Chumash, the very first inhabitants of Sunnydale, are awakened and decide to avenge the evil they suffered in the past. The absolute protagonist of the episode is Spike. The peroxide-blond-haired vampire gives viewers several funny moments, including a super cynical explanation of the Thanksgiving feast: "You won. All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do. That's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying, "I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it." The history of the world is not people making friends. You had better weapons, and you massacred them. End of story."


Master of None "Thanksgiving" (S2x08)

The episode traces Denise's coming-of-age with the expedient of Thanksgiving and family dinners. It starts with the 1990s and the first holiday shared with friend Dev, then we get to 2006 when Denise tells her mother she is a lesbian and then, in the following years, brings sharing the turkey her girlfriends until in 2017 the family is finally willing to accept her and her partner. Special guest is the great Angela Bassett aka the Queen Mother of Wakanda playing Denise's mother.


Grey's Anatomy "Thanks for the Memories" (S2x09)

Thanksgiving is coming, but Meredith, Derek, Alex and Cristina would rather work at the hospital than celebrate. Izzie, however, has stayed home with the intention of preparing a perfect dinner complete with giant stuffed turkey and all the other traditional dishes, but she is not sure if her friends will show up in time to eat that lavish meal. All the while George, who has gone to visit his mother and siblings, is hunting for the turkey in order to uphold the family tradition.


Succession "I Went to Market" (S1x05)

What better occasion than Thanksgiving to shout at one's relatives that they are all liars and that "the whole family is a nest of vipers"? Parties in the Roy household are an intriguing mix of cynicism and greed. Instead of turkey and cranberry sauce, the menu includes prenuptial agreements, conspiracies, grudges, and an attempt to oust one's own father from leadership of the family business. Just another day in the world of Succession.