I also love listing. Last week I started an elusive green book list titled “Thanksgiving Episodes Worth Watching” I know I’m not alone here: Thanksgiving episodes of television programs are some of the best episodes out there.
I was listening to the Extra Hot Great podcast from Previously.TV [episode 95] during my productivity-fest early Saturday morning, when Stephanie successfully pitched one of my most favorite November holiday themed episodes of television into the Canon: The West Wing’s The Indians in the Lobby. After totally agreeing with everything said about the Bartlet scene I embeded above, I took my listing one step further and made myself an “Episodes to Stream this Week” list in order to celebrate Turkey Day with one of my favorite hobbies – television watching!
If you find yourself hungry for Thanksgiving television this week, take a look through this list and get your own TV-streaming on.
13 Thanksgiving Episodes to Watch this Week
[counting The West Wing S3E8 – The Indians in the Lobby, currently streaming on Netflix, as #1]
2. Friends S5E8 – The One with All the Thanksgivings // currently streaming on Netflix
Some might argue that all Thanksgiving episodes of Friends are canon-worthy, and this season five collaboration of each characters’ worst Thanksgiving memories is 22 minutes of joke-filled, flash-back goodness. Plus, an alternate title to this one could be “The One Where Chandler Loves Turkey-Monica” which is one of the greatest scenes in NBC Must-See history.
3. The West Wing S2E8 – Shibboleth // currently streaming on Netflix
While I totally love the earlier mentioned holiday episode of The West Wing, this episode is probably my favorite holiday themed episode of any television show, any holiday, ever. [Hence the two clips above – I just couldn’t help myself but to share them with you!] The ongoing b-plot CJ faces after being out sick the previous Thanksgiving is one of the most delightful storylines across the show’s seven seasons, as we watch her learn about all the celebratory fun the Press Secretary has in honor of the great American holiday. Allison Janney shows her comedic genius in many scenes here; especially when she is sharing camera time with Troy and Eric.
4. Good Eats S15E2 – Alton’s Countdown to T-Day // currently streaming on the Food Network app [Chromecastable!] with cable subscription login or $1.99 on YouTube
There are several episodes of Good Eats that could help you get ready for your turkey dinner [some are available on FoodNetwork.com without a subscription, too, as a matter of fact: Pumpkin Pie, Stuff It, Fry Turkey Fry, Romancing the Bird, and The Remains of the Bird, just to name a few] but this particular ep. is one of my favorites. We rewatched it last weekend and suddenly Alton Brown Bourbon Pecan Pie and Roasted Root Vegetable Panzanella are both on my To Do list for the week.
5. How I Met Your Mother S3E9 – Slapsgiving // currently streaming on Netflix
To say all things Slap Bet are ‘legendary’ is a good place to start. The writers of HIMYM love to gift fans with call backs and ongoing jokes; this holiday episode is good proof of that. There’s a musical number to boot, if you are into that kind of thing, which I am.
6. The League S3E8 – Thanksgiving // currently streaming on Netflix and Hulu+
I must begin by applauding the fantastic guest star casting – Sarah Silverman as Andre’s sister and Jeff Goldblum as Ruxin’s dad are spot on perfection. This episode is what you would expect from The League tackling [see what I did there] American holiday traditions, including but not limited to telling all of the lies to get out of family obligations, weight-loss challenges and classic sexual innuendo at Thanksgiving dinner and beyond. Totally not family friendly, but spot on when you need a laugh.
7. Gilmore Girls S3E9 – A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving // currently streaming on Netflix
Somehow, this is the only Thanksgiving themed episode Gilmore Girls delivered us in the seven seasons it was on air. The story follows Lorelai and Rory through managing invites to four Thanksgiving celebrations, while pausing for typical witty banter, speedy dialogue and one of my favorite character additions of all time, Cat Kirk.
8. Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 S2E4 – It’s a Miracle // currently streaming on Netflix
I’ve personally declared this show one of the most underrated comedies of recent years. Have you checked it out yet? This episode is a great representation of what this show does best: showing the contrast between June and Chloe and pushing them past them respective selves, yes, but mostly utilizing the hilarity that is James Vander Beck [awesomely playing an exaggerated version of himself,] and his full of one-liners assistant Luther.
9. Parenthood S2E10 – Happy Thanksgiving // currently streaming on Netflix
First of all, Braverman family dinners and celebrations are the scenes that day-dreams are made of… Add in the football game tradition on-screen giddiness and you’ve got a golden episode. The opening scenes of this one show the mothers and grandmothers in their respective kitchens trying to bring holiday perfection together with the extended branches of their family trees. It is what I imagine happening in homes all across the country come Thursday morning. I’ve always loved how REAL this show seems, and the contrast they highlight between each house in preparation [some joy-filled, some hectic, some annoyed, all honest] is a great example of this.
10. Roseanne S2E9 – We Gather Together // currently streaming on Netflix
This show is another one deserving of awards for being real. We really LOVE this show at THS HQ. A list of reasons this episode in particular rocks: a Roseanne voiceover in which she’s talking to the turkey [shown above], Dan’s football “humility” and warm-up dance, Roseanne & Jackie’s dad and everything he says to his wife, Roseanne’s face and reaction every time her mother speaks – perfection, and everything Roseanne and Jackie do to/with/for one another in regards to their mother.
11. New Girl S2E9 – Parents // currently streaming on Netflix
I’m down with any episode of New Girl in which Jamie Lee Curtis is present, playing Jess’s bright and perky Mom. [Oh, THAT’S where she gets it from.] Speaking of the new girl, Jess ‘Parent Traps’ her divorced parents for Thanksgiving dinner, which Cece totally calls her out on with beautiful flash backs utilizing the reoccurring duo of young Jess and young Cece, and a delightfully-wigged duo of Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner. [super fun!] The entire episode takes place in the apartment/yard, which makes for great group scenes and Rob Riggle brings the trio of guest stars to A+++ status.
12. Glee S4E8 – Thanksgiving // currently streaming on Netflix
If you like ensemble numbers with the original cast reuniting together, this episode is for you! The opening number is gorgeous and makes me warm with memories of reuniting with my own high school pals, minus the singalong. I also love the scenes of old school Glee Club kids mentoring the new kids.
13. Bob’s Burgers S3E5 – An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal // currently streaming on Netflix
A list of fake holidays, turkey talk, ridiculous Louise and Gene lines, and a Thanksgiving song that can’t be beat. In other words, standard Bob’s Burgers terrificness.