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Top 10 Thanksgiving Television Episodes

VO: Dan Paradis
These are the episodes and specials that defined the annual holiday, bringing our favorite television characters together. As it’s a time for thankfulness and celebration, we’ve decided to focus on more lighthearted episodes and specials, instead of heavy dramas, such as those involving such things as serial killers. Join as we count down the top 10 thanksgiving television episodes.

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Top 10 Thanksgiving Television Episodes

It’s a time for our favorite television characters to give thanks. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 thanksgiving television episodes.

As it’s a time for thankfulness and celebration, we’ve decided to focus on more lighthearted episodes and specials, instead of heavy dramas, such as this one involving serial killers.

#10: Bart Vs Thanksgiving “The Simpsons” (1989-)

What list isn’t better with a little some love for the Simpsons? In this early heartfelt episode from the series, Bart semi-accidentally destroys Lisa’s thanksgiving centrepiece. Escaping through his window after being sent to his room, after he makes a quick stop at the blood bank he ends up at a soup kitchen for the homeless. Seeing that he has a lot to be thankful for, he returns home a little wiser and sets things right.

#9: Thanksgiving Orphans “Cheers” (1982-1993)

In this special episode, Carla decides to have everyone from the bar over for a potluck Thanksgiving feast. What follows is an even punctuated by guests that don’t show, Diane’s historical attire and the men realistically do their thing and catching the football game. Of course the main course is served when the gang’s tension culminates in an all out food fight.

#8: Thanksgiving 1991 “Roseanne” (1988-1997)

Roseanne and the gang raise the bar on working class comedy. This year’s traumatic highlights include Roseanne and Jackie finding out that their father's been cheating on their mom, and that their mother is a lesbian! Forget that, best part is that poor D.J. has been placed at the kid’s table alone, where you can see him casting furious glances at the family throughout the episode. We’ve all been there kiddo.

#7: Cliff’s Wet Adventure “The Cosby Show” (1984-1992)

The premise here is simple, yet incredibly funny. Basically, this holiday episode involves a Thanksgiving in which Cliff’s wife sends him to pick up last minute groceries. When he keeps forgetting items, he’s forced to continuously trudge back out into the rain. This only works because of Bill Cosby’s incredible knack for facial expressions and physical comedy. You can’t write stuff like that.

#6: The Mom and Pop Store “Seinfeld” (1989-1998)

This episode of the show about nothing may not have any actual turkey time, but its set at the right time of year so we’re including it anyway. In between George and Kramer’s trouble with Jon Voight and is car, Jerry becomes obsessed with solving a mystery. Namely, why he wasn’t invited to Tim Whatley’s party. When he goes anyways and somehow manages to pop a parade float the answer becomes obvious. And yes, Whatley is Walter White.

#5: Shibboleth “The West Wing” (1999-2006)

Next up is the one entry devoted to a political drama. This one’s punctuated by a compelling hot-potato political topic when Chinese evangelical Christians arrive seeking asylum. Moreover, it has a memorable comedic situation when poor C.J is forced to decide between two Turkey’s, with one becoming the star of the presidential ceremony, and the other getting the axe. But don’t worry, the bird manages a presidential pardon!

#4: Slapsgiving “How I Met Your Mother”

Okay back to pure comedy! Here, the holidays are punctuated by Barney revving in anticipation over the slaps heading his way from Marshall on Thanksgiving, all thanks to a bet. Arriving with gusto during the festivities, it shows that Thanksgiving truly is that magical time of the year! Of course, the show had to bring slapsgiving back, which is awesome.

#3: The One With All The Thanksgivings “Friends” (1994-2004)

In this special holiday episode, the friends bring the turkey at Monica’s apartment, telling stories about their own worst Thanksgiving experiences! These hilarious flashbacks include Pheobe recounting how she lost her arms in a past life, that time Joey got his head stuck in a turkey and how Monica cut off Chandler’s toe.

#2: “Turkey’s Away! “WKRP in Cincinnati' (1978-1982)

Okay this show may be a bit before your time, but this hilarious episode is one you should look up. Here, a rock station decides to create a massive Thanksgiving Day promotion. To the news reporter’s horror, it goes amiss as the helicopter begins dropping live Turkey’s from 2000 feet without parachutes! Thankfully, you don’t see anything, including the ensuing riot, but the play-by-play description is priceless!

#1: “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973)

Taking the top spot is the annual holiday classic! This cartoon special continues to resonate as it captures the meaning of the holidays, complete with Snoopy in costume! Here, Charlie is goaded into whipping up the festivities with few cooking skills. Ultimately the real meaning of the holidays gets through the disappointment and they get their turkey dinner.

Agree with our list? Which thanksgiving episode is your holiday favorite? For more great lists to be thankful for published everyday, be sure to subscribe to

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