One of my favorite holiday traditions, whether that holiday is Halloween, Christmas, or Yom Kippur, is to collect a playlist of holiday-themed episodes from my favorite TV shows. There are dozens of episodes of American television that center around the harvest festival we affectionately refer to as ‘Thanksgiving,’ or, as Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer refers to it, “A ritual sacrifice. With pie.” There are lists all over the internet, and I could just marathon Friends episodes, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites anyway:
1. Friends – “The One With the Football”
It’s really tough to pick just one Thanksgiving episode. Honorable mentions go to “The One With Chandler in a Box,” “The One With All the Thanksgivings,” “The One Where Ross Got High,” and “The One With the Rumor” featuring the former Mr. Aniston. This one wins because of the competition for the Gellar Cup, Rachel ‘going long,’ and Phoebe’s flashing tactics.
2. How I Met Your Mother – “Slapsgiving”
The return of Slap Bet features Marshall setting Barney up with some extra-special mental torture while Ted and Robin are forced to spend time alone for the first time since their break-up. I love any of the episodes with the slap bet, and I like the addition of Robin’s older boyfriend ‘Bob,’ whom Ted envisions as a geriatric for the entirety of the episode.
3. Gilmore Girls – “Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving”
This episode of classic television sees the titular ladies obligated to attend four different Thanksgiving celebrations, including the aforementioned Korean celebration, one with a deep-fried turkey, one at Luke’s, and one with the senior Gilmores. Multiple turkeys = hilarity.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Pangs”
The Scoobies attempt to celebrate Thanksgiving at Giles’ house, but are attacked by the spirits of recently disturbed Chumash warriors, and Xander gets syphilis. Buffy really gets what Thanksgiving is all about.
5. Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Leftovers”
Chuck has had a couple of good Thanksgiving eps, but this episode, which features a belated Turkey Day celebration, is notable for Timothy Dalton’s performance as Alexei Volkoff, who basically takes the holiday hostage unbeknownst to half the guests. Also, he plays charades.
Special mention should go to this year’s Modern Family Thanksgiving episode. In a world of dreamers and Pritchetts, I’m afraid I’m a Pritchett. But even Pritchetts can enjoy a pumpkin in a catapult.
Happy Harvest Festival!