Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Best TV episodes to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit



As we prepare to head home for this Thanksgiving holiday, many of us are excited to spend time with our loved ones, take time off of school, stuff our faces with turkey and (fingers crossed) watch the Ducks beat the Beavers in the 120th Civil War game. For others, the holiday season isn’t always something to look forward to. If you’re one of those people who needs a little extra kick to get into the festive season, take a look at the list of the Emerald staff’s favorite Thanksgiving themed TV episodes. After watching a few of these, you’ll be headed to the kitchen to help your grandma bake pie.

5.) “My Day Off”

Scrubs (Season 1, Ep. 9)

Like most Scrubs episodes, the characters deal with their own personal issues that all connect to an overlying theme or concept that JD ties to an important life lesson at the end. While stuck at the hospital on Thanksgiving, JD and Turk’s friendship is called into question when JD decides that he doesn’t want Turk to operate on his appendicitis.

Dr. Cox deals with trying to impress his former mentor while fighting off his current boss. After giving JD a rough physical, Elliot attempts to learn better bedside manner by sympathizing with her patients. Along with featuring a hilarious string of Fat Albert cutaways, this episode explores the differences and similarities of the dynamics within families at home and families at the workplace.

4.) “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap”

How I Met Your Mother (Season 5, Ep. 9)

Two years after the first “Slapsgiving,” Marshal gifts one of his remaining slaps — which he won in a previous bet with Barney — to Robin and Ted. Lily’s father shows up to Thanksgiving dinner after Marshal invites him in secret, despite the fact that Lily gave him the “you’re dead to me” look several years earlier.

Later realizing that life is far too short to hold grudges, Lily decides to forgive her father and invite him to dinner. After a comically drawn out scene in which the gang tries to decide who should to slap Barney, Marshal gets him when he’s least expecting it.

3.) “The One With All The Thanksgivings”

Friends (Season 5, Ep. 8)

After devouring another one of Monica’s famous holiday dinners, the group tells tales of past Thanksgivings that went awry, including the time Joey accidentally got an entire turkey stuck while trying to play a practical joke on the rest of the gang. Later, Monica begrudgingly tells the story of when she first met Chandler. After overhearing Chandler refer to her as Ross’s “Fat Sister” during Thanksgiving break of 1987, she sets out to get back at him.

Several years later, Monica—having lost a significant amount of weight—begins to flirt with Chandler. It’s all fun and games until she accidentally drops a knife and severs his toe. Learning this story for the first time, Chandler becomes increasingly upset, forcing Monica to pull out all the stops to help cheer him up.

2.) “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs”

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Season 9, Ep. 10)

The gang decides they have to take action after realizing that the grudges they hold with their associates is preventing them from being able to rent movies and go to their favorite restaurants. In order to bury the hatchet, they decide to host a Thanksgiving dinner and invite everyone who they have bad blood with.

This episode features a variety of fan favorite guest stars who are recurring characters from the show, including the McPoyle twins, Rickety Cricket and Gail the Snail. The gang selfishly uses the holiday spirit of forgiveness in order to clean the slate and get what they want from their friends. If there is any lesson to be learned from this episode, it’s that this holiday season we should all be extra careful not to make the same self-centered mistakes.

1.) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

Regardless of age, this holiday special reminds almost everyone of their childhood Thanksgivings. It opens with the famous scene in which Lucy pulls the football out from under Charlie Brown after convincing him that she would never do such a thing. After Peppermint Patty invites herself and the rest of her friends over to Charlie Brown’s house for dinner, he has to scramble to put together a last minute Thanksgiving dinner with only the help of Snoopy and Woodstock.

Later realizing that she had been extremely rude to him, Peppermint Patty apologizes to Charlie Brown and they enjoy dinner together at his grandmother’s house. Holiday specials like this are reminiscent of childhood lessons of forgiveness and selflessness, which we often forget to practice as adults. This holiday season we should all be reminded that we are never too old to be kind to each other.


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Zach Price

Zach Price

Zach Price is the Editor in Chief of the Emerald. He likes to write about music and watch Trail Blazer games.

Reach Zach at [email protected]