Lifestyle

Thanksgiving themed episodes from popular TV shows to watch on turkey day

The week of Thanksgiving is officially the start of indulging in a ton of homemade food, quality time with family and friends, and re-runs of favorite TV shows. As it gets colder outside, nothing sounds better than a nice cup of hot cocoa and hilarious, heartfelt, all too realistic Thanksgiving episodes from our favorite sitcoms.

Popular TV shows have a knack for deep diving into the reality of the holiday season with big families and lots of friends. We’ve put together a list of the best Thanksgiving themed TV episodes for you to watch as you cozy up on the couch and wait for the turkey to perfectly roast.

Here is a list of shows with the most-watched Thanksgiving Day episodes ever.

  • Friends
  • Seinfeld
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Sopranos
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • New Girl
  • Modern Family
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • That ’70s Show
  • Full House
  • Roseanne
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Cheers
  • This Is Us
  • House

SERVE THESE THANKSGIVING SIDE DISHES ON THE BIG DAY

“Friends”

“The One Where Underdog Gets Away” – Season 1, Episode 9

In typical Monica fashion, she hosts Thanksgiving dinner for the group of friends, but she burns the turkey when the gang heads to the rooftop and gets locked out of the apartment. Joey lands a hilarious modeling job.

“The One with the List” – Season 2, Episode 8

It’s the eighth episode of the second season, with Ross teaming with Chandler and Joey to decide which of the two women in his life – including Rachel – he should ultimately be with. Meanwhile, Monica battles with a synthetic chocolate substitute after getting a new job, Phoebe writes a song about Ross’ love triangle and Rachel finds out about the list of pros and cons, putting their future together on thin ice.

“The One with the Football” – Season 3, Episode 9

When the gang finishes watching a football game, they decide to have a fun pick-up game outside. However, Monica and Ross explain that they haven’t played football together since Monica broke her brother’s nose several years ago while competing for the “Geller Cup.” Before long, the entire “Friends” group finds themselves swept up in the competition and taking the game more seriously than even the desire to sit down and have a nice meal. If you’re a family full of stubborn football fans, you’ll relate to this episode.

The “Friends” sitcom covered multiple Thanksgiving celebrations throughout the years.
(NBCU Photo)

“The One with Chandler in a Box” – Season 4, Episode 8

Joey and Chandler fight through the biggest rift their relationship has ever seen, Monica’s accident forces her to confront her hardest breakup in the weirdest way, and Ross and Rachel have another big fight. When it’s over, the holiday proves a unifying boon to their friendship.

“The One with All the Thanksgivings” – Season 5, Episode 8

In this episode, the gang enjoys a wonderful dinner together but sulks at the memories of their previous Thanksgiving dinners that weren’t as nice. Chandler, especially, is in a mood from remembering his parents’ divorce years prior.

“The One Where Ross got High” – Season 6, Episode 9

For Thanksgiving, Rachel decides she’s going to be in charge of dessert. She creates a monstrosity of a sweet dish when pages of a cookbook are stuck together.

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“The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” – Season 7, Episode 8

Phoebe is hiding a dog, Joey spills the beans that Rachel is crushing on Tag, Tag chases after his car that’s being stolen, and so much more happened during this Thanksgiving episode.

“The One with the Rumor” – Season 8, Episode 9

Jennifer Aniston’s ex-husband Brad Pitt is hilariously featured in this Thanksgiving Day episode as an old high-school friend who doesn’t like Rachel, nor did he ever. He and Ross reveal they were once part of the “I Hate Rachel” club back in the day.

“The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” – Season 9, Episode 8

Rachel’s other sister is played by none other than the wonderful Christina Applegate. She is seriously unlikable in this episode, though, as she doesn’t remember Rachel’s baby’s name and refers to Ross as Rachel’s “fat friend’s brother with that bad afro.”

“The One with the Late Thanksgiving” – Season 10, Episode 8

Monica hysterically competes with herself in this episode to make the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner after not wanting to cook the meal at all. Phoebe and Rachel enter Emma in a beauty contest and Joey makes a huge, huge mess.

“Seinfeld”

“The Mom and Pop Store” – Season 6, Episode 8

Jerry tries to figure out whether he’s been invited to a friend’s annual pre-Thanksgiving party, Kramer works to save a small business, and Elaine enables Mr. Pitt to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“The Big Bang Theory”

“The Thanksgiving Decoupling” – Season 7, episode 9

In this episode, Penny finds out her Las Vegas wedding to Zack was real and they’ve been married for years now. Leonard is unhappy with this and Mr. Rostenkowski attempts to bond with Sheldon over football. The crew gathers at Howard’s mom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.

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“How I Met Your Mother”

“Belly Full of Turkey” – Season 1, Episode 9

Barney is volunteering at a homeless refuge in this episode – yes, you read that right! And Robin and Ted are shocked to run into him there. Marshall and Lily attend Thanksgiving dinner at his parent’s home, where Lily finds out the eldest Eriksen was nearly 15 pounds at birth, which terrifies her.

“Slapsgiving” – Season 3, Episode 9

Lily and Marshall host their first holiday as a married couple, while Robin and Ted try to get over their breakup and stay friends. Meanwhile, Marshall is torturing Barney over the third slap in their ongoing bet. While everyone is frantic trying to ensure that the holiday meets their perfect standards, they soon realize that the only traditions that matter are the ones that are unique to them as a group. This one is worth the watch if for no other reason than the toe-tapping song “You Just Got Slapped” that bonds the gang together in the end.

“The Sopranos”

“He Is Risen” – Season 3, Episode 8

In this episode, Tony meets saleswoman Gloria Trillo, who he later dates for a short time. A relationship begins between Meadow and Jackie Jr., and Rosalie is thrilled about it. Tensions are high between Ralphie and Tony.

"The Sopranos" had one Thanksgiving Day episode filled with drama.

“The Sopranos” had one Thanksgiving Day episode filled with drama.
(Anthony Neste/Getty Images)

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

“Thanksgiving” – Season 1, Episode 10

In its first Thanksgiving episode of the series, Amy tries to make the newly-instated Capt. Holt her mentor with a lavish celebration. Jake, however, hates the holiday due to some deep-seated issues with his own family. He asks Holt if he can work a case and lucks out when both he and Holt are called away to investigate money being stolen from the precinct. While they chase the bad guys, Holt manages to teach Jake that family doesn’t have to be a thing that you’re burdened with, but rather something you can choose for yourself. In the end, the precinct bonds over a very non-traditional meal side-by-side with the people they’ve chosen to love.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Two Turkeys” – Season 5, Episode 7

Jake and Amy invite their families over to use Thanksgiving as a chance for their parents to get to know one another and bond. Holt’s pie goes missing, Amy insults Jake’s dad, and more drama takes place. The search for the pie is the most entertaining part of this episode!

“Gilmore Girls”

“A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” – Season 3, Episode 9

In this episode, Lorelai finds out Rory applied to Yale while at Emily and Richard’s for one of their Thanksgiving Day stops. The mother-daughter duo also pop into Mrs. Kim’s holiday meal, visit Luke’s Diner for an extra helping of mashed potatoes, and stop for a short time at Sookie’s, where Jackson and family are frying turkey on the lawn. Later, Sookie is seen knee-deep in margaritas and unbothered by the food fiascos taking place.

“He’s Slippin’ ‘Em Bread … Dig?” – Season 6, Episode 10

Rory recently decided to head back to Yale after some time off and an unfortunate incident with a yacht that got her a ton of community service. In this episode, Luke still hasn’t told Lorelai he found out he has a kid – a 12-year-old named April – and Rory discovers that Logan assumes they’ve broken up.

“Full House”

“The Miracle of Thanksgiving” – Season 1, Episode 9

In his first Thanksgiving with the girls after his wife’s death, Danny is determined to make the day special. However, when Grandma is unable to come cook the meal like usual due to a snowstorm, the boys band together to ensure that the girls have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Unfortunately, their plan doesn’t exactly go according to plan. However, the Tanners eventually learn that there’s nothing that can’t be fixed as long as they’re all together and trying their best.

"Full House" covered Thanksgiving Day in a heart-warming way.

“Full House” covered Thanksgiving Day in a heart-warming way.
(American Broadcasting Companies)

“Roseanne”

“We Gather Together” – Season 2, Episode 9

“We Gather Together” captures the pain, heartache and, at times, laughs that can come with out-of-town visitors. As Jackie hides her occupation as a police officer from her mother and Roseanne tries to get their parents to stay at a motel, Dan deals with real issues while confronting his father. While it may sound like a high-stress installment in the series, it captures the holiday in a rare blend of comedy and drama.

“Everybody Loves Raymond”

“No Fat” – Season 3, Episode 10

The family tries to humor Marie as she cooks a healthy Thanksgiving meal, complete with a tofu turkey. Needless to say, no one is into it, prompting one of the best physical comedy moments in which Robert smacks his leg on the table in an effort to force the food down his throat. No matter how awful your meal was, odds are good it still contained something better than Marie’s.

“Cheers”

“Thanksgiving Orphans” – Season 5, Episode 9

The gang from the bar finds themselves celebrating at Carla’s house. Although they typically bicker and gripe within the dreary confines of Cheers, moving to a more family-friendly setting pushes them over the edge. Once they fail to make a proper dinner, the gang settles their differences with a good old-fashioned food fight that bonds them better than a well-cooked bird ever could.

“House”

“Ignorance is Bliss” – Season 6, Episode 9

On the day before Thanksgiving, House investigates a case of a superiorly intelligent man with an IQ of 178. House tries to break up Lucas and Cuddy and Chase punches House in the face.