15 Thanksgiving Day Episodes To Be Thankful For


By Daniel Ford

Thanksgiving always seemed to bring out the best in the writers of my favorite television shows. All of my top 10 lists for a variety of shows includes at least one Thanksgiving episode.

Here are 15 episodes the Writer’s Bone crew is thankful for. All of us wish you a Happy Thanksgiving that features plenty of wine, food, and novel material!

The One With The Thanksgivings On Thanksgivings

I remember working at ShopRite on the day before Thanksgiving and thinking I’d never love the holiday ever again. Cranky customers, endless lines, and eight hours of standing and bagging were enough to break my typically cheerful demeanor (that cackling you hear is my mother who is surprised to learn I was ever cheerful as a teenager). However, one of the early Thansgiving episodes of “Friends” was playing on the television in the break room. I sat down with my prepackaged turkey sub and laughed at the gang’s football game for the 30 minutes I got to spend outside my own chaotic reality. As Stephanie Schaefer said in her post compiling her favorite “Friends” episode, the show “simply never goes out of style.” That statement is even truer when it comes to their Thanksgiving episodes, which always brought the heart and laughs in equal measure. Of course, we couldn’t choose just one, so…

“I Can’t Pardon A Turkey!”

It’s a well-known fact that I’m a complete homer for “The West Wing.” My younger brother and I would watch multiple seasons during our Thanksgiving breaks when we were in school. One Thanksgiving Day, we resolved to watch the show all night. We hadn’t anticipated how much apple pie we were going to consume, so we didn’t make it much further than an episode and a half. Re-watching the holiday episodes always make me think of him and the amount of time we spent hanging out with the show in the background. The following two scenes never fail to elicit a laugh no matter what kind of day I’m having.

A Side of Slapsgiving

For all the misgivings I have about how the creators of “How I Met Your Motherended the series, I can’t argue with the simple brilliance of “Slapsgiving” and “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap.”

The Thanksgiving of Misfit Toys

The way this scene escalates is brilliant. Diane’s plea for peace is rudely interrupted as expected, and the skirmish turns into outright war. The best part is that the loveable losers end up smiling, laughing, and toasting at the end. Like most episodes, the group learns they are in this life together regardless of what tortured hijinks they inflict on each other. Vera catching a pie in the face in the final scene is nothing short of inspired.   

A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion

As much as I loved the original show, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for this reunion episode of “The Waltons.” It may have had something to do with John Boy becoming a television news anchor.   

A No-Nuclear Family Thanksgiving

Remember family comedies that featured a family that actually liked each other? I’m guessing the “Modern Family” crew would have left their hippy parents in jail for several seasons. I recently watched a few episodes of “Family Ties” and was pleasantly surprised that the acting, writing, and gags hold up rather well. Let that be a lesson to today’s comedies that characters can actually be likeable to attract viewers.  

 All in the Thanksgiving

This is why you don’t talk about religion at Thanksgiving. Or politics. Or anything other than, “Pass the stuffing.”

A Garfield Thanksgiving

Not as good as the Garfield Christmas special, but anything involving everyone’s favorite orange cat and food is well worth a watch.


I forgot how much I enjoyed “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I should phrase that differently. I forgot how much I enjoyed hearing my father’s belly laughs watching this show. Peter Boyle was at his best playing a crotchety old man (also see his performance in “While You Were Sleeping”). If anyone tried to pull this with my family, there would be fatalities (although, we’d probably still choke down the “bird”).  

Cranberry Sauce à la  Bart

You think Sean would let me post this without including a clip from “The Simpsons?” The cranberry sauce sliding out of the can makes me laugh every time.

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