15 Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes, Ranked


No Thanksgiving feast is complete without a side of classic, cozy television.

This holiday long weekend, gather ’round and curl up on the couch for the best Thanksgiving episodes from your favorite shows — past and present!

Check out the roundup of our top 15 best episodes, ranked below.

The O.C.

15. “The Homecoming,” The O.C., Season 1, Episode 11

What’s Thanksgiving without a love triangle? Our favorite SoCal beach drama serves up a love triangle for the ages between Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) dodging suitors Summer (Rachel Bilson) and Anna (Samaire Armstong) between helping cook dinner. Available to stream on Hulu.

New Girl

14. “Parents,” New Girl, Season 2, Episode 8

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) tries to reunite her divorced parents á la Parent Trap style for a true family dinner. With Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner guest starring as Jess’s parents, and Justin Long as Jess’s coworker love interest, the star-studded episode is jam-packed with jokes and heartfelt moments. Available to stream on Netflix.

Modern Family

13. “Phil’s Sexy, Sexy House,” Modern Family, Season 7, Episode 7

Real estate agent Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) has a new “sexy” house as a listing, and the whole family tries to break in to have intimate rendez-vouses post-Thanksgiving dinner. The comedy of errors reveals a surprise trip to Miami while Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Andy (Adam Devine) finally share a kiss. Available to stream on Hulu.


12. “Auntsgiving,” Black-ish, Season 3, Episode 7

Pop’s (Laurence Fishburne) older sister Almaviligerais (Lorraine Toussaint) — a.k.a. Aunt A.V. — clashes with matriarch Ruby (Jenifer Lewis), while Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) revels in her pregnancy. The family drama and layered history between Aunt A.V. and Ruby is relatable and ultimately diffused by the Thanksgiving meal. Available to stream on Hulu.


11. “Thanksgiving Orphans,” Cheers, Season 5, Episode 9

Sometimes holidays are spent where “everyone knows your name.” In the case of the core bar patrons on Cheers, family really is what you make it. Throw in a good old fashioned food fight, and this bittersweet episode is a deeper take on thankfulness. Available to stream on Netflix.

The Sopranos

10. “He Is Risen,” The Sopranos, Season 3, Episode 8

This critically-acclaimed episode marks Tony (James Gandolfini) meeting future mistress and Mercedes-Benz saleswoman Gloria (Annabella Sciorra), as well as a tension-fueled Sopranos family dinner. Available to stream on HBO Go.

Bob's Burgers

9. “The Quirk-ducers,” Bob’s Burgers, Season 7, Episode 6

Tina Belcher makes her middle school stage debut in erotic fiction musical “The Quirky Turkey.” Intrigued yet? Between catchy musical numbers and classic Belcher family mishaps, this Thanksgiving episode will put the kick in your cranberry sauce. Available to stream on Hulu.

How I Met Your Mother

8. “Slapsgiving,” How I Met Your Mother, Season 3, Episode 9

While Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) attempt at being “just friends” post-breakup, Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) celebrate their first Thanksgiving as a married couple during the annual gang’s slapfest. Every Thanksgiving meal needs a side of the legendary Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and his quips! Available to stream on Hulu.


7. “The Apparent Trap,” Frasier, Season 7, Episode 9

Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) hosts ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) and their son, Frederick (Trevor Einhorn), in Seattle, only to discover that Frederick has planned for his parents to get back together. The episode spurs an honest discussion about what it means to co-parent, and Lilith and Frasier reach a level of “conscious uncoupling” far before Gwyneth Paltrow made the term famous. Available to stream on Netflix.


6. “The One With All the Thanksgivings,” Friends, Season 5, Episode 8

This iconic episode — everyone has seen the turkey on Monica’s (Courtney Cox) face — still feels as comforting as a homecooked meal, complete with a family football game and Phoebe’s (Lisa Kudrow) past life flashbacks. Available to stream on Netflix.

Master of None

5. “Thanksgiving,” Master of None, Season 2, Episode 9

This Emmy Award-winning episode looks back on Denise’s (Lena Waithe) memorable Thanksgivings from childhood through adulthood, including her coming out. The touching episode powerfully discusses modern politics, identity, and self-acceptance, reminding us all to be thankful for who we are. Available to stream on Netflix.

This Is Us

4. “Pilgrim Rick,” This Is Us, Season 1, Episode 8

The first season of This Is Us is full of some of the best tearjerker episodes in television. This look at the Pearson family’s childhood Thanksgiving with lovable father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) saving the day with his Pilgrim Rick alter ego is an emotional reminder that no matter how wrong a day goes, the love of family remains the true meaning of the holiday. Present day, the Big Three still watch Police Academy 3 in honor of their father and that Thanksgiving gone awry. Available to stream on Hulu.

South Park
Comedy Central

3. “A History Channel Thanksgiving,” South Park, Season 15, Episode 13

South Park is a king of holiday episodes (“Red Sleigh Down” is a masterpiece), and “A History Channel Thanksgiving” is no exception. Cue ghost alien conspiracy theories, an apocalyptic stuffing shortage, and Kyle as a DeVry University “Professor of Thanksgiving” specialist, and this episode will make you laugh off any Thanksgiving feast calories. Available to stream on Hulu.

Gilmore Girls

2. “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” Gilmore Girls, Season 3, Episode 9

The cuddle-friendly Gilmore Girls shares an array of Stars Hollow Thanksgiving traditions, with Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) traveling to four different Thanksgiving celebrations to spread festive joy with their chosen family. Complete with the whimsical picture-perfect autumnal town, this mother-daughter bond is one that reminds us how thankful to be for this season of giving. Available to stream on Netflix.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Amazon Prime Video

1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

This classic holiday special pairs Peppermint Patty and the gang with the generous Charlie Brown. While Patty criticizes “Chuck’s” lack of meal preparation, Snoopy and Woodstock dine on a full turkey spread. As usual, the classic Charlie Brown tale spreads festive cheer! Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.