Unlike Halloween and Christmas, Thanskgiving sort of gets short-shrift in terms of themed episodes on American TV. Oh, there have definitely been more than a few installments over the medium’s nearly hundred year history, but the holiday doesn’t really get annual episodes devoted to it in abundance. With a couple of exceptions (which are represented below), Thanksgiving simply doesn’t register as highly on writers’ and showrunners’ radars, which is sort of odd since more people in this country probably celebrate Turkey Day than celebrate Halloween or Christmas (whether they like it or not) — due to religiosity or being crumb bums.
Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s just because the type of drama and/or comedy that can occur on Thanksgiving is fairly universal and everyone’s seen and experienced some version of it already, and it’s one of the rare times when TV land doesn’t want to capitalize on the universality of a subject: Mad dash for the turkey, cranberry sauce everywhere, political arguments with family members, grandpa asleep on the recliner, football. Then again, basically none of the below entries really deal with any of that…
In any case, because of the relative dearth of Thanksgiving-themed entertainment, let us give thanks for those television episodes that do the holiday justice. There are plenty I’ve missed that you’ll probably think I should have included — “The West Wing,” “The Sopranos,” and “Gilmore Girls” come to mind — but these are the ones that I am most thankful for. Feel free to add your own in the comments, just try not to get gravy all over the place.
Without further ado… my Top Five Television Episodes That Celebrate Thanksgiving:
“Seinfeld” - The Mom and Pop Store
The One With The Football* The One With All The Thanksgivings
* No suitable/embedabble video could be found, sadly.
“South Park” - Helen Keller
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” - Pangs
“How I Met Your Mother” - Slapsgiving
Honorable Mention For Being The First Thanksgiving Episode I Remember Watching That Wasn’t A Charlie Brown Special
“The Simpsons” - Bart vs. Thanksgiving
Honorable Mention For Reminding Us That We Should Be Thankful For Some Performers Before They Become Talentless Hacks
“Saturday Night Live” - Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song
Happy Turkey Day, everyone! :gobble gobble gobble:
Rob Payne writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force and tweets on the Twitter himself @RobOfWar. He wishes to thank The Daily Beast for providing a central locale for most of the videos above, even though he kind of hates that site — excepting Andrew Sullivan, natch. (Don’t forget to fight cancer here and fight poverty here!)