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10 Thanksgiving TV episodes to stuff you full of Thanksgiving spirit

NEW GIRL:  Jess (Zooey Deschanel) dresses up for her school Thanksgiving festival in the "Thanksgiving" episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, Nov. 15 (9:01-9:31 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Greg Gayne/FOX
NEW GIRL: Jess (Zooey Deschanel) dresses up for her school Thanksgiving festival in the "Thanksgiving" episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, Nov. 15 (9:01-9:31 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

Nothing says Thanksgiving like family, friends, and good food to fill the soul. What better way to enjoy this time of year, than with some classic and new Thanksgiving television specials? Here are 10 Thanksgiving-themed episodes that will get you and your family in the holiday spirit.

1.)   'Full House’ – Season 1, Episode 9: “The Miracle of Thanksgiving'

Full House had many Thanksgiving episodes throughout the course of its eight-season run, but “The Miracle of Thanksgiving" marked the show’s first Thanksgiving episode. Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and his family are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time since the passing of his wife, Pam. So, when Joey (Dave Coulier), and Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) try to make reservations at a restaurant, D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) wants to have Thanksgiving at the house and decides to cook Thanksgiving Dinner, in honor of her mother. This episode speaks volumes about the meaning of  Thanksgiving: being thankful for what you have and keeping those whom you’ve lost in your heart in mind. 

2.)   'Fuller House’ – Season 5, Episode 12: “Cold Turkey'

The Full House spin-off, Fuller House, ran on Netflix for five seasons and had two episodes themed around Thanksgiving. In this episode, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) oversees cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the family, and D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) is determined to keep some family traditions. Danny (Bob Saget), Joey (Dave Coulier), and Jesse (John Stamos) are trapped inside a freezer while picking up a turkey. This episode also gives us a flashback of when Stephanie got into Joey’s red car and drove it into the kitchen when she was little. Fuller House has always been a family-friendly show, and this episode is no different. 

3.)   ‘Friends’ – Season 5, Episode 8: “The One with Thanksgiving Flashbacks'

This episode of Friends is an enjoyable flashback into Thanksgiving's past. The gang gathers together for Thanksgiving and shares stories of the worst Thanksgiving dinners they’ve ever had. Chandler (Matthew Perry) details his parent’s divorce, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) almost lost her arms when she was a nurse during the American Civil War, and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) tells of when he got his head stuck in a turkey. Who can forget that iconic moment? Memes of this moment litter the internet at this time of year. 

4.)   'Bob’s Burgers’ – Season 4, Episode 5: 'Turkey in A Can'

This Thanksgiving, Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) sets out to ensure that his family has a great Thanksgiving by cooking up not one, but two turkeys. However, when Bob finds out that at least one of the turkeys he had cooked was flushed down the toilet, his daughter Louise (Kristen Schaal) sets out to find the person responsible. With the Belcher family up to their usual antics, it’s nice to watch a funny dysfunctional family on the TV rather than those that might take place during your own Thanksgiving festivities. 

5.)   ‘Family Guy’ – Season 10, Episode 6: 'Thanksgiving'

Family Guy has many Thanksgiving episodes, but this one stands out. Joe (Patrick Warburton) and Bonnie Swanson’s (Jennifer Tilly) eldest son, Kevin Swanson (Scott Grimes) comes back home from the war, but it’s not the epic family reunion that people might expect. This episode at the Griffin’s is mixed with classic Family Guy humor and some heartfelt moments. 

6.)   'New Girl’ – Season 3, Episode 10: 'Thanksgiving III'

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and the gang have had many adventures when it comes to Thanksgiving, but this time, they are hitting the ground running, literally. This Thanksgiving, Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) suggests to Jess to embrace the “liveliness of manhood” and go camping in the woods to empathize with the pilgrims of the First Thanksgiving, hunting their own food and living off the land. But things don’t go according to plan as this quirky group of friends tries to survive another Thanksgiving together. The episode is full of laughs and is the ultimate Friendsgiving watch. 

7.)   'Modern Family’ – Season 6, Episode 8: 'Three Turkeys'

In this episode, the Pritchetts and Dunphys run into a fair share of Thanksgiving disasters. Phil (Ty Burrell) and Luke (Nolan Gould) attempt to cook the Thanksgiving dinner this year for the family. Claire (Julie Bowen) wants to have a backup dinner in case Phil’s dinner doesn’t turn out well for the family. Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and Jay (Ed O’Neill) planned to go out of town for Thanksgiving when their flight gets canceled. To top it all off, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell’s (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) adopted daughter, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) doesn’t want to wear a nice dress to Thanksgiving dinner. The two families come together for an unconventional and hysterical Thanksgiving. 

8.)   'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ – Season 1, Episode 12: 'Talking Turkey'

Taking a cab down to Bel-Air this Thanksgiving? Now, this is a story all about how Will’s (Will Smith) mother, Vy (Vernee Watson), who comes down to the Banks estate for Thanksgiving only to notice something has changed. She thinks that her son has become a tad bit spoiled, and she proceeds to tell Vivian (Janet Hubert) she thinks that her kids are spoiled too. Vy then pushes her family to cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner to teach them a lesson about structure and gratitude. This episode teaches us about the importance of family and gratitude during the holiday season.  

9.)   'This Is Us’ – Season 3, Episode 8: 'Six Thanksgivings'

If you are looking for something truly heartfelt and emotional this Thanksgiving, This Is Us will give you just that. In this episode, the Pearson family shares stories about how each family tradition came to be. But then the drama kicks up when the three kids Rebecca (Mandy Moore), Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), and the rest of the family decide to spend Thanksgiving with Miguel (Jon Huertas). The flashback moments, emotional and hard conversations, and heartfelt moments make this a great episode about the meaning of Thanksgiving. 

10.)   ‘A Different World’ – Season 6, Episode 10: 'Faith, Hope, and Charity: Part 2'

Things aren’t exactly looking up at Wayne’s house for Thanksgiving when the in-laws come to visit. A few months after their surprise wedding, Dwayne (Kadeem Hardison) and Whitley’s (Jasmine Guy) mothers, Adele (Patti LaBelle) and Marion (Diahann Carroll) are coming to spend Thanksgiving at their house. But the mothers aren’t exactly fond of each other. This Thanksgiving both Dwayne and Whitley try to get their mothers to reconcile, inviting them to a restaurant in the hopes that they will share a meaningful exchange before the holiday is over. This episode shows that sometimes families bicker and have their disagreements, but at the end of the day, it’s about putting their differences aside and just agreeing to disagree. The episode reminds us that family and happiness are what matters most at the end of the day. 

Featured Image: Paste Magazine


Contact Keeona Stewart with comments at krstewart@bsu.edu, @dance11keeona on Twitter, or @dance11keeona on Instagram.