7 Perfect Thanksgiving Episodes from ‘Friends’ to ‘Gilmore Girls’ to Watch This Weekend

Published 11/23/2023, 10:26 AM EST

via Imago

With Thanksgiving celebrations being so close to the end of the week, what better way to keep the festive mood going than by celebrating with your favorite television shows? While everyone’s choices vary, there are the perfect Thanksgiving-themed episodes for everyone. Apart from bringing families and friends together, they highlight heartwarming moments and can also bring some warmth and laughter into the holiday weekend.

From iconic sitcoms like Friends to even Gilmore Girls, these episodes can stir feelings of gratitude and show the importance of a family, be it blood or a chosen bond.

7 perfect Thanksgiving sitcom episodes

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As you gather with family and friends this holiday weekend, it will be the perfect chance to immerse yourself in the cozy charm of episodes from beloved TV shows. From the competitive streaks of Ross and Monica to the slap bet between Marshall and Barney Stinson, here are seven perfect Thanksgiving episodes that add a touch of nostalgia and joy to the day.

Friends – The One With the Football (Season 3, Episode 9)

In 1996, the NBC sitcom Friends came out with its third and one of its best Thanksgiving episodes. The episode gave fans the perfect mix of humor and some sibling rivalry. It all begins with the group deciding to take part in what they believe is an innocent game of football. With Monica kicking things off, instead of taking over her kitchen as usual, the whole thing spirals into utter chaos when Ross and his sister’s rivalry and competitive spirit shine through.

While they have brought back their childhood Geller Cup, the rest of the cast did not seem very enthralled in the game. Thankfully, after Monica and Ross get into their own version of a standoff, the rest of the Friends group, Joey, Pheobe, Rachel, and even Chandler end up heading back upstairs to get themselves some food for the night.

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Although the episode may be only half an hour long, it is sure to leave its audience howling with laughter by the time it ends.

Gilmore Girls – A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving (Season 3, Episode 9)

In 2003, Gilmore Girls’ Thanksgiving episode tackled the struggles of having too many engagements on the holiday. While anyone know has watched it knew that Lorelai’s mother expected her to show up for dinner with Rory, she was not the only one. In the ninth episode of the third season, the lead character tries to find a way to juggle four different dinners in one night.

Apart from her parents, the mother-daughter duo were expected to celebrate the festivities with Lane, Sookie, and even Luke. While the whole air of Stars Hollow seemed calm, only viewers could see just how flustered and full Lauren Graham’s character was getting. While their juggling plans eventually get foiled, watching them try to please everyone does come off pretty hilariously.

How I Met Your Mother – Slapsgiving (Season 3, Episode 9)

On a traditional night for the How I Met Your Mother gang, all five characters would wind up at MacLaren’s Pub. However, with it being Lily and Marshall’s first Thanksgiving as man and wife, they decide to have a proper sit-down dinner. While all of them seem to be caught up in the festivities, Barney seems to be the most anxious out of them all. That is because Marshall has scaring him with the possibility of the third slap from their infamous slapbet.

The episode is filled with a lot of laughter and quite some crying for Neil Patrick Harris’ character. However, it is the perfect one to watch with your friends and have a few laughs over. With the tension between Ted and Robin, Lily’s obsession with being perfect, and Barney and Marshall’s friendly fire, it makes for the perfect watch on literally any day.

Modern Family – The Last Thanksgiving (Season 11, Episode 7)

If this is the one you pick, be sure to get the tissues ready. Throughout the years, the world watched and grew along with the Modern Family cast. That is why this episode ended up leaving everyone in tears. With the title of the episode giving away the fact that it would be their last, fans could watch the creators tie up any loose ends that they had left.

From Phil Dunphy’s relationship with his father-in-law, Jay Pritchet finally coming full circle to Dylan marrying Haley and having twins, the episode is filled with heartwarming family-friendly moments. While there is always some drama with Cam and Mitchell, the gay dads find themselves caught up in a divorce rumor that they have to set straight.

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Although the episode is absolutely brilliant, it is probably one of the most underrated ones as Millie Bobby Brown starred in another episode.

This Is Us – Six Thanksgivings (Season 3, Episode 8)

This Is Us has never had an extremely happy storyline. However, one thing that the show managed to nail was the emotionally charged characters and plots. One of those episodes was Six Thanksgivings. It took audiences on a journey of the Pearson family dinners from 1970 to the present. While it may have been hard to watch at times, the episode portrayed the dynamic between Kevin, Kate, and Randall perfectly.

While viewers could watch as the three grew up and developed their tight bond, it also unraveled the challenges that they faced when they were growing up. Although there is a hint of humor in the conversation now and then, the episode focuses on reflecting on the past and learning to grow past the struggles.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Mr. Santiago (Season 4, Episode 7)

Over the years, fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have fallen in love with Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta’s relationship. In this episode, the world got to see them take it to the next level. In an attempt to finally meet his girlfriend’s father, Adam Samberg’s character ends up hosting a Thanksgiving dinner along with her. While the entire precinct seems to be running around to set up for the dinner, Jake and Mr. Santiago take off on their own investigation.

While he manages to bond with his future father-in-law, the episode has a hint of nostalgia as the series’ first Thanksgiving episode followed a similar storyline. However, the highlights of this episode are watching the cast be chased around an apartment by a Turkey and watching Captain Holt and Pimento go off on a side quest at a dog show.

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While the episode is a little reminiscent of an older, simpler time, it still has the perfect mix of thrill, romance, humor, and adorable animals.

The Office – WUPHF.com (Season 7, Episode 9)

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Over the years, there has been one sitcom that fans have not been able to let go of. Whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying that the characters of The Office do an absolutely brilliant job. Although there is no official Thanksgiving episode for the series, WUPHF.com, unofficially took over that title. While Steve Carrel’s Michael Scott is busy trying to find people to invest in an internet company, Dwight seems to have other plans.

Although the festivities have not yet kicked off in the Dunder Mifflin office, Schrut tries to find ways to erase some of his childhood trauma. He ends up starting a hay festival in the parking lot, just so he can finally be crowned the king. While his co-workers, Pam and Jim help him reach that goal, his competitive spirit steals the show.

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Which Thanksgiving sitcom episode do you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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Prathika Prashant

778 articles

Prathika Prashant is an Entertainment Writer and Hollywood News Reporter at Netflix Junkie. Having 150+ articles to her name, her EdTech background helped her explore her love for writing. However, being a singer who can be seen covering her favorite songs in her free time is what truly got her into the glittery world of entertainment.

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