Thanksgiving is a holiday for eating together, giving thanks, and, inevitably, sprawling out in front of the television. There’s only so much talking to family a person can do. And while parades, dog shows, and the Detroit Lions will likely round out your T-Day lineup, it’s always nice to get into the Thanksgiving spirit before the house is filled with the smell of roasted turkey and your Aunt’s perfume.
And one way to do that: Queue up a few Thanksgiving Day episodes from old sitcoms and television shows. Who had more hilarious and dysfunctional Thanksgivings than the crews from Friends or Cheers or the Simpsons? Nobody. And the best part, they’re all available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon right now. Or, next Thursday, when the Lions are getting beat and nobody wants to talk anymore.
Cheers – “Thanksgiving Orphans”
Carla invites the gang over for a Thanksgiving potluck that quickly goes awry. Diane arrives dressed as a pilgrim, the turkey is undercooked, and the day culminates in an unforgettable food fight.
Watch it on: Peacock
Peanuts – “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
The classic Peanuts special tells the story of Charlie’s attempt to host a memorable Thanksgiving dinner for Peppermint Patty. Every scene from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an absolute gem. From Lucy pulling the football out on Charlie to Linus’ Thanksgiving prayer, to Snoopy and Woodstock digging into their pumpkin pie ⏤ Thanksgiving never felt so right.
All the Peanuts holiday specials are now only streaming on Apple TV+, however, there is a free window and a limited time this special will air on PBS. On Sunday, November 22nd to be exact.
Friends – “The One with All the Thanksgivings”
Picking the best Friends Thanksgiving episode is like picking your favorite child: difficult but doable. “The One with All the Thanksgivings” hits all of the essential Friends high notes. In it, the main characters all share their worst Thanksgivings, including Chandler learning about his parents’ divorce, Joey getting his head stuck in a turkey, Ross sporting a ridiculous mustache ⏤ it’s got it all.
Watch it on: Peacock.
How I Met Your Mother – “Belly Full of Turkey”
How I Met Your Mother put out a few fantastic Thanksgiving episodes over the course of its 9-season run, but Season 1’s “Belly Full of Turkey” takes top billing. Marshall and Lily visit his family in Minnesota and have a pregnancy scare. Meanwhile, Robin and Ted decide to volunteer at a soup kitchen, only to find out that Barney’s already there.
Watch it on: Hulu/Amazon Video
Bob’s Burgers – “Turkey in a Can”
In this Bob’s Burgers‘ Thanksgiving Special, the Belchers deal with a turkey saboteur who keeps dumping the birds in the toilet every night. Bob is forced to devise a new plan to keep the turkeys safe and catch the culprit in the act. Meanwhile, Tina does her best to appear adult enough to ditch the kid’s table.
Watch it on: Hulu
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – “The Gang Squashes Their Beefs”
To make amends, Paddy’s gang decides it’s a good idea to invite everyone they’ve hurt throughout the years to a giant Thanksgiving feast. As expected, breaking bread with lifelong enemies doesn’t quite squash any beefs.
Watch it on: Netflix/Hulu
That ’70s Show – “Thanksgiving”
Laurie brings a friend home for Thanksgiving who stirs up trouble by flirting with Eric. In the middle of dinner, the family realizes that no one remembered to pick up Grandma.
Watch it on: Netflix
The Simpsons – “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”
Bart accidentally destroys Lisa’s table centerpiece for Thanksgiving. After being sent to his room, he runs away from home and ends up at a soup kitchen, where he learns some valuable lessons. Ultimately, the whole family comes together back at home for Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a heartfelt, hilarious take on Thanksgiving that only an older episode of the Simpsons could pull off.
Watch it on: Disney+.
The Office – “WUPHF.com”
Sometimes, the best Thanksgiving episodes feature the holiday more as an afterthought, like in The Office’s “WUPHF.com.” Ryan and Michael debate the future of a domain name they own. Meanwhile, Dwight sets up a hay festival in the office parking lot, and Jim gets bored after maxing out his commissions for the year.
Watch it on: Netflix
The West Wing – “The Indians in the Lobby”
Does Aaron Sorkin have a smarmy take on Thanksgiving? You bet he does. The West Wing’s Thanksgiving episodes were often more calm, comedic entries in the political drama series. While Season 2’s “Shibboleth” has plenty of highlights, Season 3’s “The Indians in the Lobby” contains arguably the funniest scene in the series, period. In it, President Bartlet calls a Thanksgiving meal-prep hotline while his staff scrambles to hide his identity.
Watch it on: Netflix