Thanksgiving is full of family, food, and fraught situations, so it’s clear why sitcom writers love it so much. Here are our favourite Thanksgiving episodes from our favourite ’90s TV shows.
That ’70s Show – “Thanksgiving”
Laurie brings a cute friend home from college, who ends up making out with Eric, thus upsetting Donna. Meanwhile, Red’s mother keeps calling to make sure she gets picked up from the airport—and wouldn’t you know it, everyone ends up forgetting. Also, this is the very first episode where Red gives Eric his term of endearment, which is a fun piece of trivia.
Friends – “The One with All the Thanksgivings”
Fans sometimes call this the one with all the flashbacks, because all the friends talk about their various Thanksgiving humiliations over the years. Such as the time Chandler’s parents announced their divorce at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Or the time Monica awkwardly tried to seduce Chandler but ended up cutting off his toe. Also, both Monica and Joey end up with turkeys stuck on their heads.
Oh, and Phoebe lost her arm back in WWI. Don’t ask.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – “Talking Turkey”
Will Smith’s mom is in town (you know, the one who says “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air” in the theme song), but she’s worried that Will is too lazy. He does have a butler, after all. So, Aunt Vivian decides that the kids should cook Thanksgiving dinner. They try, it’s a disaster, and then Will Smith’s mom and Aunt Vivian hug their problems out.
Full House – “The Miracle of Thanksgiving”
What happens when three goofy men and two young girls try to make Thanksgiving dinner? In real life, we assume they just end up with a nice dinner. But in sitcom land, they start with a frozen turkey, still have a frozen turkey after a few hours, then end up with a completely blackened turkey by the end. Pies are dropped on the floor, Uncle Joey gets his tongue stuck in a bottle, Uncle Jesse wears a leather vest for some reason . . . and everyone gets a touching ending, because this is Full House.
Everybody Loves Raymond – “No Fat”
Marie wants to eat healthier, so she ends up making a tofu turkey instead of a real turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We’re sure there are some talented vegetarian cooks out there who could make it happen, but Marie isn’t one of them. So, Raymond and Robert end up whining the whole night.
Frasier – “A Lilith Thanksgiving”
Frasier is summoned to Boston by ex-wife Lilith to help get their son into Boston’s most prestigious private school. Martin and Niles tag along, which is a good thing, since Niles ends up making Thanksgiving dinner and it turns out the headmaster of said private school needs a bribe . . . in the form of a Thanksgiving dinner. But really, we’re just here for Bebe Neuwirth, who shines as Lilith.
The Simpsons – “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”
Bart ruins Lisa’s lovingly crafted table centrepiece because he’s a little jerk. Then he refuses to apologize and refuses to see that he’s in the wrong, not Lisa, so he flees home and ends up having a grand old time eating Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen. But when he tries to sneak back into his room, he overhears Lisa crying and finally realizes that he’s wrong and that he should apologize. The family ends up eating cold leftovers. All in all, this has some of the best Bart pathos in the entire series. Except maybe for the episode “Marge Be Not Proud.”