Thanksgiving is a holiday in which we are meant to stop and reflect upon things for which we are grateful, while we eat a lot of food. One of the things for which I am most grateful? Television. I know I am supposed to say family or friends or some cheesy thing like that, but I really am very thankful for television shows. It is an incredible sources of entertainment that is prevalent in some form in everbody's lives. TV can make you laugh, tit can make you weep and it can help you celebrate and find out the true meaning of a holiday.
So....while you are defrosting your turkeys, whipping your mashed potatoes, or simply sitting around waiting for food to be put in front of your face, watch one or two of these amazing Thanksigiving episodes to get you in the mood for turkey and thanks. For all of you foreigners who might not celebrate this holiday, watch these shows for a glimpse into gluttonous American life.
|1. The West Wing|
Even though The West Wing is a drama, some of my favorite moments of the series come from the pure comedy of the writing. "Shibboleth" contains not just one, but two of my favorite stories from the series. First, President Bartlett sends Charlie on a wild goose chase to find a new carving knife. What seems like a pointless mission, turns into one of the most heartwarming moments between the two characters. Then, there is CJ and the pardoning of the turkeys. Tasked to decide which of two turkeys will be publicly pardoned by the president, CJ goes through a a tough and very comical decision.
|2. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving|
It really isn't a major holiday without a viewing of a Charlie Brown special. In the A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Charlie's cooking skills are put to the test when Peppermint Patty invites herself and some friends over to his house for the holiday meal. Charlie knows he can't cook anything but "cold cereal and maybe toast" but can't get a word in edgewise and is roped into providing Thanksgiving dinner anyways. In true Peanuts fashion, everyone gets mad at Charlie when the dinner is less than stellar. Can anyone give the poor kid a break?! As much as I love these specials, they break my heart every time. Luckily, in the end, Thanksgiving is saved when all the kids are invited over to Charlie and Lucy's Grandmother's house for a real holiday supper.
All of Them
When thinking about shows with classic Thanksgiving episodes, the first show that sprung to mind was Friends. I'm not sure if it was the Thursday night time slot or the show's ability to truly capitalize on the comedy of the holiday. Throughout the run of the series there were 10 Thanksgiving episodes produced and it is hard to chose a favorite so instead I will point out some noteworthy moments from the specials, that any fan of the show will recall as some of the best.
1. The one with Ross' pro and con list. After sharing his first kiss with Rachel, Ross tries to decide whether he should break up with Julie in order to be with his true love. To help make his decision, he makes a pro and con list with Chandler and Joey. This is a note to all men out there – never ever write down the fact that you think a woman has cankles.
2. The one with Chandler in a box. After falling for Joey's girlfriend Kathy, Chandler must prove his dedication to their friendship by spending Thanskgiving in a box. At least his finger gets to make an appearance.
3. The one with Brad Pitt and the I Hate Rachel Green Club. Enough said.
4. The one where Monica and Joey wear a turkey on their heads (and dance). This episode features many flashbacks to Thanksgiving past as Monica explores her Thanksgiving history with Chandler. There are a few shocking moments for everyone, but the best might be the turkey for a head dance...with sunglasses.
|4. South Park|
South Park is another show known for its great Thanksgiving episodes, but the first one is possibly the best. The boys send money to an African charity hoping to get a sports watch, but instead receive an Ethiopian child they name Starvin' Marvin. The show is known for veiled social commentary and this episode is no exception. To make it a true Thanksgiving episode, Chef engages in a Braveheart style battle with genetically engineered turkeys. So. Many. Laughs.
"The Mom and Pop Store"
Most television sitcoms use Thanksgiving as a time to create a sappy episode about how people have so much to be thankful. Not Seinfeld. Instead, on their holiday, everything goes wrong. Elaine misses out on a date with Tim Whatley, because he hearing has been blown out by loud music. George finds out that his car was not actually once owned by the actor Jon Voight, but rather the dentist Jon Voight. And, in the culmination of Seinfeld Thanksgiving, Jerry pops the Woody Woodpecker float that is meant to be used in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade by knocking a pendant out the window. Oh, Jerry.
|6. The Simpsons|
" Bart vs. Thanksgiving"
Bart Simpson is quite the little scamp. In this Thanksgiving special, he runs away from home after getting in trouble for ruining a project Lisa worked very hard upon. Bart ends up at a soup kitchen that is serving homeless people Thanksgiving dinner. During his journey, Bart realizes that he doesn't have things so bad and returns home. He makes up with Lisa and after dealing with the aftermath of his actions, the family finally enjoys some turkey together, even if it is a bit late.
|7. The Sopranos|
"He is Risen"
At some point in time, we have all probably had to spend Thanksgiving with somebody that we don't want. For Tony Soprano, that is not an option. After Ralph disrespects him, he forces Carmela to pretend to cancel Thanksgiving so they cannot attend. It feels a bit extreme, but everything Tony Soprano does is a little extreme. One of the brilliant aspects of the show is the way in which they make what could be outrageous situations completely realistic. This turkey day episode is no exception. The title comes from an amazing seen with a narcoleptic that should be seen to be believed.