November 20, 2009

tgif top 10: thanksgiving edition

Soon, we'll all commence our trek to Thanksgiving dinner tables with family and friends. The non-denominational holiday of thanks has provided a wealth of material for TV writers. My favorites are when something unexpectedly causes the characters to have to spend Thanksgiving all together. It's an old standby, but it gets me every time. Here are my top 10 favorite Thanksgiving episodes in no particular order.

Top 10 Thanksgiving episodes

  1. "Thanksgiving Orphans" Cheers (season 5)
    Let's start with the classic example of the whole cast being thrown together for Thanksgiving. Norm trying to cook an impossibly huge turkey leads to a very hungry bunch waiting a looong time to eat, Diane dressed as a pilgrim, and a giant food fight where we get a long-awaited peak at Norm's wife Vera, but alas, a pumpkin pie masks her face.

  2. "Thanks for the Memories" Grey's Anatomy (season 2)
    I consider season two the hey day of Grey's Anatomy, and this episode was one of the best. Izzie decides to play homemaker and cook a monstrous meal at Meredith's house. Dr. Burke swoops in with some unexpected holiday cheer and culinary skills. George (RIP) goes hunting with the rest of the O'Malley men, and dad gets shot in the bum. And Meredith treats a guy who just woke up from a 16-year coma whose family has moved on without him. And we wonder why she's the dark and twisty one.

  3. "Thanksgiving" Felicity (season 1)
    I sometimes forget how much I loved this show, and then I'm reminded with episodes like this from the first season. Another great example of the whole cast ending up together for the holidays. Felicity decides to stay in New York for Thanksgiving to look after Julie who's still getting over the rape, Ben and Elena join them for dinner in the dorm. Noel's girlfriend Hanna shows up (Jennifer Garner!) to announce that she might move to NYC. Felicity and Noel fight, and Ben catches them kissing! Oh the Noel/Ben drama. To top it off, Javier and Sean show up at the last minute to round out the group. How great were Ian Gomez and Greg Grunberg in that show? Love.

  4. "The One with the Rumor" Friends (season 8)
    Friends gets a double feature on this list since they really embraced the tradition of Thanksgiving episodes. One of my favorites was season 8 when Monica invites Ross' old (formerly fat) classmate (guest star Brad Pitt) for dinner. He announces the I Hate Rachel Green Club that he and Ross founded in high school and admits to spreading a rumor that Rachel had both girl and boy parts. Meanwhile, Joey takes Monica's challenge to eat an entire turkey, and has to stop half way through to change into elastic waste pants. Been there.

  5. "The One Where Ross Got High" Friends (season 6)
    A second favorite comes from season six when Monica and Chandler are still hiding their relationship from the Gellar parents. While hiding the secret, Monica spills that Ross smoked pot in high school. My favorite part is Rachel accidentally adding meat sauteed with peas and carrots to a traditional British trifle. "It tastes like feet!"

  6. "Miracle of Thanksgiving" Full House (season 1)
    The cheese factor is through the roof, as is Uncle Jesse's hair, but this was back in the good old days of Full House when the boy's found a way to make their first Thanksgiving without Mom Tanner a success, and Stephanie commented on everyone's rudeness.

  7. "Bon Jour Sondra" The Cosby Show (season 1)
    A really early episode of Cosby, but it stuck with me for some reason. Never-before-seen oldest daughter Sondra comes home from college for Thanksgiving and announces her intention to spend the summer in Paris. All the Cosbys vote on this decision with Cliff being the most reluctant. My favorite part is young Theo anxiously stepping up to carve the turkey for the first time, and Cliff makes him practice on a cabbage and a chicken.

  8. "Indians in the Lobby" The West Wing (season 3)
    One of many classic holiday episodes of The West Wing, this one features CJ trying to find someone in the Department of Interior to address the concerns of two American Indians who are staging a sit-in at the White House until they receive a long-awaited answer to their application to buy back stolen land. My favorite part is President Bartlett calling the Butterball Hotline for assistance.

  9. "Home is Where the Afghan is" Roseanne (season 9)
    The final season of Roseanne is a contentious topic. Many opposed the sharp direction taken when the Connors won the lottery and Dan cheated. It wasn't my favorite season, but if you go back and watch, things were basically the same in the Connor house. I loved this one when Bev came out of the closet over turkey and stuffing (such a classic performance by Estelle Parsons), and they all realized that home is truly where the afghan is. Amen.

  10. "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" Gilmore Girls (season 3)
    Because they pretty much make it into every Top 10 list, and because this is one of my favorite episodes of the series. Lorelei and Rory overbook themselves for Thanksgiving dinner. First, the Kim's for tofurkey and Dave Ragowski tunes on the guitar, followed by Lane getting her first kiss. Then to Luke's where those two crazy kids continue to drive us nuts. Sookie's where Jackson has decided to deep fry a turkey and everything else in sight. Finally, to Emily and Richard's where Rory reveals she has applied to Yale. That's a lot of turkey.

Just for fun, here's my Christmas episode top 10 list from last year.


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