1) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I love how Peppermint Patty invites herself over the Charlie Brown's on Thanksgiving Day, and then brings along Marcie and Franklin. I love Charlie Brown's and Linus' exchange, when Charlie Brown says, "I can't cook a Thanksgiving dinner! All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast", and Linus responds with, "That's right. I've seen you make toast". I always wonder how even that blockhead Charlie Brown could screw up toast. I also enjoy Linus trying to make a historical connection to the current fight between Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown and getting shot down by Patty saying, "No, it's not like that at all". But mostly, I love Snoopy helping to make the popcorn and the toast and serving it with jellybeans and pretzel sticks when he had an actual turkey cooking in his doghouse. Aside from the disturbing part of feeding the turkey to Woodstock, the fact that the dog could make a turkey and chose not to share it with the rest of the neighborhood is just hilarious to me. Of course, Linus and Charlie Brown never asked if he could - or was - making a turkey either.
2) Sports Night's Thespis. The episode is brilliant. From the frozen turkey on the light grid to this exchange:
Dana: My whole family's coming to New York. 18 people.Natalie: And this is your first time making the dinner by yourself.Dana: Yes.Natalie: It's a rite of passage into adulthood.Dana: Yes.Kim: It's a time for giving thanks. A time to share in the warm embrace of family.Dana: Right.Natalie: You don't want to take any crap from your mother.Dana: I really don't.
Aaron Sorkin has a tendency to pontificate during pretty much every moment, but Thespis is pitch perfect between the true spirit of being thankful and whacky hijinks that routinely plague any ghostly visitation. Isaac dealing with his daughter's placenta previa, Casey and Danny's anniversary fight, and Dana's turkey woes all highlight different interpersonal relationships, and all revolve around the idea of pointing out what is important by Thespis mocking what is not.
3) WKRP in Cincinnati's Turkey's Away: A Thanksgiving turkey drop goes very, incredibly wrong for the radio station gang, leading to outright hilarity.
I highly recommend watching the whole thing; Les makes it, especially with lines like, "The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!"
4) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pangs. A made family celebrating a day with pie and fighting vengeful spirits. The gang's all together, and it's great. They also get into the nitty gritty of the holiday, by both aptly describing what it is:
Anya: I love a ritual sacrifice.Buffy: It's not really a one of those.Anya: To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie.
And its problematic nature:
Professor Gerhardt (in the background): And that's why it's appropriate that the ground-breaking for the UC Sunnydale Cultural Partnership Center is taking place so soon before Thanksgiving. Because that's what the melting pot is about - contributions from all cultures, making our culture stronger.Willow: What a load of horse hooey.Buffy: We have a counterpoint?Willow: Yeah. Thanksgiving isn't about the blending of two cultures. It's about one culture wiping out another. And then they make animated specials about the part where, with the maize and the big, big belt buckles. They don't show you the next scene, where all the bison die and Squanto takes a musketball in the stomach
The episode isn't a shining beacon of cultural sensitivity, but it does present arguments from the different factions and also incorporates my own personal philosophy of "What happened in the past is something we should work to correct and acknowledge and the original 'everyone was happy when the pilgrims came to stay' meme is a sham, but it is a sham with yams and good family moments that should be taken and celebrated for their own right". Plus, it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and no holiday of mine is complete without the corresponding episode.
5) Chuck, Chuck vs. The Nemesis. A newbie but a goodie. I'm holding on to Chuck tight, since Ned left me, and I love this episode for both the Buy More Thanksgiving preparations and the combined Bartowski and Morgan Thanksgiving. The whole thing, between preparations for Black Friday, Chuck dealing with his ex-best friend, and the actual dinner is incredibly funny.
6) Chuck, Chuck vs. The Gravitron. An even newer newbie but a goodie. Just Morgan's face when Ellie throws out the dry-run turkey is worth watching the episode for (though between this and Sports Night, I really have to start wondering how many people actually make dry-run turkeys before the big day). Captain Awesome continues his awesome streak, and Big Mike's defense of Buy More from robbers is incredible.
7) The West Wing, Shibboleth. Between CJ having to pick a turkey to be pardoned, and President Bartlet's incredulity that a high school student would not know that it was not in his power to actually pardon a turkey, the episode is a home run.
8) The West Wing, Indians in the Lobby. Aside from the plot the episode title is taken from, President Bartlet discovering there is a Butterball hotline is wonderful. As is his pretending to be a regular citizen while calling it to discover whether or not it is safe to cook his oyster stuffing inside his turkey or if he should make it separately.
Editing to Add:
9) Friends, The One Where Ross Got High. I usually don't like Friends very much. But I love this episode from start to finish. I love Monica and Ross' mom's response to all of the friends' outbursts, from Rachel putting beef in the trifle to Phoebe being in love with Jacque Cousteau to Joey wanting to go to Ross having done drugs and every other secret the siblings launch at each other in under a minute.
Have a happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving. And watch some television.