The Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes and Movies to Watch As You Nurse Your Food Hangover

Watch: Tracy Morgan Pays It Forward in His Hometown for Thanksgiving

"Can someone vacuum before they arrive?"

Chances are you've heard one of your parents make that request if you are home for Thanksgiving, a time filled with turkey and stuffing yourself with stuffing, pumpkin pie and a whole lot of awkward small talk with family members you see about as often as you go to the dentist.

"I know, I can't believe it's been so long." "Yes, I'm still single." "No, I haven't watched Yellowstone yet." And let's not even get started on the moment when politics inevitably comes up two or three wine bottles later…

But 2021 might be a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic, which may prevent some people from spending the holidays with their family members. And we won't lie, we are kind of going to miss those uncomfortable convos over Aunt Maureen's runny green bean casserole.

And that's why you need comfort food. No, we're not talking about the feast you're impatiently waiting to dive into, we're talking about comfort food for your soul that only a TV show or movie can provide. 

photosBest & Worst Thanksgiving Sides, Ranked

So if you're looking for a cozy distraction right now, we've rounded up some of our favorite Thanksgiving-themed episodes of shows like Friends and Gossip Girl, as well as a few movies about Turkey Day. Yes, there are actually some films made about the Jan Brady of holidays, even if Halloween and Christmas tend to steal the spotlight come fall. 


The iconic NBC sitcom is infamous for its annual Thanksgiving episodes, delivering 10 near-perfect holiday installments in its decade-long run. It's hard to pick just one (and we've done the ranking to prove it), so we're going to suggest three.

Season five's classic "The One With All the Thanksgivings" is notable for the delightful flashbacks and the first "I love you" between Chandler and Monica (who is wearing a turkey on her head, natch).  We suggest following that up with season six's "The One Where Ross Got High" because it's the group's dynamic at its very best, while season eight's "The One With the Rumor" is, of course, the one where Brad Pitt makes his iconic guest appearance as the co-founder of their high school's "I Hate Rachel Club." (Listen, if he can attend ex Jennifer Aniston's 50th birthday bash post-divorce and they can call each other "hun," we can highlight his ep!) (Where to watch: HBO Max)

CBSHow I Met Your Mother

Another sitcom about a close-knit group of friends with a penchant for nailing Thanksgiving episodes, fans could always count on HIMYM to deliver the goods. But the best outing is season three's iconic "Slapsgiving," which gave us the third (and arguably best) slap in Marshall and Barney's ongoing bet. Gather around the piano and sing it with us: "Ya just got slapped"! (Where to watch: Hulu)

CWGilmore Girls

What better way to nurse your food coma than by watching Lorelai and Rory go on a Thanksgiving dinner-crawl, hitting four feasts in one day in season three's "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving"? Oy with the leftovers! (Where to watch: Netflix)

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