The Best Thanksgiving Programs

by Sylviastel | created - 28 Nov 2014 | updated - 11 Dec 2015 | Public

Thanksgiving Themed episodes from the sitcoms and others. If only network programmers made a priority and aired these memorable episodes on Thanksgiving Day. I know Charlie Brown is still aired but not others here. Some shows aren't shown in rotation in syndication anymore. Too bad, I would love a DVD featuring a Thanksgiving theme of several shows.

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1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973 TV Movie)

TV-G | 25 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to Charlie Brown's for Thanksgiving, and with Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock, he attempts to throw together a Thanksgiving dinner.

Directors: Bill Melendez, Phil Roman | Stars: Todd Barbee, Robin Kohn, Stephen Shea, Hilary Momberger-Powers

Votes: 9,457

You can't have a holiday without a Charlie Brown Special.

2. The Ice Storm (1997)

R | 112 min | Drama

72 Metascore

In suburban New Canaan, Connecticut, 1973, middle class families experimenting with casual sex and substance abuse find their lives beyond their control.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny

Votes: 53,619 | Gross: $7.84M

Gene Siskel ranked this small gem of a film best of 1997 even outranking the popular "Titanic." This film is set in New Canaan, Connecticut in the November 1973 around Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday night party. It has an all star cast like Kevin Kline, Sigourney, Weaver, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Cristina Ricci, Katie Holmes, Allison Janney, and others. The film is still one of my favorites to watch around this time of year.

3. 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996–2001)
Episode: Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick (1996)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi

It's Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the Solomons don't have a clue what Thanksgiving is. Mrs. Dubcek and her daughter Vicky help them.

Director: Robert Berlinger | Stars: John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Votes: 291

The Best Thanksgiving Episode ever in my opinion about the aliens learning about the meaning of the holiday.

4. Titus (2000–2002)
Episode: The Perfect Thanksgiving (2000)

TV-PG | 23 min | Comedy, Drama

Add a Plot

Director: Jeff Melman | Stars: Christopher Titus, Cynthia Watros, Zack Ward, David Shatraw

Votes: 46

The second best Thanksgiving episode where Titus, Erin, and their families get together and end up in the emergency room.

5. The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)
Episode: An American Family (1974)

TV-PG | 26 min | Comedy

Emily's parents and Bob's parents arrive to celebrate Thanksgiving with Bob & Emily. All sets of families have their own idea of traditions and meal fixings. Bob's mother and Emily's father insult each other the day before Thanksgiving.

Director: Peter Bonerz | Stars: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily

Votes: 71

Bob and Emily's parents come together for Thanksgiving. Still a great episode.

6. The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)
Episode: Over the River and Through the Woods (1975)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy

With Emily out of town, Bob spends Thanksgiving with Jerry and Mr Carlin watching a football game. They proceed to get drunk and try to order Moo Goo Gai Pan from a Chinese restaurant for dinner.

Director: James Burrows | Stars: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily

Votes: 128

Another classic episode where Emily goes away for the holiday leaving Bob and the gang home alone.

7. George Lopez (2002–2007)
Episode: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Honey (2002)

TV-PG | 21 min | Comedy, Drama

George thinks he's found his real father when he meets one of Benny's coworkers that she supposedly slept with 35 years ago.

Director: Barnet Kellman | Stars: George Lopez, Constance Marie, Masiela Lusha, Valente Rodriguez

Votes: 38

An episode where Cheech Marin could be George's long lost father. It's a funny episode overall even if it's a little out there.

8. Good Times (1974–1979)
Episode: Grandpa's Visit (1976)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy

Florida and the children are looking forward to James' father's visit. He arrives with a loud-talking woman, and he is not acting like a grandfather typically acts.

Director: Gerren Keith | Stars: Esther Rolle, Ja'net DuBois, Ralph Carter, BernNadette Stanis

Votes: 34

The show's only Thanksgiving day episode where James Sr's father comes to visit the family with a surprise. Still a touching episode.

9. Two and a Half Men (2003–2015)
Episode: Merry Thanksgiving (2003)

TV-14 | 21 min | Comedy, Romance

Thanksgiving winds up being the least thankful day of the year for Charlie, who has to bribe various members of his household to even come to a traditional turkey dinner. Not only are the ... See full summary »

Director: Jay Sandrich | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Marin Hinkle

Votes: 1,243

One of the first Thanksgiving episodes from this series and one of the best when Denise Richards guest appears as an old girlfriend of Charlie's. There are plenty of memorable lines and moments in this episode.

10. Married... with Children (1987–1997)
Episode: A Bundy Thanksgiving (1996)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

It's Thanksgiving. In Al's childhood, it was a tradition to eat aunt Maddie's potato pie on Thanksgiving, so Al takes a trip with Griff to see aunt Maddie in order to buy some pie. ... See full summary »

Director: Amanda Bearse | Stars: Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, Amanda Bearse, Christina Applegate

Votes: 320

The series' only Thanksgiving episode and a memorable one where Al goes to find Aunt Mattie's Sweet Potato Pie. Kelly befriends a turkey. Jefferson forgot to order a turkey for Marcy.

11. Ned and Stacey (1995–2017)
Episode: Thanksgiving Day Massacre (1995)

22 min | Comedy

Ned and Stacey's first Thanksgiving with Stacey's family turns into a disaster when Stacey pines for an ex-boyfriend, old family feuds resurface, and Ned can't find cranberry sauce for dinner.

Director: Lee Shallat Chemel | Stars: Thomas Haden Church, Debra Messing, Greg Germann, Nadia Dajani

Votes: 17

I wished this series had survived longer. Still it's a memorable episode from this short lived series.

12. The Cosby Show (1984–1992)
Episode: Bonjour, Sondra (1984)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

Sondra is introduced, who comes back from college and is planning a trip to Paris for the summer.

Director: Jay Sandrich | Stars: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Votes: 128

Sondra comes from Princeton for Thanksgiving. This is a memorable episode when Cliff helps Theo carve the turkey with a Julia Child voice. I didn't get it at the time but I do now.

13. Mama's Family (1983–1990)
Episode: An Ill Wind (1986)

TV-PG | Comedy

Family animosities come to light (and the boiling point) when the Harpers are trapped together due to a Thanksgiving Day tornado.

Director: Dave Powers | Stars: Vicki Lawrence, Ken Berry, Dorothy Lyman, Beverly Archer

Votes: 51

The only Thanksgiving episode from this series has the family in the basement hiding from a tornado.

14. Roseanne (1988–2018)
Episode: We Gather Together (1989)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

Thanksgiving at the Conners' brings the usual family strife and hilarity as Roseanne is determined to make her parents stay at a motel and Jackie continues to hide the fact she joined the police.

Director: John Pasquin | Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman

Votes: 245

The first Thanksgiving episode where Dan and Roseanne's parents come together to celebrate the holiday. Guest stars Estelle Parsons, Ned Beatty, John Randolph, and Ann Wedgeworth.

15. Roseanne (1988–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving 1991 (1991)

TV-PG | 24 min | Comedy, Drama

Thanksgiving weekend sees another visit by friends and family including Nana Mary and a husband-less Bev.

Director: Andrew D. Weyman | Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman

Votes: 195

Their second holiday episode with Oscar winner Shelley Winters playing Nana Mary.

16. Roseanne (1988–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving 1993 (1993)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

Becky volunteers to take over cooking duties for the Conners' Thanksgiving; Dan and Mark are still at each other's throats; Fred is shocked at the dysfunction of the family he might marry ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Charles MacKenzie | Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert

Votes: 170

The third holiday episode with Shelley Winters and Estelle Parsons.

17. Roseanne (1988–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving 1994 (1994)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

Thanksgiving is full of tension and anxiety when Roseanne gets alarming news about her baby from the prenatal clinic. The discomfort is only worsened when Nana Mary arrives with her new ... See full summary »

Director: Gail Mancuso | Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert

Votes: 164

The fourth holiday episode where Shelley Winters and Estelle Parsons reprise their roles as Nana Mary and mother Beverly.

18. Roseanne (1988–2018)
Episode: The Last Thursday in November (1995)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

DJ's teacher lets the class design their own Thanksgiving pageant, which turns into a Pulp Fiction spoof that offends many parents. Roseanne invites some new Native American friends over for Thanksgiving.

Director: Gail Mancuso | Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert

Votes: 178

Their fifth holiday episode

19. Roseanne (1988–2018)
Episode: Home Is Where the Afghan Is (1996)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

Thanksgiving for the Conners starts on a sour note with the news Dan won't be able to make it home for the holiday. However, Roseanne is thrilled she can afford to have the meal catered ... See full summary »

Director: Gary Halvorson | Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert

Votes: 172

Their six and final Thanksgiving episode. The series was never the same without Dan Conner (played by the wonderful John Goodman).

20. All in the Family (1971–1979)
Episode: The Little Atheist (1975)

TV-PG | Comedy, Drama

Archie and Mike argue over the religious upbringing of baby Joey during a Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Director: Paul Bogart | Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers

Votes: 83

Hard to believe that this was the only Thanksgiving episode from one of the best sitcom series to ever grace television.

21. Frasier (1993–2004)
Episode: A Lilith Thanksgiving (1996)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

Niles' plans for a 'rustic' thanksgiving (complete with mints on the pillows) are scuppered when Lilith arranges a meeting with the headmaster of the Marbury Academy, an exclusive school, with the aim of getting Frederick in.

Director: Jeff Melman | Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin

Votes: 632

The fourth season episode where the gang goes to Boston.

22. Frasier (1993–2004)
Episode: The Apparent Trap (1999)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

Lilith and Frederick come for Thanksgiving dinner with the Cranes. Frederick maneuvers Frasier and Lilith into spending an evening together, and they begin to suspect that he is trying to get them back together.

Director: Kelsey Grammer | Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin

Votes: 472

The seventh season episode where Lilith and Frederick visit the Cranes in Seattle.

23. Cheers (1982–1993)
Episode: Thanksgiving Orphans (1986)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

The Cheers gang has a Thanksgiving feast at Carla's place.

Director: James Burrows | Stars: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

Votes: 493

An unforgettable episode

24. Cheers (1982–1993)
Episode: Ill-Gotten Gaines (1992)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

Woody takes advantage of catching his father-in-law in a twisted affair.

Director: James Burrows | Stars: Ted Danson, Kirstie Alley, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

Votes: 259

25. The Middle (2009–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving II (2010)

TV-PG | 21 min | Comedy

When Frankie finds out her mother isn't coming for Thanksgiving, she encourages Mike to invite his emotionally distant father and brother. At dinner, Bob's new librarian girlfriend shows more interest in Brick's book collection than Bob.

Director: Ken Whittingham | Stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher

Votes: 229

26. The Middle (2009–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving III (2011)

TV-PG | 21 min | Comedy

The Hecks spend a not-so-relaxing Thanksgiving at Frankie’s parents’ house…and sibling rivalry arises when Frankie and her sister don’t see eye-to-eye on parenting techniques.

Director: Elliot Hegarty | Stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher

Votes: 222

27. The Middle (2009–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving IV (2012)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

Frankie's bickering parents come for Thanksgiving, along with two special guests. Axl's football comeback may be postponed by a broken heart, Sue's mascot head is stolen, and Brick is fascinated by a new book.

Director: Blake T. Evans | Stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher

Votes: 217

28. The Middle (2009–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving V (2013)

TV-PG | 21 min | Comedy

It's Thanksgiving, and Axl looks for the right time to say he dropped three classes, Frankie's dad looks for the right time to say he gambled away their vacation money, and many surprise visitors arrive at the last minute.

Director: Lee Shallat Chemel | Stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher

Votes: 214

29. The Middle (2009–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving VI (2014)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

Thanksgiving for the Hecks at a local restaurant buffet doesn't go well when Sue feels that Mike doesn't like her boyfriend, Darrin, and Brick invites his quirky girlfriend, Cindy.

Director: Lee Shallat Chemel | Stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher

Votes: 211

30. Family Ties (1982–1989)
Episode: No Nukes Is Good Nukes (1982)

TV-PG | 24 min | Comedy, Family

It's Thanksgiving at the Keatons', but the turkey dinner might have to wait when Steven and Elyse head to an anti-nuclear weapons rally and get arrested - infuriating the kids as well as Elyse's parents.

Director: Frank Bonner | Stars: Meredith Baxter, Michael Gross, Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman

Votes: 127

The first Thanksgiving episode where Steven and Elyse get arrested for protesting against nuclear. Ironically, it's their only Thanksgiving episode.

31. King of the Hill (1997–2010)
Episode: Happy Hank's Giving (1999)

TV-PG | 23 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

The Hills and their friends are all stranded at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport the night before Thanksgiving.

Directors: Martin Archer, Klay Hall, John Rice | Stars: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon, Brittany Murphy

Votes: 234

Stranded at the airport on Thanksgiving.

32. King of the Hill (1997–2010)
Episode: Spin the Choice (2000)

TV-PG | 23 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

During the Thanksgiving season, John Redcorn tries to get closer to Joseph by teaching him about the plight of the Native Americans.

Directors: Allan Jacobsen, Klay Hall | Stars: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon, Brittany Murphy

Votes: 208

33. That '70s Show (1998–2006)
Episode: Thank You (2002)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Romance

It's Thanksgiving day and Eric can't tell Red about failing math or about his secret engagement to Donna. Red may reward Eric's (alleged) maturity at dinner, and Kelso is 'dating' Eric's math teacher. Kitty's Mom and Dad add to the chaos.

Director: David Trainer | Stars: Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson

Votes: 606

Their second thanksgiving episode

34. Evening Shade (1990–1994)
Episode: The Thanksgiving Show (1991)


Wood's black-sheep, ex-con cousin Alvin comes for Thanksgiving.

Director: Charles Nelson Reilly | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Marilu Henner, Hal Holbrook, Michael Jeter

Votes: 8

35. The Simpsons (1989– )
Episode: Bart vs. Thanksgiving (1990)

TV-PG | 23 min | Animation, Comedy

On Thanksgiving, Bart runs away after fighting with Lisa.

Director: David Silverman | Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith

Votes: 2,655

The first Thanksgiving episode in the series.

36. Family Guy (1999– )
Episode: Turkey Guys (2014)

TV-14 | 21 min | Animation, Comedy

On the night before Thanksgiving, Peter and Brian get drunk and eat the whole turkey, so they have to get a new one on Thanksgiving Day. With Peter gone, Stewie tries to help Chris take over as the man of the house.

Directors: Julius Wu, Dominic Bianchi, James Purdum | Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis

Votes: 964

37. Newhart (1982–1990)
Episode: Don't Rain on My Parade (1983)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy

Thanksgiving Day finds Joanna preparing dinner for over 100 people and George in charge of a rained-out parade.

Director: Will Mackenzie | Stars: Bob Newhart, Mary Frann, Steven Kampmann, Julia Duffy

Votes: 54

38. Family Guy (1999– )
Episode: Thanksgiving (2011)

TV-14 | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

Joe's son, who was reported missing in Iraq, suddenly and unexpectedly appears during Thanksgiving dinner, but the story of his disappearance doesn't add up.

Directors: Jerry Langford, James Purdum, Peter Shin | Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis

Votes: 1,140

39. That '70s Show (1998–2006)
Episode: Thanksgiving (1998)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Romance

Laurie brings a friend home for Thanksgiving which could be a problem. When they arrive it turns out that Kate is hot, and Eric has a hard time controlling himself, much to Donna's concern. Meanwhile Bob offers Red a job.

Director: David Trainer | Stars: Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson

Votes: 1,034

40. The Middle (2009–2018)
Episode: Thanksgiving (2009)

TV-PG | 21 min | Comedy

The Hecks' Thanksgiving plans are thrown into a loop when Mr. Ehlert makes her work a shift at the car dealership on Thanksgiving Day.

Director: Michael Spiller | Stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher

Votes: 293

41. Kate & Allie (1984–1989)
Episode: Thanksgiving (1985)

TV-PG | Comedy

Allie is set to host a slew of guests for Thanksgiving including Charles' new wife Claire, but when everyone else cancels and Charles is called to work, Allie and Claire get some long-awaited bonding time.

Director: Bill Persky | Stars: Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin, Ari Meyers, Frederick Koehler

Votes: 14

42. Saturday Night Live: Thanksgiving (2013 TV Special)

120 min | Comedy

Karen is on first visit to new boyfriend's parents when she discovers something odd about his eating habits.

Directors: Don Roy King, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Chris McCumber, James Signorelli, Rhys Thomas, Dave Wilson | Stars: Fred Armisen, Edward Asner, Dan Aykroyd, Vanessa Bayer

Votes: 22

43. Bewitched (1964–1972)
Episode: Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember (1967)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Through the bumbling magic of Aunt Clara the Steven's family and Mrs. Kravetz spend Thanksgiving with the original pilgrims in 1620.

Director: Richard Kinon | Stars: Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Agnes Moorehead, Erin Murphy

Votes: 215

The Bewitched Thanksgiving episode where Aunt Clara spells the family and Gladys Kravitz to the first pilgrim feast.

44. Designing Women (1986–1993)
Episode: Perky's Visit (1986)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

On Thanksgiving Day, Julia and Suzanne's mother Perky visits, along with her friend Bernice Clifton. However, a shadow is cast over the celebration when the women learn that a client was ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Shea | Stars: Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Jean Smart

Votes: 69

Their first Thanksgiving episode.

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