Thanksgiving: What is it? A holiday to celebrate the vaguest things we treasure, eat until we explode, and drink until we ditto. Whether you need a moment away, or enjoy your family so much you want to sit in front of a screen silently with them, here is a deluxe list of movies, TV shows, and zany moments available right now on your computer or other device.


  • Planes Trains & Automobiles (1987, Netflix), in which Steve Martin and John Candy stress out!
  • Bob Newhart gets a lot drunk and only a little racist in 1975's "Over the River and Through the Woods." (Here)
  • WKRP in Cincinnati's 1978 classic "Turkeys Away"(Hulu) is a spiritual ancestor to Modern Family's "Punkin Chunkin," 2011: In both episodes, iconic holiday items are hurled.
  • Alice's Restaurant (1969) in which a folk singer throws garbage in the garbage and, after certain events unfold, is found unfit to serve his country. Based on the Grammy-winning nonsense by Arlo Guthrie.
  • Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973 and every year since then) is about what family really means, which is making room for all of Peppermint Patty's imaginary food allergies. Van Pelt pulls that shit with the football, also.
  • In The Ice Storm (1997), directed by Ang Lee and based on 1994 novel by Rick Moody, Tobey Maguire goes up a mountain to herd cattle and look for Katie Holmes, but doesn't come down again until he is quite gay. (Netflix and Prime)
  • Rocky (1976, Netflix) and Rocky II (1979) were both written by star Sylvester Stallone. A thankful man, who eats raw eggs for energy. (Raw eggs are not suggested for use in traditional Thanksgiving stuffing.)
  • Cheers: in 1986's "Thanksgiving Orphans," Carla invites everyone to the trashcan where she lives. Starring George Wendt's real-life wife as a mashed potato-covered Vera. (Netflix and Hulu)
  • History does not record if any episodes of Friends are set any other day besides the third Thursday in November, but if it's a Thanksgiving episode you're looking for, they'll "be there for you!" "Underdog Gets Away," the Gang finds "Chandler in a Box," remembers when "Ross Got High," learns "Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs," and Rachel's "Other Sister" pays a visit. There are also Ones with a "List," a "Football," a "Rumor," a "Late Thanksgiving," and one where Joey and Monica put turkeys on their heads! (They are cut-ups.)
  • Grumpy Old Men (1993), in which Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau stress everybody out!
  • West Wing is known for its Thanksgiving episodes "Shibboleth" and "The Indians in the Lobby" (Netflix). In the former, the POTUS pardons an attractive turkey, then gives a rousing speech about shibboleths. In the latter, he calls the Butterball Hotline.


  • Plymouth Adventure (1952) stars Gene Tierney, Van Johnson, and Spencer Tracy as Pocahantas.
  • In Malick's The New World (2005), Colin Farrell plays John Smith to native princess Pocahontas.
  • In Disney musical Pocahantas (1995, Netflix)—only a decade earlier—trees can talk, the moon is corn, and wind is paint. We learned a lot about the world in those ten years, but not as much as we have since then:
  • In reality, Pocahantas was sold into sex slavery at 17 and died at 21, at which point her nemesis Smith invented a biography for her out of whole cloth.


  • In the first-season Full House episode "The Miracle of Thanksgiving," the miracle is that the girls are able to stop crying about their recently, thoroughly deceased mother long enough to try making Thanksgiving dinner at all.
  • Paul Blart Mall Cop (2009) is about justice as personified by a man whose name rhymes with "small fart."
  • National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Family Reunion (2003) is a TV movie based on the popular film franchise, which lampoons reunions and other vacation opportunities.
  • The Myth of Fingerprints (1997) stars The Librarian's Noah Wyle, who once received an automobile from George Clooney for his birthday!
  • B.C.: The First Thanksgiving (1973) is a fictional account of cavemen giving thanks. Historically, thanks were not invented until well after the birth, ministry and death of Christ.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond, "No Fat" (Hulu and Prime): In this 1998 episode, Marie forces everyone to eat tofurkey. Is the holiday ruined? No! Patricia Heaton was pregnant and therefore Debra was barely in the episode, sucking the life out of everybody with her constant bullshit.
  • Jack & Jill (2011) stars Thanksgiving, Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler.
  • The Other Sister (1999), a documentary about the friendship between actors Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi.


  • The story of the first Thanksgiving is retold by eye-witness Don Draper wearing a pilgrim hat in Mad Men's "The Wheel" (2007), debunked by a radicalized Peggy in "Public Relations" (2010), and subverted in the infamous Manson Murder episode "Dark Shadows" (2012). (Netflix)
  • On Designing Women, racial profiling casts a pall over Thanksgiving during "Perky's Visit" (1986), when it's rumored that Anthony has murdered a client. Luckily, the demented Bernice Clifton is in the house—and wacky as ever! Now there's something to be grateful for.
  • The Blind Side scene where Blindside nobly reminds a bunch of white people what Thanksgiving is, by eating quietly by himself until they all stop watching TV, staring at their phones, working on their fantasy football leagues, and bedazzling their vaginas. Very good movie about what really matters.
  • In 1982's first-season Family Ties episode, "No Nukes Is Good Nukes" (Netflix), Alex P. Keaton must choose between his progressive, activist parents and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).
  • "Last Call for Aunt Julie" (1996), "Thanksgiving/Gratitude" (2004), "Turkey" (2005), "Thanks and Giving" (2006) are all Thanksgiving-themed 7th Heaven episodes that you will never see on your TV set. Of these, "Last Call for Aunt Julie" is the most shocking, but "Thanks and Giving" the most grateful, and generous.
  • Of all the excellent Roseanne holidays, one of the best came late in the show's run, after its watershed lottery twist: "Home Is Where the Afghan Is" (1996, streaming at Logo TV), in which Roseanne's mother, Sea Hag, flips the fuck out about a gay adoption and then comes out of the closet her own self. This is later retconned when it reveals that Roseanne had gone insane sometime prior, and used the story element of her mother's latent homosexuality as a way of coping with her sister's very real, and in hindsight blatant, lesbianism.
  • In The Brady Bunch's 1970 episode "The Un-Underground Movie," Greg directs a film about the Pilgrims that is quickly overtaken by his blended brood, just like in post-Thanksgiving America. (Hulu)
  • In Bewitched's classic 1967 episode "Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember," Samantha transports her family to the time of the Pilgrims and Darren is put on trial as a witch even though, like most accused witches, he is not one.
  • On Boy Meets World's holiday celebration "Turkey Day" boy meets class warfare, as champagne liberal Corey and blue-collar Shawn try to share their first Thanksgiving together as a couple after winning oodles of stuffing in a stuffing contest.


  • Spider-Man (2002), in which Tobey Maguire goes on a journey of discovery with his changing body, "giving thanks" all over his walls, ceiling, and bedclothes.
  • Dutch (1991, Netflix), in which Ed O'Neill Over the Tops his girlfriend's preppy son (Ethan Embry!) home from boarding school.
  • Son-In-Law (1993), in which farm girl Carla Gugino gets her big-city buddy Pauly Shore to pretend to be her fiancé, and then everybody in her whole dumb family falls in love with him, because of his innate charm of course.
  • The Facts of Life Reunion (2001), in which lesbian couple Blair and Jo are jailed for "hot-saucing" their foster children, and the rest of the characters from the 1979-88 situation comedy of the same name band together to free them.
  • The "It," in Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It (1986), is pie. No pie, no Thanksgiving. Just kidding, it's sexual independence.
  • Frasier's Thanksgiving episodes are typically marred by bizarrely hateful and retrograde anti-Lilith rhetoric and propaganda, not unlike a malignant version of the show's anti-Maris complaints, and will no longer be considered canon. Therefore, Frasier has no Thanksgiving episodes. (Netflix and Hulu)
  • In The Cosby Show's sixth-season Thanksgiving episode, Cliff Huxtable (played by Bill Cosby, played by Bill Cosby) repeatedly braves the elements for Thanksgiving groceries. That episode's title is: "Cliff's Wet Adventure." You will never, ever see "Cliff's Wet Adventure" on TV again, but "Cliff's Wet Adventure" is still on Hulu. For now.
  • Happy Days: "The First Thanksgiving" (1978, Hulu). In this horror tale, Marion Cunningham is jealous of the attention her family pays to football that she retreats into a fantasy realm of her own imagining, animating the story of the first Thanksgiving with the rest of the family acting merely as her brutal flesh puppets.
  • In Doogie Howser, MD's 1992 episode, "The Big Sleep... Not!" (Hulu), Doogs meets a woman who's feigning illness to get away from her family for the holiday. Nice parenting... Not!
  • In 1996's "Kiss My Bum," a heterosexual Ellen accidentally invites a homeless person to Thanksgiving, thinking he is a regular person.


  • The Bernie Mac Show: "Tryptophan-tasy" (2002, Netflix)
  • Melrose Place: "The Days of Wine and Vodka" (1994, Netflix or Hulu—what's your poison?)
  • King of the Hill: "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men" (1998)
  • The Torkelsons: "Thanksgivingmesomething" (1991)
  • All in the Family: "The Little Atheist" (1975)
  • Chicago Hope: "Tantric Turkey" (1998)
  • Hope & Faith: "Blood Is Thicker Than Daughter" (2003)


  • For a woman like Lorelei Gilmore, who views every family dinner as a brutal murder and to whom the concept of gratitude is as repellent as decaf, a holiday called "Thanksgiving" would feel more like Halloween. Nevertheless, the Gilmore Girls spent at least two Thanksgivings—"A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving," "He's Slippin 'Em Bread... Dig?"—just talking and eating, talking and eating, talking and eating.
  • Pieces of April (2003), in which Katie Holmes makes dinner for her nasty estranged family in her nasty New York apartment.
  • The fourth-season Friday Night Lights finale (Netflix) is bittersweet genius: Buddy Garrity's deep-fried turkey, Tami Taylor jumping ship to East Dillon after a hypocritical abortion brouhaha, Julie snarking right to Matt Saracen's face about "deflowering" her, and of course, Riggins taking the fall for his hot-as-hell ne'er-do-well of a brother.
  • One Special Night (1999) stars James Garner and Julie Andrews, and is described on Amazon as "A sweet story about 2 very different people who find themselves stranded in a cabin over Thanksgiving." (Amazing tribute video on Youtube)
  • This is also the plot of the 1990 film Misery, starring Kathy Bates, although the latter film is not associated with any particular holiday.
  • Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving Celebration (an eight-episode Hulu collection) asks, but does not deign to answer, what the Native Americans of the Plymouth Rock vicinity would have called a "corn" maze.
  • The Object of My Affection (1998). Almost a true story, but for Providence: Jennifer Aniston plays a girl who dies of thirst.


5. Funny People (2009), co-written and directed by Judd Apatow, is easily the longest movie you will ever see in your life, but very worth it.

4. One of Adventure Time's all-time greatest episodes, 2011's "Thank You," tells the story of a snow golem, a fire wolf puppy, some sandwiches, and a graceful smooch.

3. Addams Family Values (1993, Netflix and Prime) is the third-best Thanksgiving movie even though it's about summertime, which is just one of the many mysteries of that movie.

2. Home for the Holidays with Robert Downey Jr., Dylan McDermott, Anne Bancroft, Claire Danes kind of, and starring the genius Holly Hunter—the best Thanksgiving movie ever made, in my opinion. Directed by Jodie Foster, before she went crazy.

1.The House of Yes (1997, Netflix) is the best Thanksgiving film of all time, directed by Mark Mean Girls Waters, and starring Parker Posey, Tori Spelling, and a young Freddie Prinze, Jr. A loving young couple is reunited just in time for Thanksgiving, if Tori Spelling doesn't fuck everything up with her bourgeois mentality.

So there you have it. More than enough television and movies to get you through the next weekend of love, togetherness and carbs. And if you start feeling low, please watch this amazing video of Monica Gellar dancing with a turkey on her head. It contains all the Thanksgiving magic you will ever need.

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