Thanksgiving is delicious, but, if you've been saddled with all the cooking, over-imbibed to cope with stressful relations, or are simply too full to function, then driving to the movies for an alternative wind-down activity to watching football may be outside the realm of possibility for you. But that's OK, because you'll still have Netflix at your fingertips, and it's no more than a comfy surface-flop away from you at any given time. Thankfully (see what I did there), there are plenty of Thanksgiving TV episodes on Netflix to be thankful for from the comfort of your own food coma cocoon. By the time you've blossomed into a beautiful, leftovers-fiending butterfly the next morning, you could probably power through a bunch of them.
Even better: there are options from the drama, comedy, dramedy, and animated realms to consider. Because sometimes you want to laugh away your Thanksgiving feels and sometimes you need to cry them away. For the casual TV watcher, there are plenty of animated comedies and sit-coms whose episodes can stand alone to entertain. For the hard-hitting drama snob, there are classic, uplifting Thanksgiving episodes with which you can revisit your GOAT TV characters. And, for the nostalgia-hungry, there are plenty of teen drama Thanksgiving episodes from the early aughts to keep your soul fed. For example...
1Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 8 is where you'll locate Buffy's Thanksgiving episode. "Pangs." In it, Buffy and the gang battle the spirits of Native American warriors on Thanksgiving. (Get it?) There's some cringe-worthy stereotyping of Native Americans by today's standards, but it is a pretty funny episode in the canon, and it features the memorable visual of Spike enjoying Thanksgiving dinner while tied to a chair.
There are two Thanksgiving episodes of Gilmore Girls from the original series that you can revisit before your binge on the four-part reprise, which comes out on Friday. Season 3, Episode 9, "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" and Season 6, Episode 10, "He's Slippin 'em Bread...Dig?" both follow Rory and Lorelai over Thanksgiving dinner-hopping adventures and family bombshells.
Gossip Girl — you know, the other GG in your life — treated us to three Thanksgiving specials in a row over it's first three seasons. Season 1, Episode 9's "Blair Waldorf Must Pie," Season 2, Episode 11's "The Magnificent Archibalds," and Season 3, Episode 11's "The Treasure of Serena Madre" will all have you longing for how glamorous you used to believe the Upper East Side was. (Before Real Housewives of New York set us straight on that illusion.)
Witches definitely deserve a spot at the Thanksgiving table for all that they endured during American Colonialism. Season 1, Episode 8's "The Truth Is Out There...And It Hurts" and Season 7, Episode 9's "There's Something About Leo" give us one Thanksgiving special pre- and post-Rose McGowan's addition as the fourth Charmed One.
5How I Met Your Mother
In the grand tradition of sit-com Thanksgiving episodes: HIMYM has a million of them, especially in regards to the "Slapsgiving" variety. Here's where in the lineup you can find them:
- Season 1, Episode 9 "Belly Full of Turkey"
- Season 3, Episode 9 "Slapsgiving"
- Season 5, Episode 9 "Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap"
- Season 6, Episode 10 "Blitzgiving"
- Season 9, Episode 14 "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra"
Of course, we can't laugh about the ridiculous number of sit-com Thanksgivings without addressing the giant turkey-head in the room. Here's your definitive list of Friends-givings. One for every season (except Season 2, for some reason)!
- Season 1, Episode 9 "The One Where Underdog Gets Away"
- Season 3, Episode 9 "The One with the Football"
- Season 4, Episode 8 "The One with Chandler in a Box"
- Season 5, Episode 8 "The One with All the Thanksgivings"
- Season 6, Episode 9 "The One Where Ross Got High"
- Season 7, Episode 8 "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs"
- Season 8, Episode 9 "The One with the Rumor"
- Season 9, Episode 8 "The One with Rachel's Other Sister"
- Season 10, Episode 8 "The One with the Late Thanksgiving"
If blue collar midwestern sit-coms were more your vibe, try revisiting one of Roseanne's six Thanksgiving specials:
- Season 2, Episode 9 "We Gather Together"
- Season 4, Episode 10 "Thanksgiving '91"
- Season 6, Episode 10 "Thanksgiving '93"
- Season 7, Episode 10 "Thanksgiving '94"
- Season 8, Episode 8 "The Last Thursday in November"
- Season 9, Episode 10 "Home Is Where the Afghan Is"
8That 70s Show
Prefer stoner sit-coms? There are also options!
- Season 1, Episode 9 "Thanksgiving"
- Season 5, Episode 8 "Thank You"
- Season 7, Episode 9 "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
George O'Malley hunting in the woods. Need I say more? (There are also two George-less Grey's Anatomy Thanksgiving episodes if you can't deal with all of that right now.)
- Season 2, Episode 9 "Thanks for the Memories"
- Season 6, Episode 10 "Holidaze"
- Season 10, Episode 10 "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Due to the brevity of Mad Men seasons, the series typically either premiered or ended its seasons on a holiday-centric episode. Here's where you can find its Thanksgiving episodes:
- Season 1, Episode 13 "The Wheel"
- Season 4, Episode 1 "Public Relations"
- Season 5, Episode 9 "Dark Shadows"
- Season 6, Episode 13 "In Care Of"
11The West Wing
Season 2, Episode 8's "Shibboleth" and Season 3, Episode 8's "The Indians in the Lobby" feature CJ Cregg interacting with live turkeys, which may be the greatest gift Aaron Sorkin ever gave us.
If litigious sex antics are more your vibe, revisit Ally McBeal's Season 2, Episode 9 "You Never Can Tell" and Season 3, Episode 5 "Troubled Water" for the Thanksgiving misadventures of the legal offices of Cage and Fish.
If you need deep belly laughs to help with your digestion, check out the four Bob's Burgers Thanksgiving episodes:
- Season 3, Episode 5 "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal"
- Season 4, Episode 5 "Turkey in a Can"
- Season 5, Episode 4 "Dawn of the Peck"
- Season 6, Episode 4 "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled"
Suffice to say, you have plenty of TV options to choose from, so go forth and enjoy as much post-Thanksgiving relaxation as you can muster.