The 15 Weirdest Thanksgiving Episodes on TV, Ranked


Thanksgiving is the ideal holiday to get together with family and share great food, spend the long weekend being lazy, and top it off with some TV — whether a football game or a family-friendly Thanksgiving-themed movie. However, another medium with a rich history of celebrating the holiday season that can go overlooked is television, with many sitcoms, dramas, and cartoons getting into the spirit of giving thanks.

So grab a turkey leg, a heaping portion of mashed potatoes, and veggies (if you have room on your plate), and sink into some of these weird and entertaining Thanksgiving-themed TV episodes.

16 The Brady Bunch — The Un-Underground Movie

The Brady Bunch The Un-Underground Movie

Running for five seasons, from 1969 to 1974 and totaling 117 episodes, The Brady Bunch is about as classic as you can get when it comes to iconic family sitcoms, and it is still loved to this day. While the most memorable holiday special of the show comes from “A Very Brady Christmas” released as a made-for-TV movie, the family celebration of Thanksgiving in season two is worth checking out.

The Thanksgiving Episode

In “The Un-Underground Movie,” Greg decides to make a movie about the Pilgrims for a school project and ends up enlisting the help of his family to play various roles. However, the film turns more into a family project as everyone begins to interject their ideas into the script. This episode radiates the fun of making a home movie with simple yet adorable sets and costumes. Robert Reed embracing the role of a bearded pilgrim is a true highlight in this classic episode.

Stream on Prime

15 Fresh Off The Boat — The Day After Thanksgiving

Fresh off The Boat The Day After Thanksgiving the characters sit around the table in front of a feast

Lasting for six seasons and a total of 116 episodes between 2015 and 2020, Fresh Off The Boat depicts the life of a Taiwanese-American family in Florida in the 1990s. The series certainly was known to embrace the holiday spirit, with seven Christmas episodes throughout its run. Regarding Thanksgiving, the series only had two specials, Huangsgiving from season 2, and “The Day After Thanksgiving” from season four.

Related: Best TV Shows About Asian-Americans, Ranked

The Thanksgiving Episode

Originally planning to skip Thanksgiving, the Huang family decides to hold dinner after Louis intervenes and invites Grandma’s ESL teacher Bernard (played by LGBT+ icon George Takei) to dinner after noticing their flirtation in class. To show her appreciation, Grandma Haung offers to make the whole dinner. More wholesome than on the weird side, the episode is the perfect family gathering episode with the dose of comedy the series is known for. There is also an entertaining side story of Evan trying to prove his maturity by convincing Eddie and Emery to sneak him into his first R-rated movie.

Stream on Hulu

14 Will & Grace — Homo for the Holidays

Will and Grace Homo For The Holidays the characters sit around the table about to eat a Thanksgiving meal

Running for a total of 11 seasons, with the original eight running from 1998 to 2006 and subsequent seasons having a more sporadic release schedule, Will and Grace had no shortage of holiday-themed episodes. However, out of all of them, the one that stands out is “Homo for the Holidays” (season two, episode seven).

The Thanksgiving Episode

This episode is best summarized in the trade-off between Grace and Karen: Grace: “Hmmm. Well, you’ve come on a good night. Jack’s mother is going to be joining us, and she doesn’t know Jack’s gay.” Karen: “How could she not know? What is she, headless?” It indeed came as a surprise that Jack’s mother was unaware that her son was gay, so the subsequent dinner with that looming over the Thanksgiving feast made for a hilariously awkward gathering. Thankfully, things turn out for the best, and Jack gets closure while learning something about his family that makes him feel thankful for the holiday.

Stream on Hulu

13 Gilmore Girls — A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving

Gilmore Girls Korean Fried Thanksgiving the characters sit at a table together outside for Thanksgiving
Warner Bros Television

Running for seven seasons and 153 episodes, Gilmore Girls often embraced the holidays. Undeniably, the focus on community in Stars Hollow always meant that every celebration brought the town together in a meaningful and humorous manner. This is true of Season 3, Episode 9: “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” which offers some great moments of interaction between the expressive cast.

Related: Gilmore Girls: The Best Side Characters, Ranked

The Thanksgiving Episode

Rory and Lorelai find themselves juggling four Thanksgiving dinners across town, resulting in a rush to get to each other and brief but hilarious interactions with various locals. However, this episode is one of the better ‘Kirk craziness’ episodes after he adopts a cat and decides to name it Kirk. Human Kirk and cat Kirk go to war throughout the episode. It gets intense when Kirk claims that 60% of his body is now scratched and that the feline tried to garrote him with a ball of yarn. Also, Lane lands her first kiss in this episode, delighting fans everywhere.

Stream on Netflix

12 Roseanne — The Last Thursday in November

Roseanna Last Thursday in November the kids from the show are dressed as native Americans

The original run of Roseanne consists of 231 episodes, airing from 1988 to 1997 across nine seasons. Focusing on an endearing and occasional dysfunctional family dynamic, it is no surprise that the hit TV show had many holiday-themed episodes during its run. This also extends to Thanksgiving, with many of those six episodes having pivotal plot points in the series. However, for those who want a silly revisit to the TV show for the holiday, your best bet is season eight, episode eight, “The Last Thursday in November.”

The Thanksgiving Episode

After DJ’s teacher allows free rein for a school project, the kid decides to do an homage to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction in his retelling of Thanksgiving. This angers the parents at the school, while the Connors fully embrace their son’s outlandish approach to retelling of the holiday. Also included in the episode is Roseanne inviting local indigenous people to join in on her holiday celebrations. The perfect mix of comedy and touching moments, it is the most straightforward and entertaining episode to jump into during this Thanksgiving.

Stream on Peacock

11 Modern Family — Punkin Chunkin

10 Modern Famliy Punkin Chuckin

Modern Family has 250 episodes across 11 seasons, with seven Christmas-themed episodes, seven Thanksgiving episodes, and seven Halloween episodes — seven seemed to be the magic number! This is not surprising considering the family-centric nature of Modern Family, and many of the holiday entries stand out for that very reason.

The Thanksgiving Episode

As is usual in the series, the episode weaves several plotlines throughout “Punkin Chunkin,” but what makes this the best Thanksgiving episode comes from Mitchell doubting Cameron’s “punkin chunkin” story. Combining this with some other disputes between families causes them to divide themselves into two teams: “Dreamers” and “Realists.” This culminates in them taking to a football field to fling some pumpkins! “Punkin Chunkin” is, admittedly, one of those episodes that lacks meaningful substance, but it is a perfect bit of family drama/entertainment to watch before Thanksgiving.

Stream on Hulu

9 Friends — The One With Chandler in The Box

Friends The One With Chandler in the Box

Arguably, the greatest sitcom of all time, Friends ran for ten seasons, from 1994 to 2004, and each season had at least one holiday episode. And the most celebrated holiday of the group? Thanksgiving! The series has had one for each season compared to the 8 Christmas episodes throughout all ten seasons.

The Thanksgiving Day Episode

Friends had a delightful amount of silly episodes, but none more so than their Turkey Day ones. “The One With Chandler in The Box” is from season four, and has the absurd continued joke of Chandler staying inside a wooden box for the holiday to make amends for kissing Joey’s girlfriend Kathy. On top of that, the group attempts to plan a ‘Secret Santa,’ which only leads to speculation and plotting.

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8 Seinfield — The Mom and Pop Shop

Seinfeld Mom and Pop Shop

The ‘Show About Nothing’ and one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld ran for nine seasons, leaving behind 180 episodes of comedy gold. Despite this, the show was not heavy on creating holiday-specific episodes, with only six throughout its run. Even then, these episodes were generally Christmas-themed, with some only lining up because of the decorations on set. This is part of what makes the Thanksgiving episode such a stand-out.

The Thanksgiving Episode

Season 6, Episode 8, “The Mom and Pop Shop” has a lot going on at once (like most Seinfeld episodes): George buys a car that he believes was previously owned by actor Jon Voight, Kramer gives bad advice to a small shoe-repair business, Elaine answers a radio quiz to win her boss a spot in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Jerry tries to figure out whether he was snubbed for a party. In typical Seinfeld fashion, everything kind of weaves together in an unforgettable comedy of errors. The episode also has a guest appearance by Jon Voight, who we learn bites people when confronted.

Stream on Netflix

7 3rd Rock From the Sun — Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick

3rd rock from the sun

Originally airing from 1996 to 2001 and running for a total of six seasons, 3rd Rock From The Sun remains an endearing fan favorite. Following five aliens that land on planet Earth and their struggles to understand planetary customs, the holidays made for an ideal way to test their knowledge, or lack thereof, of human traditions.

Related: The Best TV Christmas Episodes of All Time, Ranked

The Thanksgiving Episode

The Solomon family, constantly struggling with new events, mistake the Thanksgiving rush for the end of the world and start preparing accordingly. Thankfully, Mrs. Dubcek is there to help the family, along with her daughter Vicky. The highlight of “Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick” is Vicky and Harry crushing on each other, with Harry getting a kiss while wearing a half-eaten turkey carcass on top of his head.

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6 Scream Queens — Thanksgiving

Scream Queens Thanksgiving a woman wearing metal on her face and chest touches a man sitting with her

Running for two seasons from 2015 to 2016, Scream Queens may not have lasted long, but it found a fanbase for its dark humor and horror-inspired story. Each season follows a serial killer stalking his prey in a different location, with the first season on a campus and the second in a hospital. The Thanksgiving episode took place in episode ten of the inaugural season.

The Thanksgiving Episode

An enjoyable episode from start to finish, “Thanksgiving” allows many cast members to work off each other in an awkward dinner setting for humorously dark results. Like most macabre family gatherings, the episode also marked some revelations about the ‘Red Devil Killer(s)’ mystery, including learning about the father of the tub girl’s kid. We will keep it vague for those who have yet to check out this gem of a series, but the Thanksgiving episode is easily one of the most entertaining and absurdly humorous in the series.

Stream on Hulu

5 Beavis and Butt-Head — Beavis and Butt-Head Do Thanksgiving

Beavis and Butthead do Thanksgiving the two sit at a table superimposed onto a real live shot with a man for Thanksgiving dinner

Initially running for seven seasons from 1993 to 1997, Beavis and Butt-Head was essential ’90s viewing for any teenager. Crass humor and making fun of music videos became synonyms with the slacker culture of the era and a staple of the MTV line-up. The episodes were relatively short, so the few holiday specials still blended in with the regular watching of music videos and brief skits. However, the duo got an extended TV special, “Beavis and Butt-Head Do Thanksgiving.”

The Thanksgiving Episode

The episode, named as a spoof on the recently released film Beavis and Butthead do America, is a curious entry into the original television series. Addressing the show’s upcoming ending while interjecting reactions to a parage with the expected mentions of scoring and lack of nudity, the episode was presented by a live host, Kurt Loder. This is, admittedly, not the duo at their best, and the special feels somewhat gimmicky. Still, you have the classic making fun of music videos and the lack of wit from the perverted pair. It is definitely one of the strangest Thanksgiving specials on this list; you can easily find it online, as it is not included in regular season releases and streaming.

Stream on Paramount+

4 Buffy The Vampire Slayer — Pangs

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Pangs Buffy looks at Giles while Spike is tied to a chair in the background for Thanksgiving
20th Century Fox

Running for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003 and totaling 144 episodes, Buffy The Vampire Slayer was always willing to get a bit bizarre. This includes fan-favorite episodes like “Hush” and the musical entry “Once More With Feeling.” Still, the series did not often evoke the holiday spirit, with only a few holiday episodes. This makes the wonderful mix of weirdness and the holidays in “Pangs” a classic, albeit controversial, Thanksgiving-themed episode.

The Thanksgiving Episode

Airing on November 23, 1999, “Pangs” follows a gathering of Buffy and her friends for Thanksgiving dinner, where an evil spirit of the native Chumash Tribe battles them while Buffy obsesses over making the perfect dinner from scratch. Adding to the chaos is the uninvited vampire Spike, who spends dinner tied to a chair, taking the odd arrow. There is certainly some fun to be had with this one, though one should also approach it with awareness that the episode has also been scrutinized for its themes. If authenticity in exploring indigenous cultures is crucial to you as a viewer, you may want to skip this one if you can’t overlook the obvious shortcomings.

Stream on Hulu

3 South Park — Black Friday

South Park Black Friday Randy is dressed to be a mall cop for Black Friday
South Park Studios

Running for an impressive 23 seasons as of 2023, Matt Parker and Trey Stone’s South Park has had its fair share of Holiday episodes, including ten Christmas ones, nine Halloween ones, and four Thanksgiving episodes. This makes sense, given the series focuses on the four iconic Colorado kids who live for the holidays.

Related: Funniest and Best South Park Episodes

The Thanksgiving Episode

Taking place on the Black Friday after Thanksgiving, it is hard not to give the nod to episode seven of season 14, simply titled “Black Friday.” Mocking the barbaric commercialism of crowds storming outlets for the hottest deals, a large chunk of the episode focuses on Randy (always a good sign) as he takes on a temp job as mall security — having to fight hordes of mindless consumers.

At the same time, the kids are playing a fantasy game reminiscent of Game of Thrones while plotting how they will get the best deal on the new gaming console. While spot-on in its critique of consumer culture, the series also uses the opportunity to remind you about The Stick of Truth, which was set for release soon after the episodes dropped.

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2 Into The Dark — Pilgrim

Into The Dark Pilgrim a woman dressed as a pilgrim holds an ax resting on her shoulder

When creating Into the Dark, Hulu tapped into a great idea, offering short made-for-TV movies focused on the holidays made by notable and upcoming horror directors. And while the concept only lasted two seasons with a total of 24 short films, it resulted in some highly memorable and entertaining entries. Into the Dark contained two Thanksgiving-themed episodes, Flesh & Blood in 2018 and Pilgrim in 2019, both worth checking out — though we are going with Pilgrim for its absurd premise.

The Thanksgiving Day Episode

Anna invites a group of period piece re-enactors to teach her family about the true history of Thanksgiving and remind them of the privileges afforded to them by modernity. The evening starts jovial enough, but when the actors refuse to break character and slowly become apprehensive towards the family, it results in a violent evening of fighting off the pilgrims. Silly, short, violent, and entertaining, this is an ideal pick for horror fans who want to add some dark and bizarre content to an otherwise peaceful holiday, and the weirdest Thanksgiving episode in TV history.

Stream on Hulu

1 Friends — The One With All the Thanksgivings

Monica wears a turkey on her head in Friends episode the one with all the thanksgivings

How could it not be at the top of such a list? There is something incomparably hilarious and daring for an actor, or a character, to put an uncooked turkey on their head — over their face! Of all the Thanksgiving Day episodes that strike at the heart of the absurd, this episode from season five is the one that pops into the minds of most TV viewers who lived through the ’90s.

The Thanksgiving Day Episode

“The One with All the Thanksgivings” famously features the group of friends reminiscing about all their previous holidays together. It starts with Ross complaining that he is having the worst Thanksgiving ever thanks to the news of his upcoming divorce and eviction from his apartment. This prompts the rest of them to tell stories about their own bad turkey days, including a tale about Joey getting a turkey stuck on his head (how? just how?).

By far the best and worst story is Monica’s worst Thanksgiving, which ends up being about Chandler. Upon hearing the full tale, he gets upset and leaves. In order to apologize and cheer him up, Monica comes by his apartment wearing a turkey on her head, complete with a fez hat and glasses. After laughing at her ridiculous dance, Chandler ends up telling her that he loves her — and if such a confession can come after someone has raw bird on their face, it must be true love.

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