Thanksgiving, thousands of American families gather around for a holiday meal that ends with either feelings of tenderness and warmth for our relatives, or, more likely, shouting matches about politics with cousins we’ve never actually liked. Thankfully, we have television to tell us we’re not the only ones. Whether they’re gathering around a fancy table uptown with their media magnate patriarch (like the Roy family in Season One of HBO’s Succession) or dredging up the truth behind some old hijinks (see the episode of when Ross got high) our favorite fictional families are probably more dysfunctional than our own. Here, ten shows to get you into the real spirit of the day. Friends
Master of None, “Thanksgiving” Master of None‘s Denise, played by Lena Waithe, goes home for Thanksgiving and struggles with coming out to her family in this Emmy-winning episode of the series cowritten by Waithe. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Grey’s Anatomy, “Thanks for the Memories”
Meredith Grey goes home for Thanksgiving but ends up avoiding her family by returning to the hospital. Relatable. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Friends, “The One Where Ross Got High”
Ross is forced to tell everyone why his parents, Jack and Judy, don’t like Chandler. When he tries to escape Thanksgiving he is invited to spend it with Janine and a pack of dancers.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Talking Turkey”
Will’s mother visits for Thanksgiving and puts the kids to work on preparing a meal, but as you might predict, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Photo courtesy of Everett Collection.
Gilmore Girls, “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”
Rory and Lorelai try to fit in four Thanksgiving dinners; Lorelai finds out Rory applied to more colleges than just Harvard; and Lane has her first kiss. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Gossip Girl, “The Treasure of Serena Madre”
As Thanksgiving hits the Upper East Siders of
Gossip Girl, Blair suspects her mother is lying to her, Vanessa ditches dinner with her family to hide in Dan’s loft, and Rufus discovers that Lily has been lying to him about her mother’s health. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
The O.C., “The Homecoming”
Ryan visits his estranged brother in prison and Marissa tags along to see where he grew up. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Almaviligerais, Pops’ older sister unexpectedly shows up to the house for Thanksgiving, which excites everyone except Ruby. Bow and Dre go on their last vacation before their new baby arrives, and the kids try to figure out why Ruby hates Almaviligerais so much. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Succession, “I Went To Market”
Kendall begins to plot a vote of no confidence against Logan, Tom questions his prenup, and cousin Greg gets stuck in the car for a long ride with his estranged Grandpa Ewan, setting up a catastrophic chain of events to unfold during the remainder of the season. Photo courtesy of IMDB.
Who could forget Don Draper’s iconic emotional pitch for Kodak, in which he reinvented the wheel as The Carousel? “It’s called ‘The Carousel.’ It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around and back home again. A place where we know that you’re loved,” he says, after skipping out on his wife’s family’s Thanksgiving. Other notable
Mad Men Thanksgiving episodes include season four’s “Public Relations” (in which Don spends the holiday with a sex worker, while Sally complains about the food her stepdad Harry is serving) and season five’s “Dark Shadows.” Photo courtesy of IMDb.