Thanksgiving is undoubtedly one of the greatest holidays, but it can also be pretty exhausting. From the inordinate amounts of tryptophan and carbs you consume to the prospect of dealing with a bunch of overzealous relatives, Thanksgiving always winds up leaving you pretty drained. But, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, what better way to relax than to watch a funny episode of TV after you eat dinner? Here are some of the best from recent years.
Modern Family: “Punkin Chunkin”
This Thanksgiving episode is a reminder of just how subversive and well written this show was at the turn of the decade. Though its relevance has petered out over the past few years, Modern Family was a groundbreaking show—it boasted clever scripts, rapid–fire jokes and progressive content (like helping to normalize gay couples in the mainstream media). In this episode, Mitch doubts the legitimacy of one of Cam’s outlandish high school stories, Jay doubts Manny’s creative talents and Claire doubts her husband’s ingenuity. All of this culminates in a huge argument right before Thanksgiving dinner.
Bob’s Burgers: “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”
Bob’s Burgers is always a great show to visit for a quick dose of goofy absurdity. It replaces the raunchy nature of most adult cartoons with genuinely clever humor, and the colorful world of the Belchers is just so much fun to observe. This episode is stuffed (pun intended) with so many witty moments and visual gags that it warrants multiple viewings, and the humor is just wholesome enough to accommodate your little siblings, your grandmother and everyone in between.
Friends: “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” and “The One Where Ross Got High”
Let’s be honest, when you read this article’s headline, Friends was probably the first show that came to mind. In its ten seasons, Friends made nine Thanksgiving episodes, and many of them rank among people’s favorite episodes of the whole series. The two best both revolve around the dinner itself. In "The One Where Underdog Gets Away," the whole gang’s various plans fall through, and they wind up with each other on Thanksgiving. Monica burns the meal, and everyone fights, but it ends on a loving note. This episode is from the first season and it’s always fun to look back this early, when Rachel was still new to the group and the friendship dynamics were still forming. From Monica’s neurotic tendencies to Chandler’s jaded wit, this episode features just about every classic Friends quirk.
In "The One Where Ross Got High" from the sixth season, Monica and Ross’ parents come over for Thanksgiving, and they don’t know about Monica and Chandler’s budding relationship. Rachel tries to prepare a trifle for dessert, Phoebe becomes infatuated with Monica’s dad and all of these side plots culminate, once again, in a huge fight. This is Friends at its best—Jennifer Aniston is amazing at playing up Rachel’s ditzy charm, Lisa Kudrow nails Phoebe’s bizarre thought processes and both of the Geller parents are hilariously uncomfortable with all of the friends’ dysfunctional antics. Watch both of these after dinner because Friends Thanksgiving episodes are iconic. Your parents will remember these episodes, and the younger half of the family will get introduced to one of television’s best sitcoms.