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Best Thanksgiving episodes to stream: ‘Friends,’ ‘Friendship’ and more

Are you getting ready for the big fun? Whether you call the upcoming holiday Friendship Day, Slap Day, Feast Day—or just, you know, Thanksgiving—you can be thankful that there’s plenty of TV to keep you company this year.

Join these fictional families and groups of friends as they break bread or lift each other’s spirits, depending on whichever is more relaxing, while cooking, eating, and getting lost on the couch. Yes, you can have seconds.

‘Friends’: Matthew Perry, who died last month at age 54, was the king of many “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes. Or, as his character Chandler puts it, the king of bad Thanksgivings. OrThe Boy Who Hated Thanksgiving, as Monica’s mother calls him. (His disdain for the holiday stemmed from learning his parents were divorcing on his childhood Thanksgiving day and vomiting in response.) But Chandler gradually overcame this hatred and saved the gang with cheese sandwiches on the first Friendship Day, and later helped with the preparations. some cranberry sauce (made from delicious Chanberries, as he calls them). Fans who only have room for one episode should look for “The One With the Thanksgiving Flashbacks” from Season 5. (Flow at maximum.)

‘Rick and Morty’: For mad scientist Rick Sanchez (Justin Roiland), Thanksgiving is the ideal time to break into the National Archives and try to steal the Constitution. But what if other national treasures are destroyed in the process? Season 5’s “Rick and Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” finds Rick on bad terms with federal officials and concocting an elaborate plan to get a presidential pardon. Soon people start turning into turkeys and turkeys start turning into people. If you choose to accept this part, your job is to make sense of all this nonsense. (Flow at maximum.)

‘Lord of Nothing’: The Thanksgiving episode of this series is one of the best. Shifting the focus from our hesitant hero Dev (Aziz Ansari) to his lifelong friend Denise (Lena Waithe), the film presents a series of stories that follow his struggle to confess to his mother that he is a lesbian over the course of two decades of Thanksgiving dinners. . Every element of this poignant half-hour feels carefully crafted, from Angela Bassett’s soulful guest performance as Denise’s mother to the nostalgic 1990s R&B soundtrack. Waithe won an Emmy for her screenplay inspired by her own family history, becoming the first Black woman to win the award for comedy. (It’s streaming on Netflix.)

‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’: For ordinary mortals, Thanksgiving is a harvest festival. But the equivalent Feast of Feasts for witches is a very different celebration, with a very different main course; More human than bird. In Season 1’s “The Feast of Feasts,” young witch Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) is shocked to learn of this barbaric holiday ritual. (“Are we taking this issue seriously? cannibalism?he asks in horror.) His rejection of this ancient tradition overshadows any sense of holiday. (It’s streaming on Netflix.)

‘Bob’s Burgers’: The Season 3 episode is titled “An Immoral Thanksgiving Proposal,” but don’t worry; Bob and Linda Belcher’s marriage is secure. The offer in question comes from wealthy landlord Mr. Fischoeder, who offers the Belchers five months’ free rent for a chaste evening with Linda and the family’s three children, with Bob on hand to cook. Like the other plans in the show, it’s a disaster. But Studio Ghibli fans should check out a beautiful dream sequence that pays homage to “My Neighbor Totoro.” (It airs on Hulu.)

‘The Sopranos’: Most of the episodes on this list are somewhat uplifting and work well on their own. This episode, titled “He Is Risen,” won’t make sense if you’ve never seen “The Sopranos,” and it’s no more uplifting than other hours of the show. But if you’re already a Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) fan, you probably won’t mind a dark holiday tale. This episode of Season 3 features a car crash, a funeral, and the beginning of an extramarital affair, as well as a surprisingly enjoyable Soprano family Thanksgiving dinner thanks to the conspicuous absence of Tony’s most sinister partner, Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano). (Flow at maximum.)

‘Subrogation’: The Roys serve up their usual feast of family feuds at their Thanksgiving party. Patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is particularly destructive, resulting in him attacking an innocent child. In Season 1’s “I Went to the Market,” party talk covers sensitive but relatable topics like political ideologies and movie choices, but business concerns naturally take precedence over everything else. Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) has to skip most of the celebrations; It looks like there are some sensitive documents in the office that need to be shredded. (Flow at maximum.)

‘blackish’: It’s always fun to watch Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis go at each other as divorced grandparents Pops and Ruby on the “blackish” series. Season 3’s Thanksgiving episode “Aunties” brought a third veteran actor into the fray, casting Lorraine Toussaint (“Orange Is the New Black”) as Aunt AV, Pops’ older sister whom Ruby hates. (It airs on Hulu.)

‘Gilmore Girls’: Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her teenage daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) can barely boil water, but they love to eat. They make cameos at at least four dinners in Season 3’s “Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving.” Rory’s friend Lane (Keiko Agena) hosts a dinner featuring Tofurky and a budding relationship. Perfectionist chef Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) watches in horror as her husband roasts a turkey. Romantic tensions for both mother and daughter are on the menu at the local diner. Lorelai’s parents serve up their usual soup of guilt and resentment. Just like Thanksgiving dinner, this episode is a plate full of sweet, salty and deliciously tart moments. (It’s streaming on Netflix.)

‘Happy endings’: Halfway through the third and final season of this wacky hangout comedy, we finally find out how the crew’s married couple got together in an episode called “More Like Stanksgiving.” It turns out that Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) met when she and her friend Max (Adam Pally) were co-stars on an unaired season of MTV’s “The Real World” in 2002. Ten years later Max still has scrapped footage. At just over 20 minutes, the incredibly fast-paced “Happy Endings” delivers a perfect reality TV parody and sheds new light on several long-standing relationships. (It airs on Hulu.)

‘Big mouth’: Nothing says love warmer than a perfectly roasted turkey (or even fur). That’s the lesson Andrew (John Mulaney) learned in this episode of Season 5. Andrew’s father (Richard Kind) has anger management issues regarding poultry preparation; He believes that insulting the bird is the key to keeping its water inside. Andrew condemns this “turkey cruelty” and refuses to eat. But eventually he and his father talk candidly about their troubled family history. Despite the usual gross-out humour, there is a genuine attempt to address issues of intergenerational trauma and, of course, the power of sharing food. (It’s streaming on Netflix.)

‘Buffy the vampire slayer’: Many Thanksgiving episodes sprinkle in references to the holiday’s complicated history. “Buffy” takes the showdown to extremes in Season 4’s “Pangs,” when the bumbling Xander (Nicholas Brendon) inadvertently unleashes the spirit of a Native warrior. When the ghost begins killing people who disturb his sacred graveyard, the Huntress (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends debate whether it’s right to kill a “vengeance demon” whose grievances are legitimate. The result is a rather nuanced debate about whether Americans are responsible for the sins of their ancestors. (It airs on Hulu.)

‘Gossip Girl’: Forget for a moment how “Gossip Girl” eventually fell apart. Its first season was a spectacular confection, spiced with flashy costumes and forbidden love, tempered by heated conflict. All of these elements come together in the Thanksgiving episode “Blair Waldorf Must Pie!”, which travels back in time to compare yesteryear’s festivities with today’s. In the past, beautiful and troubled Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) gets drunk before a dinner with her best friend Blair Waldorf’s (Leighton Meester) family. A year later, Serena is clean and Blair is struggling with bulimia. Although the girls are often framed as frenemies, this unusually emotional event is a tribute to how they care for each other. (Flow at maximum.)

‘South Park’: If a long weekend of family togetherness leaves you desperate for a triple dose of irreverence, Season 17 of “South Park” has you covered. In a trilogy of episodes that begins with “Black Friday,” a local mall prepares for its annual bloodbath, which begins as soon as plates are put in the dishwasher. For Cartman, this means creating an army of little gamers to buy the new Xbox at a deep discount. When a pro-Playstation group breaks up, South Park’s own “Game of Thrones” breaks out; Kenny as Daenerys and the Red Robin Wedding is complete. (Flow at maximum.)

‘How I met your mother’: It’s a holiday of firsts in “Slapsgiving,” the Thanksgiving episode of the third season of the hit CBS sitcom. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) are celebrating their first Thanksgiving as a married couple. Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) have just broken up and are trying to figure out how to be friends for the first time. This is the first of three Slap Days (the others are in Seasons 5 and 9), named after a bet in which Marshall wins the right to slap his obnoxious friend Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), resulting in the brilliant original song “You Just Got.” “I was slapped.” After watching, be sure to read Entertainment Weekly’s oral history of the episode. (It airs on Hulu.)

‘Family ties’: This excellent 1980s family sitcom outdid itself with Season 1’s “Nuclear Weapons Are No Good.” While the Keaton kids endure their grandmother’s terrible cooking, Elyse (Meredith Baxter) and Steven (Michael Gross) relive their hippie youth at a nuclear Thanksgiving celebration. disarmament protest Of course, Boomer parents are going to jail, and their Gen X kids couldn’t be more embarrassed. It’s an old story, but the episode’s message about standing up for your beliefs never gets old. (Streaming on Paramount+.)

‘Adam Destroys Everything’: Need some ammo for semi-friendly arguments at the Thanksgiving table? This animated episode, called “First Truths,” helps dispel many of the beloved myths that have grown up around the holiday, including the role of Native warrior Tisquantum (commonly known as Squanto) in the original Thanksgiving feast in 1621. history: It wasn’t until the Civil War that Thanksgiving became a fixed nationwide holiday, a day of mourning for turkeys everywhere. (Flow at maximum.)

c.2023 New York Times Corporation

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