A Thanksgiving Episode is a story or an episode within a larger series that focuses on the holiday of Thanksgiving, celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Canada also has a Thanksgiving holiday, held on the second Monday in October.
Thanksgiving stories fall into two basic categories. The first category consist of stories that relate to the origin of the holiday. Traditionally, the holiday is dated back to a feast given in 1621 by Pilgrims of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts to offer thanks to God for their survival past the first harsh year of the settlement. They invited the local Wampanoag tribe, who had been key to that survival, to share the feast with them — whence the traditional Thanksgiving iconography of steeple-crowned and bonneted Pilgrims alongside buckskin-clad Native Americans. Optimistic portrayals focus on the event as a time of inter-cultural cooperation and celebration . More cynical portrayals will place more emphasis on the long-term negative effect of colonization in displacing the Native Americans.
The second category is stories that revolve around the celebration of the holiday in latter years. As with Christmas, Thanksgiving stories tend to be very family oriented, with characters either going to visit relatives or hosting large gatherings of the extended family. Such gatherings are generally intended to be joyous times of celebration, but can also be times of tension and internal family conflict. Often groups will take time to help those less fortunate than themselves.
The major focus of the holiday on the Thanksgiving meal, which traditionally includes turkey, potatoes, pies, cranberry sauce, yams, and various vegetables. Preparing the turkey is a big deal, and an inexperienced cook seeking to prove him/herself by cooking a perfect meal will often find themselves making various amusing blunders. Even experienced cooks will find themselves challenged by the expectations placed upon them. Health minded cooks may try to create healthier alternatives to the traditional fare, which will almost certainly not be well received.
Other activities include the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, watching marathons of TV shows, and watching or even playing American football. If the main character is a cartoonist, they might have the honor of their character being a balloon in the Macy's parade.
Thanksgiving stories will often muse on the true meaning of the holiday — family, thankfulness, thankfulness for family, etc. — by having characters enjoying each other's company despite stress, interpersonal conflicts, or inedible turkeys. Particularly likely to be the setting of Dinner and a Show.
- The Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Empath And The Golden Magic Bird" is set in a Smurf analog of Thanksgiving called the Harvest Feast. It is on this day that the Smurfs encounter the titular bird that grants wishes whenever somebody feeds it and it sings a joyful song. Since the Smurfs are vegetarians in this series, a baked dish called a "cornucopia" (no pun intended) was substituted for the turkey.
- To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): Chapter 14, titled "Turkey Day", is set during the holiday.
- Gleefully mocked in Addams Family Values, where Wednesday is forced to participate in a Thanksgiving pageant, the story for which being the Politically Correct History version. She plays along at first before going a little... off-script.
Wednesday: You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, you will play golf, and enjoy hot hors d'oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, "Do not trust the Pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller."
- Eli Roth's fake trailer Thanksgiving from Grindhouse, a parody of holiday horror flicks.
- For some actual Turkey Day horrors, there's Home Sweet Home, Blood Rage, Séance, ThanksKilling and Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County.
- Hannah and Her Sisters begins at a Thanksgiving dinner party and follows the characters for a little more than a year. The ending is a semi-epilogue set at Thanksgiving a year after that.
- Broadway Danny Rose is set during the holiday - a shootout in a warehouse full of Macy's parade floats has everyone talking in high-pitched helium voices. Woody Allen's titular agent character gets together with his clients over turkey tv dinners.
- Home for Purim was transformed into this to make it appeal to a wider audience.
- Miracle on 34th Street actually begins on Thanksgiving with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in need of a Santa Claus performer (in Real Life, the parade always ends with a Santa's sleigh float, and thus Santa).
- The film Planes, Trains and Automobiles is all about a guy trying to make it home for Thanksgiving. Neal barely makes it home for Thanksgiving.
- In his Little Movie Glossary, film critic Roger Ebert notes that "Of all the holidays on the calendar, Thanksgiving is the one most often chosen by the movies to show dysfunctional families in meltdown. The title card 'Thanksgiving' is a guarantee that shameful secrets, towering rages and massive depression will be presented, along with alarming alcohol abuse." Examples include Home for the Holidays and The Ice Storm.
- The House of Yes is a movie set during Thanksgiving. As mentioned with the Ebert quote above, there are plenty of dark secrets on display but with a heavy dose of Black Humor.
- The original Rocky film has a plot length that spans several holidays, the first of which is Thanksgiving. Made memorable in the scene where Paulie throws Adrian's roast turkey into the alley and tells her to go eat it there.
- Unknown is set around Thanksgiving. Rodney complains about having to fly to Berlin and miss feasting with his family.
- Spider-Man (2002) has Norm and Aunt May come to Thanksgiving dinner at Peter and Harry's apartment. When Norm notices the same injury on Peter that he inflicted on Spider-Man as the Green Goblin, he realizes that Peter is Spidey. Of note, during the dinner, Peter and Norm are wearing the colors of the other (Peter is in green, Norm is in blue and red).
- Trading Places starts around Thanksgiving ("It ain't cool being a jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving"), culminating at Christmastime before climaxing after the New Year.
- The Santa Clause takes place over a one year timespan, has a scene set during Thanksgiving that closes the film's second act. Scott, who has fully transformed into Santa by this point, is granted permission by his ex to see Charlie one final time to say goodbye after his visitation rights were suspended. When he visits him, Charlie shows his father the snowglobe he was given during their previous visit to the North Pole, convincing Scott that he really has become Santa.
- Adam Ruins Everything has the episode "Adam Ruins... Guns," and features the clichés associated with Thanksiving, such as a family get together interrupted by an argument about politics, in this case gun ownership, references to football, and when one of the characters gets fed up with the arguing, she goes to a big box store to shop for pre-Black Friday deals.note
- All in the Family has an episode in which Archie gets into a fight with Mike and Gloria during Thanksgiving dinner, over their plan to raise their then-unborn child without religion.
- The After Show Archie Bunker's Place has a Thanksgiving episode in which Mike, Gloria and Joey visit from California, only to get into another fight with Archie after it's revealed that Mike got fired from his job due to his involvement in a nude protest. The episode is notable for being the last time that all four original cast members from All in the Family appear together.
- Blue Bloods: Thanksgiving is an important holiday for the Reagan family. When Henry has a heart attack on Thanksgiving and his careful preparations for the feast are ruined, Frank pulls some strings to reserve the hospital's dining hall and the whole clan shows up with the food so they can share the meal with the wheelchair-bound Henry.
- The Bob Newhart Show had two Thanksgiving episodes. The second one, involving Emily going out of town and leaving Bob to share a drunken holiday with his pals over Chinese food.
- The Brady Bunch: Despite airing a full month before Thanksgiving, the Season 2 episode "The Un-Underground Movie" (where Greg makes a movie about the First Thanksgiving for a class assignment) clearly has a Thanksgiving theme, and as such is frequently aired in the United States on or very close to Thanksgiving.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a Thanksgiving Day episode during which Xander was cursed by a Native American spirit with the diseases brought over by Europeans.
- Both Bob! and Caroline in the City featured the balloons of the main character's cartoon characters getting loose during their debut parades.
- Castle with "The Good, The Bad And The Baby"
- Cheers has a Thanksgiving episode that culminates in a no-holds-barred Food Fight among the cast.
- Chuck had three Thanksgiving-themed episodes during its run, all of which saw spy shenanigans interfere with the holiday traditions.
- Community: Jeff goes to visit his estranged father, while the others spend the day with Shirley and her extended family. Jeff ends up Calling the Old Man Out, while the rest try to escape Shirley's overbearing relatives in an extended The Shawshank Redemption homage.
- ER had several, usually airing repeats in the day itself, but starting in 1999, aired a new episode, featuring the birth of Carol's twin daughters.
- On Everybody Loves Raymond Debra decides to 'shake things up' by serving fish instead of turkey.
- Who can forget the "Tofurkey" episode?
- Frasier had two episodes: the first involved Frasier and Lilith desperately attempting to get Frederick into a prestigious school and making things worse while Frederick suffers all sorts of Amusing Injuries in the care of his grandpa and uncle, the second had Frederick seemingly attempting to get his parents back together in a Batman Gambit to get them to buy him a moped.
- Friends has a Thanksgiving episode in all but one season. The second season episode happened at Thanksgiving, but didn't feature a Thanksgiving dinner, like all the rest. In it, Monica works for a company who wants to make their product, Mocklate (synthetic chocolate), the new Thanksgiving "treat."
- Full House had a Thanksgiving episode in the first season. Danny, Jesse and Joey tried to pull out all the stops to make the first Thanksgiving without Pam as perfect as they can for the girls. Unfortunately, it leads to a burnt turkey, a dropped pumpkin pie and lots of almost-tears (mainly from Jesse, Pam's brother) before the family decides to make the best of what they have and just enjoy being together.
- A Running Gag on General Hospital was to have something go wrong with the Quartermaines family's dinner plans, resulting in them having to order pizza.
- On Gilmore Girls, Lorelei and Rory attend four different Thanksgiving dinners in the episode A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving.
- The deep fried part is in reference to the subplot where Jackson gives Sookie the day off from cooking only to have Jackson and some of his friends deep-fry almost everything under the sun. Sookie ends up enjoying the day.
- Good Luck Charlie has "It's A Charlie Duncan Thanksgiving". Amy stays home to cook Thanksgiving Dinner, much to Bob and P.J.'s dismay, Teddy and Ivy work out a plan to get in line early to buy a new tablet computer at Gizmo hut, and Bob and Gabe panic over Bob's Dad dating Mrs. Dabney.
- Heroes has a naturally disastrous one in "Thanksgiving". The Bennets have a tense Thanksgiving dinner since Noah and Sandra are divorced with new dates to the dinner and Claire raising the question of dropping out of college. Hiro is essentially a hostage at the Sullivan Carnival and he and Lydia discover the truth behind Joseph Sullivan's death. Peter learns that Angela brainwashed Sylar into believing he's Nathan and when the truth comes out and Sylar makes his return, he threatens to kill them both after picking off their dessert first.
- How I Met Your Mother had three episodes - two Slapsgivings and a Blitzgiving.
- And, "Belly Full of Turkey", where we meet Marshall's family.
- "The Rebound Girl" shows the prep for Thanksgiving, before dropping the bomb Robin is pregnant with Barney's child (not really).
- A third "Slapsgiving" episode, "Slapsgiving 3 Slappointment In Slapmarra" became an Artifact Title. It happens during the last season, which takes place during Barney and Robin's wedding weekend and has nothing to do with the holiday.
- Kenan & Kel had a Thanksgiving episode where Kel ate an entire turkey meant for Kenan's family and they tried to replace it before Kenan's parents found out.
- Mad About You had multiple Thanksgiving episodes over its run. Perhaps the most famous is "Giblets for Murray", where Paul and Jamie have to deal with overbearing parents trying to take over the meal, then having to replace the turkey multiple times after Murray (the dog, if you remember) eating the first one, without anyone finding out (everyone finds out eventually, but the parents don't tell the couple that they know).
- Mama's Family had "An Ill Wind"—which is an unusual Thanksgiving episode, because it focuses less on the holiday and more on the family being trapped in the basement during a tornado.
- The M*A*S*H episode "The Yalu Brick Road" is set the day after Thanksgiving and has a subplot about most of the camp getting food poisoning from the black-market Thanksgiving turkeys Klinger acquired.
- The Munsters had one, "Low-Cal Munster." Herman has to lose 100lbs to fit into his old uniform to go to an Army reunion, forgetting that the last day of the diet was Thanksgiving. He makes it (by using Grandma's old corset.)
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been tied in with the holiday ever since its debut on Twin Cities TV station KTMA on Thanksgiving Day in 1988. After it became a national sensation, Comedy Central ran Thanksgiving Day marathons of MST3K episodes for several years, dubbed "Turkey Day" to reference both the holiday and the film "turkeys" highlighted by the series. Many marathons featured special Thanksgiving-themed episode introductions with the show's characters, and an entire set of alternate Thanksgiving-themed host segments were created for the debut of Night of the Blood Beast; in reruns, they were replaced with the standard segments. Nowadays the MST3K YouTube channel runs a marathon every Thanksgiving.
- In an episode of Seinfeld, Mr Pitt desperately wants a place under the Real Life Woody Woodpecker balloon. The episode's climax takes place during a balloon blow-up party for the parade.
- Shining Time Station has the episode, "Billy's Party". Billy Twofeathers plans to spend his Thanksgiving with the Boomers and the Hobos, whom Stacy tells the story of to Dan, Becky, and Kara. However, things don't turn out as planned for Billy when he has go get Schemer, who gets stranded on a train, and drive Ginny to buy her a new Thanksgiving dinner after her dog ruins her old one. While he does miss his party with the Boomers and the Hobos as a result, everyone at the station spends their thanksgiving at the station with him so he doesn't feel all alone. This episode also includes the Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure" (see the Western Animation folder for its details).
- Spin City did a few. The most remembered one is when the staff tried to do a live on-air special for New York. But one disaster after another keeps happening such as the mayor having bad blood with his father, Mike getting his hand stuck in the turkey and the staff constantly arguing with each other. Ironically the in-universe viewers loved it cause it's exactly how most Thanksgivings go down.
- Small Wonder had an episode in which Jamie falsely asserted that his parents were separated, so he and Vicki could get into a Thanksgiving camp for latchkey children.
- On 3rd Rock from the Sun, Thanksgiving was the aliens' first Earth holiday. The episode also marked the first appearance of Mrs. Dubcek's daughter Vicki, who would became a recurring love interest for Harry. Unaware of Black Friday, Sally mentions in The Tag that tomorrow she will "spend a nice peaceful day at the mall".
- 2 Broke Girls had a combined Thanksgiving/Christmas episode: "And the Very Christmas Thanksgiving".
- WKRP in Cincinnati had the "Turkeys Away" episode:
Mr. Carlson: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!
- The Waltons - the 1982 made-for-TV reunion film A Day For Thanks On Walton's Mountain
- The West Wing episode "Shibboleth" laid on Thanksgiving very thickly in multiple plot threads that include both uses of this trope: President Bartlet invokes the original Thanksgiving as justification for freeing Chinese Christians fleeing persecution, and invokes the familial side of modern observance when he gives his body man Charlie (who has no parents) a priceless family heirloom originally made by Paul Revere as a gesture metaphorically adopting Charlie into his family. Also parodied early in the episode, when Sam and Toby are working on the President's Thanksgiving proclamation:
Sam: Well, over three and a half centuries ago, strengthened by faith and bound by a common desire for liberty, a small band of Pilgrims sought out a place in the New World where they could worship according to their own beliefs... and solve crimes.
Sam: It'd be good.
Toby: Read the thing.
Sam: By day, they churn butter and worship according to their own beliefs, and by night, they solve crimes.
Toby: Read the thing.
Sam: Pilgrim detectives.
- Will & Grace had their share of Thanksgiving episodes: "Homo For The Holidays" and the two-parter "Movable Feast"
- Roseanne had six Thanksgiving episodes over their nine-season run, during which something crazy always happened. (Dan's father flirting with Crystal in s2, Beverly coming out in Season 9, etc.).
- The Adventures of Mc Gee & Me has the very last episode Beauty in the Least where Nick's Romanian pen pal and his family come in for a visit. All the day they learn about love and hospitality and the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
- Late Night with Seth Meyers has a special episode every year on Thanksgiving Nightnote where Seth's only guests are his parents, Laurence and Hilary, and his brother and fellow comic actor Josh. It's a delightfully funny and heartfelt time had by all.
- Sesame Street had a Thanksgiving Episode in Season 48 where Elmo and the gang learn why Thanksgiving Day is celebrated.
- Arrow: The appropriately titled season 6 episode "Thanksgiving", in which Oliver, Felicity, William, and Quentin organize a Thanksgiving food drive to raise money for a new SCPD precinct.
- The Flash (2014): The season 5 episode "O Come All Ye Thankful" is set during Thanksgiving.
- Legends of Tomorrow: "Tagumo Attacks" has a B-plot about Nate and Ava attending Thanksgiving with Nate's family, with Nate having to leave to settle a crisis at the time bureau.
- Radio stations have been known to play the 18-minute song "Alice's Restaurant" on Thanksgiving to mark the transition from regular music to Christmas music — and to give hungry DJs a chance to gobble some turkey.
- In the '80s, World Class Championship Wrestling Star Wars had an Annual Thanksgiving Episode.
- New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Dragon Gate have their Fan Thanksgiving Days, in which they say thank you to the fans.
- WWE SmackDown would have a Thanksgiving-centered episode when it aired on Thursday nights, since it would obviously land on the holiday itself. It was pretty much a yearly tradition for the show to have a Thanksgiving party and food spread backstage or in the ring, and inevitably give way to a big food fight, including the obligatory pie to the face. Best known for the memetic segment with Luther Reigns, who never had a proper Thanksgiving due to being in prison for "five calendars", demanding a serving of a Thanksgiving plate:
Reigns: Why don't you give me somma this TURKEY?! Somma them maaashed potatoes! Lemme get somma them peas, I had peas b'fo!
- Future Of Wrestling's Thanksgiving Leftovers event.
- The Damn Few has one.
- Supermarioglitchy 4: "Mario and the Bob Mansion", where the gang visit Bob's mansion and celebrate "Bobsgiving".
- Homestar Runner featured holiday 'toons fairly frequently, and Thanksgiving is no exception:
- "Some Stupid Turkey" (2001) is a short-short in which Strong Bad dresses like a turkey, then sings a song with the other guys of Free Country USA. Then the King of Town eats the entire Thanksgiving dinner by himself.
- "Happy T!" (2002) is a short flash file with messages of various HSR characters wishing the viewers a "Happy T!" (or a "Horpy Tor" in the case of Coach Z).
- The Strong Bad Email "colonization" (2003) centers around the alleged story of Strong Badia's founding, in the form of a parody of the traditional story of the first Thanksgiving. 2003 also saw the release of a series of E-greeting cards starring Fake Band Limozeen.
- "Fall Float Parade" (2005) has Coach Z and Marzipan as the hosts of "the forty-tirst annual Fall Float Parade" a parody of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with balloons, a pair of Homsars dressed as Shriners, and floats dedicated to "SWE ATSHIRTS", calling Coach Z a jerk, and nunchucking snowmen.
- "Let Us Give TANKS!" (2006) is a Cheat Commandos short in which the Cheat Commandos go to Thanksgiving dinner with Blue Laser and his minions, and Gunhaver struggles to unwind.
- "Toikey TV" (2007) has Strong Bad and the Cheat relaxing after Thanksgiving dinner, trying to find something to watch on TV besides "the 2007 Falling Asleep On The Couch Watching Football Bowl". All they can find is stuff like a PSA by the King of Town on the dangers of non-fried turkey, a cartoon starring Strong Sad's folk-hero alter ego Saddy Dumpington, a cooking show with Marzipan showing her fellow "turkey liberators" how to make a vegan "faux-ducken", "another lame Thanksgiving special" featuring the Cheat Commandos, and a commercial for Bubs' Black Friday sale: "Come on, moms! You know you want to beat each other up over some stupid kids' toy!"
- "Twenty THANX-ty Six" (2008) is a Stinkoman short in which 1-Up tries to teach Stinkoman how to give thanks, which Stinkoman seems to think involves stuff like farming and being a businessman.
- The Most Popular Girls in School: "A Very Deandra Thanksgiving".
- Action League Now had the episode, "Turkey of Terror", where The Mayor invites the Action League to his mansion for Thanksgiving dinner to form a truce. Stinky doesn't believe The Mayor has gone good and quits the Action League, and decides to spend Thanksgiving with his own family, who argue with each other when they found out Stinky quit his job. It later turns out that Stinky was right about The Mayor when Justice witnesses the event and brings him his badge, and Stinky decides to save the rest of the League from being cooked in The Mayor's turkey.
- Adventure Time's "Thank You", about a snow golem taking in a lost fire wolf pup.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "The Dressing" had Frylock, Shake, and Meatwad having Thanksgiving dinner, a week after Thanksgiving, until they have to deal with The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From The Future who shows up as a robotic turkey to take back the turkey the group was eating, which was already cooked.
- An episode of Arthur has some elements of both types of Thanksgiving Episode. Francine doesn't hand in a report on the Pilgrims on time. She overcompensates by plagiarizing content from the Internet, and her guilt ruins Thanksgiving dinner for her. Catherine convinces her to come clean. Of course the episode ends with Francine telling Mr. Ratburn what happened, re-doing the assignment, and getting a reduced but respectable grade for doing good work herself.
- The As Told by Ginger episode "Ten Chairs" has Ginger inviting her father to Thanksgiving dinner, making things awkward for everyone since Lois's fiancé and his mother are attending.
- Blue's Clues has the episode "Thankful" from season 3.
- Bob's Burgers has had one Thanksgiving special per season since it's third, many of which are fan favorites. It's established that Thanksgiving is Bob's holiday in the Belcher family, as it allows him to really show off his cooking abilities.
- Season 3 - "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal." Mr. Fischodre hires the Belcher family to pose as his own to win over the heart of an old flame, thinking that she'll fall in love with him if she thinks that she's stealing him away from someone else.
- Season 4 - "Turkey In The Can." The turkey winds up in the toilet, as do all of the replacement turkeys Bob buys, and everyone is a suspect. The culprit turns out to be Bob himself; under the effect of allergy pills, he sleepwalks while dreaming about toilet training Tina, picks up the turkey thinking it's baby Tina and...
- Season 5 - "Dawn Of The Peck." The Belcher family sans Bob go to visit the town's new Thanksgiving festival, but things take a turn for the worst when a hoard of captive turkeys escape and attack the attendees.
- Season 6 - "Gayle Makin' Bob Sled." After his car is buried in snow at her house, Bob drags Gayle, who's faking a broken leg, in an empty wading pool through a blizzard to his apartment. Meanwhile, Linda and the kids try in vain to cool Bob's Thanksgiving dinner on their own.
- Season 7 - "The Quirkducers." Hoping to get a half-day, Gene and Louise attempt to sabotage Mr. Frond's annual boring Thanksgiving play by staging one of Tina's erotic friend fiction stories in the hopes that it will offend so many viewers that it'll be canceled immediately.
- Season 8 - "Thankshoarding." Teddy is hosting his family's Thanksgiving dinner, but needs Bob to make everything. When Teddy still screws up, the Belchers have to fix everything and address Teddy's hoarding problem.
- Season 9 - "I Bob Your Pardon." The city has a turkey pardoning ceremony, but the turkey is being taken to a slaughterhouse because the nearest animal sanctuary is full. The Belchers have to steal the turkey and take it to a farm.
- The 1953 Casper theatrical cartoon "Do or Diet" has the friendly ghost attempting to save a turkey with an insatiable appetite from becoming Thanksgiving dinner by trying to get the bird to lose weight before the farmer arrives.
- The Cleveland Show Thanksgiving episode has the blended family struggling to get along, not entirely helped by the appearance of "Auntie Mama", an eccentric advice dispenser.
- Season 2's Another Bad Thanksgiving
- Season 3's A General Thanksgiving
- And the Season 4 episode Turkey Pot Die.
- "Dan Vs. the Family Thanksgiving" has Chris and Elise spending their Thanksgiving feast with Elise's parents and younger brother. To his surprise, Dan finds out that Elise's parents had decided to invite Dan over to the feast. But when Dan discovers the in-laws only wanted him over to steal his deviled egg recipe, he attempts to burn their house down, which happens inadvertently. In the end, the family end up staying over at a motel for the rest of the holiday.
- The Fairly OddParents! storybook In a Tizzy over Turkey! has Timmy refusing to eat Thanksgiving dinner with his parents because his mom made tofurkey (turkey-flavored tofu) instead of real turkey. Cosmo and Wanda eventually grant his wish for the perfect dinner, but he learns a lesson about the true meaning of the holiday from, of all people, Vicky.
- Thansgiving on Family Guy sees everyone close to the Griffins come together for a heated discussion about the merits of the Iraq War.
- There was also season 13's Turkey Guys featuring Peter and Brian having to go on a search for a new turkey after getting drunk and eating the one meant for the Griffins' Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile, Chris has to step up as man of the house while Peter is gone, with a little help from Stewie.
- Garfield had a Thanksgiving Day special, centered on Garfield being put on a diet by his vet shortly before Thanksgiving. Said vet comes to dinner the next day, but allows Garfield to go off his diet for now.
- The TV version features Jon having trouble cooking the meal to the point that the turkey is put in the oven in a frozen state and he rubs butter all over his own body. Jon's Grandma saves the day with Garfield as her assistant while Jon bores the vet with a long winded version of the history of Thanksgiving.
- The comic-book version takes a different route: After being put on the diet, Garfield sabotages Jon's thanksgiving dinner out of bitterness, only for the vet to take him off the diet after it's too late.
- Hey Arnold! had Arnold and Helga leave their home due to respective family problems, then decide to visit their happy-go-lucky teacher Mr. Simmons, figuring that his holiday at least has to be pleasant. It turns out his holiday guests are worse than either of their families, but Mr. Simmons say he has to try to enjoy the holiday with them, because they're family. The two get the hint that they need to be thankful for their loved ones, no matter how screwed up they are.
- A short on The Huckleberry Hound Show titled "Grim Pilgrim" involved Huck's pursuit of a turkey, hindered by an Indian.
- The first season of Jackie Chan Adventures has "Enter the Viper" which has Jackie and Jade in New York City to retrieve the Snake Talisman (for the second time) by taking it out of a museum. The third act features the big parade in New York with the titular character fighting ninjas on top of a balloon float.
- Tex Avery did a one-shot cartoon "Jerky Turkey" where a big schnook of a pilgrim hunts a wise-guy turkey modeled after Jimmy Durante.
- King of the Hill had Thanksgiving episodes on three consecutive seasons.
- Looney Tunes:
- In February 1944's "Tom Turk and Daffy", Porky Pig is the P-p-p-pilgrim attempting to hunt the eponymous Tom. That's followed by the January 1949 Merrie Melodies short "Holiday For Drumsticks" has Daffy tricking a redesigned Tom Turk destined for Thanksgiving dinner into dieting and exercising while Daffy stuffs himself with all the fattening food meant for the turkey.
- Tex Avery's 1940 short "Holiday Highlights" features a Thanksgiving turkey clip among other blackout gags surrounding various American holidays.
- In the 1956 short "Bugs' Bonnets", when Elmer Fudd is suddenly crowned with a steepled hat, he explains to an arresting officer that he was "just twying to shoot a tuhkey fow the fuhst Thanksgiving dinnuh"; Bugs, suddenly bedecked with a feather headdress and pair of braids, seizes Elmer's rifle and attempts to shoot him!
- After Warner Bros. revived the Looney Tunes with new productions in the late 1970s, they produced two half hour Thanksgiving specials, combining clips from archival shorts with newly produced linking material. However, with Tom Turk not included in either, they had to get creative.
- 1979's special was Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet, with Bugs working as a dietician helping Millicent Rabbit (from "Rabbit Romeo") and Sylvester with their food-related crises, typically by describing clips from old Looney Tunes shorts that involved food. Direct references to Thanksgiving were limited to cartoons that just happened to show or mention a cooked turkey (or chicken, or road runner... they couldn't afford to be choosy.)
- The next year saw the release of Daffy Duck's Thanks-For-Giving Special, which had next to nothing to do with the holiday. Daffy spent the special pleading with Warner Bros. president J.L. (from The Scarlet Pumpernickel) to make a sequel to Duck Dodgers as a "thanks-for-giving" the studio so many cartoons in the past, with abbreviated versions of three old Daffy shorts shown to demonstrate his hard work and range. The premiere airing of "Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century" did indeed close this special, with nary a turkey or pilgrim in sight.
- In the Rankin/Bass Productions holiday special The Mouse on the Mayflower, a mouse named Willem is among the Puritan founders. He makes friends with the native mice, and together the Indians and Pilgrims, human and murine, celebrate the first Thanksgiving.
- The series finale for My Gym Partner's a Monkey was called "A Thanksgiving Carol." The episode consisted of Adam telling his animal friends why he loves Thanksgiving so much and trying to figure out why his animals friends hate it so much—initially, it seems like the reason animals hate Thanksgiving is because of how humans eat turkey on that day (which be probably be the reason in most cases), but Adam's animal friends explain that the real reason they hate Thanksgiving is actually because of the parades that are held on that day.
- Pac-Man has "Happy Pacsgiving", in which Pac-Baby's grandmother read a story about the Pac-Pilgrims and the Ghost Monster Indians.
- The 1973 Peanuts special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, where the meal served Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Franklin consists of pretzels, popcorn, jelly beans, and toast. After the kids head on over to Grandma's house, Snoopy and Woodstock enjoy a more traditional meal.
- Also, the "Mayflower Voyagers" episode, which aired as the premiere of This Is America, Charlie Brown in November 1988. This is a sanitized (but still somewhat grim) retelling of the pilgrims travelling on the Mayflower to the new world, settling the area, befriending native tribes, and hosting the first Thanksgiving, with the Peanuts gang cast as pilgrim children (with Snoopy and Woodstock tagging along as well.) An abbreviated version of this episode airs after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC to fill a one hour time slot.
- Recess had "The Great Can Drive", where the Recess Gang try to beat the Ashleys in the Thanksgiving canned foods drive. Later released as part of the Direct-to-Video Christmas movie.
- Regular Show in its fifth season gives us The Thanksgiving Special, which begins with Mordecai and Rigby messing up worse than they -ever- have before...and ends with one of the sweetest, most sincerely happy moments in the show's history.
- A segment of Robot Chicken had the President pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey but, unfortunately, this one was a maniacal axe murder who goes on a rampage after being freed.
- Rocko's Modern Life had one called "Turkey Time," involving all the Thanksgiving turkeys in O-Town taking refuge at Rocko's house.note
- Rugrats had the episode, "The Turkey Who Came to Dinner", where the babies play "Nakie Americans" after Didi tells them a story about pilgrims and indians. Due to a turkey shortage, the parents order a live Turkey. The babies befriend the Turkey and try to save him from being eaten, but Angelica is determined to tell the parents about him.
- The Simpsons' Season 2 episode "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" has been a favorite for years.
- Steven Universe: "Gem Harvest" counts as one, even though Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in the show's timeline. Steven reconnects with a long-lost relative, Greg's cousin Andy, and everyone gets together for a big dinner at the barn (which is spoiled somewhat by a long-standing family disagreement).
- The 1972 Hanna-Barbera special "The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't" focused on a squirrel rescuing a pair of lost boys (one a Pilgrim, the other a Native American), with the squirrel as a result becoming the guest of honor at the first Thanksgiving dinner.
- While the Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure" was a Christmas Episode in the UK, it was dubbed into a Thanksgiving Episode in the US, entitled "Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure". This is evidenced in the ending scene, where the engine sheds are decorated with Christmas decorations.
- The Tom and Jerry short, "The Little Orphan", took one of the basic concepts of "The Milky Waif" (always-hungry orphan Nibbles appears at Jerry's doorstep), and turns it into a Thanksgiving story by showing that Jerry had volunteered to host an orphan mouse for the holiday. Less lion-roaring Papa Wolf Jerry, more Food Fighting.
- One story arc in Underdog has Simon Barsinister go back in time to sabotage the founding of Plymouth Plantation so that there will be no Thanksgiving. Why? Because his plan to conquer the city depended on him accessing a certain device at a certain time, which he couldn't because the Thanksgiving Day Parade was blocking the street. Given that he had a time machine, there were much simpler ways to solve the problem (such as going back in time to earlier that morning and crossing the street before the parade started), but he never considers them.
- The Loud House: "The Loudest Thanksgiving" focusses on the Louds and the Casagrandes having Thanksgiving together, while competing who the better family to have Thanksgiving with.
- A Real Life tragic incident involving The Cat in the Hat balloon knocking over a lamppost and injuring a woman resulted in new wind restrictions for the balloons, and new size restrictions for their designs, which in turn forced the retirement of many longtime favorites, including The Pink Panther and Woody Woodpecker. A similar incident involving a balloon of the M&M's characters less severely injured a little girl, who notably pleaded that Macy's not retire it on her account. It was, however, removed anyway in 2007, to be replaced with a float saluting Broadway.
- Probably the franchise most represented in the parade over the years would be Peanuts, usually Snoopy (with or without Woodstock), but also for a few years represented by two balloons, one of Charlie Brown, the other of the elusive football he's trying to kick. Most likely various Muppet based balloons (Kermit, Grover, Big Bird) would be next, followed by Disney (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Buzz Lightyear, various one-year balloons celebrating upcoming Disney films).
- This Coca-Cola ad from Super Bowl XLII, featuring a competition between a fictional Stewie Griffin balloon and a re-creation of the classic Underdog balloon. The Charlie Brown balloon is the one who emerges victorious at the end.
- One of the first meta-references on The Simpsons (if not the first) involved the real-life 1990 debut of a Bart Simpson balloon.
- Oh, and it has its own page now, which desperately Needs Wiki Magic Love, a bit of Entry Pimping, and a better description.