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13 Outdoors-the-Field Thanksgiving TV Specials To Watch This Fall

13 Outdoors-the-Field Thanksgiving TV Specials To Watch This Fall


The vacations are all the time a time for celebration. Whether or not it is consuming turkey, sipping cider, or going Black Friday buying, there’s a lot to do and revel in throughout Thanksgiving — to not point out the limitless Thanksgiving-themed specials enjoying on TV.

With what number of Thanksgiving specials there are on TV, it may be troublesome to know what’s price watching and what’s price avoiding. After all, there are additionally these Thanksgiving specials on the fringes of TV—episodes that hardly have something to do with Thanksgiving or current it in a less-than-wholesome method.

Listed here are among the most off-kilter, outside-the-box TV episodes we encourage you to observe this Thanksgiving.

1. The Simpsons: “Thanksgiving of Horror” (Season 31, Episode 8)

Thanksgiving TV Specials
Picture Credit score: FOX.  

The Simpsons might need the market cornered for Halloween via their annual “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, however in 2019, the showrunners determined to increase the vacation horror a month additional, leading to Season 31’s “Thanksgiving of Horror.”

Taking over the same format to their “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, “Thanksgiving of Horror” is split into 4 separate segments (not counting the introduction) that current scary tales of Thanksgiving horror, parodying quite a few films and TV reveals like Apocalypto, Alien, and Black Mirror. 

The Simpsons aren’t any stranger to holiday-themed episodes—the sequence’ pilot itself being a Christmas particular—and in the middle of their prolonged run, they’ve produced fairly a number of memorable Thanksgiving specials as humorous as they’re heartfelt.

Nonetheless, there is no denying that in three a long time, there are solely so some ways to inform a conventional Thanksgiving story, and fortunately, the showrunners’ ingenious concept to border a “Treehouse of Horror” episode to Thanksgiving made for an excellent idea that blended loads of screams with some real laughs.

2. It is At all times Sunny in Philadelphia: “The Gang Squashes Their Beef” (Season 9, Episode 10)

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,
Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv.

If most Thanksgiving specials are about setting apart previous issues and coming collectively to have fun the vacation as a bunch, It is At all times Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Thanksgiving episode is the whole antithesis of that healthful trope.

Trying to lay a few of their tumultuous relationships to relaxation, the gang invitations a few of their most notorious enemies—together with the McPoyles, Cricket, and Gail the Snail—over for a Thanksgiving dinner to “squash the meat,” with the get together quickly devolving right into a violent meals battle that rapidly will get out of hand.

Filled with darkish humor, disgusting jokes, and unlikable characters, it stays the precise reverse of all the pieces a good Thanksgiving ought to be. It is a type of tv episodes with viewers saying, “What precisely did I simply watch?”—which, given among the previous episodes of It is At all times Sunny in Philadelphia, sounds about proper.

3. Rick and Morty: “Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” (Season 5, Episode 6)

Rick Mortys Thanksploitation Spectacular
Picture Credit score: Grownup Swim. 

Given how meager the variety of episodes Rick and Morty has launched up to now, the sequence hasn’t had the chance to sort out all that many holidays. When Rick and Morty do flip their consideration in the direction of the vacations, although, they have a tendency to go all-in, framing the animated duo’s sci-fi adventures in a contemporary and entertaining method.

Of their first Thanksgiving-themed episode, Rick and Morty by accident destroy the US Structure, setting free a large rampaging robotic. To try to get out of hassle, Rick disguises himself and Morty as turkeys to obtain a presidential pardon on Thanksgiving, triggering the discharge of a turkey-President hybrid that would imply the tip of human civilization.

Sure, “Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” could not have the identical degree of drama or philosophical feedback on one’s place within the universe—issues that followers affiliate and sit up for in Rick and Morty. Nevertheless it does function some nice motion scenes and loads of hilarious banter between Rick, Morty, and the President, and in the long run, what else may viewers need from a Rick and Morty Thanksgiving particular?

4. South Park: “Black Friday” (Season 17, Episode 7 to 9)

South Park scaled
Picture Credit score: ViacomCBS.

Weeks previous to the discharge of the PS4 and Xbox One, South Park’s boys break off into two separate teams primarily based on their sport console choice, main as much as a mass showdown on the mall on Black Friday. In the meantime, fan-favorite character Randy takes on a job as a mall safety guard, plotting to make the most of the Black Friday offers himself.

Launched in the course of the peak reputation of HBO’s groundbreaking Recreation of Thrones, South Park‘s “Black Friday” trilogy parodies notable parts of the sequence—alliances, betrayals, and political maneuvering—set round Black Friday. Its quite a few hilarious send-offs to Recreation of Thrones—equivalent to having the mall safety guards seem because the Night time’s Watch, with the approaching Black Friday buyers subbing in for the White Walkers—make this important viewing for any followers of the HBO sequence on the market.

5. Superstore: “Black Friday” (Season 2, Episode 9)

Superstore e1693347699420
Picture Credit score: NBC Common. 

Just like the above-mentioned South Park episode, Superestore’s “Black Friday” is centered extra round Black Friday than it’s Thanksgiving, making it one other nice particular to observe for these souls courageous sufficient to face the Black Friday crowds.

Going down within the early morning simply after Thanksgiving, the Cloud 9 group readies themselves for the approaching waves of Black Friday buyers. On the final minute, many of the workers finally ends up affected by meals poisoning from a shared Thanksgiving potluck dinner, ensuing within the retailer being desperately understaffed in the course of the busiest day of the 12 months.

If you happen to’ve ever been buying at a spot like a mall or retail shops like Finest Purchase, Goal, or Walmart after your Thanksgiving dinner, you already know the utter anarchy that’s Black Friday. Whereas a couple of sequence have managed to border that chaos from the consumer’s viewpoint (The Simpsons‘ “Tis the thirtieth Season” or Scream Queens’ “Black Friday,” for instance), Superstore could supply the very best glimpse of the retail horror from the precise workers’ perspective.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Pangs” (Season 4, Episode 8)

buffy the vampire slayer
Picture Credit score: twentieth Century Fox Tv.

 Earlier than Supernatural, earlier than The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, earlier than Riverdale, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her quite a few memorable adventures, killing off vampires and saving the world time and time once more. Buffy could not have had very many vacation episodes, however when it did, it managed to include the vacation into its signature horror format, producing distinctive specials that retained the sequence’ signature mix of horror and comedy.

Within the present’s first and solely Thanksgiving episode, Buffy prepares a Thanksgiving meal for herself and her buddies whereas away at school. The celebration is quickly interrupted by the return of a vengeful Native American spirit getting down to kill those that wronged his individuals.

There’s an apparent elephant within the room when discussing Thanksgiving—that being the large genocidal undertones of the vacation, with European colonizers driving off the Natives from their land and claiming it as their very own. It is a topic that’s largely ignored when serious about the vacation, but it surely’s necessary to recollect the individuals who as soon as held this land earlier than centuries of warfare, illness, and compelled migration drove them practically to extinction. Buffy‘s “Pangs” touches upon the topic of Native Individuals and their function in Thanksgiving in an all too actual, all too horrifying method, exploring our nation’s worst atrocities quite than glossing over them.

7. Tales from the Crypt: “What’s Cookin’” (Season 4, Episode 6)

Tales from the Crypt
Picture Credit score: Warner Bros. 

The tv adaptation of the now-classic ’50s comedian, Tales from the Crypt, stays one of the vital underrated sequence horror followers can see wherever. Taking the traditional comedian ebook conventions of E.C.’s campy horror and mixing it with uncensored violence and language, Tales from the Crypt made for one of many boldest, most unusual horror anthologies because the days of The Twilight Zone. 

Within the episode “What’s Cookin’,” struggling restaurant homeowners Fred (Christopher Reeves) and his spouse Elma (Bess Armstrong) are prepared to shut up store when they’re unable to make their lease funds. Simply as they’re about to foreclose, their useful however enigmatic worker (Judd Nelson) begins offering them with scrumptious steaks that save the restaurant. All of that adjustments, although, when Fred finds out what his meat provide truly consists of.

Although not a Thanksgiving particular, the truth that “What’s Cookin’” revolves so closely round meals and the restaurant world makes it the closest factor Tales from the Crypt has to a Thanksgiving-themed episode. It is daring, disgusting, and sure to wreck individuals’s urge for food, but it surely’s all price it to see Reeves, Nelson, and a cameo look from Meat Loaf as a pestering landlord.

8. Household Man: “And Then There Had been Fewer” (Season 9, Episode 1)

Family Guy
Picture Credit score: twentieth Tv. 

For a enjoyable change of tempo from the run-of-the-mill Thanksgiving specials, Household Man‘s Season 9 debut episode, “And Then There Had been Fewer,” gives a refreshing, comedic portrayal of a cocktail party gone flawed.

After practically each main resident of Quahog is invited to a dinner of their honor at a secluded mansion, they’re shocked to discover a reformed James Woods searching for to make amends for his previous wrongdoings. When Woods finally ends up murdered and a fierce storm prevents anybody from leaving, all of the friends attempt to discover the particular person accountable, all of the whereas being killed off one after the other.

Sure, “And Then There Had been Fewer” is not a Thanksgiving particular—nonetheless, given the theme of everybody gathering to get pleasure from a pleasant dinner, it looks like the proper factor to observe across the vacation, providing a contemporary, extra humorous tackle a traditional Clue-esque mansion homicide thriller.

9. The Workplace: “Dinner Social gathering” (Season 4, Episode 13)

Office
Picture Credit score: NBC Common.

Much like Household Man‘s “And Then There Had been Fewer,” The Workplace‘s “Dinner Social gathering”—one of many very best episodes of your complete present—is not strictly a Thanksgiving episode. But given its material, it is exhausting to disregard the similarities it has to a Thanksgiving particular.

Within the episode, Michael manages to trick Jim and Pam into attending a cocktail party at his condominium thrown by himself and Jan. Becoming a member of them are the always-odd pairing of Andy and Angela, in addition to party-crasher Dwight and his aged former nanny as a date.

Followers of The Workplace are inclined to cite the infamous “Scott’s Tots” as essentially the most cringeworthy episode of The Office there may be, however a severe argument may very well be made that any minute of “Dinner Social gathering” can outshine the pure awkwardness of “Scott’s Tots.” All through the episode, the viewers and dinner friends are handled to quite a few passive-aggressive and full-out arguments between Jan and Michael, one of the vital poisonous relationships in trendy tv.

10. Mad Males: “The Wheel” (Season 1, Episode 13)

Mad Men John Hamm
Picture Credit score: AMC.

Mad Males is simply as a lot a personality research of its complicated hero, Don Draper, as it’s a shifting portrait of the promoting world all through the Nineteen Sixties. Few TV reveals could make the declare for having as nuanced a predominant character as Draper, a talented adman who typically sacrifices his private life for the advantage of his skilled profession.

Within the season 1 finale of Mad Males, Don reveals to Betty that he has little interest in attending her household’s Thanksgiving dinner. A fierce argument ensues, and within the episode’s conclusion—when Don realizes how egocentric he’s been—he returns dwelling to search out Betty has taken the children and gone to her household’s anyway, leaving Don to have fun the vacation alone.

It is episodes like “The Wheel” that stand out as among the earliest episodes that put Mad Males on the map. Its shifting deal with Don’s storyline, in addition to Peggy’s sudden rise on the firm being interrupted by surprising information, all made for incredible storytelling specializing in complicated, lifelike characters.

11. The Sopranos: “He Is Risen” (Season 3, Episode 8)

Sopranos
Picture Credit score: Warner Bros. Home Tv Distribution.

Like Mad Males, The Sopranos has all the time succeeded at specializing in its characters’ shifting views and rising narrative evolution, taking them from shallow and two-dimensional to totally realized and complicated. This ongoing genesis may be seen in virtually each single one among The Sopranos’ episodes, the Thanksgiving-themed “He Is Risen” being an incredible instance.

Assembly a fellow affected person in Dr. Melfi’s workplace, Tony begins seeing the affected person exterior of the workplace, their friendship quickly turns extra romantic in nature. As Meadow and Jackie Jr. spend extra time collectively, the 2 start to query their very own burgeoning relationship.

Contrasting the 2 relationships between Tony and his daughter Meadow, “He Is Risen” does a masterful job juxtaposing the private lives of the 2 Sopranos. Hampered by fears about settling down and eager to get pleasure from a meaningless fling whereas they nonetheless can, Tony and Meadow embark on romantic escapades they aren’t certain of the longevity of.

12. The West Wing: “The Indians within the Foyer” (Season 3, Episode 7)

Two Cathedrals West Wing
Picture Credit score: Warner Bros. Tv.

As with all of the standout ensemble reveals, The West Wing has confirmed itself time and time able to dealing with a big forged of predominant characters, detailing complicated tales centered round every of them. This trait may be utilized to virtually any episode of Aaron Sorkin’s TV sequence, together with the present’s Thanksgiving particular, “The Indians within the Foyer.”

As President Bartlet wrestles over the place he needs to spend Thanksgiving, C.J. contends with a problem involving two Indigenous American representatives within the White Home foyer who demand improved situations on their reservation.

Dealing with the dialogue of Native American illustration in a tasteful method, The West Wing helps depict the primary characters’ makes an attempt to defend each facet of American life. It’s a beautiful episode with some poignant themes, particularly C.J.’s battle to acquire considered corrections for Indigenous reservations.

13. American Dad!: “There Will Be Unhealthy Blood” (Season 6, Episode 6)

American Dad
Picture Credit score: twentieth Tv Animation.

As with Seth MacFarlane’s different grownup animated sequence, American Dad! has all the time gone above and past with regards to lampooning the vacation and the limitless traditions related to stated seasonal occasions. When it comes to Thanksgiving-themed hijinks, this attribute pops up in American Dad!’s season 6 episode, “There Will Be Unhealthy Blood.”

Priding himself on his capacity to host the proper Thanksgiving dinner, Stan invitations his estranged half-brother Rusty to attend the Smith household’s vacation meal. In a break from custom, Stan abruptly decides to attend Rusty’s personal Thanksgiving dinner, the Smiths studying how a lot better off their uncle is in his opulent desert mansion.

It’s all the time enjoyable to see Stan’s plans blow up in his smug face, and “There Will Be Unhealthy Blood” doesn’t disappoint. Inflated by his ego, Stan has his total worldview shattered when he visits Rusty’s manor home, studying a harsh lesson about humility within the course of.


Richard Chachowski is an leisure and journey author who has written for such publications as Wealth of Geeks, Looper, Display screen Rant, Fangoria, and Sportskeeda, amongst many others. He obtained his BA from The School of New Jersey and has been an expert author since 2020. His geeky areas of curiosity embrace Star Wars, journey writing, horror, video video games, comedian books, literature, and animation.

Richard has been an avid client of flicks, tv, books, and popular culture since he was four-years-old. Raised on a various mixture of Clint Eastwood Westerns, Star Wars, sci-fi and horror movies, Alan Moore comics, and Stephen King novels, he ultimately turned his numerous passions right into a inventive outlet, writing about movie, tv, literature, comics, and gaming for his highschool and school newspapers. A touring fanatic, Richard has additionally managed to create a profession out of journeying overseas, venturing to such awe-inspiring locations because the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, the rainforests of Costa Rica, and the scenic shoreline of Haiti. Upon graduating from TCNJ, Richard set his sights on a profession in journalism, writing extensively concerning the artwork of touring and the leisure medium for numerous on-line publications. When he’s not busy making his method via The Criterion Assortment, he may be discovered both studying or planning a visit someplace (ideally someplace with a scenic mountain climbing path).


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