A Startlingly Comprehensive Pictorial History of TV Characters at Thanksgiving Dinner


Special Thanksgiving episodes of TV shows are nearly as old as the medium itself. Perhaps that’s because Turkey Day lends itself especially well to comedy, with family and friends coming together to eat, gives thanks, and annoy each other. These episodes tend to feature special guests, bring back departed cast members, or feature ridiculously goofy Pilgrim and Indian costumes. And, of course, since Thanksgiving is a solely American holiday, the shows are entirely unique to American TV.

After the jump, we’ve compiled 35 images of TV characters sitting down to eat a Thanksgiving meal, from The Beverly Hillbillies in 1963 and Happy Days in 1978 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1999 and Gossip Girl ten years later. Tell us about your favorite Thanksgiving episode in the comments.

The ’60s and ’70s

The Beverly Hillbillies (1963)

Bewitched (1967)

B.C.: The First Thanksgiving (1973)

All in the Family (1975)

Happy Days (1978)

The ’80s

Diff’rent Strokes (1980)

The Cosby Show (1984)

Cheers (1986)

Full House (1987)

Peanuts: This Is America, Charlie Brown (1988)

Garfield’s Thanksgiving (1989)

The ’90s

The Simpsons (1990)

Roseanne (1991)

Beverly Hills, 90210 (1992)

Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993)

Mad About You (1994)

Frasier (1996)

Home Improvement (1997)

Everybody Loves Raymond (1998)

That ’70s Show (1998)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)

The 21st Century

Friends (2000)

Gilmore Girls (2002)

The King of Queens (2003)

8 Simple Rules (2004)

How I Met Your Mother (2005)

Ugly Betty (2006)

Chuck (2007)

Boston Legal (2008)

Cougar Town (2009)

Dexter (2009)

Gossip Girl (2009)

The Cleveland Show (2010)