The Worst Ever Thanksgivings on TV (So You Can You Feel Better About Your Own)

From The O.C. to Friends, check out our list of the worst small screen turkey celebrations

By Jenna Mullins, Tierney Bricker Nov 27, 2013 8:00 PMTags
Bad TV Thanksgivings

 "To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie."

Of course, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's resident demon-with-a-heart-of-gold Anya was talking about Thanksgiving when she said this. And while the ritual sacrifice she's referencing (Sorry, turkeys!) and said pie are delicious, a peaceful and relaxing holiday they don't always make.

You see, Thanksgiving is just as much about family feuding, shouting matches and awkward encounters as much as it's about comfort food, giving thanks and pie (Mmm...pie). At least that's what we've learned from the many, many Thanksgiving episodes of our favorite TV shows we've watched over the years. So to help you mentally prepare for a long day with your family, we've rounded up a list of TV Thanksgivings that are sure to make you feel better about your own holiday this year...


Friends, "The One With All the Thanksgivings": Even though we ranked this one as the second-best Friends Thanksgiving episode, it's actually a terrible turkey day for almost everyone involved. Via flashbacks, we learned that Chandler got the top of his pinkie toe cut off thanks to Monica, Ross never got to play "Emotional Knapsack" for Rachel, Joey got his head stuck in a turkey and Phoebe got her arm blown off in pretty much every war in history. Keep this all in mind if you accidently burn your pumpkin pie tomorrow. Could be worse.


Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network's Thanksgiving Live: Yes, we've all cut ourselves while dicing onions or peeling potatoes. But how would you feel if millions upon millions of people saw you cut yourself? And what if your one job was to not cut yourself while carving a turkey? That's what happened to Giada during Food Network's annual Thanksgiving Live special. She got stitches and is recovering nicely, but we all know if it was an episode of Chopped, she would not advanced to the next round due to possible contamination.

The WB

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Pangs": "It is a sham, but it's a sham with yams. It's a yam sham." All Buffy wanted to do for the holiday in season four was host a nice dinner for the Scooby Gang. Too bad the vengeful spirits of the Chumash tribe, who were wiped out by settlers, were accidentally released by Xander. (Classic Xander move!) Cue a big fight, classic Joss Whedon quips and Spike being shot by arrows while tied to a chair. (Plus, Angel secretly returned to Sunnydale, but didn't interact with Buffy at all. How rude!)


The O.C., "The Homecoming": Ryan's first Thanksgiving with the Cohen clan was spent, well, away from the Cohens as he had to travel back to Chino to help his locked-up brother. (Plus, the episode introduced Theresa into our lives. Ugh, the worst.) But the drama didn't stay in Chino as Kirsten, who was later revealed to be an alcoholic, got pretty trashed after her father Caleb and Julie Cooper crashed her dinner, while Seth tried to entertain his two love interests, Summer and Anna, at the same time. At least it provided us with this classic Seth gem, which truly captures the true meaning of Thanksgiving: "I dream about eating food that has so much flavor that when I eat it, all the blood rushes to my stomach and I pass out at the table. Don't deny me that."

The CW

Gossip Girl, "Blair Waldorf Must Pie": Though the CW hit did a Thanksgiving episode each year, season one's "Blair Waldorf Must Pie" remains our favorite...and the gang's most awkward. Rufus and Lily's epic romance from back in the day is finally revealed to the Humphrey and Van Der Woodsen children. Making things even more awkward? Their kids are now dating! Plus, this was the first episode referencing Blair's struggle with bulimia, which resurfaces after her mother reveals she asked Blair's father to stay in France and not return to the UES for the holiday. Oh, and Nate's dad OD'd on painkillers. Again. See? Your Thanksgiving could be worse.


Everybody Loves Raymond, "Tofurkey": One word sums up why this was one of the worst Thanksgivings ever: Tofurkey.


The Simpsons, "Bart vs. Thanksgiving": The long-running animated series' fan favorite problem child ran away (Home Alone's Kevin McCallister-style) when the entire family gets mad at him, leading Bart to see the seedy side of town. He even ends up on the news after being interviewed while attending a soup kitchen for his Thanksgiving dinner. (Don't worry, he eventually returns home!)


Family Ties, "No Nukes Is Good Nukes": Raise your hand if you've ever spend Thanksgiving in jail? That's exactly what hippie parents Steven and Elyse did after they were arrested for participating in an anti-nuclear weapons rally. Well, that sure does beat our story about the time our mom got so drunk she passed out in our little cousin's bed, no?


How I Met Your Mother, "Slapsgiving": Can you imagine the horror of trying to indulge in delicious turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie after being slapped ridiculously hard in the face? This is what happens to Barney after Marshall dishes out his third slap of the series, which almost didn't happen after Lily proclaimed Thanksgiving a slap-free holiday. Thankfully, she changed her mind as we were gifted with Marshall's now-classic song "You Just Got Slapped."


Dexter, "Hungry Man": Dexter's dream of finding balance between his life as a serial killer and his life as a family man takes a pretty big blow after he spends Thanksgiving with Arthur (aka the Trinity Killer, aka John Lithgow) and realizes he terrorizes his family. We're talking beating his son and locking his daughter in her room here, people. And don't forget this was Dexter's first look at the true personality of the man who would later kill his wife in our #1 Most Horrible Shocking TV Death of in Recent TV History. And you thought your soggy stuffing was an issue. #RegularPeopleProblems

The WB

Felicity, "Thanksgiving": We're cautious to even bring this episode of the WB series up as it served as the introduction of Noel's girlfriend Hannah (Jennifer Garner). (Hannah, her name is Hannah?!) She showed up right after Noel and Felicity's first kiss to shatter the hopes and dreams of Noel fans everywhere, and to spend the holiday with the gang in a make-shift dinner at the dorms. Not cool, Noel. Not cool! How's our favorite fickle pickle supposed to compare with the future Miss Sydney Bristow? So unfair!

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's hoping yours is better than all the ones listed above.

Now go read all our other TV-related Thanksgiving stories while your turkey is brining:

Here is how your favorite TV characters would handle Thanksgiving

What our TV Team is thankful for this season!

We ranked all of Friends' Thanksgiving episodes, from greatest to great!