6 Lessons We Learned From Watching Our Favorite TV Thanksgiving Episodes, from 'New Girl' to 'Friends'


Thanksgiving is sort of a high-stakes emotional holiday. You've got a gorgeous spread of food, excessive booze, personal confessions, and family drama — it's really the perfect setting for an episode of your favorite show. Whether it's a sitcom or a drama you're watching, the Thanksgiving episode will be a fun one. Things will change for your beloved characters — good or bad — and you'll most likely feel better about your own upcoming Turkey Day plans. But why just watch your favorite Thanksgiving episodes when you could recreate your favorite Thanksgiving episodes at home? Whether you're a fan of Friends, a Gilmore Girls enthusiast, or you have a soft spot in your heart for all things It's Always Sunny, there are lessons to be learned from your favorite shows this time of year.

Most likely, your Thanksgiving festivities will be a little less thrilling than the ones you've seen on TV. That's probably for the best anyway. I mean, does anyone really want to forage for their dinner and end up contracting Giardia after eating a rotting fish? Looking at you, Ms. Jessica Day. No, nobody wants to spend Thanksgiving doing that, because that sounds absolutely horrible. You can, however, use the cooler, less disgusting lessons you've seen your fictional family members learn to make your own Turkey Day a little bit easier and a lot more fun.

1. Treat Every Guest as Family — New Girl

Paul Genzlinger was the loft crew's first unexpected Turkey Day guest, and everyone welcomed him with open arms, except for Nick, of course. But in the end — after the burned turkey and dead body — Genzlinger saved the day with "footlonger" subs for everyone while they waited in line for Black Friday sales.

Some of your guests might actually be family, but anyone invited to dine by your side on this fine holiday should also be treated as such. Because when you think about it, anyone who isn't a blood relative is choosing to spend the day with you and yours, as opposed to their own family. And that's kind of an honor.

2. Consume Comfortably — Friends

Joey Tribbiani knows food. And he understands that Thanksgiving, while it's a great big commercialized celebration, doesn't need to be a fancy-dress holiday. Put on maternity pants if needed, and welcome the meat sweats. I don't care who is attending (even if it's Brad Pitt), let your food freak flag fly.

Also, if you have a guest in attendance whom you haven't seen since high school and who is clearly out for revenge, ignore them and focus on the delectable spread in front of you (again, even if it's Brad Pitt).

3. Learn to Let Go — It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

After slowly compiling an army of enemies around town, the Sunny gang decides to literally squash all their beefs, by inviting their haters over for a Thanksgiving dinner, and offering a plate of squash and beef. As you can expect, it doesn't go well. It never does with these guys, does it? Oh well. They realize they don't care about having enemies because they have each other. Aww.

There will always be people in your life trying to bring you down on their misery-fueled sinking ship. That's just life. Don't give them what they want. Focus on the people who love you for who you are and f*** everyone else.

4. Embrace Your Inner Hot Mess — The Mindy Project

Mindy spends Thanksgiving with her bestie while her boyfriend (who later turned into a confirmed scumbag) spends his holiday at a strip club. Not knowing if they're official or if he'll be hooking up with strippers, she pursues Dennis (aka The Nard Dog). She gets all Manic Pixie Dream Girl and starts poking at a spinning globe to see where she'll travel to next, and then abruptly starts sucking his face.

Look, just because it's Thanksgiving and you're surrounded by loved ones doesn't mean you need to have everything in your life figure out already. You're looking to get a little sloppy and make out with the hot guest who is in-no-way related to you? Go for it.

5. Eat as Much Food as You Are Offered - Gilmore Girls

When the Gilmore Girls are forced to attend four different Thanksgiving dinners (oh the HORROR), they form an appetite plan of attack and celebrate heartily.

This day only comes once each year, so if you are handed seconds, thirds, fourths, plus dessert — please just do yourself a favor and indulge. You will never regret one meal or one day because there are so many more chances to make healthier choices. So eat until your zippers bust. And then eat some more.

6. Make Your Table the Center of Attention — Parenthood

The Bravermans had one hell of a stressful Thanksgiving that one time. I think there was a soon-to-be ex-boss that attended as another Braverman's date, and I think a nosy almost mother-in-law brought a priest or something? Oh, you know why the details are so fuzzy? Because that Braverman table was so G-D beautiful, I couldn't even focus on the drama happening around it. Can Camille decorate my house, please? Or maybe adopt me as her grandchild?

Recreating this one is pretty easy, really. Turn your dining area into an autumnal Thanksgiving paradise with cozy lighting and enough food to feed all of Canada, and you won't have anything to worry about.

Image: Jess Day/FOX; Parenthood/NBC; New Girl, Gilmore Girls /Tumblr; Joey/Giphy; Mindy/Party; Sunny/Uproxx