I’ve written a few pieces about Thanksgiving already this month. There’s a couple reasons for that. One, I am a professional writer who needs to come up with topics, and a big holiday is a great excuse for some half-baked ideas I can try and flesh out as I write. Two, as I have noted already a few times, I feel it is an overlooked and underrated pop culture holiday. Thanksgiving gets forgotten in the midst of the fallout from Halloween and the ramp up to Christmas. Television shows probably are going to do an episode for both of those holidays. Can they really stick a Thanksgiving episode in there too?
I am here to say, emphatically, yes they should. I’m not saying give up Halloween episodes and Christmas episodes. I am a big fan of both of those. If I am flipping through episodes of an old show looking for something to watch, I feel like almost half the time I end up landing on a holiday episode. I wish more Thanksgiving options were part of that mix.
Here’s why I feel like Thanksgiving deserves, nay needs, more love from TV shows. They are missing out on a ripe opportunity for holiday hilarity. It’s a big holiday, for starters. In terms of being celebrated, and the immensity of the celebration it is, at worst, the fourth-biggest holiday. I am open to the possibility that New Year’s Eve could be third, but there are a lot of New Year’s naysayers. Few people are anti-Thanksgiving. Hell, if they can’t be with their family for the holiday, they have a “Friendsgiving” to get in on the fun.
That’s why Thanksgiving is perfect for TV shows, especially sitcoms! It’s an excuse to get a lot of people together. Want to bring in a wacky family member? There’s your perfect reason. Want there to be a chaotic scene in the home? You’ve got it! Stakes? Oh baby are their stakes! What if the dinner goes wrong? What if there is an argument at the table? What if some big secret comes out? This works for families, but also shows build around friends. They go can get together for the holiday. You could do a great hangout episode of a hangout show built around Thanksgiving. I already wrote about how arguably the best episode of The Bob Newhart Show, a really good sitcom through and through, is just about Bob and his friends getting drunk, watching football, and trying to order Chinese food on Thanksgiving.
Maybe you don’t gussy it up as much as Halloween or Christmas. There will be no costumes, and TV characters in costumes is fun, or the aesthetic changes you can do to your sets for Christmas. Still, Thanksgiving is a big deal. It also basically gives you an episode premise right there. You don’t have to work hard to make a Thanksgiving episode of a sitcom. Dramatic shows could pull it off too, I’m sure. You think a show like This is Us couldn’t make a meal (pun intended) out of a Thanksgiving episode? Maybe they already have. I don’t know, because I don’t watch it, because all the ads make it look bad!
So please, TV shows of the world, give Thanksgiving more love. We get dozens of Halloween and Christmas episodes every year. We should be getting at least 10 new Thanksgiving episodes across television each season. Hey, Stranger Things. You seem to love to build your seasons around various holidays. How about some Thanksgiving love next year? Why can’t a Demogorgon chow down on some turkey and mashed potatoes?