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Television: Inside the Lightbox – Feasting Upon The Best Thanksgiving Episodes

Inside the Lightbox is a sponsored post where we mine the extensive Lightbox catalogue for shows you might like to watch. We don’t celebrate it here New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t gorge upon a mighty platter of great Thanksgiving episodes from your favourite Lightbox shows. 

The Mindy Project (S01E06 ‘Thanksgiving’)

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Two of Mindy’s early and ill-advised love interests – panini press-dependent idiot Josh and charming moron Dennis – appear in this festive episode. While Mindy causes drama at best friend Gwen a Thanksgiving dinner, Jeremy stoically endures a TV dinner with Betsy’s family and Danny stays at home trying to master ‘Piano Man.’

Dexter (S04E09 ‘The Hungry Man’)

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Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to come together, share food and memories. This is not the case for moonlight serial killer Dexter Morgan. After sensing something strange happening in his Arthur Mitchell’s (played by John Lithgow) home life, Dexter joins the fraught family for some turkey and a light bit of knife-based threatening.

Seinfeld (S06E08 ‘The Mom and Pop Store’)


A classically Seinfeldian foray into Thanksgiving. (In reverse chronological order) Jerry gatecrashes a dentist’s party, Kramer gets bitten by Jon Voight, Elaine attends a loud dixieland concert, George is hoodwinked into buying a convertible, and Jerry loses all his sneakers. Classic.

South Park (S15E13 ‘A History Channel Thanksgiving’)

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“He who controls the stuffing controls the Universe,” Captain Standish tells Kyle in one of South Park’s many Thanksgiving offerings. Taking down the reliability of The History Channel with this alien-based special, the episode rewrites history to make Thanksgiving a bit X-Files, a bit Thor, and mostly very very weird. 

Modern Family (S03E09 ‘Punkin Chunkin’)

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The first Modern Family Thanksgiving episode sees a visit from Phil’s childhood neighbour, who is now a gaming industry millionaire and a bit of a creep. Parental debate rage over Manny’s decorative centerpiece, while the episode climaxes with a post-dinner spot of “Punkin’ Chunkin’” as Cam attempts to prove his unlikely pumpkin story.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S04E08 ‘Pangs’)

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Tackling the colonial issues of Thanksgiving head-on, Buffy encounters the vengeful spirit of Chumash tribe, an indigenous group who were eradicated by white settlers. It is creator Joss Whedon’s favourite episode, and has been called “unquestionably one of the most controversial episodes of Buffy” by real-life Buffy scholars.

Parks & Recreation (S03E07 ‘The Harvest Festival’)

Somehow Parks & Rec never had a full-blown Thanksgiving episode, but the Harvest Festival came pretty close to capturing the spirit of the holiday. What better time to give thanks for the legend of Lil’ Sebastian, get lost in an amazing maize maze, and blame Jerry for something he didn’t do.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (S01E10 ‘Thanksgiving’)

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine plates up a few different Thanksgiving courses, the first being mid-way through season one. Here’s some Thanksgiving inspiration: play your own version of Boyle bingo with a colleague, then round up the gang and head to someone’s apartment for a good old-fashioned sugar crash.

The Office (S07E09 ‘WUPHF.com’)

Thanksgiving finds the staff of Dunder Mifflin at their dysfunctional best/worst – Michael is in danger of losing all his money to Ryan’s failing internet company, and Jim is disillusioned (again)… It falls to Dwight to provide the Thanksgiving cheer in the form of a weird Hay Festival in the parking lot.

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