Thanksgiving is upon us, and it’s high time to enjoy all of our favorite yearly traditions: the turkey, the stuffing, the pumpkin pie, the awkward family encounters, pretending to care about football… and, most of all, that venerable standby of episodic television, the Thanksgiving show. As best as we can determine, the first weekly series to do a Thanksgiving-centered episode was The Burns and Allen Show, back in 1951; Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and Mr. Peepers quickly followed suit, realizing that a Thanksgiving show offered plenty of fodder for conflict, resolution, and warm holiday cheer. We’ve selected ten of our favorite Thanksgiving episodes — and in the culinary spirit of the holiday, we present them in the ever-popular Zagat’s dining guide format, because why not? Check ‘em out after the jump and add your own in the comments.
“Slapsgiving,” How I Met Your Mother
This “third season” episode of the “clever and popular” CBS sitcom finds the gang (and Robin’s old boyfriend Bob) gathering for a “Thanksgiving feast” — Lily and Marshall’s first as a married couple, so she’s “a little uptight.” Hanging over the day is the promised third of five payments for Marshall and Barney’s “slap bet”; Marshall has gone so far as to put a countdown clock on the Internet, until “Slap Bet Commissioner” Lily declares a moratorium on the slapping — a decision that is later revised with a “masterful comic payoff.”