How '90s TV Characters Celebrated Thanksgiving

by | November 21, 2014 | Comments

For many, the 1990s evoke fond memories of popular things like Skip-It, Tamagotchi, and Beanie Babies. They gave us Hanson, the Spice Girls, and the Macarena. But they also gave us ridiculously fantastic — and often iconic — television. With the holidays around the corner, it’s that time of year to give thanks and be grateful for the wonderful TV of the past. Take a trip down memory lane and check out what some of your favorite characters were doing to celebrate Turkey Day during the last great decade of the 20th century.

Beverly Hills, 90210

Season 6, Episode 12 – “Breast Side Up”

November 22, 1995

Aaron Spelling’s TV shows ruled the airwaves for the last half of the 20th century, and 90210 was the hippest zip code in the 1990s. The West Bev High days are behind us as this post-Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) episode celebrates turkey day. The plan is to have dinner at the Walsh residence, but the gang scatters to take care of some pre-holiday commitments: Steve (Ian Ziering) and his girlfriend attend a faculty party, while Brandon (Jason Priestly) and Kelly (Jennie Garth) run last minute errands for dinner. Donna (Tori Spelling) surprises her boyfriend with a visit from San Francisco 49er Steve Young, while Val (Tiffani Amber Thiessen) deals with David’s (Brian Austin Green) not-so-mentally-stable mother and her attempts at schooling Valerie in food preparation. **Pies for dessert graciously provided by the Peach Pit.

Boy Meets World

Season 4, Episode 10 – “Turkey Day”

November 22, 1996

Boy Meets World was a mainstay of ABC’s now defunct “TGIF” lineup. In season four’s Thanksgiving episode, best friends Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) convince their families — who don’t like each other much — to spend Thanksgiving together, and the Matthews head to the Hunters’ trailer park for the fest, which makes Cory’s family uneasy. It’s only when the boys begin expressing what they’re thankful for that the parents realize how judgmental they’ve been toward each other, and all ends well. If this show brings back fond memories, you’re in luck: the Disney Channel quasi-rebooted it earlier this year with Girl Meets World, which centers around Cory, Topanga (Danielle Fishel), and their kids.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4, Episode 8 – “pangs”

November 23, 1999

Buffy the Vampire Slayer wasn’t a big hit when it hit theaters in 1992, but screenwriter Joss Whedon wasn’t one to give up easily, so he took his creation to TV, and the rest is history. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) decides to host Thanksgiving at her place while her mom is out of town. Of course, evil doesn’t take a day off just because we do, so Buffy springs into action to fend off a vindictive Native American spirit with an axe to grind. With the help of her friends — and an admirer looking out for her — Buffy saves the day, per usual.

Dawson’s Creek

Season 3, Episode 8 – “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

November 24, 1999

Memes of James Van Der Beek crying have roamed the internet for years now, but Dawson’s Creek had a lasting impact on a generation. Kevin Williamson (writer of The Vampire Diaries and the Scream franchise) was the man behind this show, which featured teens who regularly spoke like they were thirty-five years old. For the series’ 1999 Thanksgiving episode, Jen’s (Michelle Williams) estranged mother shows up, and the gathering at Gram’s gets a little awkward. Joey (Katie Holmes) politely reminds Jen how nice it is to have her mom around at all, despite their strained relationship, and the gang ultimately realizes how lucky they are to have each other, even if the usual teen angst still exists among them.


Season 1, Episode 9 – “Thanksgiving”

November 24, 1998

Keri Russell got her start on The All New Mickey Mouse Club that aired in the early-to-mid-1990s on the Disney Channel (yes, the same MMC that gave us Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears). In Felicity, she played the titular coed, who follows her high school crush, Ben (Scott Speedman), to college in New York City. For her first Thanksgiving vacation, Felicity decides to stay at school instead of returning home to her family in California. Noel’s (Scott Foley) girlfriend, Hannah (Jennifer Garner), comes to visit him and he downplays his friendship with Felicity, which doesn’t make her too happy. Julie (Amy Jo Johnson) avoids going home due to a recent tragic event, so when everyone’s plans fall through, they share an “Orphan Thanksgiving” together.


Season 5, Episode 8 – “The One With All the Thanksgivings”

November 19, 1998

Friends is the quintessential 1990s sitcom, a show that’s still fondly quoted and referenced to this day, and one whose episodes frequently remind its fans of situations they’ve encountered in their own lives. In this episode, the gang takes a trip down memory lane, recalling their worst Thanksgivings ever. Chandler (Matthew Perry) claims to be the king of the worst Thanksgiving, and when Monica (Courtney Cox) tries to cheer him up, he accidentally responds with those three little words. Monica reacts exactly like you’d expect her to react.

Mad About You

Season 3, Episode 8 – “Giblets for Murray”

November 17, 1994

Mad About You followed a newlywed couple living in New York City, and in this particular episode, Jamie (Helen Hunt) and Paul (Paul Reiser) host Thanksgiving dinner at their place for their families. Naturally, they stress out all day trying to please everyone’s tastes, and right when things start coming together, they discover their dog Murray has gotten into the turkey. By the way, how weird is it to see smoking in someone’s residence on a network TV sitcom? Oh, how times have changed.


Season 6, Episode 8 – “The Mom and Pop Store”

November 17, 1994

Seinfeld is famously a show about nothing, but “The Mom and Pop Store” is loaded with even more randomness than usual. In this episode, Kramer is on a mission to save the shoe repair store downstairs from going out of business, but in typical Kramer fashion, he only ends up making matters worse. George buys a car because Jon Voight might have driven it, while Elaine is helping her boss get into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (and loses her hearing in the process). That night, Tim Whatley (Bryan Cranston, in his first Seinfeld appearence) has everyone over to watch the parade on TV (never mind that it’s broadcast live during the day). In other words, Thanksgiving is just as crazy as any other day in Seinfeld-land.

Sports Night

Season 1, Episode 8 – “Thespis”

November 17, 1998

Here we have a pre-Six Feet Under — and Parenthood — Peter Krause, a very much alive Josh Charles (sorry, Good Wife fans), and a pre-Housewives Felicity Huffman. The laugh track is a bit distracting, but all Sorkin-isms are in play (watch this on-point sketch Seth Meyers recently did on Late Night for clarification). As for the episode itself, Huffman’s character, Dana, is busy putting out multiple fires — as most executive producers do — when her thought-to-be frozen turkey ends up crashing through the ceiling landing on the news desk from the floor above. This was Aaron Sorkin’s first TV show, and it unfortunately lasted only two seasons before Sorkin decided to concentrate on The West Wing instead.

Will & Grace

Season 2, Episode 7 – “Homo for the Holidays”

November 25, 1999

Before Debra Messing was kickass detective and single mom Laura Diamond on The Mysteries of Laura, she was Grace Adler, an interior designer living with her gay best friend Will (Eric McCormack), a lawyer in New York City. Along with Karen (Megan Mullally), Grace’s socialite assistant, and Jack (Sean Hayes), Will’s other BFF from college, these four starred in one of NBC’s most popular sitcoms during its “Must See TV” years. Here, Jack is super pumped for turkey day, but things go south when he finds out Will invited Jack’s mom to Thanksgiving dinner; Jack hasn’t told his mother he’s gay. His friends are there for him when he finally comes out to his mom, and as it turns out, she’s harboring a secret of her own.

Tag Cloud

indie Box Office Funimation Brie Larson Legendary transformers richard e. Grant Crackle Columbia Pictures travel TBS Television Academy 45 AMC Pop TV Apple TV Plus rt labs rotten Biopics Writers Guild of America Martial Arts History MCU foreign Logo The Arrangement obituary WarnerMedia Song of Ice and Fire biography Mudbound prank TCM television dreamworks concert thriller Cannes Mary poppins Trophy Talk Black History Month 73rd Emmy Awards Pirates toronto all-time ITV Podcast SXSW 2022 hidden camera FOX politics scary movies canceled APB werewolf VOD docuseries scene in color film series Schedule TNT Cosplay Binge Guide screenings spanish The Witch young adult CMT BBC America supernatural Sony Pictures sports legend joker Turner Chernobyl 90s Mary Poppins Returns casting Thanksgiving adventure X-Men Lionsgate medical drama mockumentary comic Dark Horse Comics TV movies cancelled TV series sag awards asian-american game show cancelled television WGN Shondaland dragons social media 4/20 Fargo spanish language aapi singing competition FXX President Certified Fresh 71st Emmy Awards hispanic Marvel Television slashers quibi Holidays Tags: Comedy binge news Instagram Live CW Seed Ovation award winner comic books SDCC australia Fox News Netflix japanese HBO Go critic resources Rock period drama Holiday die hard Sneak Peek mob Amazon Studios scene in color HBO Max Prime Video Sundance Now Disney Emmy Nominations target scene in color boxing target Cartoon Network discovery Paramount Plus zombie IFC Films aliens Travel Channel TCA Winter 2020 BET live event Universal Arrowverse Sci-Fi A&E Comic Book spy thriller Universal Pictures Tarantino Vudu Adult Swim football natural history Esquire rotten movies we love latino Comedy Rocketman Peacock cults talk show TV renewals 93rd Oscars twilight Shudder rt archives Britbox cancelled Hulu 2020 free movies cinemax Spring TV Disney+ Disney Plus summer TV 2016 Grammys indiana jones First Look Focus Features Walt Disney Pictures political drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina pirates of the caribbean toy story DC Comics CBS All Access miniseries live action TCA 2017 new zealand Western spider-verse Pop Best Director best BBC mission: impossible Broadway cartoon Best and Worst Trailer cats Paramount Awards mutant Teen American Society of Cinematographers Marathons finale dogs trailers Hallmark Christmas movies VICE documentary comics Netflix Christmas movies Oscar halloween Women's History Month National Geographic dramedy renewed TV shows Food Network parents Hear Us Out critics Image Comics Stephen King serial killer marvel cinematic universe chucky Summer El Rey jamie lee curtis ABC Signature New York Comic Con stoner Kids & Family blockbuster documentaries video on demand reviews 24 frames nbcuniversal TLC 72 Emmy Awards Pride Month Anna Paquin ghosts IMDb TV NBC Disney Plus BBC One 007 adenture king arthur crime drama ViacomCBS blockbusters comedies DC streaming service Film Character Guide Calendar Lifetime Christmas movies The Walt Disney Company Academy Awards deadpool cars Disney streaming service BET Awards heist movie romantic comedy Baby Yoda teaser First Reviews Native RT21 genre ABC psychological thriller Amazon Winners Masterpiece Red Carpet slasher The CW crossover Tubi Mystery Ellie Kemper 2017 dexter Fantasy MSNBC HFPA South by Southwest Film Festival elevated horror book OneApp Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt summer preview posters Horror facebook zombies a nightmare on elm street Alien video versus unscripted anime Super Bowl Tumblr olympics crime monster movies war Amazon Prime scary GIFs Wes Anderson comiccon royal family TV Land criterion Winter TV YouTube debate ABC Family Avengers spider-man Pixar based on movie The Walking Dead know your critic Fox Searchlight Apple TV+ Musicals Warner Bros. laika ESPN science fiction feel good Indigenous harry potter romance historical drama Lifetime Oscars action-comedy sopranos dc vampires ratings black comedy Classic Film Disney Channel Sony cooking Best Actress worst movies breaking bad FX 2015 TV strong female leads name the review 2019 Lucasfilm composers Reality jurassic park The Academy films satire james bond zero dark thirty TruTV hist trophy boxoffice kids dceu children's TV Toys nfl Black Mirror RT History Mary Tyler Moore Election anthology diversity Pacific Islander Extras 2018 Geeked Week international Marvel Studios TIFF PBS Epix Bravo Ghostbusters Interview movies obi wan universal monsters golden globes reboot kaiju tv talk lord of the rings Elton John Spectrum Originals Marvel interviews 79th Golden Globes Awards San Diego Comic-Con gangster Comedy Central Best Picture suspense popular Superheroe 1990s new star wars movies MGM Family women Endgame PlayStation stop motion disaster Photos Rocky Apple 2021 SXSW Creative Arts Emmys cancelled TV shows animated Christmas independent Nickelodeon rom-coms game of thrones AMC Plus french OWN streaming YA Premiere Dates wonder woman Reality Competition south america Freeform nature Set visit venice streamig franchise Fall TV new york NYCC dark child's play Pet Sematary PaleyFest Video Games vs. canceled TV shows 94th Oscars what to watch japan docudrama TCA Awards basketball witnail NBA 21st Century Fox comic book movie Sundance TV Animation Neflix worst rt labs critics edition Nominations scorecard 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards sequels YouTube Red telelvision CNN Trivia sequel series Musical razzies summer TV preview Television Critics Association GLAAD spain Tomatazos E! VH1 20th Century Fox true crime Emmys halloween tv psycho BAFTA golden globe awards superhero Superheroes robots ID broadcast Infographic screen actors guild Rom-Com christmas movies Heroines Star Trek MTV fast and furious black Mindy Kaling stand-up comedy Tokyo Olympics sitcom YouTube Premium police drama LGBTQ Comics on TV streaming movies revenge LGBT scene in color series FX on Hulu 99% adaptation TCA Amazon Prime Video See It Skip It emmy awards Valentine's Day Spike Paramount Pictures E3 Film Festival USA Network archives Nat Geo crime thriller HBO leaderboard Polls and Games spinoff Countdown kong hispanic heritage month classics book adaptation Opinion godzilla biopic festivals Starz green book theme song Watching Series A24 Sundance Crunchyroll CBS Star Wars Celebration Hallmark marvel comics Acorn TV comic book movies Hollywood Foreign Press Association The Purge IFC GoT SundanceTV remakes batman festival superman hollywood Turner Classic Movies blaxploitation italian Drama Best Actor DirecTV Exclusive Video DC Universe art house Music Country saw Star Wars DGA Syfy Comic-Con@Home 2021 king kong fresh Discovery Channel movie space Captain marvel cops Paramount Network Showtime technology Action Quiz directors Awards Tour USA TV One justice league mcc Year in Review high school doctor who