Thanksgiving TV: Not so special

The feast is completed and the family is resting, so what’s better than crowding around the television trying to find a perfect Thanksgiving special? A lot of things, actually.

Thanksgiving TV specials don’t get the treatment Christmas specials get. Other than the obvious reasons that Christmas is way better than Thanksgiving, it’s also that themed episodes are meant for sitcoms and sitcoms are pretty much dead in this day. I mean nobody wants to watch CSI: Thanksgiving where a man was killed from choking on pumpkin pie and Caruso comes in and says, “Looks like he got his just desserts.” Yeeaaaaaaah!

There are classic episodes of “The Brady Bunch,” “Bewitched” and “Roseanne,” but what about modern shows? “South Park” anyone?

Timmy and Gobbles from South Park. Photo from

The sometimes offensive cartoon always knows how to push some boundaries, but in their Thanksgiving special they decided to keep pushing with the episode “Helen Keller: The Musical.” And as the saying from Jerry Maguire goes, “You had me at Helen Keller.” The episode contains the children putting on a play about Helen Keller for the Thanksgiving Extravaganza. The disabled character Timmy (who can only speak his name) becomes emotionally attached to a disabled turkey named Gobbles. Although there are a lot of jokes at their expense, like trying to make the limp turkey jump through a hoop and fail miserably, the episode weirdly enough has some heart to it. They took a minor character and actually appealed to the audience without being too absurd.

The incredibly popular “How I Met Your Mother” has a couple very entertaining Thanksgiving specials, which essentially includes slapping Barney every year, but that’s about it; however, it’s done in such a delightful borderline torturing manner that you’d be crazy not to laugh.

The problem with these specials though is that TV viewership drops quite a bit on this day with the most viewed program being football. Look, I love seeing the Detroit Lions get stomped as much as the next person, but where is the heart? Where is the love that we received from old specials? If you are truly dying in need of Thanksgiving-related episodes of something, then your best bet is to find TV Land and watch those old shows and pray they still hold up.

But look on the bright side, Christmas is just around the corner, and their specials play all month long.