We’re counting down the days to Thanksgiving by looking at a variety of Thanksgiving-themed TV episodes. Thanksgiving episodes are all different, but they have lots of tropes in common. Today we’re looking at the Cheers episode “Thanksgiving Orphans.”
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: Cherie Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner
Episode Number: Season 5, Episode 9
Where to Watch It: Netflix
The quintessential Thanksgiving episode trope of Found Family is a huge part of this episode. All the Cheers patrons realize they’ll be dealing with being alone on Thanksgiving. (As Woody puts it, “This is my first Thanksgiving away from home. I mean, unless you count last year).
Diane suggests that Carla host a dinner for everyone. She asks, “What could be more enjoyable than opening your heart this holiday season?” Carla responds, “Opening yours with a can opener?” Nevertheless, she agrees to host the party.
Diane is the one person who has other plans. She’s invited to a Thanksgiving party at her professor’s house. But, she’s humiliated to find out that he only invited his students to be servers at the party. She ends up embracing spending the holiday with her friends from the bar.
The gang has a pot luck style dinner. When Norm shows up late with a turkey that’s too big for Carla’s oven and never seems to cook properly, the dinner is delayed. They get into a big argument about the “little pop thing on the turkey.” Frasier is the only one who knows that it’s called a thermometer. Everyone’s hunger and grumpiness leads to a food fight erupting.
The characters spend a large portion of the episode watching football, until Diane brings the fun to a halt by complaining about it too much.
Diane spends the entire episode wearing what she insists is a historically accurate representation of what female pilgrims wore.