“Pass the cranberry sauce, we’re having mash potatoes!”
From Seinfeld and Friends to Gossip Girl and New Girl, plenty of our favorite shows have nailed the Thanksgiving special, but no one can do this grateful holiday quite like Bob’s Burgers.
Although the first two seasons of Bob’s aired sans holiday episodes, Turkey Day has become an important staple in the series. Over the past ten years, we’ve seen harrowing tales of survival, disturbing accounts of crime, a whole bunch of stellar musical numbers, an homage to My Neighbor Totoro, and even a trip to outer space.
All of these stories are must-sees. But, in planning your annual holiday Bob’s Burgers binge, you might want to consider prioritizing certain Belcher celebrations over others.
Check out Mashable’s definitive ranking of every Bob’s Burgers Thanksgiving episode below. Then, get to streaming. Happy holidays!
10. Season 8, Episode 5: “Thanks-Hoarding”
This 2017 Teddy-centric special is strangely super sad — and, as a result, probably shouldn’t top your rewatch list.
When the Belchers offer to help Teddy host Thanksgiving dinner for his family, they find his home is packed with junk. As they begin to remove scrap metal and old phone books from the small apartment, the Belchers come to a tragic realization: Teddy is a hoarder.
Pairing this discovery with the Season 3 Halloween special death of Francis, Teddy’s pet guinea pig, home life for Bob’s Burgers‘s favorite patron gets just a little too dark.
“Thanks-Hoarding” manages some cute zingers and champions a pretty sweet story. But, if you’re looking for holiday cheer, this is one bizarre bummer you can probably skip.
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “This is so good I’m gonna wish for a second stomach! Where’s the wish bone?” -Gene
9. Season 12, episode 8: “Stuck in the Kitchen with You”
For Thanksgiving 2021, the Belchers decide to help out at the Elegant Doily, a retirement home, where viewers first met Zeke’s grandma and where Tina once volunteered with the Thundergirls.
During this visit, we don’t get to know any residents particularly well. Instead, we watch Bob buckle under the pressure of serving dinner to an entire community while Louise takes the brunt of his frustration. It’s kind of a bummer, rehashing a dynamic we’ve seen with Bob and Louise before. But watching them reconcile is as cute as ever. Meanwhile, Gene, Tina, and Zeke put on an impromptu parade. Plus, Linda goes on another side adventure with Sergeant Bosco
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “I’m Captain Casserole. I took an oath!” — Louise
8. Season 11, Episode 7: “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid”
In Bob’s Burgers‘ 2020 ode to Thanksgiving, Gene’s got an upset stomach on the best day for eating all year. The tragic development means it is up to Louise, Tina, Linda, Bob, and Aunt Gayle to cheer Gene up from outside the bathroom door.
If you’re a fan of Bob’s story episodes — you know, the ones where the Belcher kids tell elaborate tales that give Bob’s animators an excuse to take the family to fantastic worlds outside of the Wharf — then “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid” is sure to thrill. (Shout out to the Breadator, a truly excellent sci-fi pun that appears in an action-adventure told by Louise.)
But if you’re not so into the segmented storytelling, then this episode doesn’t have much to offer. There’s a lot of diarrhea talk that, after “Worms of In-Rear-Ment” earlier this season, I could have done without. Plus, the ending is kind of a letdown.
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “Turkey, I need you besiiiide me. I need all of you, I need your breast and thigh meat.” — Gene (plus Bob, during their duet)
7. Season 3, Episode 5: “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”
This first installment of Bob’s Burgers’ Thanksgiving specials, “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” has a whole lot going on. From a dramatic shoot-out to a string of absinthe-fueled hallucinations, the Belchers’ holiday visit to the Fischoeder mansion is ridiculous — and that comes with pluses and minuses.
On the negative side, the central plotline depicting Linda and the kids pretending to be Calvin’s family (and consequently ruining Bob’s favorite holiday) is pretty upsetting. Sure, they’re doing it for five months of free rent, but a dejected, drunk, Thanksgiving-less Bob is almost too much to take.
On the positive side, Gene, Tina, and Louise’s von Trapp family style costuming next to Linda in a latex bridesmaids dress is a riot. Not to mention, the magical umbrella turkey is practically a Thanksgiving icon.
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “It’s like The Bachelor, but at the end, the one he chooses gets eaten.” — Tina
6. Season 6, Episode 4: “Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled”
Gayle is one Bob’s Burgers character we can never get enough of, and “Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled” showcases so many of the things we love/hate about her — with a fun Thanksgiving twist, of course.
Dealing with an early snowstorm, Bob goes to pick up Gayle from her home on Thanksgiving morning. But, when a passing snowplow buries Bob’s car, the two are forced to head back to the restaurant on foot with Gayle’s cat, Mr. Business, in tow.
Continuing numerous beloved Bob’s storylines, including the romance of Gayle and Mr. Frond, this snowy special isn’t the best Thanksgiving fun the series has to offer, but it’s still more than worth additional viewings and adds important texture to Bob’s canon.
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “Gene, get me a needle. Tina, get me some thread. Louise, get me a drink. Everybody scrub in for turkey surgery, stat!” — Linda
5. Season 10, Episode 8: “Now We’re Not Cooking with Gas”
When a gas leak hits Ocean Avenue on Thanksgiving Day, the Belchers have to get creative with their cooking (sans oven). Soon, Bob is on his hands and knees next to a campfire screaming about Independence Day, while Linda and the kids hunt for stuff to burn.
Although watching Bob struggle to achieve the perfect holiday is well-trod territory, “Now We’re Not Cooking with Gas” breathes new life into the comedic tradition. We get an important lesson from Tina, a visit from Mr. Huggins and some lovely firefighters — plus a glimpse at Bob’s notorious Equestranauts tattoo. What more can a Bob’s Burgers fan ask for?
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “This is the best thing I’ve ever made! Including you guys!” — Bob
4. Season 9, Episode 7: “I Bob Your Pardon”
Pro: the two-butted goat has returned. Con: corruption has come to Ocean Avenue.
Bob’s Burgers‘ Season 9 Thanksgiving celebration sees the Belchers embroiled in a political scandal. When the kids uncover a turkey pardoned by the mayor faces certain death anyway, they ask Linda and Bob to intervene. This leads to a chase through the local countryside, and a high-stakes blackmail scheme you’ve got to see to believe.
With tons of new characters and stunning background art, this is in the upper crust of the show’s Thanksgiving specials for sure. It just doesn’t get better than watching Bob dance in a cranberry bog. What a treat!
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “This is a fresh cranberry sauce house, dammit! It’s who we are.” — Bob
3. Season 5, Episode 4: “Dawn of the Peck”
I can’t tell you if the science behind “Dawn of the Peck” is accurate, but I can assure you if I am ever surrounded by a hoard of angry birds, this episode’s events will be my only guide.
Leaving Bob at home to talk to his turkey baster, Linda and the kids take off Thanksgiving morning to join in Wonder Wharf’s Turk-tacular Turkey Town Festival and Turkey Trot. However, when the turkeys, chickens, and geese at the event turn against 5k participants, it becomes clear the break from tradition wasn’t such a good call.
This episode is completely stuffed with killer comedy turns. From the horrifying accident of The Tickle Boat to Bob drunkenly belting out Donna Summer lyrics, every minute of this episode screams holiday fun. (Well, OK. Maybe minus all of the injuries.)
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “It’s gonna be like running of the bulls, but cute and safe!” — Linda
2. Season 7, Episode 6: “The Quirk-ducers”
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Tina Belcher is the voice of every generation.
“The Quirk-ducers” chronicles the behind-the-scenes side of Tina’s stage debut in her Thanksgiving erotic fiction-turned-musical “The Quirky Turkey.” There’s plenty of glitz and glam, but also some horrifying gore and “implied nudity” with a pig. Oh, and the songs totally slap.
This is one middle school holiday show you actually don’t want to miss. Heck, even Grandpa Potato made it.
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “I’ve worked hard getting a whole bunch of giblets and gizzards. People don’t want to sell that stuff to a nine-year-old.” — Louise
1. Season 4, Episode 5: “Turkey in a Can”
The mysterious case of the toilet turkey nails everything that makes Bob’s Burgers great. You’ve got a tense, complicated, inventive plot building alongside some of the funniest one-liners known to adult cartoons, that all wraps up in the most heartfelt, Bob’s way imaginable.
As Bob attempts a three-day salt rub on the family’s holiday bird, he discovers that someone has put the uncooked meat in the toilet. He and Louise each conduct independent investigations into the crime and identify very different suspects.
Essentially a holiday special turned CSI spin-off, “Turkey in a Can” is quintessential Bob’s — and that’s something we can all be grateful for.
Best Thanksgiving one-liner: “You can put a turkey in a toilet, but you can’t put me in a toilet!” —Bob
Bob’s Burgers is streaming on Hulu.