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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

REVIEW: A definitive ranking of ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Thanksgiving episodes

Thanksgiving offers up some of the best “Bob’s Burgers” episodes in the entire series. Their sweet (and funny) family moments, paired with Bob’s culinary skills and Thanksgiving obsession, make for some really great storylines. 

Although the most recent Thanksgiving episodes haven’t been great, I’m excited to see what the next seasons have in store for the Belchers. 

With that, I’m going to rank all 11 Thanksgiving episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” from worst to best to remind you of the best — and save you from the worst — watches this holiday season. 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” — Season 3 episode 5

This episode is not great, and not a great start for “Bob’s Burgers” Thanksgiving episodes, being the first Thanksgiving edition. Mr. Fischoeder, their landlord, approaches the family and tells them that he’ll spot their rent if they pretend to be his family for Thanksgiving so he can impress a woman. 

Bob really values Thanksgiving as a chef but also as a family man, but, being strapped for cash, the family agrees. Bob becomes the chef; Linda becomes Mr. Fischoeder’s wife; Tina, Gene and Louise function as Mr. Fischoeder’s kids for the night. To encourage the kids to play their part, Mr. Fischoeder starts a competition between the kids to see who can be the most convincing. 

Something I dislike about the earlier seasons, with the holiday episodes being no exception, is that the kids and Bob are all kind of mean to each other — Linda, not so much. The series hasn’t completely fallen yet into the one thing that really sets it apart from all other family-centered shows, that being the Belchers really do love each other. That love is especially harder to feel in the first two seasons, and still a little bit in season three. 

“An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” is one episode of many in which Bob gets royally screwed over by everyone. Sometimes, it’s funny, but it usually just makes me pretty sad. Here is a dad who tries really hard (especially as the series goes on) and three kids who continually prove that they don’t care. 

In this episode, Bob tries to maintain the family’s traditions despite the odd circumstances, but everyone eventually flakes on him and gives more attention to Mr. Fischoeder. The ending is pretty satisfying and, surprisingly, has a lot of gunfire alongside the family apologizing to Bob for abandoning him. 

The episode isn’t particularly funny and doesn’t have a great family feel like most of the episodes, leading it to be the worst of these 11 episodes. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Putts-giving” — Season 13 episode 8

In the 2022 Thanksgiving episode, the Belchers head to a mini golf course for an unconventional Thanksgiving celebration. Again, Bob’s commitment to the holiday gets overshadowed by the rest of the family’s desire to… play putt-putt?

This episode is relatively funny, but the overall storyline is lacking. Linda becomes overwhelmed with her competitive nature and lashes out while trying to get a hole-in-one again. Tina is trying to mature rapidly to fit in with high school boys. Louise and Gene entertain themselves with one of the mechanics at the course. I mean, that’s it. 

It’s a lackluster episode with nothing memorable to make it stand out against any other “Bob’s Burgers” episodes, much less the other Thanksgiving episodes. “Putts-giving” would maybe be more successful as a regular episode, but it isn’t, so it’s not. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “The Quirk-ducers” — Season 7 episode 6

After my family and I watched this episode during its premiere, the resounding comment was, “Well, that was weird.” And it’s true: this episode is really weird. 

Tina has written some “erotic holiday fiction” about a turkey that doesn’t fit in with the other turkeys due to its “quirkiness,” inspired by an experience with her classmates. At the end of the story, the mean turkeys have their heads chopped off for Thanksgiving dinner while the quirky turkey prevails. I know it’s weird, but that’s barely the beginning.

In an effort to get school canceled early, Gene and Louise convince Tina to write her story into a school play, keeping its brutal and bloody ending. Gene and Louise figure that if they make the ending traumatic enough, surely school will be forced to get out early. Tina is left in the dark about their true intentions, making this episode colored with a depressing lens. 

Like many other episodes, Louise is the ringleader of their evilness, Gene is enough of a follower to go along, and Tina is roped in without a clue as to what’s really happening. It’s pretty sad and dampens the episode. 

Still, “The Quirk-ducers” has a unique Thanksgiving plotline that centers around the kids instead of the family as a whole. It’s not a bad episode in any way, but definitely not the happiest watch. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid” — Season 11 episode 7 

As awful as it sounds, every episode of “Bob’s Burgers” where a character is sick is just wonderful. This episode is no exception.

The storytelling throughout “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid” is awesome — Gene is caught with a stomach bug on Thanksgiving, and the family all do their best to cheer him up. It’s a pretty sweet concept of the family trying their hardest to help Gene make the most out of one of his favorite holidays. The food sounds really good, too, so you feel even worse for Gene throughout.

Despite all this, “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid” is pretty forgettable as a holiday episode. It’s lacking a lot of the Thanksgiving elements that I feel are crucial to a memorable story. It does have a really pleasant ending, however. 

Overall, this episode is great, but not the best holiday episode. If this were rating regular episodes, “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid” would be up there, but it just doesn’t stand strong as a Thanksgiving episode. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “I Bob Your Pardon” — Season 9 episode 7

This episode is extremely in character for the Belchers and a typical episode of “Bob’s Burgers.” There are plenty of puns throughout. Similar to “Dawn of the Peck,” this episode tackles the Belchers saving a turkey from being sent to a slaughterhouse. While the turkey, named Drew P. Neck, was supposed to be pardoned by the mayor, the evil deputy mayor has other plans. 

Time and time again, the family proves that Bob’s needs and wants are simply not important to them. When Bob insists on getting fresh cranberries to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, the kids jeopardize Bob’s favorite holiday to save Drew P. Neck. 

This is not to say that Drew P. Neck shouldn’t have been saved, but Bob is constantly roped into abandoning his own plans for what everyone else wants. Maybe that’s just the way fatherhood and parenthood are, especially for a good dad and good husband like Bob. 

When Bob tries to drop the plans to continue his cranberry sauce mission, he exclaims, “Sometimes, I get to do what I want to do.” Louise replies, “No, you don’t ever!” while Linda invites the kids to start pinching him, all while Bob is driving. It’s funny to watch but leaves a bleak aftertaste. 

This is an interesting Thanksgiving plotline that takes place outside of the home — “Bob’s Burgers” has all but mastered these at this point. This episode is decently funny, full of puns and crimes, and definitely delivers on all the crucial Thanksgiving aspects. “I Bob Your Pardon” is a pretty good watch for your Thanksgiving lineup. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Dawn of the Peck” — Season 5 episode 4

In the third Thanksgiving episode of the series, the Belcher family attends the First Annual Fischoeder Turk-tacular Turkey Town Festival — that is, everyone in the family except Bob. 

A common theme in the Thanksgiving episodes is Bob’s devotion to keeping the family traditions of Thanksgiving alive. “Dawn of the Peck” is a great example of this. While the kids explore Wonder Wharf, Linda runs the Turkey Trot, a 5k race alongside wild turkeys. Unfortunately, the turkeys have developed a taste for human blood, and they begin attacking the attendees. 

At home, Bob is oblivious to the terror outside and is enjoying (but not really) his alone time. He decides to go to the store to make his own Thanksgiving dinner. The episode has a really satisfying, and really funny, ending.

“Dawn of the Peck” is not one I would consider a favorite — I used to believe I actively disliked it — but I enjoy it more and more with each watch. It’s objectively a really good episode. It has a great lineup of characters, such as Rudy, Mickey and Mr. Fischoeder. 

The episode builds a lot of suspense through music. At times, you feel a little bit frightened for the characters, but never in a way that makes viewing unpleasant. The horror elements make “Dawn of the Peck” a nice break from the usual Thanksgiving episodes.

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Now We’re Not Cooking with Gas” — Season 10 episode 8

In “Now We’re Not Cooking with Gas,” Bob has purchased a rare heritage turkey for the biggest day of the year: Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, there’s been a gas outage, and there is no way for Bob to cook the turkey. He resorts to roasting it in the alleyway behind their restaurant, and the fire department gets involved. 

This episode is special to me because Bob reminds me of my own dad, as he often does. I can totally picture him cooking a specialty turkey over a fire in an alley and having me collect stuff to burn. (He’s vegetarian now, though, so maybe he’s roasting a bunch of potatoes instead of a turkey.) 

I really like episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” where small inconveniences happen, things like Bob’s stove not working at such a crucial moment or the family being roped into helping a friend prepare for a Thanksgiving feast that doesn’t end up happening (“Thanks-hoarding”). Episodes like this make the show feel real and personable to me, more so than when rabid turkeys attack the town and the Belchers have to save the day. 

I think this is so appealing to me because so many shows, even relaxed comedies like this, often deal with saving the world from certain death, and “Bob’s Burgers” is no exception. While that can definitely be entertaining, I think episodes with small-scale conflicts are overall more pleasant to watch, especially for holiday episodes. 

This episode, like many others, makes me feel sympathetic for Bob. Oftentimes, the family doesn’t show any regard for what matters to Bob, but in “Now We’re Not Cooking with Gas,” Bob is royally screwed over due to natural circumstances. Linda and the kids, to give them credit, actually do try to help him, but it still lends an unhappy feeling to the episode. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Stuck in the Kitchen with You” — Season 12 episode 8

This episode is my favorite Thanksgiving edition out of the most recent seasons. The addition of Zeke to any plotline automatically ramps an episode up a notch. 

In “Stuck in the Kitchen with You,” Bob volunteers to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for a retirement home. Louise gets roped into helping him while Tina and Gene prepare a parade for Zeke’s grandmother.

Again, this is another “Bob’s Burgers” episode that succeeds in Thanksgiving-ness without a simple home meal. It’s a sweet idea, and I think it’s nice to see Bob sacrifice his favorite holiday to pretty much single-handedly cook a humongous meal for a bunch of critical old people. It also makes for some funny moments with Bob and Louise. 

A lot of the recent seasons have been a bit disappointing when it comes to content, especially the holiday episodes, but I do really enjoy “Stuck in the Kitchen with You.” Stacked against “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid” and “Putts-giving,” this episode is the best Thanksgiving rendition to come out of “Bob’s Burgers” for the last few years. 

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled” — Season 6 episode 4

In “Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled,” Bob is tasked with collecting Linda’s neurotic sister, Gayle, from her apartment. There’s been a big snowstorm, and Gayle, who is injured, needs to be escorted to the family’s apartment for Thanksgiving. 

Because it’s Gayle, she makes the situation as difficult as possible for Bob. The episode involves a salad, a sled and a really big cat. It’s interesting to have a Thanksgiving episode in an unconventional setting — outside during a blizzard — while still maintaining a very holiday feel. The antics of Linda and the kids struggling to prepare the meal back at the house take a backseat to the main story but are still really funny. 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios

This episode is my mom’s favorite because of a specific scene involving Bob climbing up a tree to grab Gayle’s cat. This specific frame makes her laugh every single year.

“Gayle Makin’ Bob Sled” is funny, frustrating and immersive. This is definitely one of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes, if not for the episode itself, then for my mom’s reaction. This is also probably one of the best episode titles in the series. 

The episode feels Thanksgiving-esque just for the element of frustrating family. If you’ve ever been left with the sole responsibility of wrangling your sister-in-law and her cat (that you’re allergic to) through the snow, then this episode is for you.

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Thanks-hoarding” — Season 8 episode 5

This episode is just wonderful. I’m a sucker for a good episode with Teddy, especially a holiday one. In “Thanks-hoarding,” Teddy announces that his family is coming to his house for a surprise Thanksgiving visit. The Belchers commit to helping him, but their energy is soon diverted when they discover that Teddy is a hoarder.

While Bob helps Teddy prep for the meal, the kids and Linda explore his belongings. It ends in a really nice scene that ties the whole episode together.

One great thing about the episode is the way it handles hoarding. It’s not viewed in an uncharacteristically somber mood, but it’s definitely not portrayed as something to make fun of Teddy for. The Belchers handle it with tact and get to the root of why Teddy feels the need to hoard broken objects. 

Overall, it’s a sweet and comforting episode to watch. Watching Bob and Teddy struggle in the kitchen truly never gets old.

 

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Turkey in a Can” — Season 4 episode 5

This episode starts a few days before Thanksgiving, featuring Linda’s sister Gayle and her cats staying with the family for the holiday. Bob is stumped by the fact that the turkeys he’s meticulously preparing keep ending up in the toilet in the middle of each night. Louise launches an investigation to get to the bottom of the mystery — and, more selfishly, prove her own innocence. 

I really love the main storyline. “Turkey in a Can” also features a few awesome subplots — Tina tries to act more adult-like to secure a spot at the adults’ table, while Gene, Linda and Gayle workshop a Thanksgiving song. 

Another great touch is that at the store where Bob keeps returning to buy a turkey, the butcher is convinced that Bob is trying to hit on him. With each turkey, Bob grows more and more okay with the idea. 

This episode has a really sweet resolution that ties into one of the subplots, which I’m a huge fan of. “Turkey in a Can” is full of great gags and sweet and funny family moments. It’s definitely a watch worthy of your Thanksgiving lineup. 

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About the Contributor
Sascha Harvey, Opinion Editor
Sascha Harvey is the opinon editor for The Sunflower. A junior majoring in graphic design, this is Harvey's third year on staff and second year as a section editor. He is originally from Arkansas but has no accent to speak of (unless you listen really hard). The graphic design major enjoys covering feature stories and local news. Harvey uses he/him pronouns.

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