Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spend Thanksgiving With Some Favorite TV Families...

Thanksgiving is all about comfort, and My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture is never more comfortable than when sitting in front of a television.

I never had a big or particularly close family, so sitting around the table for Thanksgiving didn't look that much different from a regular dinner except for the fact that I was allowed to only eat carbs but for one night. So in college I started "Friendsgiving", a tradition in which anyone who couldn't afford to fly home for the weekend would come to my apartment, bring a side dish, and have a non-traditional meal around my coffee table while watching all of the Friends Thanksgiving episodes and a special screening of Home Alone and another holiday movie to be announced later.

As the years have gone on and college friends have moved out of state or drifted apart in other ways, my Thanksgiving table looks a little bit different every year. As the years have gone on, even the faces with whom I choose to celebrate the holiday from my TV screen have changed slightly. Sure, I still start the day with almost ten seasons' worth of Friends celebrations from three kinds of potatoes and Underdog getting away to the one in the box and the one with the hot guest star (Brad Pitt). But I will be rounding it out with the following:

How I Met Your Mother - "Slapsgiving". While the first season of the show introduced us to a group of college friends (and Barney) who, years after graduating, had already gone their own separate ways for this holiday, this 2007 holiday piece brought them all back together again. Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney, Robin (and Robin's older man-friend) carved turkey, ate cranberry sauce, and oh yeah, counted down to the next big slap. And if that wasn't enough, they ended up crowded around the piano, singing a song about the festive occasion!

Bewitched - "Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember". Admittedly this one aired way before my time, but when I first saw it in rerun as a little girl, I was thrilled by the dual time travel nature of it. Then once I realized it was actually shot in the sixties, I was still excited by the fact that the characters within the show got to head back to the very first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims. This was before I realized just how awful those pilgrims were; I was still intrigued by the apparently Amish costumes. And the fact that once again it was Darren being accused of being a witch. Nothing like some high stakes for the family!

Gilmore Girls
- "A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving". This is the event the Gilmores have been training for all year: a day for them to eat! (and eat and eat! and eat and eat and eat!) And do that they must, when they are faced with three Thanksgivings in one day, including my personal favorite: a deep-fried meal with Sookie and Jackson. In fact, that is when I first learned of the tradition of deep-frying a turkey, and I'll admit it made me think twice about not wanting to cook a bird for my own meal. But what I really loved about this episode is that at the end, the couples who I always thought were perfect for each other got to share a holiday dinner together.

Mad About You
- "Giblets for Murray". When I was a kid I loved this show more than most would enjoy a sitcom for and about an adult couple. But I fell in love with the Buchman family dog, Murray, and this episode had him front and center, feasting on the Thanksgiving turkey from atop the kitchen island. I don't remember much about the rest of the episode, except for the fact that Paul and Jamie had to keep running out to the deli downstairs to pick up more individual items to appease random members of their family during the first holiday dinner they prepared for everyone. But to this day, I remember that image of Murray crystal clearly. And I smile every time I think of it.

Life Unexpected
- "Thanks Ungiven". Okay, technically this episode hasn't even aired yet, but how could you not want to sit around a table with the familial dysfunction (and ridiculous charm) of the Cassidys and Baziles? There are relationship secrets to come out, a visit from quite a few (though varying levels of) unwelcome guests, a number of kinds of potatoes, and Macy's parade trivia. Let's just hope they make it to the pie without reaching across the table and strangling each other with lies!

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