Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TV Families' Thanksgivings are Just As Messed Up As Yours

It’s Thanksgiving week and, for some of us, that means stressing out over making the biggest meal of the year and/or trying not to fret about what might happen when you mix an unpredictable group of friends and family members, plus adult beverages, with discussions about the Occupy Wall Street protests or the collapse of the Super Committee, together over a Thanksgiving meal.

Tick . . . Tick . . . Boom.

In honor of screwed up American Thanksgiving get-togethers everywhere, I decided to feature some of my favorite TV show families in my Pop Culture column this week.

Among the Thanksgiving episodes that are highlighted:

The awkwardness of Parenthood’s Thanksgiving gathering when Adam and Sarah’s boss (Billy Baldwin) -- who’d forced Adam to fire people then sold the company -- showed up at the big, holiday dinner.

The first Party of Five Thanksgiving that the Salinger orphans had without their parents after they were killed by a drunk driver. Said drunk driver happened to be released from prison a week before Thanksgiving.

The Middle’s forced “happy family” Thanksgiving dinner where Frankie wanted everyone to be loving and emotionally close to one another, even though her husband Mike didn’t even know that his father had just had hip surgery and didn’t tell anyone, or that his brother’s house had burned down. (This week’s new Thanksgiving episode promises another satirical look at the “traditional” family holiday.)

Michael and Hope Steadman’s lousy first Thanksgiving as parents on thirtysomething when Hope wanted to skip the festivities in order to spend a quiet weekend but Michael wanted the whole gang to gather at the Steadman homestead.

Once and Again’s three Thanksgiving episodes, where nothing ever went quite right, despite the valiant efforts of the main character Lily Manning (Sela Ward).

Image credit: AMC
Mad Men’s dreadful scene last year when Betty, while trying to impress her new mother-in-law, shoved a forkful of sweet potato into her daughter’s mouth to prove that Sally liked them, only to have Sally spit them back onto her plate in dramatic fashion.

(Speaking of Mad Men, the show’s creator has revealed to Grantland how he plans to conclude this amazing series: In present day with Don Draper in his 80s. Poor Jon Hamm. He’s going to be J. Edgar-ized like Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar.)

In addition to the new Middle Thanksgiving episode on Wednesday night, watch for Modern Family’s first stab at Thanksgiving humor.

What are your favorite, family-centric Thanksgiving episodes?

Image credit: AMC via Best Television Shows.

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