Home Improvement: The Wood, the Bad and the Hungry

Even though last I said that Cheers had the best Thanksgiving episode ever, I think this is probably the best Thanksgiving episode ever. And I wasn’t lying last year. I just didn’t know this episode existed. But now I do. And now I think it’s the best.

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So there’s actually not a lot going on in this episode. Tim is having all of his friends and family over to his house for Thanksgiving, but he choses not to invite this one really annoying guy. But then he sees him at the soup kitchen, where Randy is volunteering. He’s kind of disturbed by the whole event, so he does what any good, stressed human would do. He falls asleep. And this is what he dreams:

As it turns out, this dude isn’t actually down on his luck. He just goes to the soup kitchen because he thinks the soup is tasty and “pays for it” with his “tax dollars.” So really, he’s a total turd. But Tim’s learned from his claymation dreams and decides that even total turds deserve a friendly meal on Thanksgiving.

Very Special Thanksgiving Lesson: “Even the lowliest creature needs a friend.”

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Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Love Means Having to Say You’re Sorry

Harvey and Sabrina are on the rocks (she kissed Josh from the coffee shop) so she’s not going to be able to spend Thanksgiving at his house this year. Since they are broken up, Harvey suggests that they return all of the stuff that they’ve accrued from each other over the years.

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Salem is surprisingly upset about all of this. He sobs while Sabrina combs through her stuff looking for things that belong to Harvey. (He was expecting to be Harvey’s best man at Harvey & Sabrina’s wedding.) When Hilda and Zelda see the awful sad-fest going on in their home, they decide to prepare a Thanksgiving meal (a holiday witches do not celebrate) for Sabrina.

But the next day at school, Dreama (geez, did Sabrina have a different friend literally every school year?) notices that Harvey saved a framed picture of Sabrina and is keeping it in his locker. Meanwhile, Zelda and Hilda are freaking about about having to stuff a turkey. I don’t blame them. It’s horrifying.

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(FYI witches have to prepare Thanksgiving meals by hand, as they are discouraged from celebrating Thanksgiving.) But they find a loophole. They conjure up some pilgrims to cook for them!

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Sabrina’s decided to try a “forgive and forget” spell to get back with Harvey. But he literally forgets everything–who she is and who he is. So she tries a series of other spells based on cliche phrases. They all backfire horribly.

Having discovered that Hilda and Zelda are witches, the pilgrims tie them up and try to burn them at the stake. But they’re witches, so they quickly get out of that mess. Realizing that they do not have the upper-hand hear, the pilgrims agree to cook dinner in exchange for safe passage home.

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Sabrina finally figures out that the best way to fix her relationship with Harvey is to go back and time and stop herself from ever kissing Josh. But when she tries that and she and Harvey still are broken up, her aunts tell her that this means her break-up was “meant to be.”

But then they run into each other in the hallway and Sabrina apologizes for bumping into Harvey. And then they end up apologizing to each other for like hours about everything that went wrong in their relationship.

Very Special Thanksgiving Lesson: In case you didn’t notice, this “apologizing” thing is what Harvey and Sabrina needed to do in the first place.

The Brady Bunch: The Un-Underground Movie

Greg is making a movie about the Pilgrims for his history class. Pretty soon all of the adults in his house take over writing the screenplay. Greg’s pretty pissed about it and I guess fails to see that he’s getting away with not doing his homework and also not getting in trouble.

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It’s only a matter of time before the entire production is out of Greg’s hand. Carol wants to dress all of the girls in color because of the color film, even though Greg insists that pilgrims only wore black and white. All of his sisters demand the same part and say they won’t be in the movie unless they’re cast as the lead “Priscilla.” Bobby and Peter are pissed that they’re forced to play pilgrims, when they would much rather play racially stereotyped braves.

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Greg kind of freaks out but like in a really Brady-fashion. And his awesome parents are completely understanding. They’re not even mad that he got mad because they realize they were being jerks. This concludes our instructional video on how to have a healthy fight with your family.

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Also, Greg casts Jan as the lead just like he always wanted to. (Ha, Marcia.) Then Mike has to explain to Peter and Bobby that the pilgrims stole all of the Indians land and you can tell he feels a little awkward about it. It’s 1970 now so things are about to start getting really guilty for the white folks.

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Anyway, they finally get the movie done and Greg puts everything in slow-motion. So it’s basically a pantomime. And it’s basically the greatest film ever made, as far as I’m concerned. Like Florence Henderson really missed her calling at a 1920’s dramatic actress.

Very Special Thanksgiving Lesson: Don’t boss your kid around, but do let him boss the rest of the family around.

WKRP in Cincinnati: Turkeys Away

mv5bodyxnjkzntq4ml5bml5banbnxkftztywndyzmti2-_v1_sx640_sy720_Mr. Carlson, WKRP’s station manager, has been bugging everyone around the station because he’s looking to be “more involved.” There’s nothing more annoying than an insecure boss–well except maybe an insecure boss with a Thanksgiving project.

Mr. Carlson keeps all of the details very hush hush, so all that the station team knows is that the project has something to do with giving away a bunch of turkeys. News anchor, Les Nessman, calls this “the greatest Turkey event in Thanksgiving Day history.”

Soon a helicopter appears over head and Les Nessman assumes that is is looking for a place to land. But then something falls out of the back of the helicopter. And what follows is a Turkey Hindenburg-esque Disaster:


Oh and the humane society is pretty pissed.

Very Special Thanksgiving Lesson: Some turkeys actually can fly. But not usually the plump ones we eat for Thanksgiving. And probably not any turkeys that are dropped over a parking lot by a radio station’s helicopter.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving

I know we Americans tend to skip this holiday more and more each year, but this year in particular it kind of took me by surprise–the holiday skipping, that is.

On my drive to work Friday, my radio station played it’s usual morning variety. But when I drove home, a mere 9 hours later, it was ALL Christmas music. It was like someone flipped the switch somewhere in middle of the day and whoops, it’s Christmastime!

My boyfriend tried to explain that the shocking jump from Halloween to Christmas these days is all about decorations. I insisted, “I LOVE THANKSGIVING DECORATIONS!” And he said, “You do? Really? What Thanksgiving decorations do you love?” And I said “I love GOURDS!”

But the truth is, there are no gourds decorating my home. And all I can offer you in the hopes of remembering this time of thanks and giving is a memorial to episodes from the past. Here is this year’s lineup:

WKRP in Cincinnati: Turkey’s Away
The Brady Bunch: The Un-Underground Movie
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Love Means Having to Say You’re Sorry
Home Improvement: The Wood, the Bad and the Hungry

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Cheers: Thanksgiving Orphans

cheers2Sorry Friends, but Cheers has the best friendsgiving episodes ever. Why is that?(fragments for stylistic purposes) Because these people have reached the where friendship truly becomes family. The point where your friends drive you crazy just as much as any blood relative could. The point where you spend the holidays together because you have no one else to spend them with and, even though it’s awful, you would not want it any other way.

In Thanksgiving Orphans” the gang from Cheers heads over to Carla’s Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.24.24 PMhouse for a Thanksgiving potluck. Things start off on the wrong foot when Norm (who is supposed to be brining the never seen wife, Vera) ends up having a huge fight with his wife and doesn’t cook the Turkey at all before arriving to Carla’s. And it’s a big turkey. And it takes forever to cook. Meanwhile, Dianne insists that they wait to eat until all of the food is on the table, so no munching on candied yams while the turkey is still cooking. This means everyone gets hangry by the end of the evening. Carla and Norm start insulting each others cooking and everything devolves into a gigantic food fight. And when Vera finally does show up to dinner, we don’t get to see her face. Dianne has hit her square in the face with a pumpkin pie that Sam narrowly dodged.

Very Special Lesson: Things don’t always have to go perfectly to have the perfect Thanksgiving.

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Very Special Thanksgiving Activity: Don’t forget to have a little fun this Thanksgiving. In my opinion, everyone should play a game. If you don’t have any standard family games, try this Thanksgiving Bingo that Jennifer Lewis at Flavorwire made a couple of years ago. But I suggest using this idea to make your own Bingo boards, so that you can make sure all of your familial quirks are represented.

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Full House: The Miracle of Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving morning and Danny’s mom is snowed in and can’t make it out of Tacoma. This leaves the Tanner’s without any Thanksgiving food, so the men decide to take the girls out to a restaurant. But DJ will have none of it. She’s all like Thanksgiving should be spent at home! We always had Thanksgiving with mom at home! (Yep, this is one of those rare episodes where we admit the girls once had a mom and that she died tragically). Also, Joey walks around randomly saying the “Miracle of Thanksgiving” and making a trumpet noise. Was he also the voice of Face on Nick, Jr.?

DJ says that she can handle the meal because her grandma was going to put her in charge of the turkey, so she can handle the whole thing. Plus, last year her mom taught her how to make a “picture perfect pumpkin pie.” So in honor of the late Pam Tanner, the family decides to stay home and let the ten year-old cook.

The first season of this show is just so great. I still cannot understand why Joey is a necessary addition to this family, but at least when the girls were younger it made sense that they needed an extra hand (maybe). Anyway, this episode is super cute because everyone is adorable and dancing around the kitchen while setting the table.

Everything is really shaping up into an excellent Thanksgiving. Only, DJ did not remember to defrost the turkey and so they somehow end up with a frozen yet browned bird. This is amidst a large pre-dinner speech in which DJ asks Danny if her mom would be proud of her for making dinner. And how she wasn’t sure she could do it, but things really turned out great.

So how can they possible tell this little girl who is trying to impress her dead mom that the turkey she made sucks? Well, they don’t exactly…they shove the turkey back into the oven, crank it up as high as it will go, and try to purchase a turkey off of a couple of lost travelers who ask if they can use the phone. None of it pans out though, and the non-defrosted turkey catches on fire. Then Stephanie drops the “picture perfect pumpkin pie” and everything is ruined.

Danny takes DJ aside and tells her that her mom would have been proud of her for bringing everyone together to make the Thanksgiving meal because Pam knew that the important thing about Thanksgiving is family. But the really heart-wrenching stuff (and yes, I’m already tearing up by this point) happens when Jesse goes to talk to Stephanie (who is hiding in her closet because she dropped the “picture perfect pumpkin pie). At first things start off with the run-of-the-mill “everyone makes mistakes” lesson, but Stephanie is very adamant that not everyone makes “pie mistakes.” So Jesse decides to tell her a story about when he was a kid and did something very stupid to show that sometimes kids do stupid things and it is okay. He takes her to his room to show her a childhood photo album, specifically a haircut that he allowed her then ten year-old mother to give him when he was five. Stephanie feels better after hearing the story and enjoys seeing childhood pictures of her mother, but Jesse ends up being very upset by the whole interaction.

I guess it is easy to forget as the series goes on that Jesse is Pam’s kid brother and spends a lot of the first season being arguably more affected by her death than anyone else. I guess it’s less depressing on a sitcom to show the grieving brother rather than the grieving children or spouse, but nevertheless his performance is very effective. Danny and Jesse realize that they will never get over losing Pam, and that some bad feelings just stay with you. But Danny tells Jesse that it’s important for him to keep sharing his memories with their family because that is what will keep her a part of their lives and is probably the only thing that will ever make him feel better.

Very Special Lesson: Don’t let the children cook the turkey.

Very Special Activity: Share all of your great (and not so great) stories with your families this season. And if they’re driving you nuts, then you can post them here!