Vicky: Hey Barb?
Barb: What’s on your mind Vicky?
Vicky: I have mixed emotions about holiday movies.
Vicky: All that sugary sweetness...I just don’t know. Dark humor is my sandpaper. It smooths my rough edges. Heartwarming stories taste funny before the bitterness is rubbed away, they catch in my teeth like grit.
Barb: I just like to laugh so I won’t cry. I have a high tolerance for heartwarming. My jagged edges just poke out unexpectedly, then retract. I do love a belly laugh about something deeply troubling, but I’m able to release it and move on.
Vicky: I agree, that is why my favorite stories embed sorrow and darkness then eventually reveal the sweet tender underbelly. When I am sufficiently tenderized. Like a good steak.
Barb: I’m worried my emotions can be turned on and off like a light switch.
Vicky: Ah yes. That is the skill of the best film-makers, like Steven Spielberg. Heaven help us if he ever made a Christmas movie.
Barb: He’s torture! Manipulating our emotions like that should be illegal! The magic of movies - my Aunt’s a$$!
Vicky: Hey! Them’s fightin’ words. He’s a force of good in the world. I love being manipulated like that. As long as it is consensual.
Barb: I do love how humor belongs in the darkest scene. In our darkest moment, a little joke, or poke.
Vicky: Great segue to Thanksgiving...truly a dark day. At least for the turkey.
Barb: And being around our relatives for so long… every family has just one...
Vicky: I always love watching the Thanksgiving episodes of sitcoms. They capture the mixed bag of holiday sweet and sour so beautifully.
Barb: There are so many!
Vicky: I found this list on Wikipedia: Wow! A long list.
Barb: Friendsgiving is the BEST. Spending holidays with friends - our chosen family.
When I was in my 20s and single, long before Friends, I often celebrated the holiday with friends instead of relatives because I had to work the next day. I was included in other families and loved it! No baggage! Now that my family are all over the world with children of their own, my husband and I have become members of the Friendsgiving club again.
Vicky: When I was a newlywed, I really connected to the show, Mad About You. The episode - “Giblets for Murray” from Season 3, Episode 8 was fantastic! Written by Bill Grundfest & Jeffrey Klariker, the newlyweds host their first Thanksgiving, and come into the kitchen to find the dog eating the cooling turkey. Over the episode they find more outrageous ways to replace the original turkey without anyone knowing.
Barb: I loved that show! Watched every episode - even grieved over their marriage when they split.
Vicky: When I was in high school, I fell in love with the show, WKRP in Cincinnati. The “Turkey Drop” episode from Season 1 Episode 7 (written by Bill Dial) lives in my brain forever.
Barb: I remember that one! “It’s a slaughter!”
Vicky: “They’re hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!
Barb: Les Nessman’s reporting is brilliant! He’s oblivious, can’t even read the plane banner, then the devastation begins around him. The man on the street angle makes it even funnier as it slowly dawns on him… “Oh My God! They’re Turkeys!”
Vicky: Les Nessman...didn’t he win the Buckeye Newshawk Award? The episode mirrors the Hindenburg reporting brilliantly, “Oh the humanity!”.
Barb: Everybody Loves Raymond has one of the funniest Thanksgiving episodes I’ve seen. The show echoes my family dynamic in many ways - but exaggerated - so I can see the ridiculousness and release. Marie is the worst, smothering mother, but manages to remain sympathetic. “I do it from LOVE.” Imagine living across the street from your mother-in-law, and she just walks in the door every day. Each point of view is so clear.
Debra’s parents are more repressed and proper, and provide the perfect foil for the Romano family who let it all out. “The Fighting In-Laws,” Season 5, episode 9 when they come to visit is my favorite Thanksgiving episode (link below). But Ray Romano and Philip Rosenthal had enough material to make nine Turkey Day episodes, listed below.
Everybody Loves Raymond: my favorite Thanksgiving episode
And the rest...
Season 1, Episode 10: "Turkey or Fish" (1996)
Season 3, Episode 10: "No Fat" (1998)
Season 4, Episode 9: "No Thanks" (1999)
Season 5, Episode 9: "Fighting In-Laws" (2000)
Season 6, Episode 9: "Older Women" (2001)
Season 7, Episode 10: "Marie's Vision" (2002)
Season 8, Episode 9: "The Bird" (2003)
Season 9, Episode 7: "Debra's Parents" (2004)