Cheers Chats #7: Thanksgiving Orphans

It’s Thanksgiving in July! We’re back for more Cheers and we’re chatting turkey and food fights and possibly the show’s best episode ever.

Episode 5.9: Thanksgiving Orphans

Originally aired: November 27th, 1986

Netflix synopsis: Diane is among a select few graduate students one of her professors has asked to spend Thanksgiving with his family, in the pilgrim tradition.

Previously, on Cheers

T: We’ve skipped an entire season and it happens to be Coach’s last season. Nicholas Colasanto passed away in real life from a heart attack, but in the show, they didn’t really explain how he died. Woody Harrelson comes in to replace him and he not only replaces Coach as another bartender, but as the one to tell all the stupid jokes now. For some reason I can tolerate it way more than Coach?  

Case in point, the first joke in the cold open:

“Boy, it seems like Christmas comes earlier every year, doesn’t it?” Sam

“I think if you check, Sam, it always comes on the 25th of December.” Woody

M: “This is my first Thanksgiving away from home. I mean, unless you count last year” – my boo, Woody.

I kind of feel bad that I said before that Coach was the character they kept around in case they needed something bad to happen to somebody but also … accurate?

T: Sam and Diane aren’t back together but still mackin’ on each other. At the end of season 4, when Sam is dating Kate Mulgrew, the finale ends with a cliffhanger in which he calls someone and asks the person on the other end to marry him. However, it wasn’t until the S5 premiere that we find out it’s Diane. She makes him propose again in a more romantic way, but then she says no because she feels like she’s his rebound from Kate Mulgrew, making Diane even more annoying. Ever since, they’ve been on and off and it’s like fahkin get it together people.

M: Carla, I think, had another baby, right? And I now have a theory that Cheers is to blame for show runners thinking audiences love “will they/won’t they” romances.

T: Oh and Frasier stuck around. Probs because he has a spin-off to look forward to.

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

T: Diane’s professor invites select guests to a Thanksgiving dinner much like Professor Slughorn’s Slug Club Christmas party. But she ends up at Carla’s with the rest of the gang after she showed up at the Slug Club only to find out she had only been invited to serve as a waitress.

M: I got so excited when I saw we were writing about a Thanksgiving episode – usually some of my favorite sitcom eps!

Did we even know that Diane was still in school? I thought she was like 30. By the way, Diane is an 80s Muggle Hermione Granger what with all her sucking up to the professor. Except, you know, not written by JK Rowling.

T: Carla holds Thanksgiving at her new place (right next to the airport), but everyone’s got their own problems. Norm, who brought a frozen turkey to Thanksgiving, has a big fight with Vera, Sam’s date doesn’t show up, while Fraiser is annoyed with the guys constantly moving the TV.

M: It’s neither here nor there, but Carla’s apartment set is where the change in aspect ratio for Netflix really stood out. There were just like 3 feet of plain white wall above her wallpaper and paneling.

T: The tension in the room is so palpable but it’s finally broken with a food fight, resulting in the best scene to date.

T: Plus they cheered for Coach, which was almost enough for me to cry.

M: So far, this is the first of our Cheers Chats episodes that I would recommend to someone who had never seen the show so they’d understand how great it is.

T: Sidenote: I love Woody’s friendship with Diane it’s so tender.

Carla’s My Boo

T: Woody says he’s thankful he can do  a weird thing with his tongue, and everyone’s response is to do weird shit too. Sam licks his plate for some reason and Carla has her leg wrapped around her head which explains why she has 8 children.

Shut Up, Diane

T: Perfect example of Diane needing to shut up is when she makes everyone go around and say what they’re thankful for. She gets up and says:

“…But on this very special occasion, my mind goes back over the years to the people who have influenced me. And I would like to name some of them for you. Teilhard Chardin, George Sand, Caravaggio. Oh, Emily Dickinson, the Buddha, Frank Lloyd Wright [time jump cut] Jean d’Arc, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop.”

M: I was picturing Lisa Simpson’s Thanksgiving centerpiece the whole time:

It featured Georgia O’Keefe and Susan B Anthony.

 

M: I do feel a little sorry for Diane in her Pilgrim outfit grumbling that serving as waitstaff for her professor might be okay when you’re a “wide-eyed 19 year old, but not when you’re… not.” Which I guess answered my question about whether she’s a mature student.

T: Diane has to be a party pooper and attempt to end the food night and she gets all Red Ross like when Ross’ angry side comes out when he plays rugby on Friends. 

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: Diane gets jealous and whines about Sam having a date for Thanksgiving.

“Besides, I know that we’ll have many holidays together when you and I are one.” Diane

“You already are one, Diane.” Sam

M: “I’m thankful that I have a super car and a cool stereo and I’m not wearing a pilgrim outfit” – SAMUEL. Just make out with her.

T: Diane is all cutesy with Sam after his date ends up spending TGives with her sister instead of going to TGives at Carla’s

No, I’m serious. I had a date and it fell through. Sam

Oh, you don’t have to convince me, Sam. I believe you. Diane

I’m telling you the truth. Sam

And I love you for it. Diane

T: Sam is the first to throw beets? And at Diane, no less.

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

There’s a scene where the guys are sitting around the TV watching a WWF match featuring Hulk Hogan. The actual scene wasn’t necessarily funny but LOL at Hulk Hogan

Just sort of generally everything Woody said was great. Not the words, but the delivery.

“The little pop thing has a name, can we all say thermometer” – Frasier. Then everyone says “thermometer,” but angrily.

“Please, please! We are not here to be thankful for strange things we can do with our bodies.” Diane

Diane tries to get back at Sam and she attempts to throw a pie at him, but lands right on the face of Vera, who decides to come after all. WE ALMOST SAW VERA’S FACE. Is she like Mr. Kim or Wilson from Home Improvement. And apparently this is the only time we “see” Vera in the whole series.

M: When the food fight starts in earnest, Diane tries to break it up with a guttural yell like she’s Leslie Knope v. Eagleton.

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

 “This time of year is filled with arguments, suicides, murders. Yeah, I guess it’s the seasonal happiness of others tends to throw a glaring light on the flaws in our own interpersonal relationships. But see, of course, that’s no problem for me. I’m alone.” Fraiser

“Are you kiddin’? I did my part this year. I was in “Hands Across America,” remember?” Cliff refusing to volunteer at the soup kitchen for TGives with his mom

“Oh, who the hell do we think we’re kidding? We’re all a bunch of pathetic dropouts. Scorned by our loved ones, as if anybody ever loved us at all.” Fraiser

Cheers Queries

T: What ever happened to Woody’s hometown girlfriend? I don’t think they ever explained that.

T: Why is Norm the only one in charge of the turkey? Why don’t they try to help?

M: Couldn’t they have at least started with the sides when they were warm?

Barfly Fashion

Diane’s Thanksgiving Outfit

She describes this as “An absolutely authentic example of feminine colonial headwear.”

Carla’s leopard print shirt

Carla’s got a new stylist and it’s called the effects of the ’80s.

Sam’s plaid jacket

It’s Thanksgiving, not Easter, Sam. But also it might not be clear in this pic, but he is V tan.

Woody’s red sweater

More specifically the napkin. It’s to do with the napkin.

Final Thoughts

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss season six, episode 23, Bar Wars.

 

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Flashback Friday: A Jello Mold Thanksgiving

n years past, Thanksgiving dinner had to meet two benchmarks: it had to be delicious, and it had to be sufficiently Thanskgiving-y. If you served traditional foods and they weren’t entirely awful, you were doing okay.

But now, depending on your audience, your Thanksgiving may be expected to meet the following criteria:

  • vegan
  • raw
  • raw vegan
  • “intermittently vegan”
  • freegan
  • macrobiotic
  • dairy-free
  • lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • gluten free
  • gluten intolerant
  • Instagram-able
  • Pinterest- worthy
  • nut free
  • tree-nut free
  • peanut free
  • low carb
  • low fat
  • things a caveman would eat
  • under 20 Weight Watchers points
  • ready after the parade
  • ready before the game
  • organic
  • local

Good luck and godspeed! Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a game with no winner. Things are tougher than they used to be. Honestly, they’re tougher than they have to be. Once upon a time, you could make an entire Thanksgiving dinner out of Jello molds. And friends? YOU STILL CAN.

Potatoes

I’m of Irish descent. I like to believe that somewhere out there in the universe, my ancestors know that I have access to so many potatoes –  so many damn potatoes – that I can mutilate them into the shape of a giant, awful donut and the texture of Gak if I so please. Now, the potatoes are going to have to be a potato salad instead of a traditional mash, but I think you could also add plain gelatin to your mashed potatoes and set it into the mold.

Stuffing (Dressing if you’re nasty)

This really captures the essence of stuffing but without the bread and without having been inside a bird’s tushie. You have your carrots, your celery, your little bits of meat… basically everything but your will to live and your breakfast. Because if you’re eating this, you’ve probably lost both.

Cranberry Sauce

Do you serve can-shaped cranberry sauce? Then you have been letting Big Cran dictate the shape of your cranberry sauce-loaf for far too long. It CAN be shaped like a jello mold and I’d argue that it SHOULD be, too.

Squash

The thing about squash is that if served it in its skin and cut lengthwise, it already is compactly and neatly shaped and suitable for consumption by the toothless. That is exactly the kind of thinking that killed the jello mold. You can eat your squash as a jiggly square and you should never let anybody tell you differently.

Turkey

For a gentler turkey-carving experience, replace the revving of an electric carving knife with the gloppy, sloshing thhhwaaaack of a slotted spoon moving through Jello.

Brussels Sprouts

For many palates, Brussels sprouts are a veggie that needs a little gussying up. What could be more gussied than letting your sprouts go for a dip in a egg noodle and cheese sauce swimmin’ hole?

Green Beans

Usually green beans enter the Thanksgiving table not because anyone loves them, but because at some point you look at all of the beige-y brown stuff you’re ingesting and realize that you should probably add something green. Voila – this ring of algae-looking green bean crud! If you’re a green bean casserole traditionalist (the recipe from the Campbell’s soup can), you can still top this with a drizzle of cream of mushroom soup and a sprinkling of freeze-dried onions (aka “astronaut onions”).

Pumpkin Pie

If you can shape your turkey like a dessert you can 100% also shape your dessert like a turkey – through the magic of jello molds!

Coffee

Want some coffee with your pie? Sure, we can do that.

Eggnog

Go ahead, spike it.

#ThrowbackThursday – The One With All The Thanksgivings

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Hope y’all are having a wonderful day surrounded by friends and family and all the food your stomachs can handle! One of my favorite traditions on this day is to go back and watch all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes, because, America. While each of them have their own merits, I decided to rank them in order of import, so if you feel like watching one or two of these today, I’d say go with the the top spot and work your way back. Thanks for reading and enjoy your turkey!!

Good television fans know that certain series have the market on lock when it comes to holiday-themed episodes. For example, The Office had superb Christmas episodes every year. Community goes above and beyond with its Halloween shows. And of course, you could always count on Friends for a solid Thanksgiving episode.

friends t gives

Over the past few years, I’ve started my own tradition (like the Geller Cup, if you will) of watching every Thanksgiving episode from all 10 seasons, just to get me in the mood for the holiday.

So in honor of today, here’s a definitive list (read: based solely on my own personal opinion, my mind will probably change tomorrow) of the episodes from worst to best.

Oh and Happy Thanksgiving!

Number Ten

Season 2: The One with the List

Ross must choose between Rachel and Julie and enlists Joey and Chandler’s help in making a list of the pros and cons of each. He chooses Rachel, but she finds the list and gets angry with Ross. Meanwhile, Monica gets a job making food with a synthetic chocolate substitute called Mockolate.

This was the only episode in the show’s 10 year run that was not an official “Thanksgiving episode”. It served as such when it aired in 1995, but there was not real T-Giving banter until the following season. That being said, I still think this is a great episode, not only because everyone’s still on a high from Ross and Rachel’s first kiss, but because Chandler’s laptop is like a life-changing instrument where you can both type semi-offensive documents about your friends but also play Doom. Could it BE anymore 90s?

Number Nine

Season 7: The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs

Phoebe sneaks a puppy into the apartment; Chandler reveals why he hates dogs. Ross becomes obsessed with naming all 50 states in order to earn his Thanksgiving dinner. Phoebe names celery.

Because of Ross, millions of people were left dumbfounded and extremely annoyed that they couldn’t list all 50 states. Unless you’re one of those people who learned the States song when you were younger. In which case you can’t participate in the game or Thanksgiving.

Number Eight

Season 10: The One with the Late Thanksgiving

Monica and Chandler grudgingly agree to host Thanksgiving. They get angry when their friends show up late, when Ross and Joey having gone to a game and Rachel and Phoebe having taken Emma to a baby beauty pageant, because why not. But their mood changes when they get good news from the adoption agency.

The best scenes in this mediocre episode are with the four latecomers who are brainstorming to come up with a way to get on the Bings’ good graces and come to dinner. Not to mention the creepiest door scene in all of Friends history.

Number Seven

Season 9: The One with Rachel’s Other Sister

Amy, Rachel’s spoiled sister played by Christina Applegate, shows up for Thanksgiving. The gang argues over who gets custody of Emma if Ross and Rachel die. 

Props to the person who cast both Christina Applegate and Reese Witherspoon as Rachel’s sisters. Christina was even nominated twice for her role and won in 2003 for this very episode! And it was totally well deserved because her spaciness and inability to understand that Phoebe’s name is, in fact, Phoebe and not Emma, makes her the sole reason why this episode needs more credit than it deserves.

Number Six

Season 1: The One Where Underdog Gets Away

The gang gets locked out of the apartment in order to see the Underdog balloon fly away from the Macy’s Day Parade. Monica’s first Thanksgiving dinner gets burned, Rachel misses a ski trip with her family, and Joey becomes a poster boy for VD.

The first season is a magical season for many reasons, but most importantly because if you’re watching it in current day, you can tell there’s still an innocence among the cast members and within the actual show – these people have no idea how big the show’s going to be or how much of an impact it will have on television history in general. The first ever Thanksgiving episode is no different. It set a precedent for future T-giving episodes, and the rest of the series in general.

Number Five

Season 3: The One with the Football

The gang plays a game of touch football on Thanksgiving as Ross and Monica argue over winning in a case of sibling rivalry over the coveted Geller Cup. Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler argue over who gets to date a model from Holland and Rachel is still clueless on the game. 

Family, Friends, Food and Football. Pretty much Thanksgiving summed up in alliteration. The Friends writers knew they had to incorporate one of America’s most beloved past times, and this was the perfect way to do it.

Number Four

Season 4: The One with Chandler in a Box

After Joey finds out that Chandler kissed his girlfriend Kathy, he forces Chan to spend Thanksgiving in a huge wooden box so he can think about what he did. What’s even weirder than Chandler in a box? Monica inviting her ex-boyfriend’s son over for Thanksgiving and she hits on him.

The reason for this episode being one of the greatest is threefold: 1) Monica with an eye patch. 2) Chandler/Matthew Perry being in a box the entire episode. 3) One of the greatest and unforgettable lines ever in Friends, as seen in the clip above. Judge all you want.

Number Three

Season 5: The One with All the Thanksgivings

The gang’s past Thanksgivings are revealed flashback style. We get to see when Chandler and Monica first meet, how he changed her life, Joey’s head up a turkey’s butt, and Pheebs in the 1600s. 

I appreciate that Friends has done only a few clip shows in its 10 year run, since it can feel like the writers haven’t come up with any new ideas and are just being lazy. But one thing that Friends did, that I think How I Met Your Mother really perfected, is having flashback scenes that are brand new to both the cast and the viewers. This episode takes the cake, as we get to see the Friends in different eras, different stages of their life and how they all came together as one unit. Plus who doesn’t love a good turkey head?

Number Two

Season 8: The One with the Rumor

Monica invites a high school friend, Will, played by Brad Pitt, to her Thanksgiving dinner. He and Ross were pals back in the day and had an I Hate Rachel Green club, which she finds out in the episode. Meanwhile, Joey tries to eat an entire turkey and Chandler and Phoebe attempt to avoid helping Monica with the dinner.

Oh boy. It’s like pouring salt in the wound thinking about this, but remember when Brad and Jennifer were still married and happy in love? But then they played enemies in this episode? Brad hardly makes any TV appearances, but obviously he made an exception with this, and I think he played the perfect roll. This could also be because my obsession with him started around this time, but whatever. Despite Will and Ross’ “hatred” for Rachel, it turns out to be a sweet moment at the end between the show’s iconic couple, leaving you with the warm and fuzzies. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Number One

Season 6: The One Where Ross Got High

Ross and Monica’s parents come to dinner, and Ross is forced to tell Chandler why Jack and Judy don’t like him, since they still don’t know Monica and Chandler are living together. Things get more stressful for Ross as he and Joey are trying to speed up Thanksgiving to hang out with Janine, played by Elle MacPherson, and her dancer friends. Rachel *tries* to make dessert for the first time. 

The Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes are usually bottle episodes, which means the action primarily takes place in one setting, with the same characters. In this case, it’s the six Friends in Monica’s apartment, seemingly like an act of a play. In saying that, the 22 minute episode goes by so quickly because the writing, acting, and comedic timing by all is just that good. So many things are happening with all of the characters, and it converges together in one of the most hilarious scenes on TV. From Phoebe’s infatuation with a French aqualegend to Rachel’s feet-tasting trifle, this episode is the perfect mix of disaster, family time and sentimentality that Thanksgiving is all about.

Questions, Comments, and Concerns: The Pilgrims on PBS

Last night, the Pilgrims aired on American Experience, and we all learned that the Mayflower was a floating piece of garbage that carried miserable people to a land of despair and death. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Question: Is Ken Burns Involved?

Ken Burns is behind all of the best American Experience episodes. I also had a semi-crush on him back when I assumed he looked like Richard Attenborough, which actually doesn’t help matters and if anything makes it worse, never mind, let’s pretend I never said that.

[It’s Ken Burns’ brother, Ric, who did this one, by the way.]

Comment: Plymouth Rock is the worst.

 

 

Anyone been to Plymouth Rock? It’s a literal rock, and it’s not even that big, and there’s honestly no way they could have known that it was THE rock. A crowd of people stand on a platform above the rock and your mom just wants to get a good picture and you just want to go on the replica boat.

Comment: Governor Bradford Was The Eliza Hamilton Of Plymouth

… in terms of being the person who controlled how it was represented in history. And also the Alexander, in terms of writing like he’s running out of time.

Comment: It’s like practically the ONLY thing to do in 17th century England was go to church and the Puritans were like “oh no, this is too fun and interesting, better make CHURCH less FUN.” (No offense, church.)

I mean I’ve never been at church and been like “wow, this music is too good right now. Everyone’s breath is amazing and I am entertained by this decor.”

Concern: They Were A Straight-Up Cult

PBS even said. Ken Burns’ brother Ric said. America wasn’t founded so much on the concept of freedom of religion, so much as by a handful of religious crazies, plus other people who thought there was maybe gold here.

Question: Is a boat being ‘seasoned’ a good thing?

Because it kind of just sounds like a way to say “an old boat.” Granted, the Titanic was brand-spanking-new, but.

Comment: “Two miles an hour;” “Chamber pots everywhere;” “Voyage from hell.”

But on the plus side: two dogs.

Comment: The Pilgrims were heading for the Hudson river, but look, I think we’ve all ended up in Provincetown by accident a time or two.
Concern: PBS says it’s “necessary to ask who the savages were,” but I think we all know.

It’s the people who rode a poop-boat to go camping because church was too fun in England.

Comment: That moment when the pilgrims find a rotting skull on the beach and it has blonde hair on it:

url.gif

 

Question: Did Dorothy Bradford kill herself or fall off a boat?

Anyone’s guess, to be honest.

Concern: 50% of the population died by springtime and Bradford was just like, maybe if I don’t write it in my diary nobody will know?

And you know why he did that? Because they propped up the DEAD BODIES AS HUMAN SCARECROWS SO THE INDIANS WOULD THINK THEY WERE GUARDS. I really did need to use all of those caps.

 

Comment: The Mayflower was sold for scrap.
Question: What really happened at the real first Thanksgiving?

Sounds like not much. They ate dinner.

Concern: These people sure did like decorating with dead bodies.

Propping up pilgrims as human scarecrows, hanging up Indian heads in the  town square – just bury them, guys. Just be normal. I’m getting serial killer vibes from all of y’all. The ornament adorning Bradford’s wedding was a head on a pike and linen soaked in blood.

Comment: William Bradford married a 32-year-old woman.

See, all of the relatives I’ll have to see this week?

Comment: Sitting here during this discussion of the high price of beaver like:bingley-giggles.gif

 

“The beaver saved them” – Ken Burns’ brother Ric I guess.

Concern: So, Bradford gets buried in a grave.

Guess the town had all the disembodied heads they could handle.

Comment: Nope, One More Reference To A Head On A Pole Before We Go.
Question: Are we supposed to think Bradford’s journal is legit when a guy just found it in a book store right before the Civil War when there was a “battle” between New England and Southern historians?
Comment: “Somewhere, William Bradford might have smiled.”

But probably not because he’s the kind of man who got married under a rotting head on a stick right?

Things I’m Thankful For: 2014 Edition

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!! Hope you’re having a great day so far with your loved ones and stuffing your face with all the foods. There’s something about Thanksgiving that kind of makes me sentimental, since it’s one of the only major U.S. holidays that all Americans celebrate no matter what your background is (shout out to July 4th!). Of course, like previously mentioned, Thanksgiving IS about the majahh feasting that happens, but of course it’s a time to be reflective and thankful for all that we have. So here are just a few things I’m thankful for this year. Dig in!

  • Friends Thanksgiving episodes
    • For the past few years, I’ve started my own holiday tradition in which I watch all 10 Thanksgiving-themed episodes as part of a mini-marathon. I think I partly do this because Friends feel like ‘home’ to me, and since I’ve spent the past five years in LA and not back east for the holiday, it makes me feel like there’s some kind of longstanding tradition. Also, these are some of the best episodes of television ever (I ranked all the eps here!).

  • Portable iPhone travel charger
    • Guys, I finally bought one and it has changed my life.
  • Julian Morris on New Girl
    • I never thought I could ship again after Jess and Nick broke up but OHMYGOD freaking Julian Morris. And his face. And his accent. And his charmingness. Like I feel like I am actually Jess Day when she’s flustered around him. It’s insane. 
  • Chris Pratt finally getting the attention he deserves
    • PRATT!! He went from Andy Dwyer to mega movie star and I feel like a proud mom!
  • Coffee ice cubes
    • My favorite coffee shop has optional coffee ice cubes that you can add to your iced coffee (my fave bev) and that way, when the ice melts, IT’S STILL COFFEE.
  • Gilmore Girls on Netflix Instant
    • We love GG here, and the fact that I can now jump from all the Luke/Lorelai episodes and completely shut out April Nardini without having to get up and change disks is the best thing to ever happen to me.
  • Leggings
    • Because comfort, y’all.
  • Deciding not to go to our 10 year high school reunion
    • Molly and I chose to go to New York City the same weekend as our “10 year high school reunion”. After stalking pictures of the “event”, there were approx 10 people who went to the bar, all of whom we’re not friends with, so good call, past Molly & Traci.
  • GIFs
  • Nick Jonas-issance
    • I mean, God Bless America. 
  • Vanilla Almond Butter
    • So I started making flourless pancakes (one ripe banana, 2 eggs, mix and pour on skillet like pancakes) and I usually have a side of Justin’s Natural Vanilla Almond Butter and it is so ridiculously delicious. Why did I just find out about this recently?
  • #TGIT
    • Shondaland on Thursday nights has made appointment television a thing again, and it shows in both their Neilsen ratings and Twitter ratings. Basically, don’t even try to reach me between the hours of 8pm and 11pm on Thursdays – unless you tweet me.
  • Lupita Nyong’o
    • What did we ever do before you, Lupita???
  • The first Dunkin’ Donuts in Los Angeles
    • After years of waiting, LA is finally running on Dunkin’… now if they can just open one that doesn’t take me like 30-40 minutes to get to.
  • Tumblr tags
    • #the best part of tumblr is sometimes the tags #so much subtext
  • Amy Poehler’s Book, Yes Please
    • You think I was going to make a list of things I’m thankful for without mentioning our Queen??
  • YOU GUYS!!
    • Probably the most important item on this list – thank you all so much for reading, whether you’re loyal followers or if this is your first time visiting our site, we sincerely appreciate anyone taking time out to read the crap we put on here. We love you internet.

 

A Plate Full Of Turkey And Pants Full Of Elastic: Happy Thanksgiving From Cookies + Sangria!

By a show of hands, how many people initially ended up here because you thought we were a food blog? Okay, you can put them down now. The important part is, we’re all here together now and I’m glad we’ve found each other. We may not write about sauteeing and bruleeing, but dammit, we like food. So of course, Thanksgiving is a big day around here. We’ve rounded up all of our Thanksgiving-related posts for you – if you like what you see, click on the link and go to the full post.

If you want to visit us elsewhere – and get some T-Gives planning done at the same time – trek over to Apartment Therapy and Brit.co, where our Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drinking game made an appearance. A bit like running into your teacher at the mall, isn’t it? We’re giant, not-just-saying-that fans of both sites!

Happy Thanksgiving. Wishing you a mouth full of turkey, a glass full of booze, a heart full of joy, and a waistband full of elastic. Continue reading

The One Where The Katzenjammer Kids Gets Away

We’re just one day away from the fattest day for Americans (I guess maybe besides super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day if you’re single) and that means it’s almost time for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For 88 years, this parade in the heart of New York City has been a Thanksgiving morning staple for families all across America. Thousands line up the streets of Manhattan as well as in front of their TVs to watch celebrities waving from floats, singers lip syncing, high school marching bands impressing their parents with their walking skills (and are a reminder that they are probably considered the ‘popular kids’ where they’re from), and Broadway musical stars perform much needed interludes. And then there are the balloons. There are a variety of different balloons featured in the parade, but you probably associate the Macy’s parade with those huge ass ballons of rando pop culture characters like Hello Kitty or Spongebob or Underdog.

But in the 88 years of this beloved tradition, there have been a number of odd, bizarre and straight up frightening balloons that have floated down the streets of New York. Here are just a few of the weirdest ones from the past eight decades – and you can be THANKFUL that some of these aren’t featured in Thursday’s parade.

Turkey {1932}

Naturally, some sort of turkey has to make an appearance at the parade. But this one barely looks like Thanksgiving’s main dish. Fun fact: for the first six years of the parade, all the balloons were released into the air at the end of the route because organizers didn’t know what to do with the balloons filled with helium. If someone caught one and returned it (to Macy’s?) they would win money. This practice proved to be dangerous, so they stopped in 1933.

Dragon/Nantucket Sea Monster {1937}

This guy was one of the first balloons ever at the Macy’s parade and often used as a guerrilla marketing stunt to raise awareness about the parade. If their goal was to frighten little kids (and adults) so much that they lose their appetites, it worked.

Pinocchio {1937}

I mean, really. REALLY?  I don’t remember Pinocchio’s growing that… way.

The Katzenjammer Kids {1920s}

These frightening folks were based on the widely popular comic strip in the 1920s. The mom is in the front, followed by just the head of the dad and the kids following behind. WHY DOESN’T THE DAD HAVE A BODY THO.

Mighty Mouse {1954}

Now I’ve never actually watched an episode of this superhero mouse, but I feel like his body isn’t proportionate. Are his legs usually like 10 times smaller than his torso, or…?

Father Knickerbocker {1936}

Father Knickerbocker was a mascot for the Big Apple in the late 1800s and early 1900s – hence the name for the city’s basketball team, the New York Knicks. However, this particular balloon was questionable since Mr. Knickerbocker was usually depicted with an over-sized judge’s wig. This balloon is not. Also, one time this dude’s nose got caught in an outdoor train and people were scrambled to do a nose job on him before he made his appearance in the parade.

Eddie Cantor {1940s}

This balloon is based on actor/singer/dancer/beloved New Yorker Eddie Cantor, who looked like this IRL.  He was only one of the few real life people to have a Macy’s balloon in their likeness, and I think it’s pretty clear why. Balloon bro’s high on helium and has no idea what he’s doing or where he’s going. Also, hammer pants.

Pumpkin {1945}

 

Acrobats {1938}

Sure, your eyes go directly to the mustachioed acrobat with weird fingers and thigh bands, but please note the smaller acrobat holding on for dear life at his feet. Again, the proportions are not accurate.

Space Man {1952}

Neil Armstrong wouldn’t land on the moon until 17 years later, and actually NASA wasn’t even founded until 1958, which might explain why this space man looks like a cross between an exterminator and a lego industrial worker.

The Thief of Bagdad {1940}

This is technically a float but, um… it’s weird, right? The Thief of Bagdad was a 1924 (and later 1940) film about a king who is tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar (yeah, Aladdin and this share the same roots). He joins forces with a thief named Abu in order to reclaim his throne, the city, and the princess he loves (whose name isn’t Jasmine) Naturally, it needed a float in the Macy’s Day Parade, because what kids wouldn’t love seeing this frightening depiction of Jaffar coming towards them?

Linus the Lion {1973}

This was from a parade in the 70s, so it’s fair to assume Linus the Lion was chasing the dragon, right? Drugs. I mean drugs.

Ask Jeeves {2001}

If you don’t remember who Ask Jeeves is, just look him up on Lycos. While you’re at it, feel free to visit my Geocities site and sign my guestbook. *~sMaRtER ChiLD*~

Elf on a Shelf {2012}

Maybe look for the Elf on a Shelf in the bathroom this year?

B. Boy {2010}

This balloon was designed by Tim Burton. I think that explains it.

Rabbit {2007}

Artist Jeff Koons’ silver rabbit is not surprising if you know his aesthetics, but still, he’s definitely no main stream enough to have this balloon make sense during the Macy’s parade.

Just Give Up And Make Your Entire Thanksgiving Dinner Out Of Jello Molds

In years past, Thanksgiving dinner had to meet two benchmarks: it had to be delicious, and it had to be sufficiently Thanskgiving-y. If you served traditional foods and they weren’t entirely awful, you were doing okay.

But now, depending on your audience, your Thanksgiving may be expected to meet the following criteria:

  • vegan
  • raw
  • raw vegan
  • “intermittently vegan”
  • freegan
  • macrobiotic
  • dairy-free
  • lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • gluten free
  • gluten intolerant
  • Instagram-able
  • Pinterest- worthy
  • nut free
  • tree-nut free
  • peanut free
  • low carb
  • low fat
  • things a caveman would eat
  • under 20 Weight Watchers points
  • ready after the parade
  • ready before the game
  • organic
  • local

Good luck and godspeed! Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a game with no winner. Things are tougher than they used to be. Honestly, they’re tougher than they have to be. Once upon a time, you could make an entire Thanksgiving dinner out of Jello molds. And friends? YOU STILL CAN.

Potatoes

I’m of Irish descent. I like to believe that somewhere out there in the universe, my ancestors know that I have access to so many potatoes –  so many damn potatoes – that I can mutilate them into the shape of a giant, awful donut and the texture of Gak if I so please. Now, the potatoes are going to have to be a potato salad instead of a traditional mash, but I think you could also add plain gelatin to your mashed potatoes and set it into the mold.

Stuffing (Dressing if you’re nasty)

This really captures the essence of stuffing but without the bread and without having been inside a bird’s tushie. You have your carrots, your celery, your little bits of meat… basically everything but your will to live and your breakfast. Because if you’re eating this, you’ve probably lost both.

Cranberry Sauce

Do you serve can-shaped cranberry sauce? Then you have been letting Big Cran dictate the shape of your cranberry sauce-loaf for far too long. It CAN be shaped like a jello mold and I’d argue that it SHOULD be, too.

Squash

The thing about squash is that if served it in its skin and cut lengthwise, it already is compactly and neatly shaped and suitable for consumption by the toothless. That is exactly the kind of thinking that killed the jello mold. You can eat your squash as a jiggly square and you should never let anybody tell you differently.

Turkey

For a gentler turkey-carving experience, replace the revving of an electric carving knife with the gloppy, sloshing thhhwaaaack of a slotted spoon moving through Jello.

Brussels Sprouts

For many palates, Brussels sprouts are a veggie that needs a little gussying up. What could be more gussied than letting your sprouts go for a dip in a egg noodle and cheese sauce swimmin’ hole?

Green Beans

Usually green beans enter the Thanksgiving table not because anyone loves them, but because at some point you look at all of the beige-y brown stuff you’re ingesting and realize that you should probably add something green. Voila – this ring of algae-looking green bean crud! If you’re a green bean casserole traditionalist (the recipe from the Campbell’s soup can), you can still top this with a drizzle of cream of mushroom soup and a sprinkling of freeze-dried onions (aka “astronaut onions”).

Pumpkin Pie

If you can shape your turkey like a dessert you can 100% also shape your dessert like a turkey – through the magic of jello molds!

Coffee

Want some coffee with your pie? Sure, we can do that.

Eggnog

Go ahead, spike it.

 

Blaque Friday, Orphan Black Friday and Beyond: Alternatives To Shopping

It’s Black Friday, and the crowds are hitting the malls and big-box stores. But whether you’re not into consumer culture, already bought your Christmas gifts (show-off!), or are more of an online shopper, you don’t have to brave the masses today. If you have the day off and are looking to celebrate a different kind of Black Friday, read on for suggestions.

Blaque Friday

Remember Blaque? Kind of? The main thing I remember about Blaque, the late 90s girl group, is that they were not TLC or Destiny’s Child but probably wanted to be. But get this: Blaque actually stands for something. No kidding. It’s an acronym for Believing, Life, Achieving, Quest, Unity, Everything. What does that mean? Everything. And nothing. Mostly, absolutely nothing. Still, it makes for a good game if you’re lounging around with friends and relatives. Put a bunch of words in a hat. Everybody has to make up an acronym for the word that they pull. Misspelling the word is fine. So, say you pull Milk. Your Blaque-ronym is Mylk: Miracles, Youth, Love, Knowledge. Or MILKE: Mourning Idaho, Loving Kansas Evermore. The person whose Blaque-ronym makes you laugh the hardest is the winner.

It goes without saying, the soundtrack to this game is either tunes by Blaque, or the feature film Bring It On which features the Blaque members as high school cheerleaders.

Shirley Temple Black Friday

Pour yourself a Shirley Temple (that’s ginger ale and grenadine) then add a splash of any kind of liquor. Any kind at all. Bam! Now it’s a Shirley Temple Black. Round out your Shirley Temple Black Friday with a selection of Shirley Temple films. Come on, I can’t be the only former community theater child around these parts! Get your inner ham on as you sing along to On The Good Ship Lollipop or Animal Crackers In My Soup. Have a Shirley Temple impression-off with your friends and family – especially fun if you’ve already knocked back a few Shirley Temple Blacks.  Sick of Thanksgiving leftovers already? Order some international food, because in her adult life Shirley Temple Black served as an ambassador to Ghana and the former Czechoslovakia.

Orphan Black Friday

Haven’t seen Orphan Black yet? Have access to BBC America On Demand? Today’s your lucky day! You can easily watch all 10 episodes in one fit of glorious laziness. While everyone is evading human stampedes and knife battles at Wal-Mart, you’ll be immersed in a world of mystery and intrigue.

Already seen Orphan Black? If you aren’t up for a re-watch, get your butt to a crowded mall. They say that everyone has a twin, or in the Orphan Black world, possibly at least 8 clones. Play a human matching game! Single out someone distinctive – odd walk, crazy hair, wonky features – then keep your eye out for their closest human match. Takes people watching to a whole new level.

Sirius Black Friday

The Harry Potter movies always feel like Christmas to me. That’s probably because ABC Family aired them as part of their 25 Days Of Christmas for so long that I finally acquiesced. Fine, ABC Family, you win. It’s a Christmas movie. Spoiler if you haven’t read/seen all of the Harry Potterses: Sirius Black seems super shady, but is actually in Harry’s corner the whole time. So today, do something nice for that person you absolutely can’t stand, on the chance they aren’t so bad after all. Or just say screw it and have a Hogwarts-themed feast. There are recipes for Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and more online.

Orange Is The New Black Friday

Much like Orphan Black, this is an excellent series that you can watch in one sitting. If you’re off of work and in a food coma, this might be the right time to see what the buzz is about.

Maybe you already have seen it, though. And maybe OITNB gave you greater empathy for the incarcerated (We all make bad choices. It’s just, some of us got different bad choices to make). Well, you can use some of those Black Friday bargains for good, then. There are several organizations that accept new and gently used books for prisoners – for instance, the Prison Book Program. Either grab some discount reads after the crowds have died down, or use your time off to sort through your bookshelves. Literacy, especially critical literacy, is instrumental in helping individuals become fully participating members of society, after all. Okay.  I’ll stash my soapbox, now.

Paint It Black Friday

Rolling Stones tune strictly optional. If you’re decorating for Christmas this week, grab some ceramic ornaments and acrylic paints and have yourself an ornament painting party. It’s fun and you’ll have decorations when it’s done! If you have more than enough Christmas decor, spread the cheer by dropping off some ornaments with someone who could use a little holiday magic. You can have great ornament painting contests, too — best, worst, weirdest, whatever.

Wiggida Wiggida Wiggida Wack Friday

It’s as true today as it was in the early 90s: Kris Kross will make you jump, jump. But what really makes me jump, jump is this Kris Kross remix. The day after Thanksgiving is all about recombining your leftovers into something that feels new and interesting. It’s also a good day to do the same thing with music. Put on some mashups of your old-school favs and get your dance on — I still like the Girl Talk mixes for this. We can all use a little exercise now anyway.

Baby Got Back Friday

Sometimes it seems like everyone has the opening rap and chorus of this song memorized, but they have no love for the rest of it. Well, today is your day! Sit down with the lyrics and iconic music video until you have this down. Sure, other people are out buying gifts today. I’d argue that having this song in your repertoire is a gift to the world.

Underdog, Beef Trifle and Box Livin’: A Definitive List of Friends’ Best Thanksgiving Episodes

Good television fans know that certain series have the market on lock when it comes to holiday-themed episodes. For example, The Office had superb Christmas episodes every year. Community goes above and beyond with its Halloween shows. And of course, you could always count on Friends for a solid Thanksgiving episode.

friends t gives

Over the past few years, I’ve started my own tradition (like the Geller Cup, if you will) of watching every Thanksgiving episode from all 10 seasons, just to get me in the mood for the holiday.

So in honor of today, here’s a definitive list (read: based solely on my own personal opinion, my mind will probably change tomorrow) of the episodes from worst to best.

Oh and Happy Thanksgiving!

Number Ten

Season 2: The One with the List

Ross must choose between Rachel and Julie and enlists Joey and Chandler’s help in making a list of the pros and cons of each. He chooses Rachel, but she finds the list and gets angry with Ross. Meanwhile, Monica gets a job making food with a synthetic chocolate substitute called Mockolate.

This was the only episode in the show’s 10 year run that was not an official “Thanksgiving episode”. It served as such when it aired in 1995, but there was not real T-Giving banter until the following season. That being said, I still think this is a great episode, not only because everyone’s still on a high from Ross and Rachel’s first kiss, but because Chandler’s laptop is like a life-changing instrument where you can both type semi-offensive documents about your friends but also play Doom. Could it BE anymore 90s?

Number Nine

Season 7: The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs

Phoebe sneaks a puppy into the apartment; Chandler reveals why he hates dogs. Ross becomes obsessed with naming all 50 states in order to earn his Thanksgiving dinner. Phoebe names celery.

Because of Ross, millions of people were left dumbfounded and extremely annoyed that they couldn’t list all 50 states. Unless you’re one of those people who learned the States song when you were younger. In which case you can’t participate in the game or Thanksgiving.

Number Eight

Season 10: The One with the Late Thanksgiving

Monica and Chandler grudgingly agree to host Thanksgiving. They get angry when their friends show up late, when Ross and Joey having gone to a game and Rachel and Phoebe having taken Emma to a baby beauty pageant, because why not. But their mood changes when they get good news from the adoption agency.

The best scenes in this mediocre episode are with the four latecomers who are brainstorming to come up with a way to get on the Bings’ good graces and come to dinner. Not to mention the creepiest door scene in all of Friends history.

Number Seven

Season 9: The One with Rachel’s Other Sister

Amy, Rachel’s spoiled sister played by Christina Applegate, shows up for Thanksgiving. The gang argues over who gets custody of Emma if Ross and Rachel die. 

Props to the person who cast both Christina Applegate and Reese Witherspoon as Rachel’s sisters. Christina was even nominated twice for her role and won in 2003 for this very episode! And it was totally well deserved because her spaciness and inability to understand that Phoebe’s name is, in fact, Phoebe and not Emma, makes her the sole reason why this episode needs more credit than it deserves.

Number Six

Season 1: The One Where Underdog Gets Away

The gang gets locked out of the apartment in order to see the Underdog balloon fly away from the Macy’s Day Parade. Monica’s first Thanksgiving dinner gets burned, Rachel misses a ski trip with her family, and Joey becomes a poster boy for VD.

The first season is a magical season for many reasons, but most importantly because if you’re watching it in current day, you can tell there’s still an innocence among the cast members and within the actual show – these people have no idea how big the show’s going to be or how much of an impact it will have on television history in general. The first ever Thanksgiving episode is no different. It set a precedent for future T-giving episodes, and the rest of the series in general.

Number Five

Season 3: The One with the Football

The gang plays a game of touch football on Thanksgiving as Ross and Monica argue over winning in a case of sibling rivalry over the coveted Geller Cup. Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler argue over who gets to date a model from Holland and Rachel is still clueless on the game. 

Family, Friends, Food and Football. Pretty much Thanksgiving summed up in alliteration. The Friends writers knew they had to incorporate one of America’s most beloved past times, and this was the perfect way to do it.

Number Four

Season 4: The One with Chandler in a Box

After Joey finds out that Chandler kissed his girlfriend Kathy, he forces Chan to spend Thanksgiving in a huge wooden box so he can think about what he did. What’s even weirder than Chandler in a box? Monica inviting her ex-boyfriend’s son over for Thanksgiving and she hits on him.

The reason for this episode being one of the greatest is threefold: 1) Monica with an eye patch. 2) Chandler/Matthew Perry being in a box the entire episode. 3) One of the greatest and unforgettable lines ever in Friends, as seen in the clip above. Judge all you want.

Number Three

Season 5: The One with All the Thanksgivings

The gang’s past Thanksgivings are revealed flashback style. We get to see when Chandler and Monica first meet, how he changed her life, Joey’s head up a turkey’s butt, and Pheebs in the 1600s. 

I appreciate that Friends has done only a few clip shows in its 10 year run, since it can feel like the writers haven’t come up with any new ideas and are just being lazy. But one thing that Friends did, that I think How I Met Your Mother really perfected, is having flashback scenes that are brand new to both the cast and the viewers. This episode takes the cake, as we get to see the Friends in different eras, different stages of their life and how they all came together as one unit. Plus who doesn’t love a good turkey head?

Number Two

Season 8: The One with the Rumor

Monica invites a high school friend, Will, played by Brad Pitt, to her Thanksgiving dinner. He and Ross were pals back in the day and had an I Hate Rachel Green club, which she finds out in the episode. Meanwhile, Joey tries to eat an entire turkey and Chandler and Phoebe attempt to avoid helping Monica with the dinner.

Oh boy. It’s like pouring salt in the wound thinking about this, but remember when Brad and Jennifer were still married and happy in love? But then they played enemies in this episode? Brad hardly makes any TV appearances, but obviously he made an exception with this, and I think he played the perfect roll. This could also be because my obsession with him started around this time, but whatever. Despite Will and Ross’ “hatred” for Rachel, it turns out to be a sweet moment at the end between the show’s iconic couple, leaving you with the warm and fuzzies. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Number One

Season 6: The One Where Ross Got High

Ross and Monica’s parents come to dinner, and Ross is forced to tell Chandler why Jack and Judy don’t like him, since they still don’t know Monica and Chandler are living together. Things get more stressful for Ross as he and Joey are trying to speed up Thanksgiving to hang out with Janine, played by Elle MacPherson, and her dancer friends. Rachel *tries* to make dessert for the first time. 

The Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes are usually bottle episodes, which means the action primarily takes place in one setting, with the same characters. In this case, it’s the six Friends in Monica’s apartment, seemingly like an act of a play. In saying that, the 22 minute episode goes by so quickly because the writing, acting, and comedic timing by all is just that good. So many things are happening with all of the characters, and it converges together in one of the most hilarious scenes on TV. From Phoebe’s infatuation with a French aqualegend to Rachel’s feet-tasting trifle, this episode is the perfect mix of disaster, family time and sentimentality that Thanksgiving is all about.