TV Families We'd Want to Spend Thanksgiving With
by Kim Potts, posted Nov 23rd 2010 2:00PM
We're not saying there's anything wrong with your family ... you're probably looking very much forward to spending another long, long, loooong Thanksgiving Day with your relatives. Right? Or maybe not. But whether your own folks are delightful or dysfunctional, we bet you'll agree that these TV families would make great Turkey Day hosts ...
'Modern Family' (2009-present)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: You can't go wrong hanging with this diverse clan, whether the Thanksgiving table (control-freakishly set by Claire) finds you seated next to Cameron and his tales of growing up on a farm, playing Fizbo the clown and shopping for his trademark colorful shirts; next to Phil, as he dishes about his "peerenting" techniques, the latest gadget he's obsessing over or his days as a college cheerleader; or next to Manny, the most mature little dude ever (stepfather Jay says he was "born 16"), who might converse about the tailor he uses for his suits, his latest crush or how he knows it's going to rain, because his knee has been bothering him.
'The Cosby Show' (1984-92)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Between Cliff's wisecrackin', Rudy giving everyone zerberts, Grandma and Grandpa Huxtable telling stories about the old days and the ever-present possibility that the whole family would break into a well-choreographed performance, Thanksgiving Day at Casa de Huxable would be full of fun, with some great jazz thrown in the mix.
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Manners and a Martha Stewart-y tablescape have their place, but there's something to be said about spending the holidays with a down-to-earth family that isn't about putting on any airs. The Conners are that family, and Roseanne is definitely the working class domestic doyenne who could make Turkey Day on a budget a blast. Sassy, loving and able to turn cheap ground meat and a box of generic corn flakes into a meatloaf masterpiece, imagine what Roseanne could do with turkey, Stove Top and a can o' cranberry sauce. Plus, Darlene making fun of Becky, Roseanna picking on her own sis, Jackie, everyone dreading a visit by Roseanne and Jackie's 'rents and everyone skeeved by the fact that Roseanne's BFF hooked up with Dan's dad ... there's nothing happening in your own family that could outdo the good times that could be had with the Conners.
'Arrested Development' (2003-06)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Because wackiness is the name of the game with the Bluths, so while you could never guess what might happen at a Bluth family Thanksgiving, you can be pretty sure something, and something crazy, will take place. Maybe Buster will come home from Army. Maybe Lucille will partake in some of Oscar's "Afternoone Deelight." Maybe Tobias will wear a dressy pair of never-nude shorts, and G.O.B. will let you ride his Segway. Maybe, following the local holiday season tradition of teenagers smashing the banana stand, you'll have to help Michael and George Michael rebuild it. Or maybe, following yet another Bluth family member's scrape with the law, you'll have to make the call to Barry Zuckerkorn or Bob Loblaw to help bail them out. Yep, anything could happen on a Bluth family Turkey Day.
'Little House on the Prairie' (1974-83)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Because it would be a chance to experience Thanksgiving, old school style. Pa would probably start the day hunting whatever source of protein was going to be the star of the family's meal, with assistance from the adorable Half-Pint. Mary would be back at the titular house, helping Ma break bread and prepare the rest of the feast, while family friend Mr. Edwards would help by babysitting Carrie ... that kid's always getting into some mischief. Then, after dinner, and the clearing of the table by the womenfolk, the whole fam will sit around the fireplace, while Pa plays the fiddle and Mr. Edwards accompanies him on harmonica, Ma sits in her rocking chair mending Laura's Sunday best dress (that scamp ... such a tomboy!) and Mary and Albert keep Carrie entertained by making cornhusk dolls and recalling the latest nasty trick that mean old Nellie Oleson has pulled on the schoolhouse weakling. At least, that's how we imagine a 'Little House' Thanksgiving ...
'The Brady Bunch' (1969-74)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Once you convince Peter that pork chops and applesauce do not an appropriate Thanksgiving meal make, all should be swell at the Bradys, with a hearty spread prepared by Alice (with meat, of course, from Sam the butcher) and a groovy time had by all around the dinner table. Among the topics to be discussed: Marcia's upcoming date with BMOC Doug Simpson, how beautifully Marcia's nose has healed after that football accident, why Marcia and Greg have been hanging out together in the girls' room with the door locked or maybe why everything is always about Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
'Raising Hope' (2010-present)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Because we'd like to play Jenga with Maw Maw, hang out with Hope (who may just be the cutest TV baby of all time), enjoy the ukulele sound stylings of Shelly (the awesome Kate Micucci) and hear dad Burt (the incredibly underrated and hilarious Garret Dillahunt) constantly refer to his granddaughter as "your ba-bay" when talking to son Jimmy. As for dinner, the Chances aren't big on highfallutin' things like organized dinners, so it would probably behoove you to put Dominos on your cell phone speed dial before arriving at the house.
'Sons of Anarchy' (2008-present)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Sure, there's a chance that the turkey carving knife will be used for the same purpose, but on a human, but them's the chances you take when you go to a SAMCRO Thanksgiving. On the other hand, it certainly won't be an uneventful holiday, what with the ongoing tension between club leaders Jax and Clay so thick you can cut it with the aforementioned knife (especially now that the crisis of the whole Abel kidnapping is, seemingly, behind them), and what we're guessing are Opie's lingering feelings about the fact that his MC brother Tig killed his old lady. And never mind what Clay would do if he ever found out about that near-fling his old lady, Gemma, almost had with Tig. Even if none of that potential drama comes to fruition, there's still the chance that SAMCRO-er Bobby Elvis will don his disturbingly tight sequined jumpsuit and belt out a few of The King's best tunes.
'Paula's Home Cooking' (2002-present)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Butter ... on everything! Seriously, Paula is a sweet, sweet lady (she's definitely at or near the top of our list of TV celebs we'd most like to be our adopted grandma), and that hubby and those sons of hers are adorable and charming. But our motivation for wanting to dine with the Deens is, admittedly, all about the foodstuff. Golden turkey (basted with butter) ... flaky biscuits (smothered with butter) ... mashed potatoes (with a butter river flowing through them) ... southern pecan pie (with flaky, buttery crust) ... let's face it, if there's a way to inject more butter into food, Paula hasn't found it yet, which means dinner -- and just as importantly, the leftovers -- would be the best.
'Happy Days' (1974-84)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: The Cunninghams are as traditional, All-American as a family gets, and aside from the apparent abduction of eldest son Chuck, there's nary a hint of dysfunction in the colonial Milwaukee home where they reside. A Cunningham Thanksgiving, then, would likely be the chance to experience Thanksgiving the way we all might think it's supposed to be, with the addition, of course, of The Fonz at the dinner table. Ayyyyyy!
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Remember how fraught with tension a simple Ewing breakfast was? Bobby and J.R. feuding over Ewing Oil, Sue Ellen recovering from yet another bender, Miss Ellie fretting over whether or not black sheep son Gary would come home for the holidays, teen Lucy plotting another romp in the hay with ranch hand Ray (who would turn out to be her uncle!) ... good times, good times. So you can only imagine how much fun -- and possibly homicidal, if that crazy Kristin is invited (and yes, we know she drowned in the pool, but in our fantasy TV family Thanksgiving, she's still alive, m'kay?) -- a Ewing family Thanksgiving would be!
'Gilmore Girls' (2000-07)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Never will the repartee be wittier than it is at the Gilmore Thanksgiving table, as Lorelai, Rory, grandma Emily and grandpa Richard are fast-talkin' and clever, and never at a loss for words (especially when they're used to zing each other). If you're going to spend the day prior to the family meal with Rory and Lorelai, remember to wear comfy shoes. A Turkey Day with the Gilmore girls might mean hitting up several dinners, from the Kim family Korean feast to Sookie and Jackson's deep-fried turkey bonanza to some down-home grub with Luke and Jess at Luke's Diner.
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: You can't go wrong with either of Tony Soprano's families: His biological family, including wife Carmela, who might be making goo-goo eyes at Tony's bodyguard (and a member of his other "family") Furio, son A.J., who's flunking out of school and trying to convince his parents to buy him a club, daughter Meadow, who can't decide whether or not she wants to go to med school, law school or marry the son of one of Tony's, ahem, business associates, and Tony's mom and uncle, both of whom have plotted to have him whacked. Then there's the other family, Tony's Mafioso family, like the pompadoured Silvio and streak-headed Paulie Walnuts, who might shoot you if he gets the short end of the wishbone. In other words, a Sopranos Thanksgiving would be an eventful, high-stakes affair.
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: 1. Four wives sharing meal preparation duties ... at least one of the them is bound to be a good cook; 2. 743 kids fighting to clear the table ... no clean-up duties for you, the guest; 3. The chance to get up close and personal and try to suss out what in the Sam Hill these four chicks see in that shaggy-haired doofus they call their husband.
'Married ... with Children' (1987-97)
Why we'd like to break bread (and turkey) with the fam: Because we love that both Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal have been among TV's most interesting parental units in several different decades. And because, though it certainly wouldn't be the go-to TV family for good eats (Peg, remember, was not a fan of kitchen duties), you never know what delightfully dysfunctional scam you'd find yourself privy to, as Bundy paterfamilias Al tries to circumvent the "Bundy curse" and return to the glory he once knew during his days as Polk High's football hero, Peg tries to get frisky with Al, kids Kelly and Bud try to weasel cash out of shoe salesman Al and neighbor Marcy pops in to bring yet another annoyance to the beleaguered Al. But yeah, you should bring your own food, and probably enough for the whole fam, lest they scam you out of your Turkey Day vittles.
Which TV family would you like to spend a Thanksgiving with?