Thanksgiving means lots of things to lots of people. For some, Thanksgiving trumps Christmas as the actual holiday of the holiday season. For others, this is the eleventh plague – the one too gruesome to have been foretold. Frogs raining from the sky, locusts in the fields, and extended family poking and prodding around your life asking why you’re not engaged yet while carb lumps get shoveled into mouths for an afternoon that might as well be 1,000 years.
You fall somewhere on this spectrum. Somewhere in between “ITS ONLY 30 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!” and “I’m ‘bout to fake an illness to get out of this gathering.” It’s fine. This is how it is. You are here; this is happening to you.
In anticipation of hitting every single color on this Thanksgiving Emotional Rainbow, I have assembled for you the BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY Media Discussion Guide. This should get you through many of the situations about to descend upon you.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: FRIENDSGIVING
If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, chances are the night before Thanksgiving is a big to do. This is the night all your high school friends meet up at a bar in your hometown to catch up. You know the place – it’s the one you ached to get into when you were growing up/the one you swore you’d never go back to. This could also be a dope spot in the woods or a secluded part of the beach; the song remains the same. Gathering place for old friends, older people you recognize from high school, and younger version of yourself trying to blend in. Whether you’re 19 or 35, high school was a million-and-a-half years ago, and within 35 seconds, you’re out of things to discuss.
Tip: Focus on Peak TV
Conversation Starter: Have You Been Watching Westworld?
Brilliant. Whatever HBO show is running at the moment is the perfect place to start. HBO was made exactly for situations like this – an easy diversion from why you’re 26 and at a house party at the same house you faked liking beer at after prom and you let everyone know that you can afford that baller cable package. If the person you’re speaking with is watching Westworld, you’ll have lots to discuss. If they haven’t experienced it yet, try to sell them on the idea of robots posing as cowboys by explaining it as “kind of like The Truman Show crossed with Jurassic Park with cowboys instead of dinosaurs and tons of nudity.”
If All Else Fails: say, “What’s gonna happen on Game of Thrones?!”
Ok, focus up. This is make-or-break time. If you’re hosting, you need to appear calm, cool, collected, and that you want dozens of people in your house. All are expecting to eat the greatest food they’ve ever tasted for the price for a cheap bottle of wine or if you’re lucky, a side dish which will live in your fridge until Christmas. Just be cool, though. Remain cool. If you’re attending, you need to be psyched to be there, but in like a cool, “yea I’m interviewing for this job, but I don’t need this job” kind of way. In either situation, the goal is to get people talking about very benign topics that can go on for a while. Everyone is going to be DYING to talk about politics despite being warned not to, so pick your media topic by political alignment.
“TRUMP” UNCLE – Have you seen Man with a Plan or Kevin Can Wait? I really missed Joey from Friends, and I’m glad he’s back!
“HILLARY” COUSIN – Good Girls Revolt on Amazon is excellent/Transparent was so good this season!
“OVERWHELMED BY POLITICAL SEASON” AUNTIE – Have you seen The Crown on Netflix?! This is exactly what I needed now that Downton Abbey is over. Do you think Helen Mirren will reprise her role as the Queen?!
“BACK IN MY DAY” GRANDPARENT– The Searchers is by far the greatest western, but I think Butch and Sundance might be a more enjoyable movie overall. Are the Pats on today?
“WHEN ARE THESE PEOPLE LEAVING MY HOUSE” DAD – Who would win in a fight? Harry Bosch on Bosch or Ray Donovan on Ray Donovan? My head says, Bosch because he’s been a cop on edge for like decades, but Ray has like 40 years of pent up Irish rage and a boxing background. I know Ray has been picking on weaklings in Hollywood, but I think if challenged he could rise to the occasion.
“LET’S JUST ALL BE NICE” MOM – This Is Us is the surprise hit of the season! I didn’t know Mandy Moore was so talented. Also, Alicia Keyes is great on The Voice, and I too miss Gwen AND could do without Miley. I think she’ll be okay, too… she’s just figuring herself out.
“TRYING TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAY WITHOUT GETTING YELLED AT” COUSIN/NEPHEW – Narcos was GREAT! I don’t know what they’re gonna do without Pablo. Oh! Are you not done yet? Ok keep watching, keep watching. Yea Luke Cage was good, too. Did you read the comics? No?
“PLEASE DON’T ASK ME ABOUT SCHOOL” COUSIN/NIECE – I won’t tell you what happens with Ross and Rachel. It’s interesting, though. You’ll love it. When did you start watching it? Last week? And you’re on Season 7? Do you think Gunther is lame? I never liked him. “How You Doin’?” is RIGHT!
You just crossed mile 20 of the marathon. You’re basically done, now. The hard part is over, and you could quit now, and no one would think less of you. Not everyone can finish a marathon.
No. Not you. You’re in for all THREE DAYS of this, and you’re going to finish strong. H O L I D A Y L I K E A B O S S!
FRIDAY: CHAMPIONS LAP
Tip: Splurge on a Movie, let your companion pick, but you limit the options to…
Very Light Non-Committal/Fun: Moana
Difficult to miss with The Rock and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Your mom will love the idea that she’s going to an animated movie with her grown child, your dad might be pleasantly surprised, and you don’t have to worry about an awkward situation involving adult situations with your parents.
Award Season Front Runner/Tears: Manchester By The Sea
You will cry, as will everyone else around you. Great cathartic release for all involved. Great way to purge the holiday stress and Black Friday madness.
Intrigue Thriller/Just Heavy Enough: Allied
You will feel like you accomplished something. That can’t be understated after a holiday week of eating like a Viking and justifying spending 10x what you will mean to spend on upcoming gifts.
You’re going to do great. This will be fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine.