Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three for Thursday: Thanksgiving TV from 'Gilmore Girls' & 'Mad About You' to 'Mad Men,' Helicopter Parenting on 'Parenthood' and Pining For Thanksgivings of Yore

Thanksgiving TV Episodes from Gilmore Girls and Mad About You to Mad Men

Who can forget the wretched awkwardness at the Francis family Thanksgiving table when Betty Draper Francis literally forced her daughter Sally to eat sweet potatoes – shoving a forkful into Sally's mouth which led to the girl gagging them out onto her plate – in order to please her new mother-in-law on Mad Men? Or the Gilmore Girls episode where Lorelai and Rory wound up attending four Thanksgiving dinners because they couldn’t say, “No” to their friends and family? Or even the time when Mad About You's Paul and Jamie Buchman hosted their first Thanksgiving in their apartment and had to grapple with some serious passive aggression from their family members and friends when they didn’t like the fact that Paul and Jamie wanted to have dinner “buffet style” and had messed with everyone’s idiosyncratic ideas of what a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner is “supposed” to be?

I highlighted some of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes over on my Notes from the Asylum blog, including the one of the famous Cheers Thanksgiving food fight.

Helicopter Parenting on Parenthood

This week’s episode of NBC’s solid, incisive and sharply observed drama Parenthood provided a mixed bag of parenting portrayals.

On the one hand, you had Sarah Braverman, who gave her daughter Amber a much-needed push to get her to overcome her fears and meet with an influential alum from a university she wants to attend. And on the other hand, you had an over-the-top helicopter parent in the form of Kristina Braverman insisting that her son was entitled to an invitation to a classmate’s birthday party even after the mother of the birthday girl said he wasn't invited and that her daughter specifically didn’t want Kristina’s son there. While there’s a whole powerful, poignant and painful Asperberger’s backstory there, and some real bonding eventually occurred between the two moms with children who have challenges, a big chunk of the Kristina story bugged me this week. Read more about why in my review of the episode.

Pining for Thanksgiving Days of Yore

In my Pop Culture column this week, I pine away for Thanksgivings and Christmases of my youth, when I used to actually enjoy this time of year tremendously and didn’t see them the way that I do now: As one, long, life-sucking list of things to do, all at the same time, and all while under a heap o’pressure with no time to just sit back and soak in this time in your life. But when I think of how I used to love this time of year, to quote Liz Lemon, I want to go back to there. But how?

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