Since you’ll likely be surrounded by people over the next few weeks, we want you to know that a few harsh words or stray tears are A-OK. Because if you can’t say something regrettable in front of family, who can you say it in front of, right? Shhh, Grandma. We said no healthcare talk on days ending in “y,” remember?
Film and television know this potential for awkward interaction all too well, or simply that forcing food in front of characters with issues can result in great comedy. Whether you prefer to ask for the asparagus à la Kevin Spacey in American Beauty or, like Will Ferrell, really want your first cousins to know what kind of car you’re riding in these days, allow these fine moments of dysfunction to set the bar.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at VH1. And may your upcoming meals be much less dramatic than the following…
Gossip Girl (Season 3, Episode 11)
Spotted: New York’s elite gathered together in the far from modest Van der Woodsen abode to give thanks. But when a few poor souls forget to tie up loose ends (or cover their tracks) everyone has suddenly lost their appetite.
Note: You’ll never be able to get Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” out of your head after this one.
American Beauty (1999)
A man suffering from a nervous breakdown/mid-life crisis takes an especially manic seat at the dinner table, opposite the wife who cannot understand any of his recent choices. What better conversation partners are there?
A friendly note: Don’t be a bother this Turkey Day. Pass the f–king asparagus!
Breaking Bad (Season 5, Episode 6)
Poor Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). After being jerked around time and again by his former chemistry teacher (Bryan Cranston), he now has to serve as the buffer for two adults who are ready to kill each other. The Whites’ marriage had been icy for some time, but the general disgust Skyler (Anna Gunn) has for her husband was never been more clear than when Jesse was foraging for appropriate conversation and. At least the green beans are good? Thanks, Albertsons.
Friends With Kids (2011)
Vacations with friends can be a hard sell. You want to have fun with the people you enjoy having fun with, but too much time together (in one house) can lead to disaster. And as we get old and start making babies, the likelihood of a holiday explosion becomes even higher. During New Year’s Eve in Vermont, Missy (Kristen Wiig) can’t hide her disdain for husband Ben (Jon Hamm)–whose very generous pours of scotch have not gone unnoticed by those seated around the table. What follows is a drunken tear through people he’s called his closest friends, and subsequent regret for not staying home and watching the ball drop.
For some, high school was a torture chamber. For Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), it was a time to win Homecoming Queen and have sex… all while ignoring the little people. Which is why certain little people–who now look an awful lot like Brad Pitt–find it imperative to crash Thanksgiving dinner to tell Rachel how terrible of a person she was. Reliving your past through old classmates who don’t even try to hide their hatred for you? It really is hard out here for Rachel Green.
The Family Stone (2005)
Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) is trying her hardest to impress the quirky, tight-knit Stone family at Christmastime, and we’d be lying if we said Sybil (Diane Keaton) and her cozy wrap sweaters didn’t intimidate us, too. In effort to make conscientious dinner conversation, she presses the subject of Thad (Tyrone Giordano)’s sexuality, resulting in two “that’s not what I meant!” excuses and the stone-cold look of disappointment from her boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney).
Saturday Night Live (Season 23, Episode 11)
Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the bratty daughter of two miserable parents (Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer) during her 1998 hosting gig. It’s clear they despise each other–anyone who attempts to share news is immediately verbally assaulted–and their hilariously painful meal results in one of Ferrell’s most memorable lines: “I drive a Dodge Stratus!” Yes, yes you do.
Meet The Parents (2000)
Stepping inside the home of your significant other opens up a world of questions. They want to know you, and you want to know them, but you only want them to know the most flattering aspects of your otherwise boring life. It’s not easy being an outsider, especially when your girlfriend’s father is a retired CIA operative (Robert DeNiro) with God knows how many ways to kill you. Greg (Ben Stiller) probably shouldn’t lie–or bring up “milking” at the dinner table–but when you’re inches away from Bob DeNiro, you take your best shot at looking cool.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
An unexpected road trip gets even more complicated when a man who masks his jerky tendencies as self-help techniques (Greg Kinnear) decides to lecture his daughter (Abigail Breslin) on nutrition. In a roadside diner, where the words “organic” or “locally sourced” may as well be Cantonese. Go ahead, Olive. Have another scoop.
Wedding Crashers (2005)
You try speaking to the Secretary of Treasury while his crazy daughter gets handsy under the table! Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) never had a chance, and Gradma, Sack and Todd have a right to issue with the two liars going to town on the family grub.