The Strop Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: 4 Pieces of Thanksgiving Media Worth Sharing

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1. This Is Us, “So Long Marianne”

NBC’s This Is Us has made a point to make us cry about Thanksgiving (and, yeah, just about everything else) since its first season. Tuesday’s mid-season finale was no exception. Thanksgiving to the Pearson family is the most important holiday — more important than Christmas or the triplets’ and patriarch Jack’s birthday, and much happier than Super Bowl Sunday. This year, the Thanksgiving episode focused on traditions. While tradition has always been a part of the Thanksgiving episode — one family member dresses up as the caricature Pilgrim Rick and the family gathers around the watch the holiday classic Police Academy 3 — this year focused on where other traditions begin and how they continue. This Is Us exemplifies nonlinear story-telling. This year, we saw the start of a new one. In a flashback, we see brothers Jack and Nicky promise each other that they will meet each Thanksgiving and eat five pounds of shrimp. We know, from the rest of the show, that it never happened. The brothers never got to have another Thanksgiving together. In the present day, Nicky is reuniting with his late brother’s children and grandchildren and brings them five pounds of shrimp in order to honor the promise he’d made. Then, in a flashforward, we see Jack’s namesake grandson placing a five-pound bowl of shrimp in front of his pregnant wife for their Thanksgiving celebration. The promise the brothers made as young men is now something that will and has continued long after them. It is a moment that can only be so seamlessly brought together in this show, that focuses on how time affects family, our decision-making, and the consequence of every action. And it makes crying every week absolutely worth it. – Becca Calloway

2. Addams Family Values (1993) 

Maybe I grew up a little strange, but this movie always seemed to be on around the holidays in my house. With plot lines that could make up three movies instead of just one, multiple accounts of attempted murder, and one of the single best takedowns of Thanksgiving’s cultural erasure of genocide, this movie does what Addams Family movies do best: critique the status quo of the American Nuclear Family by providing quirky examples of familial dedication, with a bit of cultural critique of historical revisionism on the side. Perfect for Thanksgiving. – Daniel Mazzacane

3. Bon Appetit’s Making Perfect: Thanksgiving series

What says “Thanksgiving” more than chaotic family squabbling 45 minutes before all the food is supposed to be ready to go on the table? In this case, that family is made up of coworkers who also happen to be trained chefs. BA’s Making Perfect is always a hectic roller coaster, but the hectic nature of putting together a multi-course Thanksgiving meal seems a step up from their last foray into pizza. There are disagreements, covert recipe changes, recipe reworks, a pie-making contest at a county fair, and, inevitably, a Thanksgiving dinner finale that encompasses all of the teeth-grinding, hair-pulling frustration of having to work together to make a meal come out on time. Sometimes you just need the catharsis of watching a bunch of trained professionals succumb to the same stress and pitfalls that us normies do each year. – Daniel Mazzacane

4. “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” by Colin Nissan

Decorative gourd season might technically start when the first whisper of pumpkin spice graces the bottom of Starbucks cup, but I love revisiting this piece by Colin Nissan in McSweeney’s this time of year because it’s such a brief, hilarious, and contained lesson in what can happen when you combine voice with specific, compelling imagery. Take that first line — “I don’t know about you” sets the tone because it’s immediately combative in the best way. “I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table” is so absurd, and yet so specific, that it encapsulates the godlike status we bestow to the icons of this season — the “shellacked decorative vegetables,” the turkey, the pie, the things that are so expected that they’re saturated in our feeds the moment summer ends. Read it, if you’ve somehow missed it, and bask in that aggressive Big Gourd Energy because “it’s [Thanksgiving], fuckers.” – Rebecca Paredes