American sitcom writers ignore the real meaning of Thanksgiving

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The Thanksgiving holiday is an important part of American culture, centered on the tradition of getting together with the whole extended family, with turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It’s also a time for everyone to share the things they are most grateful for over the past year and, in some cases, to watch the football game. But Thanksgiving also has a very complex history, dating back to the early 1600s when a group of British settlers, now called Pilgrims, boarded the Mayflower, which was heading for Cape Cod.

Children are taught the true story of Thanksgiving from preschool age onwards, and by the time they enter elementary school most of them participate in “Thanksgiving plays,” which involve playing a simplified version of the story of Mayflower. However, that said, it’s safe to say that American elementary school kids are more educated about the true meaning of Thanksgiving than sitcom writers across the country.

The most popular TV shows during this time of year include an episode of Thanksgiving, which airs with the aim of immersing viewers in the holiday spirit while honoring a long American tradition. However, most people tend to ignore one major problem with these episodes: They completely ignore the true meaning of the holidays in favor of playing out the family drama trope. While the trope is already an integral part of some of these shows, the idea of ​​family conflict has become associated with the holidays themselves. While family drama is more often than not a natural occurrence, especially with parents you only see once a year, these shows play it for such a comedic effect that it overshadows the rest of the plot.

Drama “modern family”

A prime example is the Thanksgiving episode of Season 9 of “Modern Family,” which aired in November 2017 on ABC. The episode follows all of the main characters reuniting on Thanksgiving to celebrate their accomplishments. What starts off as an innocent family reunion goes awry as each character slowly reveals that those accomplishments were all bogus. The other issue here is that Jay, the family patriarch, took credit for each other’s accomplishments, further contributing to the conflict. The drama takes place at the end of the episode when the truth comes out, which ultimately ruins the Thanksgiving rally.
“Modern Family” actually has a reputation for making Thanksgiving a drama, as the previous year’s episode was all about an oversized Thanksgiving holiday that ends in disaster. What was supposed to be a fun event ends up not being so fun, as it is revealed that the only reason for the party is in the first place because of a conflict between the characters Mitchell and Cameron, which viewers find out through a conversation. between Mitchell and his sister Claire. However, that is swept under the rug with a twist that no one saw coming: the tragic loss of a petting zoo goat who was hired for the event. The cause was an explosion resulting from a poorly fried turkey. The entire episode is guilty of overshadowing the true meaning of Thanksgiving, as it circumvents the inclusion of a shared meal with extended family.

Food, not family in ‘Gilmore Girls’

“Gilmore Girls” is another show with Thanksgiving episodes centered around a more non-traditional meaning of the holiday. In the ninth episode of the third season, Lorelai and Rory attend four Thanksgiving dinners in order to avoid turning down invitations. Because all of these celebrations except one were with friends instead of family, the episode was seemingly drama-free. However, the show is guilty of portraying Thanksgiving as a holiday devoted to food. Instead of focusing on the gatherings themselves, the center of attention is the meals. Viewers see Lorelai and Rory between locations, and their conversation is mostly about food. “Gilmore Girls” makes up for this in a previous season where Rory and her friend Lane are seen in pilgrim costumes promoting a Thanksgiving event. “Modern Family” does nothing of the sort, making “Gilmore Girls” a little less guilty of ignoring the true meaning of the party.

More family drama in “The Goldbergs”

Another show that showcases the dramatic aspects of Thanksgiving is “The Goldbergs,” which is still on air. The show itself is centered around family drama, so it’s no surprise that all Thanksgiving episodes make it the focal point. The 2014 episode “A Goldberg Thanksgiving” is a great example of a sitcom playing on Thanksgiving stereotypes, as one of the main storylines involves a family member, whom everyone on the show finds boring, coming to him. visit. The dramatic aspect appears when the main character, Adam Goldberg, forms a close bond with his uncle, much to his father’s dismay. This episode also features another stereotypical Thanksgiving storyline, which revolves around the mother making her children feel guilty for helping them in the kitchen.

While that isn’t necessarily offensive, the fact that the sitcom writers choose to equate the Thanksgiving holiday with food and fighting between families shows that they ignore the all-important history of the holiday. . Thanksgiving as we know it today would be nothing without the story of the Pilgrims. At least mentioning it in passing, like a scene including a child’s Thanksgiving play, would be a better option than ignoring it altogether.


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