This week is the Thanksgiving show, and a this Thanksgiving bears a suspicious resemblance to the traditional holiday chaos to which anyone with a dysfunctional family can relate. Bryan, David, Goldie, Shania, and Rocky initially plan to celebrate together, but a peaceful dinner among friends wouldn’t make a very exciting plot line…
That Turkey’s a Little Too Fresh
Even though the Halloween episode of the New Normal hasn’t aired yet due to Hurricane Sandy coverage, the show plunges right into Thanksgiving this week. After a discussion reveals that Bryan (Andrew Rannells), David (Justin Bartha), Goldie (Georgia King) , and Rocky (NeNe Leakes) all try to avoid their families at Thanksgiving and do their own thing because of past traumas, they decide to have a holiday together. Bryan and Shania (Bebe Wood) set off to an organic turkey farm to pick up a nice, fresh main course for the meal.
It turns out the turkeys are too fresh: it’s a kill-your-own-bird farm. Shania is horrified because she claims she’s looked at the turkeys and seen their souls, despite the farmer’s assurances that they’re “the devil’s peacocks” Her compassion for animals seems odd, considering she barely batted an eye when the school guinea pig for which she was responsible starved to death a few weeks ago. It’s a good example of how character traits seem to jump around from week to week. Bryan buys all the turkeys, which they bring back home to live out their natural lives in the yard while they serve up a vegetarian feast.
Meanwhile, David’s mother, Frances, gets him to confess that he and Bryan will be home for Thanksgiving this year, unlike their usual out-of-town jaunt. She says she’ll be having her own Thanksgiving, and “my tears will make a natural brine for the turkey.” Suitably guilt-stricken, David invites her to dinner.
I’ll Take a Side of Forgiveness With That Stuffing
David, Bryan, Goldie, and Shania discuss the meaning of Thanksgiving, although when Shania gives some of her typical sitcom-kid-precocious insights, Goldie says, “Don’t you ever want to just pick your nose and watch cartoons?” Eventually they all decide to have a forgiveness-themed Thanksgiving dinner, to which they’ll invite all the family members they’d prefer not to see. Bryan’s mom is on a cruise, which leaves Goldie’s mom, Jayne (Ellen Barkin), her ex-husband, Clay, and Rocky’s brother, Clint. David also invites his dad, Marty, who hasn’t seen his mom since their bitter divorce.
It’s not too hard to guess where this episode is going as the dysfunctional mix of guests arrives. Goldie’s ex seems to have been whacked with the stupid stick, as he’s portrayed throughout the episode as barely being able to remember to breathe. For example, he asks Shania if a drumstick is the turkey’s neck and if turkeys have nuggets, or just chickens. Oddly, there’s also no mention of his prior threat to sue for custody of Shania.
Goldie and Clint are Finally Official
This episode does fast-forward one plot point. In the past, it was made apparent that Goldie and Clint have a thing for each other. Now we learn they’ve been on two dates, and Rocky and Nana learn it, too. Each is horrified for her own reasons; Rocky because she doesn’t think it’s appropriate for her brother to date her employer’s surrogate, and Jayne, of course, because she’s racist.
She’s also a died-in-the-wool meat eater who flips out when she learns it’s a vegetarian Thanksgiving. David orders her to “shut your pumpkin pie hole” when she complains, so she sneaks off to kill a turkey for her own personal meal. Things start going south quickly as Clay realizes Clint is interested in Goldie, and David’s parents turn on each other. Apparently they’re not too upset with each other, as they’re soon caught in a tryst. They confess that’s what always happened after their arguments, and David kicks them out, saying they always disappoint him. Jayne also gets kicked out for trying to murder a turkey, and Clay gets the boot for fighting with Clint, who decides to leave, too.
Shania Sums It Up
The mass exodus of dysfunctional family members leaves the original dinner party of David, Bryan, Goldie, Shania, and Rocky. As they tuck into their Tofurky, they discover they all hate it and end up ordering veggie pizza as their holiday feast. They agree that, from now on, Thanksgiving will be for friends and they’ll save Christmas for family. Shania points out, “Family’s who you choose, it’s the relatives who are chosen for you.” She may be creeping up on getting annoying in that why-are-TV-kids-always-smarter-than-adults kind of way?.
What do you think about Goldie’s relationship with Clint? Will the writers ever pick up the custody battle thread again, or is that dead in the water?
“The only tradition we have is avoiding our families.”
“Tofurky: It tastes like pollution.”
“Do not make tea. When the kettle starts to whistle, the turkeys will attack.”