Here at Cinema Blend, we hope you’re having the best Thanksgiving of your life, because the holidays are about spending time with those you love. (Among other gravy-covered things.) But we’re not so naïve to think that happiness is the only emotion prevalent any time a big group of family members gets together. The terror of skeletons coming out of closets (that are then ripped down to splinters) is enough to make one lose faith in Thanksgiving’s pigskin on TV and skinned pig in the oven. But it could be worse.
You could have to spend this traditionally joyous occasion with some of television’s most insipid, awkward, lame, hateful or standoffish characters sitting around you at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Here are 12 of the worst TV family members you will thankfully never find yourself asking to “pass the pecan pie and 180-proof eggnog.” Enjoy your families, guys.
Father: Friends’ Charles Bing
One of Chandler Bing’s more steadfast character traits through much of Friends’ run is his dismissal of Thanksgiving. That was the day his parents announced their divorce, brought on by his father Charles banging the pool boy, and the memory has scarred Chandler for life. Nobody needs this guy hanging around for a while and then destroying futures before changing sexes and becoming Kathleen Turner. Although the Kathleen Turner version is certainly welcome to stop by and say hello.
Mother: The Soprano’s Livia Soprano
Livia Soprano is a woman for whom it’s safe to assume love, family and togetherness were all deathly poisonous. She is heinously hateful to all of her children, and has a tolerance for other people’s bullshit that is of a similar size to a mosquito’s bladder. This miserable waste of space – much respect – would probably spend the entire Thanksgiving dinner complaining about how the food tastes and how her dish is chipped, and she’d probably use the dessert time having a regret-free conversation with your uncle about murdering you. Conversely, a good reason to have the Soprano matriarch over for dinner is to slip some strychnine in her food.
Grandfather: Abraham Simpson
Are you interested in hearing stories about the war that you've probably already heard a thousand times before? Do you feel like spending part of your meal and evening hunting around the city trying to find one of your guests? Grandpa Simpson is one of the most mentally deficient characters on TV, although it's pretty sporadic. He's good for a few laughs, usually involving his dentures, but then someone would have to bring him back to the retirement home or figure out a place for him to stay. Is it wrong that I would allow Abe to come over if he brings Hans Moleman?
Grandmother: The Gilmore Girls' Emily Gilmore
You'd need to spend at least an entire year planning a dinner that Emily Gilmore is attending, for you'll probably spend the rest of your life hearing about where you messed up on the meal and decorations, as well as other thoughts from her high society throne. A character that has found herself estranged from each person in her family at times, Emily is generally unable to experience things as a regular person and she'd rather figure out a way to backstab someone with the carving fork. And even if she was perfectly accepting of the food and atmosphere, she'd just talk about your guests and the clothes they're wearing. My blood pressure is starting to rise already.
Uncle: Arrested Development’s Tobias Fünke
Don’t get me wrong. David Cross’ Tobias Fünke is one of my favorite characters in TV history. A lot of why I like him so much is firmly invested in not having to be the guy that has to deal with him on a daily basis. Michael is one of the most tolerant people in the series and even he is in a state of unswaying befuddlement anytime Tobias is attempting something. From his sing-song conversational style to his stories about failed auditions to the potential of getting blue paint all over everything, having this guy around just wouldn’t pay off in the long run. Let’s not even talk about how his behavioral patterns are the type that get him mistaken for a child predator. He’s not the worst uncle stereotype…and that’s it.
Aunt: The Killing's Terry Marek
If you're looking to have a good and loose time for Thanksgiving dinner, with lots of alcohol on the table, then there's a good chance that Terry Marek would be welcome in your house. She's a nice lady, and driven by loving emotions most of the time. Of course, by having her around, you're also running the risk that she might up and kill someone at the table without giving it a second thought, and then you'll have to spend the next two years sluggishly trying to figure out who the murderer is. You don't want to have that kind of thing hanging over your head next to the mistletoe at Christmas.
Cousin: The Addams Family’s Cousin Itt
If Gomez and Morticia were around and the whole family was hanging out, Cousin Itt’s presence at the dinner table wouldn’t be a bother. But, and I’m playing the dimwitted prejudice card here, I have absolutely zero interest in having Cousin Itt over if he’s by himself. Sorry. Nobody besides the fam can understand his weird little voice, and there aren’t even any voice apps that can do translations. Plus, he’s going to get hair in every goddamned dish. I’m not saying cran-hairy sauce isn’t going to be a Thanksgiving dish of the future, but until it is, let’s just keep Cousin Itt’s invitation safely deposited behind the fridge. Heck of a guy though.
Older Brother: The Wonder Years’ Wayne Arnold
And now we head to the kid's table.
As if getting bullied by complete strangers wouldn’t be bad enough, the jerk antichrist Wayne Arnold did that kind of terrible shit to his own brother. (Though the public persona he put on for girls and his “friends” is too cool for (clown) school.) I can imagine him just shoveling mashed potatoes down the back of someone’s shirt at the table, while bragging falsely about some girl whose boob he got to feel up. I admit that I would be more understanding of Wayne’s constant harassment of Kevin and Paul if actor Jason Hervey didn’t have such a smug face tailor-made for being suffocated inside of a plastic bag. The only pleasure dinner with Wayne would bring would be laughing at whatever the collar of his shirt looked like.
Older Sister: Doug's Judy Funnie
Assuming you're not eschewing Thanksgiving dinner for an interpretive dance that is meant to represent the hardships brought about by the pilgrims, then there's probably no reason to call the exercise-in-pretentiousness that is Judy Funnie. She's the kind of girl who won't cause a scene by refusing to eat her food, but she'd make a dramatic demonstration over every single bite, using Shakespearean quotes to talk about how the turkey sucks. Even though Doug didn't continue into the Era of Smartphones, Judy is exactly the type of person who would spend an entire meal texting and laughing about some Harold Pinter joke that one of her shitty friends made. it's also assumable that those same shitty friends would come over and play ukulele-and-triangles covers of pop songs.
Younger Brother: Clarissa Explains It All’s Ferguson Darling
Clarissa would have been a really cool friend to have as a kid, and her presence in my family environment would have made sense. But I’d rather snort a bowl of jalapeno cornbread stuffing than sit near a kids’ table where Jason Zimbler’s Ferguson Darling is sharing the most awful insights into life. If the post-precocious tween Shirley Temple had already taken on the conservative values she did as an adult, that would be the Fergwad, only written for a Snick-aged audience. Shirley Temple at any age would be way more preferable. Getting set on fire by Shirley Temple would have been more preferable, and still is.
Younger Sister: Parenthood’s Sydney Graham
Unless you have a medicine cabinet full of Valium and other assorted fun-time prescriptions, you're going to want to keep Sydney Graham the hell away from your Thanksgiving festivities. She wasn't much more than a bothersome distraction before her family grew by one with her new adopted brother Victor, but that's when she became even more irritably bad-tempered and grating on the nerves. There's a good chance she would just take her food and cantankerously storm off to eat somewhere by herself in total tantrum mode, but you don't want to run that kind of risk with a once-a-year dinner. Can we just call Aunt Terry to hang out with Sydney for a little while in a car near a body of water?
Family Friend: Full House's Kimmy Gibbler
Nobody ever wants to open the door and see Kimmy Gibbler standing on the other side. I'm fairly certain D.J. Tanner was just extremely sympathetic and hung out with Kimmy since no one else in the world should ever choose to do such a thing. She's never funny or particularly sincere in anything she says, and she'd probably spend the whole meal trying to hit on a man over twice her age anyway, despite being shunned to the kids' table. And if she would happen to bring over her doofus boyfriend Duane, that would be grounds to go and find a Denny's to eat at.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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