We often think of Thanksgiving dinner as a time to gather with family, friends, and loved ones. Leading up to dinnertime, maybe you play or watch football, binge-watch Gossip Girl, or hang out with your little cousins. Chances are, you also get hangry at some point waiting around for the big feast. However, whatever your holiday plans are this year, chaos and drama are bound to ensue. Whether you’re bickering with siblings or your parents won’t stop nagging about your love life, the drama can be never-ending and all-consuming. In my opinion, Thanksgiving is like a giant soap opera, and you can’t convince me otherwise.
As a lifelong viewer of one of the longest-running soap operas on-air, General Hospital, I know a thing or two about what’s needed for a good soap. Family drama? Check. Juicy stories that are perfect for blackmail? Check. And the third element: an inevitable climax — which, for many, is Thanksgiving dinner itself.
Usually, on Thanksgiving, there’s no way you can predict the series of twists and turns that will occur. Sometimes the turkey burns, your uncle forgets about your nut allergy or an old family feud re-ignites. Whoever is cooking is probably stressing out, your brother is sneaking food before it’s ready, and your grandma keeps questioning why you’re not married yet. The tension is hotter than roasted chicken, and between everyone’s low blood sugar and the inevitable mayhem of a family gathering, tension is bound to rise.
Of the many TV shows with soap opera-like Thanksgiving episodes, some that come to mind are Gilmore Girls, Mad Men, and Friends. However, I must say, no Thanksgiving episode is quite like the one from season three of Gossip Girl. Spoiler alert: Rufus realizes Lily has been lying, Eric confirms he sabotaged cotillion, and Dan tries to conceal his admiration for Vanessa. Blair is convinced that Eleanor is pregnant, Tripp and Serena aren’t helping things by giggling nonstop, and everything ends up in shambles. May we not forget Blair’s iconic “I WANT PIE!” and the fact that the entire scene is set to none other than “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo. (The Thanksgiving scene was so iconic that it even became a TikTok trend last year, Derulo song and all).
Like Gossip Girl’s feisty feast, may we not forget that Thanksgiving gatherings are soapy IRL. Between the family tensions, the laundry list of potential blackmail material circulating around, and the inevitable climax of dinner itself, family drama on Thanksgiving is nearly unavoidable. Nonetheless, one thing is guaranteed on Thanksgiving Day, no matter how you’re celebrating: memories will be made, After all, isn’t that what family is for?