Thanksgiving is only a week away, so if you haven't started planning your turkey-tastic meal yet, it's about that time to do so.
Of course, Thanksgiving dinner is one of the few traditional meals we have in the U.S., so it's not really that hard to plan out what you're going to make. There's the turkey, of course, paired with side dishes like cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed potatoes. And then you top it all off with pumpkin pie for dessert.
Though many Americans look forward to this meal, I'm sure there are some of you out there who are looking for a little adventure. Well, you've come to the right place. The easiest way to spice up any occasion is to infuse it with a little bit of pop culture.
The greatest representation of Thanksgiving in pop culture has got to be on TV, with nearly every series featuring Turkey Day in at least one episode. On TV, Thanksgiving is often depicted as a holiday where there's a lot of family drama and the perfectly planned meal goes horribly wrong, scenarios that would never happen in real life.
With a lot of entertainment comes a lot of good food, which provides great inspiration for your own holiday meal. Whether you're a TV lover or just want to switch things up at Thanksgiving this year, here's how you can create the perfect TV-inspired Turkey Day dinner.
Meal Prep: Full House, "The Miracle of Thanksgiving" (1987)
The Tanners' choreographed Thanksgiving dinner prep is not only how you should cook your holiday meal but also how you should cook all meals ever.
Appetizers: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
The food from this classic Peanuts' Thanksgiving special is definitely the easiest to recreate. When Peppermint Patty invites herself over to Charlie Brown's for Thanksgiving, he has to act fast to whip up a good dinner. Of course, Snoopy, Woodstock and Linus help Charlie put together a last-minute meal that consists of buttered toast, popcorn, jelly beans and pretzel sticks. It may be kids' food, but it still sounds like the best Thanksgiving food ever to me.
Drink: Felicity, "Family Affairs" (1999)
If you really want to liven up the party, try serving some holiday punch a la the Felicity Thanksgiving episode "Family Affairs." You might not want to be as heavy-handed as the show was with its 200-proof libation, unless of course you want all of the drama that the drink encouraged in the episode.
Main Course: Gilmore Girls, "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" (2002), or Everybody Loves Raymond, "No Fat" (1998)
For the piece de resistance, the Thanksgiving turkey, you've got two creative options. One is to deep-fry the turkey as Jackson did on Gilmore Girls. However, just as Gilmore Girls showed, this isn't so easy and can be dangerous, so be sure to follow some expert instructions if you actually plan on doing this. If you or your guests don't eat meat, you can also go the tofurkey route, as the Barones did on Everybody Loves Raymond, but hopefully it's more of a hit at your dinner than it was at theirs.
Side Dishes: Cheers, "Thanksgiving Orphans" (1986), and The Simpsons, "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" (1990)
This year, you're going to want to make sure your mashed potatoes are not only fluffy but also aerodynamic enough to be thrown during a food fight, as was the case in Cheers' "Thanksgiving Orphans" episode. Your cranberry sauce out of a can should also aspire to look as hilarious as it did on The Simpsons, which I think is the best representation of canned cranberry sauce ever.
Dessert: Friends, "The One Where Ross Got High" (1999)
Pumpkin pie is delicious and all, but if you really want to impress your guests with a dessert they've never tried before, look no further than Rachel's "trifle" from one of the many delightful Friends Thanksgiving episodes. Rachel's mistake of adding a layer of beef, peas and onions to her traditional English trifle dessert was the result of following a recipe that was stuck together to another page in her cookbook. But now we have a totally brand new dessert to enjoy, er, throw up. You might be better off just serving this dessert as an homage to Friends and not actually eating it.
When All Else Fails, Order In: The Bob Newhart Show, "Over the River and Through the Woods" (1975)
If your Thanksgiving meal prep really goes awry, the only thing left to do is get smashed and order some Chinese food as Bob did on The Bob Newhart Show. Isn't that what we all really want to do on Thanksgiving, anyway?