Thanksgiving Special: Rugrats – The Turkey Who Came to Dinner

a_rugrats_thanksgiving_vhs

Plot: The babies learn about the first Thanksgiving while having their first Thanksgiving celebration. While the men are off obsessing over watching as many football games as possible, and the women are busy trying to prepare a dinner, the babies try to befriend a live turkey that Grandpa Lou won. However, the true meaning of Thanksgiving starts to get lost in the chaos around the house.

Breakdown: Since there aren’t nearly as many Thanksgiving specials as Halloween or Christmas, I decided to just review one special per year instead of blowing through most of them at once.

This one isn’t nearly as strong of a holiday special as the Rugrats Hanukah special, but it’s still pretty good.

It’s just a bit on the predictable side is all. Plus there are a bunch of little things that irk me about it.

First, there’s the typical annoyance of Rugrats that is the adults complete inattention to their children. Sure, they’re staying within the confines of the backyard, but they’re still not being watched at all; being ignored by the parents when they are home and left in the care of the ever-napping Grandpa Boris when they aren’t and spending a lot of time with a wild bird that could be covered in diseases and getting poop everywhere.

Second, why is it such a trope to not buy a damn turkey until it’s Thanksgiving day? It’s like the trope of not buying a Christmas tree until like a day before Christmas eve. It’s a huge hassle to wait until the last minute, and it’s a big risk because chances are you’ll end up with a crappy turkey or no turkey at all. We always buy a turkey at least a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. At the very least, when the sales start. And of course when they finally go to a store to get a turkey, they have to do the trope of ‘the last one is taken by an aggressive shopper.’

Third, while I’m fine with a kid being accepting of the fact that animals have to die in order for them to eat meat, it’s just a fact of life afterall, Angelica is way too friggin’ excited and driven to have this turkey be murdered just to spite the babies. Like, potentially serial-killer-esque excitement.

Fourth, Betty was a bit insufferable in this episode. Betty’s always been rough around the edges, but she has these episodes where she’s just an asshole. She consciously decides to ditch the other women at the store so she can get what she wants to make the dinner her way.

Next, she shoves every turkey item that they end up buying in the microwave. No taking the packaging off, and she is literally shoving them in there, they just barely are contained in the microwave.

Then, when the food catches fire, she blames the turkey. While the turkey does inadvertently cause chaos in the end, the chaos was 100% disconnected from the food plot outside of it being, of course, a turkey. Betty, the food caught fire because you’re too stupid to use a microwave correctly, not because a turkey was running around the yard. Speaking of the food, was that all you guys were planning yo make for the dinner? A clusterfuck of random turkey products? Because they’re all just sitting around the table doing nothing as the turkey microwaved.

Fifth, what is up with the football on Thanksgiving trope? I know it’s probably tradition in a lot of houses to watch football on Thanksgiving, but I mean the trope of being obsessed with football on Thanksgiving. Like, the game is an absolute must-see game of the century. How are Thanksgiving games any more special than any other football game? I don’t get it.

This episode even amps up the trope because guess what the fathers are doing? They have set up a bunch of satellite dishes and a bunch of TVs to watch a bunch of football games at the same time. And yes, it’s as stupid of an idea as you think it is. You can watch that many games, I guess, but you definitely can’t listen to all of them. I can see why Stu overlooked this, but Drew should’ve been smarter than that.

Sixth, Grandpa Lou really didn’t think to mention to the women that the turkey he won was alive? Also, was he seriously dumb enough to believe they could pluck and dress a live turkey and fully cook it before dinner time? Especially when it wouldn’t be delivered until four o’clock.

Seventh, the aspect of the turkey being in love with Spike is just really weird and doesn’t make sense. It’s a turkey. Spike’s a dog. You’d think turkeys would be naturally deterred by dogs considering they’re commonly used by hunters. Even if it wasn’t, why would a turkey fall in love with a dog?

Eighth, the babies seemed to have ESP at a certain point. When Angelica is trying to get her parents to notice the turkey in the backyard, they seem to sense when she’s finally got one and manage to hide the turkey in time. One time, they actually stripped Chuckie, clothed the turkey in his clothing and partially hid it behind a tree in the few seconds between when they were minding their business trying to get the turkey to leave and when Angelica and Charlotte got to the door.

The major saving grace of this episode is the plot of the babies trying to celebrate Thanksgiving properly and trying to save the turkey from being eaten by the adults. This plot actually has some funny moments, and the babies have a cute approach to Thanksgiving. They make a feast of Reptar cereal being served in their Native American headdresses. That’s just adorable.

The ending is really predictable with everyone realizing that they’ve been acting like idiots and instantly making up when Didi points out the true meaning of Thanksgiving isn’t the food or the football, it’s the family and friends. Also, Drew and Lou make up at the end despite the fact that they weren’t fighting at any point.

In the absolute end, the babies have the idea to make a feast of Reptar cereal for the whole family, and, surprisingly, they do end up eating just Reptar cereal for Thanksgiving. I get that it was a cute gesture from the babies….but do they really have no other food in the house? Did they SERIOUSLY prepare no other food when they were heating the turkey items earlier? They suck at Thanksgiving.

I do have numerous problems with the side plots, but the main plot is solid, fairly funny, pretty cute and somewhat heartwarming. And I think we can all relate to having a bunch of fighting and chaos happen on the holidays only to end with a bunch of laughs around the dinner table.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, whether in the USA or not. I’m thankful for all of you.

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