Thanksgiving Special: Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time Review

RMLTT

Plot: Rocko celebrates his first ever Thanksgiving (As he’s originally from Australia) but is shocked to hear from Heffer that turkey is usually the main course during the holiday. Chaos throughout O-Town ensues when all of the turkeys in town congregate to Rocko’s house.

Breakdown:

Hi. I’m Fiddle D. Twix. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday to all in the US. And to all not in the US, have a great day, and keep being safe.

I thank you all for joining me on this holiday. I know the year has been…Hm…what’s a polite way to say ‘hellish dumpster fire’? But the holidays are always here to bring goodness and cheer no matter if you’re with family and friends, whether in person or remotely, or if you’re just enjoying a quiet holiday on your own. I still try desperately to keep the holiday spirit no matter what the rest of the year spits in my face, so I hope you enjoy this year’s Thanksgiving special and the coming A Very Animated Holiday Special reviews over December.

So sit back, relax, warm up by the fireplace gif and join me for Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time.

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Remember how I said that most Thanksgiving specials tend to be kinda boring because they all pretty much follow the formula of “family makes a big deal of dinner, dinner gets ruined, they salvage the night anyway and realize the holiday is about family and friends, not food.”? This special breaks off from the norm, because it’s Rocko, of course it would, silly.

Rocko is celebrating his first Thanksgiving in America with Heffer there to show him what goes into the dinner. They get everything they need at the grocery store in terms of veggies and stuff, but then Heffer reveals that they need a turkey. Rocko is confused as to why they need to invite a turkey to dinner, but they go to Conglom-O’s turkey giveaway and get a live turkey. All the while, Heffer is giggling that Rocko believes they’re just having dinner with the turkey.

When they arrive home, Rocko is devastated to learn that Heffer meant they were going to kill and eat the turkey for dinner, not eat with it. He can’t kill the turkey because it’s so cute, and even though Heffer acted like it was no big deal, he finds that he doesn’t have the heart to do it either. They decide to just hang out with the turkey and eat a veggie turkey for dinner, but that’s where the problems start.

Somehow, the other turkeys that were being given away by Conglom-O all escaped and took refuge at Rocko’s house somehow knowing he would protect them. Rocko’s got no problem protecting the turkeys, but word gets out that he has the only turkey in town since he got a turkey before the giveaway started. So, yeah, it’s still hitting some cliches – most notably being the ‘everyone gets a turkey ON Thanksgiving’ thing, which rarely ever happens, in my experience. Also, why is everyone getting a turkey from a free giveaway that Conglom-O is having? Do they not carry turkeys in the stores, or does everyone want a live turkey? Seems like an unnecessary amount of work. Why is Conglom-O having a massive live turkey giveaway anyway (Where the setup is literally ‘show up and get a free turkey’) That’d be a huge loss of profits, wouldn’t it?

Nitpicking aside, everyone in town demands that Rocko share his turkey. And, remember, they only believe he has one turkey. Apparently, that’s meant to feed like 30 people.

Rocko, pressured into doing it, does give them exactly what they want, a big turkey dinner…after he does a hilarious….and I don’t know how I can say this without it being taken the wrong way but….sexy dance in a turkey costume (Unless that is one of the turkeys, in which case, this is even weirder….They never did show him getting in or out of a turkey costume…..) They even set up the living room like a strip club. It’s really funny but also very weird.

Everyone eats the turkey and happily leaves, but then they discover that the turkey was actually a jumbo veggie bird. They turn back to see Rocko in the middle of a flock of turkeys and they set out to kill them all so they can have an actual Thanksgiving feast.

They’re about to kill the birds via dropping a grand piano (+pianist playing dramatic music) on top of them, but, like Rocko and Heffer, they find that they’re too cute and can’t do the deed. Mr. Bighead, though, won’t have it. He has no sympathy for the birds and, in a fit of rage, disperses the turkeys and demands they let go of the rope holding the piano. They do, but Mr. Bighead’s the only one they hit with it.

Later, the turkeys all get a big feast, reprising the sexy dance setup, only this time it’s Mr. Bighead with a bag of turkey food, much to the delight of the turkeys. And everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving except Mr. Bighead because he’s an ass.

The end.

I only barely remembered watching this episode as a kid, but it’s a good one. This story was definitely refreshing for Thanksgiving specials, and it made me laugh several times. It’s a good time to be had all around. Rocko’s Modern Life adds its own style to the event, and they never opt for anything cheesy.

It is a tad on the dark side for a kid’s cartoon, though. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and Rocko has always been on the more mature side (See: Turkey strip tease), but it is kinda uncommon for a kid’s holiday special to focus so much on killing, even if they never outright say to kill them (Due to censors. They do directly allude to it as much as possible, though, including but not limited to Heffer making that throat-slitting motion and going ‘Gaaaaccckkk’). I can’t imagine any kid was traumatized by this episode on the revelation that turkey comes from, well, turkeys, especially since images of live turkeys are everywhere around Thanksgiving, but I still have my doubts that an episode like this would fly today (hehe, turkey, fly, hehe.)

This episode does have some additional bittersweet notes to it, though. It was written by Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg before he eventually went on to create Spongebob three years later. This was also the season in which Hillenburg was made a director and producer for Rocko’s Modern Life. Turkey Time was the last episode he (co) wrote before the series ended, though that’s not really saying much considering my final bittersweet note is that this is the first part of the series finale of Rocko’s Modern Life.

While, technically, the actual ending for the show was considered Future Schlock (the episode in which Rocko, Filburt and Heffer get shot into space for 20 years) the episodes were switched around to allow the Thanksgiving special to air closer to the actual date of the holiday, making this and the following segment, Floundering Fathers, the official series finale. That is, of course, until the movie, Static Cling was released 24 years later. (I have watched the movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

If you want to have some laughs this Thanksgiving, give it a watch. You won’t regret it.

~Happy Thanksgiving!~


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Thanksgiving Special: Hey Arnold! – Arnold’s Thanksgiving

Arnold's Thanksgiving 1

Plot: Arnold and Helga’s Thanksgivings are complete disasters this year, as every year, so they decide to leave during the festivities. As they both vent to each other about their terrible holidays, they try to figure out if the perfect Thanksgiving is even a thing that exists.

Breakdown: This Thanksgiving special has always stood out to me, even if it does have a tad of ‘Thanksgiving-special-itis’. As I’ve mentioned before, most Thanksgiving specials all tend to follow a similar formula, “Something goes awry with the dinner, everyone thinks its ruined, and then they come together with some simple feast and enjoy the holiday because Thanksgiving isn’t about food – it’s about family and friends and being thankful for what you have.” Only this time the dinner is really only perceived as ruined by one person in each family.

There’s no escaping that idealized version of the holidays, is there? During Thanksgiving, we get that image of immaculately dressed happy people sitting down to a beautiful spread of turkey, stuffing, potatoes – the works, and getting along merrily without a care in the world. However, the real image is almost never as such.

If there’s another trope that Thanksgiving specials tend to follow it’s people avoiding their relatives because they can’t stand them for one reason or another. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to really understand why this became such a known trope.

I no longer have Thanksgivings with extended family and haven’t for many years. The last times I remember seeing extended family members on purpose was at funerals.

The closest I’ve gotten in recent years is going out for Thanksgiving with my grandma, but recent events have made the possibility of us ever inviting her out for the holiday again very slim. I just enjoy a dinner with my parents, and that’s frequently a mess too. We stress ourselves out trying to get everything ready and make the holiday special, sometimes yelling at each other in the meantime, but we almost always manage to have a pretty good night no matter how much drama went on during the creation of it.

And even though I know I’ll have an ungodly amount of dishes to deal with after the fact, I still enjoy these special times with my family. I’m very thankful for that.

I told you all of that because this episode made me think a lot about its message. It’s the very typical ‘be thankful for what you have’ but the story itself makes it difficult to really embrace this lesson.

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They do a great job cementing the typical view of a traditional Thanksgiving by having the kids in a play showcasing the history of Thanksgiving complete with historical inaccuracies and mild racism. (Ah the 90s…) Arnold and Helga have to grin and bear it as they help portray the perfect modern interpretation of the holiday.

Arnold and Helga have never really had real Thanksgivings like their friends all seem to have. Arnold’s holiday isn’t even Thanksgiving. His grandma always thinks Thanksgiving is the Fourth of July, so she makes them all dress as the forefathers, cook hotdogs and burgers on the roof in the freezing cold and shoot off fireworks. You’d think this would just mean that he’d celebrate a real Thanksgiving on the Fourth of July, but Ernie states that she thinks that day is Christmas, which is weird because we know she celebrates Christmas on Christmas (Though, in the Christmas special, she played Yankee Doodle Dandy as ‘Christmas music’ and wore Happy New Year’s clothes on Christmas day….) So does she just omit Thanksgiving altogether?

They placate her, and Grandpa’s only reasoning for doing is because it’s what they do and being like everyone else would be boring.

It’s a very….unique situation for Arnold, but I guess not outside of the realm of possibility for his odd boarding house.

As for Helga….well, anyone who has seen the show and knows of her living situation probably understands why her Thanksgivings tend to blow. Bob is glued to the TV set and doesn’t bother paying Helga much attention. Miriam burns the stuffing in her (drunken) haze while also barely paying Helga any attention. And Olga, her shining star sister that her parents adore, makes a pristine dinner while making Helga do much of the grunt work. A ridiculous amount of grunt work, I might add. A family of four should not require a bushel of potatoes, and even though Bob and Miriam were the ones cutting the onions, they don’t need a mountain of chopped onions either.

Arnold's Thanksgiving 2

As extra bonuses, Bob saddles her with his own beeper-related grunt work after she gets done with Olga’s demands, and Olga’s beautiful ice swan centerpiece far outshines Helga’s pine cone centerpiece to the point that she doesn’t even want to show anyone once she sees Olga’s.

What’s interesting is that it doesn’t seem like Bob or Miriam give a single crap about Thanksgiving traditions, sentimental ones anyway, until Helga claims she’s not thankful for anything when they do that thing where they go around the table asking everyone what they’re thankful for. They all get insanely pissed about it, (well, Olga is more shocked than anything) and Bob demands she go to her room and not come out until she thinks about what she’s thankful for.

I should point out that he was about to stuff his face with food after completely ignoring Helga’s turn to say what she was thankful for. He only stopped himself when Olga reminded him about Helga. I’d understand if it was about simply defying him, but they were all shocked that she was defying tradition.

Not surprisingly, they both leave their dinners and stumble upon each other. After venting to each other about their bad Thanksgivings, Arnold suggests heading to Mr. Simmons house since he’s so nice and loves the holidays and traditions, so he must be having a great Thanksgiving they can mooch on.

When they arrive, they find an odd sight. Mr. Simmons’ family and friends all share the same names as the people in the modern interpretation of Thanksgiving – the almost too-perfect one from the start of the episode. However, they’re all terrible people who do nothing but take potshots at each other and just be overall miserable the whole time while Mr. Simmons tries to keep the mood light. They don’t even try to pretend to like each other like many tension-filled families would do.

Arnold's Thanksgiving 3

Mr. Simmons was projecting his desires onto his play, which is…very very sad. Mr. Simmons is a great guy, so it sucks for him work so hard just to have a terrible family to share it with. I don’t even really know why he’s friends with those two people. The woman (brown hair) just seems to be monotone and miserable while the guy (blond hair) is a snob.

When Helga and Arnold realize that their Thanksgivings were much better in comparison to Mr. Simmons’ they start to come around to the idea of going back home and being thankful for what they have. Mr. Simmons overhears their conversation and actually breaks down for a minute, confirming that he’s completely devastated over how terrible this dinner is going, but he loves his friends and family and always tries really hard to get them together at least once a year to be thankful for what they have. So, in his eyes, even though the dinner is a disaster, he’s thankful that he has those people.

I’m a little confused by this. If he’s happy with what he has, why is he projecting this picture-perfect version of his family onto a school play? Is it just a harsh truth of wanting something to be one way but finding it within yourself to just be happy with what you have, even if it’s crappy because you probably have it better than someone else? That might be a bit biting, though somewhat comforting. However, we’ll soon see that this message, if that is what they’re going for, falls flat in my eyes.

Helga and Arnold depart for their homes, hoping they can salvage their own Thanksgivings.

When Helga arrives at her house, she finds it in almost a comedic level of disarray. Everyone’s panicking because she went missing. Miriam’s on the phone with the cops, Bob’s gearing up in actual military garb to scout the area in his hummer and Olga printed up a ton of fliers that are honestly the most insulting part of this ending because the pictures on the fliers mostly show Olga, don’t give Helga’s name and the flier says ‘Award winning Olga Pataki’s sister.’

Arnold's Thanksgiving 4

…..I hate Olga, by the way.

I’m really kinda torn about this development mostly because the Patakis are always very inconsistent with how much they care about Helga. Most of the time, it seems like she could be missing for days and have no one notice. I wish I were exaggerating, but it’s true. Other episodes, her parents will be gung-ho about finding her or protecting her. I know that, deep down, they love her, but I feel they’re out of character for going this insane over Helga being gone for a couple of hours.

To be honest, I’m surprised they realized she was even missing. Keep in mind that these are the same people who were once so enamored by Olga’s piano playing that they neglected to realize a pre-school age Helga had left the house by herself with a lunch she had to ‘make’ herself and walked herself to school in the rain….

They sent her to her room right before dinner. Bob had dinner and football on the mind, Miriam would probably pass out in her burnt stuffing and Olga would probably be too busy gloating about something she did to notice. Unless they needed her to clean up the table and couldn’t find her.

It gets even worse when Bob and Miriam say they’re thankful for her being around. This episode is talking about the unrealistic expectations of perfect families on Thanksgiving then they throw that in? I’m sorry I’m not buying this as much as I should, but Helga’s parents are regularly terrible to her. If they’re not outright ignoring her all day, they’re treating her like crap. I feel like the sentiment of being thankful for Helga rings hollow if I know they’re just going to continue treating her like crap – especially considering this is merely a SEASON ONE EPISODE.

They’re still not done because, somehow, none of them ate either while Helga was gone, and Miriam remembered Helga’s centerpiece and made sure she saw her putting it on the table.

Arnold's Thanksgiving 5

I guess I should just be thankful Helga does get a truly happy moment with her family for a change, and if they really were being genuine here then I’m all for that. I just wish her family had progressively gotten better with Helga over time. They’d have these one-shot episodes where they learn to appreciate or pay attention to Helga more and then they’d be right back to their old tricks the next time they’d show up. It’s pretty frustrating.

If you can believe it, Arnold’s ending is even more BS. When he arrives home, he’s ready to don his stars and stripes and partake in Fourth of July festivities. However, when he gets on the roof, he finds everyone gone and the place a wreck. Everyone pops up to give him a surprise Thanksgiving with Grandpa explaining that they had heard Arnold went out to look for a real Thanksgiving (….Did….Mr. Simmons call? How could they have known he was doing that?) so they decided to make him one.

I somehow got more upset at this than Helga’s ending. Wanna know why? Because Arnold had asked several times straight out if they could have a real Thanksgiving and everyone always shot him down. But they ‘hear’ Arnold wanted a real Thanksgiving when he was gone so they decided to make him one then?

And what’s weirder is Grandma acts like none of this Fourth of July stuff was even a thing, even asking him why he’s wearing a Ben Franklin costume. I get that Arnold’s grandma probably has an unconfirmed psychological problem, which might be one of the reasons why they play along with her sometimes, but if she could be convinced that this was Thanksgiving and forget the Fourth of July so easily, why has that never happened? Did no one tell her that it was Thanksgiving and not the Fourth of July….ever? They were so adamant about not doing a traditional Thanksgiving for no real reason, but he leaves for a couple of hours and now they cater to him?

Arnold's Thanksgiving 6

(This is a bit too nitpicky, but where did they a turkey on Thanksgiving and how did they cook it in the time he had been gone?)

Like Helga, it’s great because he now gets to have his own special Thanksgiving with his family and friends, even adding the unique fireworks to the occasion (that can’t be legal) but all I’m thinking about right now is poor Mr. Simmons.

Helga and Arnold both leave their houses for a couple hours and get the as-close-to-perfect-as-they-can-get Thanksgivings that they wanted the whole time handed to them under unrealistic circumstances. Meanwhile, Mr. Simmons shows he has a terrible Thanksgiving every year and he grins and bears it for….what?

I get it, be thankful for what you have – having a crappy family and crappy friends with a roof and food is better than nothing. But Mr. Simmons deserves his unrealistically happy Thanksgiving too….and he doesn’t get it. I’m glad that he finds some sort of semblance of happiness in this situation, but I really think at least showing one legitimate happy moment between them, even tiny, would have showed that all this torment he goes through is worth it.

I’m all too familiar with family drama and massive tension. Trust me. But even though Mr. Simmons himself even said Helga and Arnold probably wouldn’t understand this, I find myself struggling to understand.

And are Helga and Arnold really encompassing the lesson of just being thankful for what they have when they were given what they wanted when they got home?

Arnold's Thanksgiving 7

If I had to think of more fitting endings given the setup, Arnold’s would be rather simple. Have him enjoy the Fourth of July stuff, but maybe they can meet halfway and make some turkey legs on the grill. Helga’s is the more complicated matter. I honestly don’t know how I’d write that to be better because any end I come up with is either equally corny or ends with Helga still being treated poorly, just being happy about it, and that’s not right.

I thought for a bit that maybe they could see Mr. Simmons have no one to celebrate Thanksgiving with, which is why he got so emotional during the play. Helga and Arnold decide to have a small Thanksgiving with him, but they realize they miss some of the little special traditions they have at each of their houses and they should have been more grateful. Arnold invites Mr. Simmons over for…The Fourth of July and they all have a pretty good time.

Meanwhile, Helga, who continues to be the difficult spot here, would maybe go home to her family coming to the realization that she said she wasn’t thankful for anything because they can be major d-bags to her and assure her that they are thankful for her even if they have difficulty showing it?

I hate to come off as such as sourpuss in a review of a Thanksgiving special that I have enjoyed since I was a kid, especially since, as far as I can tell, it’s a beloved holiday special. Definitely not as widely remembered or beloved as Arnold’s Christmas special, but the video reviews I managed to find on it called it beautiful, warm and amazing. However, looking it at more closely now leaves me very conflicted, especially if you’re trying to tell this story to people like Mr. Simmons who have crappy Thanksgivings or none at all.

Someone in the Youtube comments section of the aforementioned reviews described it perfectly – It’s It-Could-Be-Worse-giving. I don’t know if I’m just getting too cynical in my old age, but that sentiment doesn’t fill me with warm fuzzies – it kinda just makes me sad. As I’ve pointed out in this review, Arnold and Helga realize they could have it worse and go home fully ready to accept the situations they have, but they’re gifted what they wanted for Thanksgiving, even if it’s not quite the picture-perfect version they envisioned. We only see them embrace their gratefulness for a moment before they get these endings.

This isn’t really a bad episode at all, even though I will ding it for the instances of OOCness. It’s actually a pretty good episode with nice heart behind it. It’s just that the message feels muddled given the way the story goes. After thinking it over quite a bit, let me sum up what I’ve concluded from this story.

Always be thankful for what you have, even if your home life isn’t great. However, don’t feel bad about wishing for something better, even if part of that is wishing the people around you were better to you, each other or as a whole. Be the example, like Mr. Simmons, and hopefully one day things will get a little better bit by bit. You may not have the perfect Thanksgiving fall into your lap, but your outlook on it can make it more enjoyable and maybe even rub off on those around you.

If anything, I’m thankful this special has made me think so deeply about this subject and appreciate my own family and holidays more. Hopefully, it has done something similar with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 🙂


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Thanksgiving Special Double Feature: The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t & A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t

Plot: As a family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner, a father squirrel tells his son about their ancestor, Jeremy Squirrel, and how he saved the first Thanksgiving.

Breakdown: I have never seen this special before today. There’s also not much information online about it.

Not surprised, really. It’s a nice little special courtesy of good ol’ Hanna-Barbera, but it’s dreadfully boring.

The story is actually pretty accurate to the history of the first Thanksgiving,surprisingly, (Barring practically everything they’re serving) with the twist that the first Thanksgiving nearly didn’t happen because two dumbass kids, a native American boy and a pilgrim boy, ran off in the middle of the night to play and got lost. Jeremy Squirrel not only reunited them with their families, but he also saved them from a wolf and saved Thanksgiving.

In that order.

I say ‘in that order’ because he did indeed reunite them with their parents before the wolf incident…and their families/the settlers/natives were 100%useless in attempting to save them. The pilgrim boy’s father had a gun and was going to shoot the wolf, but the native American dad was all ‘Don’t! You might hit the boys!’

Which I immediately followed up with ‘So let’s just stand here like idiots doing nothing while our sons are eaten alive by a wolf.’ Because that’s what they did. They stood there, probably planning out their sons funerals in their minds, while a squirrel, a goddamn squirrel, had to come up with and singlehandedly instigate a plan to save them.

No ‘Hey, what if I approach the wolf from the side, taking the boys entirely out of my line of fire and saving them from certain death?’ Just ‘herpa derp RIP boys.’

And….that’s about it. The characters aren’t engaging, the story’s not interesting, and it’s animated by Hanna-Barbera, in the 70s no less, so there’s nothing great there. The music was kinda good, but got grating really quickly.

Since that was such a bust, I thought I’d give everyone a treat and review a second Thanksgiving special. Yup. This Thanksgiving….y’all are getting second helpings.

……I’m so sorry for that terrible joke.

A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving

Plot: Rabbit tries to plan a perfect Thanksgiving for everyone in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Breakdown:Would you hate me if I said I didn’t have much to say about this one, either?

I don’t even have a small point of ranting. There’s just not much to talk about.

I like Winnie the Pooh as much as the next person, but I was expecting this special to be predictable and kinda boring and that’s what it was. I got a few smiles out of it and the songs were kinda nice, but that’s pretty much it.

Something hit me while watching this special, though. Thanksgiving specials tend to tell the same story over and over. Something goes awry with the dinner, everyone thinks its ruined, and then they come together with some simple feast and enjoy the holiday because Thanksgiving isn’t about food – it’s about family and friends and being thankful for what you have.

In a lot of ways, Christmas specials have a similar issues. They frequently parrot the ‘It’s not about presents, it’s about family and friends and giving’ moral, but the thing is that Christmas has enough mythos and potential to have a bunch of wildly varying stories come from it. Thanksgiving just…doesn’t.

Even though I now know my options for future specials are more than I thought I had (Wiki was a big help) I have a hard time remembering or getting excited for any of these. I’m not saying they’re all bad, but outside of a few ‘I watch this all the time at Thanksgiving because it’s tradition’ specials, how many Thanksgiving specials really stick with you?

Maybe the Friends specials, because they tended to make those their own thing, but I don’t even really remember much of those outside of Monica having a turkey on her head and that onetime they played football together.

I don’t mean to be a Thanksgiving Grinch, I guess you’d say, but it’s true. The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special is trending on Twitter right now and that reminded me that, oh yeah, there’s a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.

Maybe I’ll find some hidden Thanksgiving gems next year, but this one was kinda lackluster.

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Whether you’re in America or anywhere else, I hope you have a very nice holiday/weekend. I am eternally thankful for everyone who manages to tolerate my incoherent babble on this quaint little blog, and each new view, like and comment is brings a bit more brightness into my day. You guys are the absolute best, and I can’t begin to thank you enough.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~Fiddletwix

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And for those not in the US, damn you lucky bastards for not having to spend half the day cooking! I mean, I’m thankful for all of you. Ironically, this place and you guys all help keep me sane. ❤

So, remember, be thankful, be kind and eat in moderation to avoid a stomach ache. I’m prepared an example gif of proper Thanksgiving eating habits below.

Notice how Kirby is being mindful to keep his elbows off the table, and he is refraining from talking with his mouth full. His area is also clean and tidy, and he’s not chewing so he can eat faster and get back to having meaningful conversations with his family. Now that’s a true Thanksgivinger!

From all of….me at the Anime Madhouse, have a great Thanksgiving! 🙂

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.