Honorable Mention: The Torrance Family, The Shining — There are more than a few movie families (Crawfords, Aibellis) I’d rather spend all Thanksgiving day running from than to sit with through one meal, but my top pick has to be The Shining’s Torrance threesome. Let’s see…trapped in a huge, haunted hotel with only Wendy’s vapid, wide-eyed blathering to keep the meal conversation going. Spend dinner staring across a table at psycho-Jack, who after carving the turkey, and having too much to drink chases us down with an axe. And no one but a frightened little boy to lead me through the long hallways past creepy, ghostly twins and a blood-gushing elevator to the guest bathroom, where a dead grandma waits in the tub? Hey, how about a terrifying after-dinner chase through the maze? Uh, no thanks.. — Cindy Davis
5. The Summers Women — Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely in love with Buffy and Joyce. And if I were to be invited over for Thanksgiving dinner, there’s a good chance the rest of the Scoobies would be there too. But the problem with a Summers gathering is that you never know who else may show up. A super hot mummy?
A murdery cursed ex?
An evil robot masquerading as a stepfather-to-be?
An annoying sister who suddenly gets invented out of thin air?
So thanks but no thanks, Summerses. If you need me, I’ll be over at Giles’, trying to convince him to play “Free Bird.” — Vivian Kane
4. The Popes, Scandal — So you think other families would be terrible to dine with this holiday season? Well Olivia Pope thinks you’re, and I quote, a “bitch baby.” She’s busy handling the strain of having her long-believed-to-be-dead terrorist mother resurface and take aim at her on-again, off-again boyfriend (the president of the U.S.). Then there’s her father, the ruthless head of a secret agency who has tortured her other on-again, off-again boyfriend and then killed the son of her original boyfriend (yep, still the president) out of pettiness. Plus, when they talk to her, They. Talk. Like. This. Every. Word. Is. Punctuated. Staccato. Speech. Forever. So you dance to that classic R&B music, Liv, and drink that wine. You’re lucky to be alive, if only barely holding on to your sanity. At least you have hot boyfriends? — Sarah Carlson
3. The Frost Family from Jack Frost
This family would be a real nightmare at Thanksgiving dinner. Put aside the fact that the father was killed in a car accident and returned as a talking snowman … actually, don’t put that aside. Let’s start there.
I would assume that ol’ Jack reincarnates for various holidays to further decimate the fragile mind of Charlie boy. So you have this mouthy snowman and his ass melting all over the food and the floor, threatening your appetite and traction. Jack only eats frozen food, so he probably shovels frozen turkey and side dishes into his maw like an even more deranged Cookie Monster, because at least cookies are cooked food. Then, to paraphrase Jason Mantzoukas, you have to spend the meal wondering if this abomination of nature is going to drop frozen turds all over the damned house, because WHERE DID THAT FOOD GO???
Meanwhile, Charlie is alternately hiding Jack from mom Gabby and making ridiculous conversation with The Thing That Was Once His Father.
“You the man!” “No, I’m the snowman!”
Jack brings up his frozen balls, how much his new girlfriend likes his carrot nose, and any other idiotic thought that pops into the frozen cavern he calls a brain. Meanwhile, you’re stepping lightly around puddles that could be pee or unfrozen dead dad ass and wondering why you didn’t accept the invitation to eat with the Firefly clan. — Jodi Clager
2. The Bennetts, Justified — EVERYONE COME ON DOWN TO THE BENNETT SHACK FOR A BIG OL’ HOOTENANNY! Some of you would probably love to spend Turkey Day with Harlan County’s first family. Understandable. Dinner with Mags and Co. could be absurdly entertaining. Picture Dickie explaining the holiday’s origins to Loretta McCready: “See, the Pillllgrams, see. They extended an olive branch to the Injins. And, well, them Injins just didn’t know a good thang when it slapped them in the faaace! So we scalped the suckers and took their food and land. WOO!” Or Cooter, cutting the turkey with an unplugged electric knife. And Doyle, half drunk, wondering if he should eat his gun rather than spend another holiday with these idiots.
Here’s why I’m steering clear: these people are lethal. You really going to drink whatever liquid Mags pours into your dinner glass? Thought not. If you still insist on going, make sure you leave before the Crowders swing by (it’s a hootenanny: everyone is welcome). Boyd will break your wishbone for eating the last cranberry sauce slice, and Ava is responsible for more dinner table fatalities than Paula Deen. AVA, CAN YOU PASS THE ASSAULT?
Hell with Harlan County. I’ll have dinner with Raylan. Brian Byrd
1. The Dear Zachary Family — Listen, I understand. This is dirty pool, but in the off-chance that some snarky commenter dropped by to say something to the effect of, “That headline is wrong! I’d much rather spend Thanksgiving with these families than my own, regardless of how murderous or creepy they are” I wanted to have a trump card up my sleeve: The Dear Zachary family is that card. This movie — a documentary — will emotionally, irreparably scar you for life within the first 15 minutes. It’s still little-seen enough that I don’t necessarily want to spoil it, but for those who have seen it, they know. Those who haven’t seen it? For the love of God, DON’T. Especially on Thanksgiving.
On the other hand, if you do watch it, no matter how f*cked up you think your family is, you will be thankful for them after watching Dear Zachary.