America is the only country that celebrates Thanksgiving—a holiday dedicated to eating as much as humanly possible and then lying around on the couch in a tryptophan-induced coma until you’ve digested enough to attack that pecan pie your aunt Rose brought over. What could be more all-American? To aid you in this day-long salute to gluttony and sloth, here are the TV highlights that will keep you and your fat relatives couch-bound this Thursday.
The traditional start to the day is wolfing down a nice, flaky pastry with coffee while the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (KOB-4 9 a.m.) marches along before your eyes. As always, Al Roker and some other “Today” show people throw on the scarves and make with the balloon-based puns. Jessica Simpson will be there, too. What a treat for the family! As always, “The National Dog Show” (KOB-4 noon) follows. Marvel as that nice John O’Hurley fellow finds new adjectives with which to praise the 3,000-plus entrants.
Of course, many people prefer to watch the old pigskin get tossed around on Thanksgiving. Luckily, there are several games to choose from: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions (KRQE-13 10:30 a.m.), New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys (KASA-2 2:15 p.m.) and Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (NFL Network 6:20 p.m.).
If you’re looking for something a little nerdier, there’s “Punkin Chunkin” (Discovery 6 p.m.). Some people use pumpkins as centerpieces. Some people bake pies out of them. Some people launch them from pneumatic cannons. “MythBusters” hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman take us to the high-tech squash-hurling championships.
Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of the “slot-filling holiday special” season. With regular shows on hiatus until January, networks take the easy route by loading schedules up with random concerts, fluffy news programs and old cartoons. This Thanksgiving we’ve got plenty of that. Music is well represented thanks to “Taylor Swift: Speak Now” (KOB-4 7 p.m.) and “Beyoncé: I Am” (KOAT-7 8:30 p.m.). In the first, the country sweetheart warbles her way through a concert. In the second, the R&B sweetheart hip-bumps her way through a concert. Fluffy news programs arrive in the form of “NBC’s People of the Year” (KOB-4 8 p.m.), which features interviews with Captain Chesley Sullenberger, Susan Boyle, Nadya Suleman (seriously?) and Taylor Swift (purely coincidental, I’m sure, given her concert earlier in the evening). The old cartoon is, of course, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (KOAT-7 7 p.m.).
Of course, the other great tradition this time of year is jumping the gun. Hallmark starts the holiday tear-jerking early, skipping Thanksgiving entirely and going straight to The Town Christmas Forgot (Hallmark 6 p.m.). It’s a made-for-TV movie about a family that gets stranded in a small town and helps the locals organize a Christmas pageant. It’ll be a great warm-up for all the eating and TV watching you’ll be doing again on Christmas Day!