Thanksgiving around the dial
When you get right down to it, Thanksgiving isn’t much of a holiday. There’s a big meal and then ... not much else. No Easter egg hunts, no opening of presents, no knocking on neighbors’ doors begging for candy. Not even a little dreidel spinning. Basically, after pigging out on turkey and mashed potatoes, everybody just sits around and digests. Which makes it a little confusing as to why television networks refuse to air anything remotely interesting. What else are we going to do besides watch TV? Talk to our relatives?
As with most holidays, a lot of networks are giving their employees the day off and airing random marathons. If you’re in the mood, you can catch nearly day-long collections of “Speeders” (truTV), “House” (USA), “The Closer” (TNT), “Top Chef” (Bravo), “The First 48” (A&E), “Band of Brothers” (Spike), “Mythbusters” (Discovery), “Cake Boss” (TLC), “Tom & Jerry” (Cartoon Network), “The Brady Bunch” (TV Land), “Wife Swap” (Lifetime), “SuperNanny” (Style), “The E! True Hollywood Story” (E!), “Behind the Music” (VH1), “Where Are they Now?” (TV Guide), a whole messload of James Bond movies (SyFy) and what looks like a nonstop loop of Home Alone (FX).
Still, there are a few highlights to be found throughout the day.
Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera and Al Roker get up bright and early to host “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (KOB-4 9 a.m.). They’re joined by opera tenor Andrea Bocelli, flamboyant British actor Alan Cumming, late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon and aged disco singer Gloria Gaynor—all of whom are there, I’m assuming, because they were the only ones willing to show up on Thanksgiving morning. Expect the usual mix of marching bands, floats and corny Broadway performances.
If you’re looking for brainlessly cute entertainment, you can’t do better than “The National Dog Show” (KOB-4 Noon), which has become something of an institution for NBC. The annual competition features 3,000 dogs and gives actor-turned-announcer John O’Hurley at least one day’s employment each year.
Along with that untouched can of cranberry relish, football is a Turkey Day staple. You can choose from “Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions” (KASA-2 10:30 a.m.) or “Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys” (KRQE-13 2 p.m.) The Lions are no longer looking like the worst team in the history of football. But they’re still gonna get crushed. With Dallas kinda sucking lately, the game against Oakland looks to the be more interesting of the two.
Later in the day, “Punkin Chunkin 2009” (Science 7 p.m.) features amateur inventors shooting pumpkins out of air cannons and other devices, which sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a post-supper slice of pumpkin pie.
Also good for getting you in the mood for dessert is the perennial fave “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (KOAT-7 7 p.m.). I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a Peanuts special, I still think of Dolly Madison.
ABC rounds out the night by going musical with a pair of concert specials: “Beyoncé ... I Am Yours” (KOAT-7 8 p.m.) and “Paul McCartney: Good Evening New York City” (KOAT-7 9 p.m.). Just the thing to sing you to tryptophan-induced sleep in your faux-leather Lay-Z-Boy.