“When you go home to where your parents live it’s like saying that the place you live in now isn’t really home.”

Ah, Thanksgiving.

As a kid, Thanksgiving gatherings couldn’t be large enough. The more cousins and the more game-playing the better.

Then comes middle age, when Thanksgiving serves as a reminder of how some family relationships have almost imperceptibly accumulated a certain amount of baggage over the years. The weight of this baggage is felt during Thanksgiving and its demand that we still must gather together anyway.

If recent convos with friends are any indication, gathering together at Thanksgiving can often take non-traditional forms these days, from gatherings in hospital rooms, hotel rooms, in the kitchen cooking for the homeless, and restaurants.

Which brings me to the “We Gather Together” Thanksgiving episode of thirtysomething, which also took place in a non-traditional setting, to avoid that baggage.

I happened upon episodes of thirtysomething on Netflix instant viewing the other day and have since found myself watching an episode every evening.

I watched the show when it originally aired (1987-1991). I was a young twentysomething at the time and don’t recall being annoyed at the show.

Now I’m a fortysomething and found myself wanting to throw my slipper at the screen during the first episode, when Michael whined about how Hope no longer took care of him like she did before they had kids (i.e. no more massages or fancy home cooked meals, the poor thing), except I haven’t been able to find my old Ugg slipppers this fall (wah!), so I wasn’t able to throw them.

I wanted to throw my slippers again when Hope whined about being a stay-at- home mom. The SAHM vs. working mom debates bore me to tears in 2010. The clear cut working mom/SAHM divisions, and the superiority complexes on both sides, seem antiquated in today’s society where the great majority of moms now work at least part time.

But I’ve kept watching the thirtysomething episodes anyway (it’s especially interesting to compare it to Mad Men) and watched the Thanksgiving episode We Gather Together last night.

Instead of doing the normal thing and getting together with family, the friends all gathered at Hope and Michael’s house for Thanksgiving, opting to spend the day with the people they see the most and have the most fun with in their everyday lives.

When Hope asked Gary if he had family to spend Thanksgiving with he said, “Yeah, but they don’t like me as much as you do.” Another reality of middle age:  sometimes you like your friends more than their family does and can better appreciate both their quirks and their strengths.

They forgot to thaw the turkey so ended up getting ice cream and eating it on Hope and Michael’s bed.  It’s a fun scene. It certainly is not the way one would eat Thanksgiving dinner if spending it at your parents’ house, causing Ellen to say,When you go home to where your parents live it’s like saying that the place you live in now isn’t really home.”

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