November 25, 2013
Talkin' turkey. (Craig Warga / Bloomberg)
Talkin’ turkey. (Craig Warga / Bloomberg)

Ah, Thanksgiving. That glorious time of the year when you go home, eat some potatoes and quickly remember why you left. But no matter how bad it gets, remember: It could be worse. For that moment between courses when your aunt’s boyfriend stands up on a chair and starts reciting a new, pointed, anti-Obama version of “The Highwayman,” here are eight Thanksgivings that were definitely more awkward than yours:

Titus Andronicus’s Family
“What’s in this pie, Titus?”
“For the last time, Tamora: not your kids.”
“Okay because you say that every time, yet–”

House of Atreus
“What’s in this pie, Atreus?”
“Didn’t you just use this joke?”

House of Usher
“Roderick, are you sure the turkey’s dead?”
“Dead? Please, I think I know when something’s dead.”
“Okay it’s just that –”
“Of course I’m sure. As sure as I don’t have a creepy relationship with my sister–”
“Ooh, look, the tart’s glowing ominously again.”
(Table splits in half, Madeline Usher rises up out of the crack and wrestles the turkey to the ground in a fit of symbolism.)

Flowers in the Attic
That One Rando Guest: Okay, remind me how everyone’s related, again?
(Long silence)
Cathy: (simultaneously) Not!
Chris: (simultaneously) We’re siblings!
(Longer silence)
Cathy: Turkey?

House of Priam
“Great to see everyone here — Hecuba, Paris, Hector’s widow Andromache and son Astyanax, all the other widows, Helen–”
“That skank who got our husbands killed!”
“Please, can’t we just have one meal where we don’t–”
(Greek soldiers arrive and throw Astyanax off the battlements.)

Capulet-Montague
“It’s hard to eat turkey through this mask.”
“Well, I’m sorry, but if we took the masks off we’d start killing each other.”

Lannisters
Not more awkward than the average meal though.

Lears
King Lear: Okay, daughters, how much do you want dessert? Goneril?
Goneril: I want it more than words can wield the matter. Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty–”
Regan: I want it even more than Goneril does!”
King Lear: Cordelia?”
Cordelia: Yeah, pie sounds good.”
King Lear: NO PIE FOR YOU, CORDELIA!”
Kent: My lord, do we have to do this every year?

Macbeths
Lady Macbeth: Husband, I’ve cooked us a delicious meal. Sit down!”
Macbeth: Why is there a ghost in every seat?
Lady Macbeth: What are you–?
Macbeth: Thou canst not say I did it! NEVER SHAKE THY GORY LOCKS AT ME!
Lady Macbeth: (sighs) I can’t take you anywhere.
Macbeth: (muffled sobs)
Lady Macbeth: Man up, dear.
Macbeth: I hate ghostsgiving.

The Sound and the Fury’s Compsons
“pass the turkey Quentin”
“which Quentin”
“the alive one”
“whoa Jason whoa”
they were going along the fence hitting. The turkey wasn’t dead it wasnt even passed.
“Please stop doing stream of consciousness during dinner, Benjy.”
the turkey was a commentary on the American South
but also death
potatoes and sweet potato pies passed by each in its appointed place

Mellark-Everdeen Thanksgiving, post-Hunger Games
“Who’s hungry?”
(everyone sits there shuddering silently as a sea of traumatic memories wash over them)
“Sorry, bad choice of words.”

Avengers
Tony Stark: Everythin’ special ’bout ME came out of’m bottle!
Captain America: Tony, you need to stop drinking right now.
Tony Stark: IRON MAN ANSWERS TO NOBODY!
Thor: This is still less awkward than Thanksgiving in Asgard!

Les Miserables: The Valjean-Cosette-Marius household
*entirely sung for some reason*
Jean Valjean: Oh Cosette, this dinner looks delicious.
Look at all the varied, toothsome dishes!
Cosette: Oh Papa, I’m glad you’re here for dinner!
Marius: I know that all my friends are dead but I feel like a winner!
Fantine’s Ghost: Hello child, I’m here tooooo for some reason!
I dreamed a dream of feasts and turkey season.
Valjean: Pass the bread?
Javert (emerging from the shadows): YOU STOLE A LOAF OF BREAD? YOU ARE A BREAD THIEF, 24601!
Everyone: Seriously, Javert? How did this guy get here? I thought he drowned! Doesn’t he have a family? How did he get in? Aren’t there other criminals in France? Etc.

Borgias
“This isn’t poisoned, right?”
(long silence)
“No, why would it be poisoned?”

And hey, at least you’re not at the Cheney house this year.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.