Where is the gosh dang, puppy kicking TV Guide? When was the last time you uttered that sentence? Well maybe not that exact sentence but something similar. If the remote wasn’t lost the TV Guide was, and then you were just screwed. What were you going to do, flip through all 40 channels? I have to give the “Guide” credit. It was so penetrating that everything that listed TV shows was called the TV Guide, not to mention the prominent role it played in a Seinfeld episode. My family rarely had the actual TV Guide. We used the one that came in the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was excellent. Nice glossy cover, all the local programming (what’s on Prism?), movie summaries and an insanely easy crossword in the back. Who needed the real magazine when you had that? We also got one from the local paper, which was incredibly inferior. I still get a little mad now just thinking about times I could only find the Daily Local News TV guide.
Anyway, nostalgic information gathering aside (we’ll get back to this in my ode to the encyclopedia coming next month), Thanksgiving is a very big TV day. It’s big for one major reason, and that’s football, but believe it or not, everyone doesn’t watch the games. With so many other options, stations have stepped up their game. They show classic movies, run marathons, there’s even a dog show! I’ll be watching football, but if I wasn’t, here’s a rundown, old school TV Guide style of what I would suggest checking out. If someone is bothering you while you keep track of Calvin Johnson’s fantasy points, just print this out, hand it to them, and tell them to make themselves scarce.
11am-12pm: National Lampoon’s Vacation on Comedy Central. True classic, and in the tradition of most great comedies, it starts much faster than it finishes. So, catch the beginning, make sure you get at least to, “Hey, excuse me Holmes.” Commercial Click: Cosby Show on the CW.
12pm-1pm: The National Dog Show on NBC. A great counter to football pre game shows. You’re watching dogs on TV?!? You’re listening to Shannon Sharpe talk?!? If you are lucky they won’t start with the toy group, and you can see some actual dogs. Commercial Click: Mythbusters on Discovery.
1pm-2pm: Cake Boss on TLC. Cake Boss is a great time. I prefer it to Ace of Cakes. There, I said it. Plus, you need to start cranking up the appetite this time of day. What better way to start salivating than to look at cake for an hour? Commercial Click: Little Miss Sunshine on E!
2pm-3pm: Love Actually on Lifetime. I’m not afraid to say this is a good movie. Plus, I identify somewhat with the guy who is obsessed with Keira Knightly (nice wedding footage, stalker). But, I feel like this will be big in the non-football crowd. Hey, Snookums, did you know Love Actually is on? Then they sprint out of the room. Commercial Click: Ace Ventura on TBS.
3pm-4pm: Major League on Comedy Central. Not watching football is one thing. Not watching the first hour of Major League? That’s unforgivable. “You gotta name, or are you gonna stick with Veg-Head?” Commercial Click: Saturday Night Live on VH1.
4pm-5pm: Roseanne on the CW. Roseanne was an awesome show. Hopefully these will be two episodes from early-ish years (Hey it’s the guy from the Big Bang Theory!). Or maybe you’ll see George Clooney. Who knows? Commercial Click: Man vs Food on Travel.
5pm-6pm: The Godfather Part II on AMC. There’s a Godfather marathon on AMC. Just so you know. But, I don’t know if I could handle the epic with commercial breaks. Here you can catch the start of the second film. Oscar winning stuff, people. Commercial Click: The Office on TBS.
6pm-7pm: Storm Stories on TWC. This is always a wild show. Footage of floods, tornados, hurricanes, whatever your heart desires. It’s positive reinforcement. That’s why I live safely inland. Commercial Click: The Evening News…stay informed, people.
7pm-8pm: Pretty Woman on USA. Now we’re in the butter zone. Look, it’s George Costanza! Even a billion dollars couldn’t buy you a decent suit at this point in history, but no arguing the merits of this film. Commercial Click: The Break Up on Lifetime.
8pm-9pm: Iron Chef America on Food. You know, to satisfy your competitive juices. This show always fascinates me even though I’d probably eat about 1.3 percent of the dishes. But there I’ll be watching, BATTLE: SQUID! It’s a compelling show of creativity. Commercial Click: Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC.
9pm-10pm: Modern Family on ABC. It’s a re-run, and it’s only on for a ½ hour, but who cares? Watch it twice. It’s the best show on TV. Go into your On Demand machine and squeeze 3 episodes into the hour if you are really feeling full of yourself. Commercial Click: Elf on USA.
10pm-11pm: David Hasselhoff Roast on Comedy Central. I’ve never seen this, but it has to be absolutely classic. Hopefully Shooter McGavin will be there. An hour of Baywatch and Germany jokes, yeah, I’d be interested. Commercial Click: Arrested Development on IFC.
11pm-Midnight: Sportscenter on ESPN. Um, how else are you going to know what happened in the football games?
So, that’s it. If you are up past midnight on Thanksgiving, you are my hero…but, I also feel a little sad for you. Everyone have a good holiday, and you’re welcome for not having to buy a TV Guide.