Certain people feel obligated to watch football on Thanksgiving. Maybe it is some high school rivalry game they’ve been to for the last 30 years, maybe it’s the NFL, but football has branded itself with Thanksgiving. So, you’ll probably end up watching a bit even if you think football is dumb and “don’t really get the rules.” Of course, not all Thanksgiving football slates are made equal, and this year feels especially repulsive. Green Bay at Detroit should have been the game of the day, but with no Aaron Rodgers, it loses a lot of its appeal. It still might be the best contest, though, as Dallas/Oakland should be ugly and Baltimore/Pittsburgh is about two years past its expiration date. I strongly encourage you to follow the advice below if can’t stomach another second of football. For the sake of originality, I will not list the Godfather this year. Just know that it’s going to be on. Probably all day.
12:00-1:00 PM–The National Dog Show, NBC
As you probably read I went to this event a couple of weeks back and now is your chance to not see me on television. Despite my offer, I was not asked to sit-in as a guest commentator. Starting at 12:30, football is going to be on for about 10 straight hours, so this will get you in the proper, competitive frame of mind.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Dr. Phil, OWN. Dr. Phil is the absolute worst.
1:00-2:00 PM–Wild Russia, Animal Planet
Judging by the description, this is an hour of watching Polar Bears. If you need more enticement than that, you are probably dead inside. If all animals were able to domesticated, and could live comfortably, and you know…not accidentally maul you to death, a polar bear would be in my top-5 of animals to just have “around.”
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Keeping Up With the Kardashians, E! I’m not above reality TV, but I’m above this.
2:00-3:00 PM–Cliffhanger, Sundance
Of all of the implausible roles that Sly Stallone played (Rambo, Rocky, Demolition Man) and of all the ridiculous things those characters pulled off, I’m not sure that there is anything more ridiculous than Sylvester Stallone: Rock Climber. Just an amazingly horrible and watchable film.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Top 100 House Party Songs Part 9, Fuse. You’d probably be lost if you missed the first 8 parts.
3:00-4:00 PM–Family Feud, Game Show Network
I’m assuming this is classic Feud and not Steve Harvey Feud. If you don’t see Richard Dawson, turn back to Cliffhanger. Dawson was a perverted master. He’ll kiss you, ON THE MOUTH, at any moment. Let it happen. Also, the Feud is great for sporadic attention spans and audience participation.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Star Trek Next Generation, BBC. I’d love to hear a defense of any Star Trek vehicle. Just kidding.
4:00-5:00 PM–Property Brothers, HGTV
Who doesn’t love the property brothers? I’m sure this show is a total scam, but it feels like the show to get on, because they get you a good deal on a house and then they renovate the damn thing for you. All you have to do is waffle on a few decisions and act exasperated a few times. Sign me up.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Beverly Hills, 90210, Soap. Not on the Pilgrims’ Day.
5:00-6:00 PM–The World Series Of Poker, ESPN
Dinner should be over, people should be getting sleepy and/or tipsy, it’s the perfect time get the juices flowing for some games of chance. It isn’t a holiday without some cutthroat family game time.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Sponge Bob Squarepants, Nick. Isn’t everyone’s kid watching this crap on their iPads at this point? Free up the TV.
6:00-7:00 PM–Pawn Stars, History
You just won all that money off your family, how about a Civil War belt buckle to complete your collection. I’ve been through a Pawn Stars phase, a Storage Wars phase, an American Pickers phase and a Duck Dynasty phase. Pawn Stars seems to have the longest shelf life.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: The Andy Griffith Show, TV Land. Your parents will defend Andy Griffith like you’ll defend Seinfeld in 20 years.
7:00-8:00 PM–Con Air, Random Cinemax.
I took a bit of a shot at Stallone earlier, of course some of Nic Cage’s roles make Sly look like Daniel Day Lewis. There’s plenty to love here, from the ridiculous premise, to the horrible Cage accent, but Thanksgiving is a time for nostalgia. Remember when Nic Cage was a movie star? Remember when you saw horsebleep like this in the theater?
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Reba, CMT. I’m mostly against genre crossover. Singers sing/actors act, etc.
8:00-9:00 PM–Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, ABC.
You know, unless you don’t love America.
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Billy Madison, IFC. Someone’s got to say it–Billy Madison isn’t funny anymore. Sorry.
9:00-10:00 PM–Friday Night Lights, ESPN Classic.
I think I would actually rather watch this movie (for the 9th or 10th time) than the Steelers and Ravens play live. Even though I know that Mojo isn’t going to get in on that last drive against Dallas Carter, part of me thinks this could be the year?
Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Glee, Fox. People that like Glee don’t even like Glee anymore, right?
Ok, that takes you to 10 pm. At that point you should be pulling down the covers and calling it a night. Or having a conversation with your granny, or eating your 22nd piece of pie–just no more TV. We’ll see you Friday, Happy Thanksgiving.