We know Thanksgiving is meant to be a holiday where we appreciate family and food by sitting down together and eating as much as possible before succumbing to the food coma in front of the TV. And, you know, something about historical pilgrims and Indians and turkeys and maize and junk, too. But we’re geeks and we feel our holidays need a little added geekery! Feasting in the visual entertainment world often comes with its own unique set of issues, so let’s go look at some wonderful and horrible feasts of folly!
The Best – The Purple Wedding
I know, it’s rather unkind to consider a wedding where someone died to be one of the best scenes in the entire show, but stay with me here: there’s perfectly valid reasons for it. Anyone who’s watched Game of Thrones from beginning to now, or who’s even read the books, generally agrees on one particular thing: Joffrey needed to DIE. In the most painful and sudden and public fashion as possible, too. When they finally showed the Game of Thrones episode where Joffrey bit it at the fest for his wedding to Margery, when Joffrey drank his poisoned wine and turned a lovely shade of purple as he died (that’s why fans affectionately call it the “purple wedding”), a resounding cheer went up from households all across the nation! It was almost like the football show after the turkey-day feast, though I’m betting the “Joffrey’s dead!” cheer might’ve been a bit louder.
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The Worst – A Feast in the House of Darkness
The bad guys have been trying to do it since the beginning of storytelling – find a beautiful and innocent maiden, fall in love with her, and then corrupt and twist her so she can live with him together in happy blackness forever. It doesn’t always work, or works in unexpected ways, such is the case with the epic tale Legend.
In the process of attempting to seduce Lilli, Darkness offers her dresses and jewels and a place at a sumptuous feast where, unfortunately, all the courses are black as midnight. That apple (I think it’s an apple) doesn’t look very appetizing, though I have seen wines that were as dark as his heart. Even knowing what we know of Lord Minotaur there, it’s hard not to be tempted, and that is the whole point. His Royal Nastiness seems to have an unhealthy obsession with pies, too.
The Best – Any Feast at Hogwarts
Who wouldn’t want to receive an owl-mail and get to go to a school of witchcraft and wizardry? Where, in the main hall, food magically appears in all its mouth-watering glory! Actually, it’s not magic; Rowling went into it in the books, how the food is delivered rapid-speed by the house elves that belong to Hogwarts, and Hermione takes offense to this. They don’t really go into that part in the films though, and it was kind of a shame, since the role of house elves and Dobby and Kreature in particular were instrumental in saving the entire wizarding world.
Here at Hogwarts, you can have everything from the British staples – treacle tart, spotted dick, and puddings, oh my – to anything else you might dream up, and don’t forget the goblet of pumpkin juice! Pass the butterbeer: we need it after that latest visit from He Who Shall Not Be Named.
The Worst – The Feast of the Pale Man
It just isn’t fair. Poor Ofelia was sent into the Labyrinth on certain tasks, sure, but she’s a young girl, and younglings are almost always hungry. Ofelia hasn’t been well-treated either, not by her parents out in the “real world” especially, so that only adds to her hunger.
The Pale Man is this child-eating monster that sits silently in front of this decadent feast: he’s not eating it, why can’t we? Because that’s the trap folks. The story is reminiscent of the Greek myth of Persephone and the pomegranate problem. Poor Ofelia has all of two grapes, which wakens the Pale Man to chase her with murderous meat mayhem in mind. Just goes to show that Guillermo del Toro’s dark imagination of Fae in Pan’s Labyrinth is something to never be taken lightly!
The Best – Garfield’s Thanksgiving
It’s about to be the orange butterball’s favorite holiday, well one of them anyway, where people celebrate food by eating as much of it as possible! Just one little issue: the vet put Garfield on a diet (that’s die with a T) the day before! Hapless Jon managed to convince Liz (that’s Doctor Wilson to you) to come to his place for Thanksgiving dinner, but what does he know about cooking, other than lasagna?
Who can save Garfield, Odie, and Liz from eating a frozen bomb of a turkey and raw cauliflower? Jon’s motorcycle-riding chainsaw-wielding Grandma, voiced by Pat Carroll, to the rescue! Everyone needs a female relative who can appear, cook to perfection, serve an amazing spread and disappear like the best-ever spirit in the night, but Garfield’s Grandma does it better than most! Pat Carroll was also the voice of Ursula the Sea Witch in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, her raucous laughter and irresistible zest for life comes across quite well in both characters!
The Worst – The ‘Special’
Just imagine it – you’re deeply immersed in an interactive video game (or is the game immersed in you?) and have just sat down to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. The game gives you urges you have to follow in order to progress the game, and one of these urges is to order the special from the Chinese waiter, who protests, saying the special is only for special occasions. Like murder, I’m guessing. No, it’s the demoness Allegra Gellar’s birthday, at least Ted Pikul says it is, though why anyone would order the special from this place for their birthday is beyond me.
Well anyway, the special comes and it is flat-out disgusting, visually and nasally and every other –ly, and yet here you are, eating it because the game is telling you to. Oh well. ‘The special’ does come with a prize at the end, but given this is the movie Existenz, the prize may not be what you think! Look out for the dog at the dinner table!
The Best – ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner’
Captain Kirk is doing his best to contain his serious dislike, if not outright hatred, for Klingons in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Yet, there has to be a state dinner between Chancellor Gorkon, his daughter, his warleader Chang and some other Klingons, and the bridge crew of the Enterprise. After all, we’re attempting peaceful relations right? Where else would you find live gagh (it is standard Klingon fare, after all), Romulan ale to smooth things over (that wasn’t a good idea, given who suggested it), quotes about Hitler (delivered in Captain Kirk’s unforgettable deadpan), and Shakespeare in the original Klingon (!!), all at the same table?
Even in the far-off future, awkward state dinners are still a tradition! As soon as the transporter sparkles were done and the Klingon delegation were finally gone, the bridge crew all let out simultaneous sighs of relief, and every single last one of us has had at least one family feast gathering that ended that way!
So just remember, whether you burned the turkey, the unwanted political-zealot Uncle showed up, football got cancelled due to the polar vortex-driven blizzard, the last can of cranberry sauce got swiped by the linebacker-for-Thanksgiving grandma, it could always be worse. Or if you put some extra love and effort into it, the best!