A Very Substandard Thanksgiving

Hey Substandard Sitcom “fans.”  Hopefully you had a happy Thanksgiving and have emerged unscathed from your food comas.  You know how your Thanksgiving went, but I’m sure you’re curious to see how our venerable podcast hosts fared.  Read on and find out!

The episode opens on the eve of Thanksgiving at the Last household. Jonathan is running Shannon through his extensive travel checklist.  He has distributed thick Leslie Knope-style binders to each member of the family.  Each has the big picture objectives in achieving a successful exit from the swamps of the Washington DC Metro Area as well as individual assignments.  For instance, one of Favorite Daughter’s many assignments is to be as adorable as usual and to ease the tension raised by the daughter that must-not-be-named. 

JVL: And finally, if we are not on the road at 4:30 we pull the plug on the whole thing.

Shannon: Really? Is there a grace period?  What if it’s 4:31?

JVL: Plug pulled.

Shannon: 4:30 and 31 seconds?

JVL: Yank it like you’re starting a mower.

Shannon: Okay.  That’s fine.  It’s your family, so I won’t be that broken-hearted if we stay home.  It will give me time to read through Jane Austen’s novels for the fifteenth time. Oh, Mr. Darcy. (fans herself with the binder)

JVL: (mildly irritated but generally accustomed to this sort of thing) If there are no further questions I make a motion to adjourn this spousal meeting.

Shannon does not second it as she’s been transported in her imagination to 19th century England. 

JVL: (clears his throat) Shannon, would you second my motion, please.

Shannon: (distractedly) Yes.

JVL: (impatiently) For the sake of order I’m going to need you to actually second my motion.

Shannon: Seconded.

JVL: Meeting adjourned.

Favorite Daughter: finishing up the minutes) May I go to bed now?

JVL: Of course.  Goodnight dear.

Cut to the morning at the Last household.  It’s 4:29 and to say JVL is tense is to say that we have a small issue with entitlement spending in this country.  He can just picture traffic building up on the beltway as he waits for what? What part of the detailed plan went wrong?  Where did he go wrong as a parent? As a spouse – as a man?  What went so wrong that his family can’t follow a 283 step plan to perfection?

JVL: Aaaaaaaand, time.  Back in the house everyone.  It’s a good thing your mother bought a tufurkey, because we are doing Thanksgiving at home this year.

Cut to the Bunch house.  Sonny is sitting at the dining room table sipping coffee and reading Agatha Christie.  His daughter is playing with Sucker Punch dolls.  That’s a thing, right? Beth looks out the window and sees her family pull up.

Beth: Mom!  Dad! (Runs outside and hugs her parents) Come on in?  How was the drive?

Beth’s dad: Oh, not too bad.

Sonny closes his book and walks to the door to greet his father-in-law. 

Sonny: Pops! (goes in for a hug)

Beth’s dad (we’ll call him Carl from now on): (sees the hug attempt and counters with a hearty handshake) I told you to call me Carl.

Sonny and Beth exchange a look.  Sonny mouths “I thought he likes me now.” Beth just shrugs.

Sonny: Carl, come down to my favela and watch some football.

Sonny laughs at his favela joke, but Carl remains stone-faced.

Sonny: (trying again) Um, the Vikings-Lions game will start soon.  Everson Griffen is now part of the SSEU, so that’s cool.

Carl: Are you still doing that silly podcast?

Sonny: (head drooping) Yes.  (pauses as he doesn’t know what to say) Let me get you some bourbon.

Carl: That’d be good, son.

Sonny looks at Beth and mouths, “He called me son,” and pumps his fist.

Cut to the Dwyer compound.  Vic and family are pulling up in the family station wagon.  Station wagon?  Of course.  Vic feels strongly, as a proud New Jerseyan (New Jerseyite?) raised in a certain era, that every family ought to drive a station wagon.  He is particularly fond of the Woody Wagon.  They don’t make it anymore, but you can get a vehicle painted to look like it has wood sides and Vic has done just this.  Vic loves his faux Woody Wagon because of nostalgia and, well, because he’s Vic.

They get out of the car and walk in to many happy greetings.  Papa Dwyer is standing in the great room awesomely and looking awesome.  He’s thinking about how grateful he is to have this awesome family.  He’s also grateful for Vic because he is a generous man.

Vic: Where’s the captain?

Papa Dwyer: He’s teaching his sons how to do one-armed pushups.

Vic’s son Michael turns to run to the back of the house to hang with his uncle Bill.

Vic: Michael.

Michael: Yes, Dad?

Vic: Before your uncle teaches you how to do a one handed push-up, would you make sure to teach them what I taught you on the way here?

Michael: The difference between an em dash, an en dash, and a hyphen?

Vic turns to Papa Dwyer

Vic: (proudly) That’s my boy! Ah.  Who wants some bourbon?  I literally write the book on vodka and do I get free vodka?  Nope. But we have whisky as a spirit of the week just a few times and suddenly I’m judging whiskey competitions.  Don’t tell anyone, but I received a lot of free bottles before the competition.

Papa Dwyer: Isn’t that a problem?  How can you be an impartial judge if you were on the take?

Vic: I’m sure it’s fine.

Cut to the Last dinner table.  JVL is finishing his Thanksgiving prayer of…thanksgiving.  It’s been going on for some time now.

JVL: And last of all, we thank you dear Father for Andy Roddick, who made American tennis great again.

Shannon: Are you going to give thanks for your family or just Matthew Vaughn and the brands you wish you were an ambassador for?

JVL: And thank you Almighty God for my family, well, most of them anyway.  In Christ’s name we pray, amen.

Family: Amen.

JVL: And now the ceremonial cutting of the tofurkey.  So weird all of you have such dainty appetites on Thanksgiving – especially when we serve tofurkey instead of murder meat. (takes a sip of Schofferhofer)

Cut to the next day as the Last family is working on a 4,400 piece Lepin project of some sort.  Something to do with a helicopter.  JVL is once again wound as tightly as Sonny would be if he were clutching the last copy of Sucker Punch at Substandard Extended Universe Con (SSEUCon).  See, the idea of purchasing a 4,400 piece Lego helicopter or whatever for pennies on the dollar seemed like a great idea at one point.  But if you’ve ever put together a 1,000 piece Lego kit, you know that it is a challenge.  Now try doing it with, um, substandard (thank you very much) instructions written in Chinese.  With four times the pieces.  That’s what JVL is trying to do with his children.  Shannon has gone from relatively concealed glee at JVL’s misery to pretty open mockery of him. 

JVL: (to Shannon) You seem to be taking an unseemly amount of joy in this…this…this growth opportunity.

Would you like a snapshot of this…growth opportunity?  I’ll provide one…with pleasure

Fade to black.


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