Happy Thanksgiving and who better to share it with than the adorable and energetic Ann Marie on a holiday episode of That Girl! As part of the above celebration we're taking a look at the episode "Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year, Thankfully" which originally aired on November 23, 1967. Directed by James Sheldon and written by Peggy Cooper, it's a perfect example of the everlasting charm of the series. It was forty eight years ago and never again will life -- for anyone -- probably be quite as neat and sitcom-solvable as the problems faced by Ann Marie here, but it's a joy to watch her tackle them.
The basic premise is the problem of Ann (the indescribably vivacious Marlo Thomas) and her journalist boyfriend Donald Hollinger (the not exactly "cute" boyfriend but played so intelligently by Ted Bessell that it never mattered at all) to figure out how to meld their respective parents on Thanksgiving Day. Each set of parents wants to have their own child home with them. This is classic sitcom territory here. Of course Ann's dad isn't overly crazy about Don merely on general principles and Donald's mom feels similarly about Ann.
Ann proposes a solution -- she'll fix dinner for both sets of parents at her apartment. After much persuasion it's set up!
The dynamics of the four adults are pure sitcom -- Ann has a hilarious and cranky father (Lew Parker) and a sweet understanding mother (Rosemary DeCamp) who live in upstate New York.. Don has a cynical hoity-toity mother (Mabel Albertson) and a jolly father (George Cisar) who live in St. Louis. Lew Marie expects a goose with oyster stuffing, too. And what else? Donald's mother sends extra silverware to the inadequate Ann.
And did we mention Ann can't fit everything into her oven so she'll have to cook the goose in her apartment and use her neighbors' kitchen for the turkey?
Ann's parents remark to themselves on the fancy glasses and candles -- monogrammed no less -- that Donald's parents have also sent along. What, do they think she's going to steal them?
So Mr. and Mrs. Hollinger arrive!
So far so good!
Until Mr. Marie and Mr. Hollinger start comparing their experiences in World War II. Lou flew, Bert was in the infantry. Classic rivalry! Sky vs. Mud!
Lew Marie needs a drink!
Uh oh! Stuffing snafu! Ann finds out she put the oyster stuffing in the turkey and the sage stuffing in the goose!
Solution! Ann empties the goose stuffing into a paper bag and she'll put it in the turkey and vice versa!
Oh no! Ann can't find the key to the other apartment! She can't get inside!
The dads spring into action! Soldiers to the rescue!
Don's dad takes the brute force approach -- he's going to break the door down!
Operation Turkey Rescue doesn't go quite as planned. Ann's father ends up with a sprained back and is rescued by the fire department.
Don's dad just ruins the door and bruises his arm in the process.
All right, so the turkey burned and there's no dessert, but they shared the goose! Looks like Don's father and Ann's mother got along fine, and even Don's mother and Lew Marie seems to have made up and forgotten their crankiness.
Everybody's getting ready to leave, rather quickly too. They want to get home or back to the hotel. Or do they?
Ann has another idea. She figures everything out. Why don't they ALL go out to dinner together now and make it a great Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving saved, thanks to That Girl!
Lest you think I've given everything away, "Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year, Thankfully" must be seen. It's full of terrific performances and some great farcical moments as Ann copes with her oven bi-location and a gaggle of touchy dinner guests. Life was indeed much simpler and much funnier back then, at least on That Girl thanks to Marlo Thomas and her delightful presence.
"Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year, Thankfully" airs on MeTV tonight at 9:30pm. Find out more about the entire holiday schedule by clicking here. You will also want to enjoy the whole line-up of the A Very Merry MeTV Blogathon and you can see the entire line-up by clicking here.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!