Nine Pop Culture Talking Points to Get You Through Thanksgiving With Your Family

Paramount Home for the Holidays

I have a big family, which means that on Thanksgiving, a lot of people show up with food, hangrily wait for everyone to arrive, say grace, eat other people’s food, become immobile for a few hours, and then make a few plates and leave. It’s the best. Somewhere between the arrivals and the comas, however, all the conversations happen. Some are discussions that stem from something on television, some are side conversations, and occasionally there are those amazing moments when it seems as if someone’s been waiting all year just to bring something up. And when that happens, all you can do is sit back and watch it unfold.

It’s pretty magical, watching conversations go from one topic to another, often struggling to find the line that got the family from A to B to C. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve enjoyed throwing out a few curveballs in addition to observing, just to see how my family responds to the topics, be they political, sports, music, movies, Tyler Perry, whatever.

But sometimes it’s awkward to start these conversations if they don’t happen organically. It’s not the most natural thing to just stand up and yell over the football game, “BUT WHAT OF KIM’S LACK OF NIPPLES IN THAT “BOUND 2” VIDEO, DO Y’ALL WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT?”

That’s a bit much.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it. Because let it be known that tomorrow my family and I are watching that video together and then talking about it. Forever.

So that’s my Thanksgiving game plan. And the following are nine ways I’m considering making pop culture segues on Thanksgiving.

  1. “Hey, what do y’all think of my new Confederate flag jacket? I got it at the Kanye West show, we’re appropriating its meaning through our purchases, no child left behind, would any of you like to try on my Confederate flag jacket?”
  2. “Fam, I’m dating Miley Cyrus. And she just pulled up. Everyone, please welcome her like one of our own, try not to comment on what she’s wearing, and before you ask, yes, those are in fact her ovaries outside of her napkin skirt.”
  3. “Instead of watching The Jacksons: An American Dream again, I was thinking we’d make a Harlem Shake video. As a family. ASSEMBLE ON THE STAIRCASE, COSBY STYLE, AND NO SWITCHING OF CHARACTER ASSIGNMENTS. THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, THIS IS A THEOCRACY.”
  4. “Someone grab me a bottle of ranch so I can use it as a microphone. Mom, go lie down, I’m going to try to jump over you like Miguel. I promise I’ll make it — remember, I played varsity basketball eight years ago.”
  5. “There are a lot of good cooks in this family. I was thinking maybe this is the year we move on to meth.”
  6. “Anybody trying to see Catching Fire tonight? It’s just like The Best Man Holiday, but in space.”
  7. “So, Mike Vick, huh?”
  8. “We have to watch an episode of Catfish. It’s a really simple premise for a show, family, it’s just when young people have long-term relationships online with people they’ve never met or seen on video and then it always turns out that one of them doesn’t look like Shemar Moore but instead a lady warlock from this zip code we’re sitting in right now. It’s great fun.”
  9. “OK, let’s go around and name our favorite race-themed movie of the year. I’ll start: The Bling Ring.”


Feel free to use some of these, or think of your own. The point is to know your audience, give it your all, and, most importantly, to remain thankful for the people who helped raise you. In return, you’re trying to educate them about a year’s worth of pop culture in one day. These are the days to truly be thankful for.

Filed Under: Kanye West, Miley Cyrus

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert