5 Thanksgiving Survival Tips We Learned From Television

Katherine Myers
How I Met Your Mother
Monty Brinton/CBS/Landov

The holidays can be rough. Luckily, our TV forefathers have gone on to lay a firm foundation of survival skills for grappling with family, friends and straight-up enemies sitting at your dinner table. Here are five tried and true tips from television's most instructive Thanksgiving episodes to guide you to sanity this week.

Gilmore Girls

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Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls: Dine in Multiples

In a Season 3 classic, Lorelai and Rory get the best of four worlds. The trick here is not overstaying your welcome at any one meal. They hit up Luke’s, Sookie’s, Emily’s and Kim’s Thanksgiving dinners, scoping out the best eats, kissing some cheeks and peacing out. The drive-by method keeps you moving, up on all the gossip and full of samples from the best each table has to offer. It helps to be popular.

Friends

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Friends

Friends: Dress Like a Maniac

An infamous Thanksgiving episode teaches us that Christmas does not have a monopoly on hideous clothes. If you’re worried about getting trapped in an awkward uncle conversation about your relationship status, simply wear something ludicrous, (in Ross’ case, a mullet; in Monica’s, a painted-on velvet dress), and no one will be able to discuss anything but your outfit. Or better yet, your uptight aunt will avoid being seen next to you, period.

RELATED: Thanksgiving Cheers: A Messy History of TV's Greatest Food Fight

New Girl

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New Girl

New Girl: Invite a Wild Card

Distraction techniques are instrumental in maintaining your holiday sanity. Rather than face your weird nieces across the gravy bowl, simply out-weird them. Invite a new boyfriend, or in Schmidt's case here, his Rob Riggle-cast cousin. Jess, as usual, out-stranges them all when she invites her divorced parents for a set-up. That level of discomfort should distract everyone long enough for you to sneak into the den with half the pie and a bottle of wine.

GREY'S ANATOMY

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Grey's Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy: Resort to Violence

OK, no, we are not advocating that you harm your family or friends. But in the case of Seattle Grace’s finest, escalating your turkey day antics to a physical level will make them very memorable, as opposed to barely tolerable. In Season 2, George’s family takes him hunting and he has to operate in the woods on his dad’s butt when he gets shot. (You know, typical family stuff.) After an upset like that, every subsequent Thanksgiving will be better.

How I Met Your Mother

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How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother: Stick with Your Squad

Keep the gang together. It’s a cardinal rule of any TV cast’s Thanksgiving. What’s better than avoiding dish duty after a dinner for 20? Not going to a dinner for 20! Keep it simple, like the gang does in “Slapsgiving," and stay in your own apartment with your own friends doing your own wholesome thing—in this case, strapping Barney to a chair and threatening to hit him in the face all night. If you have to venture out to someone’s family fete, bring some or most of the crew with you, and have plenty of drinks prepared.