We’re a mere day away from Thanksgiving, and I’m already mentally preparing myself for interacting with my family for five long, uninterrupted days. I mean, don’t get me wrong—I love them, but the thought of spending nine hours in a car to get to our Thanksgiving destination and then spending five more days with people who continually ask me bullshit questions like “so what’s your plan for the future?” or “where do you see yourself next year?” or “your 15-year-old brother has a girlfriend now, what about you?” literally makes me want to jump in the path of an oncoming train. What’s my plan for the future? To blackout as quickly as possible and avoid this conversation, obviously. My 15-year-old brother has a girlfriend, what about me? Well, just last Friday I was choosing between a thrilling evening spent taking Zzzquil and re-watching old episodes of Chicago PD or responding to a “drag me to you room” text from a romantic suitor whose idea of a date is grabbing drinks and then going “splitsies” on the tab. So, yeah, things are going well on that front. Honestly I’m exhausted from this conversation already and I haven’t even gotten there yet. I’m assuming that you, like me, sometimes equate Thanksgiving to being held hostage by the people you have to love unconditionally. But thankfully for you, I spend 90 percent of my time comparing my situation to that of fictional characters, and let me just tell you, there are families out there who are wayyy bigger psychopaths than yours. Blessings. So here are 6 TV families who are worse than yours in honor of Thanksgiving:
1. The Blossoms/Coopers — ‘Riverdale’
If you know anything about me, you know that I shamelessly rep Riverdale because
I want to bang Jughead Jones it’s a damn good show. So, sorry not sorry, here I go again because when I think crazy families I can’t not mention Riverdale. Don’t let the wholesome 1950s vibe fool you—this town is literally batshit crazy and so is every family who calls this psych ward of a town home. And no two families have bigger issues than the Blossoms and the Coopers. I mean, you think your family has problems? Imagine feuding over a condiment you can only use on pancakes. And that’s the least of their problems. In addition to starting a blood feud over maple syrup and who is more of a natural redhead (yes that’s an actual plot point on this show), there’s also the whole thing about their grandpappys being related and no one passing this little family secret down the line to their grandchildren. Was there a more iconic moment than when it was revealed that star-crossed lovers Polly and Jason were in fact COUSINS?? I was legit giddy when I found out the horrifying news, because nothing brings me more joy than watching two young, beautiful people realize they fell in love with someone they share some parts of their genetic code with. It’s really the little things that keep you going. And let’s never forget when Polly said perhaps the most best line to ever be said in TV history: “I’m an unwed mother carrying my cousin’s babies.” Pure fucking gold.
Honestly, she’s not wrong here.
2. The Gallaghers — ‘Shameless’
First of all, if you aren’t watching Shameless, then you need to immediately because it’s one of the best damn shows on television. And I’m not just saying that because I
want to climb Lip like a tree appreciate the talent on this show. That said, I’ve never met a more fucked up family in my life. Let’s start with the fact that Fiona, the oldest Gallagher sibling at age 21, becomes the sole caretaker of her five younger siblings—all of whom rank somewhere on a scale between hot-degenerate-I-would-gladly-let-fuck-me-up-emotionally to sets fire to feel joy Carl. That’s just like, the baseline of the bullshit the people on this show go through, and let me just tell you, their childhood trauma is something I love more than I love the man who delivers me pizza.
3. The Pearsons — ‘This Is Us’
I’m not gonna lie, I may or may not have gotten halfway through season one and given up because I
was sobbing and rocking in a corner value my mental health, but that won’t stop me from judging the shit out of this show. Fucking duh. Tbh I don’t really understand why people are so obsessed with this family. I can’t go one damn episode without wanting to slit my wrists, and that’s usually a sentiment I save for when my mother asks if I want to look through her high school yearbooks with her. As far as I can tell, the Pearsons’ drama revolves around three 30-plus-year-old adults with bigger daddy issues than me. In the three episodes I’ve watched, there have been approximately three mental breakdowns, one long-lost father, one long-lost dying father, issues with body image, adoption drama, two mid-life crises, a dead parent, and a person who completely sabotaged their life in the span of five short minutes by means of a mental breakdown over a plastic doll (Kevin, I so admire your work btw). IN THREE EPISODES. Jesus. I need a xanax just writing all of that. If your family has more baggage than that at your Thanksgiving table, then I would recommend just not going home. Seriously, stay in your padded room apartment and celebrate from a safe distance. Like via your cousin’s drunk Snapchat story.
4. The Coopers — ‘The O.C.’
Ah, The O.C. A staple of my childhood and a show that taught me that if you want to be the most sought-after girl in high school, all you need to do is have your stomach pumped in Mexico. V important life lessons right there. The show also taught me that no matter how many times my mother reported my pictures from freshman year of college to Facebook for “inappropriate content” she could never be worse than the legend that is Julie Cooper. Julie did a lot of fucked up shit on this show, like belittle her daughters from the inside out, sleep her way to the top of Newport society, threaten her daughter’s boyfriend with bodily harm and jail time, attempt to commit her daughter to a psych ward against her will for overdosing in Tijuana (not her worst idea tbh), and bang her daughter’s HIGH SCHOOL AGED ex-boyfriend. And that’s literally just season one. Don’t even get me started on her sex tape in the later seasons. No, hands down, Julie Cooper wins the psycho mother of the year award, followed closely by Kris Jenner of course. And I’ll be chanting this mantra silently in my head every time my mother asks me questions that involve the words “future” and “boyfriend.”
5. The Scotts — ‘One Tree Hill’
One Tree Hill, aka my actual will to live from grades six through senior year of college, had it all: hot brothers,
high fashion jean skirts, and basketball games that served literally no purpose other than to generate cat fights and drama. Not to mention Nathan Scott is the reason I have trust issues a thing for dark haired, blue-eyed men who say shit like “but I wasn’t taught how to love!” *adds second entry for CW in burn book* Aside from the fact that every guy on this show was simultaneously beautiful and full of shit, the family dynamics were also pretty fucking dramatic. I mean, the whole premise of this show is that a high school douchebag knocked up not one, but TWO women before his freshman year of college and decided to only emotionally and financially support one. Then he had the audacity to live and raise his family in the same town as his bastard child. So basically this shit was (and low-key still is) my fucking catnip. And honestly if you have a father that’s worse than Dan Scott, then you should absolutely call the people at The CW because they will turn that shit into pure magic for my entertainment public consumption.
^The reason my high school yearbook quote was “be the change you wish to see in the world” except I substituted “world” with “emotionally unavailable men”
6. The Hastings/DiLaurentis — ‘Pretty Little Liars’
And here we have yet another family with a high amount of almost-incest happening. I’m v sorry about this list. I didn’t mean to make it all about sibling/cousin love but that’s just
what sells on Freeform and The CW how the cookie crumbles these days. My b. If you’ll recall, Spencer Hastings and Alison DiLaurentis were next door neighbors, best friends, and casual sharers of brothers and several strands of DNA on their mothers’ side. I would say there’s a lot that’s fucked up about Rosewood, PA, but Mr. Hastings is by far the most messed up thing to come out of that godforsaken town. Not only did he have a secret mistress on the side in the form of Mrs. DiLaurentis, with whom he shared a son, Jason, and told no one about—which almost resulted in Jason dating half-siblings on multiple occasions—but he also couldn’t keep it in his pants long enough to determine if he was banging said mistress or his mistress’s identical twin sister. And, yes, that plot summary was as painful to watch as it was to write out. Tbh I do not have enough time in my day to outline the intricate web that is the Hastings/DiLaurentis family tree, so just be fucking thankful that you’ve never almost banged your brother because your father neglected to tell you that you’re actually the result of a tryst gone wrong with his mistress’s identical twin sister. Bless up.
^A direct result of someone saying “give me good TV” and the writers at Freeform taking that to mean “will fill unexplainable plot holes with identical twins and bad English accents”
You know the
thing I just came up with old saying: show me a sexy man and I’ll show you a woman’s hurt feelings verified fuckboy. The men of This is Us were named Sexiest Cast Alive by People today, so in honor of that, I’d naturally like to tear each of these characters down dissect these award-winning studs, aka break down who’s a big bitch and who’s a bigger bitch. While maybe 3 people we all know my opinion on King of Fuckery Jack Pearson, there’s no denying that the other men on this show occasionally give him a run for his money . Here’s a ranking of the biggest fuckboys on This is Us.
Oh, Randall. It pains me to even put your name on this list, but rest assured it is as lowest ranking fuckboy of any recurring male TV character I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. The closest Randall has come to making me frown was the beginning of the season, when he briefly fixated on the idea of immediately adopting a baby boy despite his angel wife’s clear hesitation. Also, remember the boo-boo song?? I love Randall. You’re not a fuckboy, Randall—just maybe involve Beth a tiny bit more on the big life decision stuff (e.g. hunting down birth parents, new children, quitting your job, etc.).
Well, talk about making lemonade with life’s lemons. All this time, we’ve been searching for clues that it’s okay to hate Toby a little bit, and now I find out that his last name is basically DEMON. (Don’t @me about Matt Damon, that fucker is on the “knew about Harvey” list. If the Demon shoe fits…) Anyway, while Toby is initially the charming, larger-than-life self he needs to be to get Kate out of her shell, the act quickly becomes self-indulgent. Kate, while vocally encouraged to be herself, often doesn’t have room for her own choices and preferences in Toby Land. Also, bringing her mom to her first-ever show was a shitty thing of him to do, though the part about being Team Kate after was very cute, and should be used as a template for all conversations your partner ever has with anyone. Ultimately, I do believe a good heart/correct intentions are hiding behind that
fat suit ego, so as long as he’s good to Kate, he’s okay with me.
It truly pains me to list Kevin as fuckboy #2 on this list, a title I would’ve given to Mr. Demon even a few episodes back. However, his recent turn into painkiller addiction and callous treatment of new-lover/ex-wife Sophie have forced my hand. Obviously, no one ever cared much about his milquetoast love interest; almost everything about her seems too
boring blandly good to do anything but make Kevin look bad in comparison. Case in point: It would be too easy to just cringe-watch Kevin drunk-dial MDs from the comfort of his home—no, we get to do that with the backdrop of a Sophie-organized charity gala.
Sophie: You have ruined my life once before, and currently don’t treat me well. I would like to open with forgiveness.
Kevin: You are SMOTHERING me, Sophie!
Sidenote: I truly do feel for Kevin as he struggles with his addiction, but the fuckboy test draws clear lines. If you would not set a friend up on a date with this person for fear of how she would be treated, you’re probably dealing with a fuckboy. So you tell me: Is Kevin Pearson a fuckboy?
Finally: my #1 since day 1, Jack Pearson. Jack, like all true fuckboys, is very, very good when he’s good. Jack on a good day is filled with an endearingly manic need to make his family happy; on a bad day, he runs on equally breakneck speed toward their destruction, eyeing up secretaries and bringing a flask to work. Jack, even when well-intentioned, can be too wrapped up in the desire to solve his own latent daddy issues and have the PERFECT FAMILY RIGHT NOW, and this makes him vulnerable to overlooking the finer points of his family’s current needs (see: insistence on immediately having children, delivery room behavior, anything involving punching). What makes Jack Pearson such an infuriating fuckboy is how unbelievably happy he makes Rebecca, in between the bouts of screaming, drinking, and overriding her needs. But if you think about it, it’s exactly this kind of up-and-down that marks a fuckboy relationship? “Fireworks” are a thinly-veiled code for “rage issues,” and would the “spark” in this central Pearson relationship feel as strong if there weren’t always a tiny kernel of fear that he could fuck it up forever?
At the end of the day, I love each of these characters at least a little bit (but Randall most). But as any faithful viewer knows, any one of these men could be responsible for your next big cry (tonight on NBC at 9pm, can I have my money now?), and that makes every last one a fuckboy.
Photo courtesy of NBC.com
This week’s episode of This Is Us confirmed a couple of things for me: 1) This Is Us functions very effectively as a long-form PSA for appropriate use of birth control and 2) I’m a psychic genius, because I pitched this story before even WATCHING Tuesday’s episode in which, yep, we get a pregnant Chrissy Metz.
For anyone who read
the transcript of my rage blackout my article on Jack Pearson, you’re already familiar with some of my theories on the show, mainly that Rebecca (Mandy Moore) would’ve been way better off if her whimsical alcoholic husband had chilled with the baby fever (not to mention the off-the-cuff adoption schemes, though obviously thank God, because Randall is the backbone of this whole show). It’s made abundantly clear that Rebecca did not want kids, which just begs the question, if you’re as compulsive and tortured as I am a rational human being: What makes her any different from me, a woman who similarly both does not want to have children and occasionally engages in heated bathroom floor sex anyway? (I’m being colorful to make a point; I do not actually practice in/recommend any kind of bathroom-located sex, and not even just because I cried that one time. It’s just good sense.) Anyway, in honor of all the times This Is Us makes you wonder if maybe you should run out for some Plan B, because apparently pregnancy just STRIKES when you least want it, here’s a rundown of all the mothers on this show who probably would have been better off and happier if they just used more reliable birth control.
Okay, sorry I forgot Beth, but it’s easy to forget someone on a ranking of the worst mothers when you are literally perfect. Please accept my 1,000 sincerest apologies. Beth is the best. Obviously. She has the best marriage, best husband, best life, and least fucked-up kids. She just adopted a foster child, and she’s better dressed for a Wednesday at the office than you will be at your wedding. Beth will always call you (Randall) out on your (Randall’s) bullshit, and while the rest of you clowns are fawning over Rebecca and Jack’s “perfect” marriage, Beth is over here being LITERAL marriage and parent goals with Randall. I know Beth is a fictional character, but can she adopt me?
I already basically explained this, and I don’t think there should need to be any reason beyond the fact that she word-for-word states, “I never want children,” on this show, and then continues to say nothing that would suggest she has changed her mind prior to pregnancy. But it does merit a mention that she also directly calls out the fact that having children essentially crushed her professional hopes and made her literal worst nightmares about being an ignored, overburdened wife and mother all come true (even if there were good parts too, the things she was afraid of ALL HAPPEN). I would’ve loved to have seen Rebecca launch her singing career and continue her habit of drinking in the morning, as Jack
mournfully tended to a growing collection of dolls in the attic loved and supported his badass wife. Instead, he works a job he hates and develops a drinking problem, while she carries the weight of five people’s well-being on her shoulders. Worst case all around.
This is not a political statement; I am fully aware that we haven’t actually seen Kate be a mom yet, but I just feel like the amount of baggage she’ll bring to the table is not healthy for an impressionable human baby. The biggest reason that Kate shouldn’t have a baby right now, IMO, is Toby, whose controlling man-babiness has been driving me up the fucking wall. Kate has displayed more dedication to her fitness journey in this 45-minute episode than I’ve shown in the last five years, and he dares to try and throw her off her game? Also, don’t simultaneously egg someone on to eat a snack instead of working out while ruining the snack itself with a description of the weird hippie ingredients you used for it, because apparently your unemployment has yielded some super specific and nauseating baking habits. (He has to be unemployed, right? What is he doing all day, ironing Kate’s dresses and tracking her location with the GPS chip he implanted? I hate Toby.)
Moving on. It’s also slightly sad timing that Kate’s finally decided on a career she wants to pursue, and she’ll immediately need to put that on hold. I’m also not crazy about the compulsion we’re seeing about her body just a few weeks into pregnancy. I’m all for the working out and eating organic, but Kate’s so anxious about what her body can and can’t do already. Pregnancy is like mandatory anxiety about exactly that and with much higher stakes, and Kate’s definitely already reacting.
As we learned this episode, somehow the literal bundle of joy that is Rebecca Pearson was hatched from a racist Disney villain who really, really should not have inflicted her version of “mothering” on anyone. Her nasty-comment-per-minute ratio would be impressive if it weren’t so wantonly directed at her kind and sickly grandchildren, and the brand of racism she brings to the table is basically exactly what you can look forward to at your next Thanksgiving. (To be clear, this is not me saying I wish all your grandmothers had been barren and you’d never been born; I’m just pointing out the many times This Is Us has depicted mothers in ways that make you think, “If she could just be a woman and not a mother right now, I think that would be a better alternative.”)
Anyway, short of showing Planned Parenthood ads at every commercial break, I think This Is Us has been about as effective as it can be in demonstrating the need for education surrounding and access to effective birth control. If being pregnant is your thing, then good for you, I guess. Just don’t be Rebecca Pearson, crying in a sparkly dress about how her singing career was lost in the parenting shuffle of diaper changing and built-up resentment.