Posted: 10/28/2003


National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving Reunion


by John Kessler

In the new TBS production of National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving Reunion (premiering Sunday, November 23rd) we get the traditional National Lampoon family and circumstances.

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Judge Reinhold plays Dr. Mitch Snider, so called “anesthesiologist to the stars.” Mitch is disenchanted that his spoiled, Hollywood family has lost the spirit of what Thanksgiving is really about. That, of course, is spending time with your family. Unfortunately Mitch has no family except for, you guessed it, his wife, teenaged son and daughter, and, ala Imogene Coca in National Lampoon’s Vacation, septuagenarian Uncle Phil, who, ala Imogene Coca in National Lampoon’s Vacation, spends roughly 98% of his screen time passing gas.

Just in time to plan a trip, Mitch receives a letter inviting his family to spend Thanksgiving in the country with his long lost cousin Woodrow Snider and family. Bryan Cranston (Malcolm In The Middle) plays Woodrow, who along with the rest of his family (if you guessed wife and teenage son and daughter you are correct), are apparently hippies or carnival folk or both.

Mitch begs his family to go, they agree, and wackiness ensues. Was there a lump in Uncle Phil’s last fart? Does Woodrow want to borrow money or a kidney (I’m not kidding), or was it just money after all? How long will it be before Mitch is disenchanted and wants to leave while at the same time his family becomes enchanted and wants to stay? Will Mitch save the young townie’s life with an emergency tracheotomy and help restore the Snider name (again, I’m not kidding)? You get the idea.

It’s easy to see what TBS is attempting here. With the successful annual showings of A Christmas Story, why not tap into the last untapped family television-watching holiday? While National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving Reunion may be worth a look, it will never have the same kind of staying power. But then again, few films do.

Happy Thanksgiving.

John Kessler is a writer and photographer living in Cleveland.

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