Surfing the tube on Turkey Day

Tryptophan hangover
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 20, 2007

Here’s a sign of the times for you: this year’s Thanksgiving television offerings, normally a reservoir of classic film & television marathons, are getting pretty, uh, not classic. And pretty tweeny:

The Disney Channel is airing a Hannah Montana marathon (a show about which, if it were possible, we know even less than Disney’s High School Musical).

TNT follows up a day of the WB’s recent, not-very-popular Shannen Doherty/Alyssa Milano teen-witch vehicle Charmed with an 8 pm airing of Mean Girls (one phenomenon we can all get behind).

The CW, the confusingly re-named hybrid of the WB and UPN, gives its prestigious 8 pm slot to Raise Your Voice, a 2004 Hilary Duff-starring semi-musical about “a teen age girl who is very upset about her brother’s death in a car crash” (thanks, IMDb!).

This girl-centric programming is an interesting gender reversal, though one wonders how and when young girls will learn to do what they should be doing on Thanksgiving: cooking.

Elsewhere on the tube, Turkey Day selections are a little less specious. These are some of the highlights:

THE INCREDIBLES (NBC, 8 pm)Why Thanksgiving? Brad Bird’s first Pixar masterpiece (pre-Ratatouille) is a subtle and thrilling modern assessment of the idea of the Great American Hero. More importantly, the kids won’t get the subtext, but they’ll love it anyway.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK MARATHON (AMC, all day)Why Thanksgiving? Much like the Pilgrims of yore, Hitchcock fled Britain upon learning he could make much more exciting movies in America. Don’t miss his best, Vertigo, at 12:30 pm.

DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY (FOX, 8 pm)Why Thanksgiving? On the off chance you made it through the day without hearing any off-color jokes, this Ben Stiller comedy — one of his last decent ones — will get you up to speed.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS(Showtime, 8:30 pm)Why Thanksgiving? Acid-tongued and manic-depressive, Jodie Foster’s 1995 holiday weekend dramedy is as exaggerated and implausible as most Meet the Parents-style holiday comedies, but it’s bleak as hell and often hilarious.

THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR MARATHON(TBS, 10 am-4 pm) Why Thanksgiving? What more heartening message could there be to celebrate the day than six hours of wholesome clash-of-cultures comedy about a rich family that takes in their poor, street-smart cousin? Let's hope they show the one where Carlton takes speed.

LAW AND ORDER MARATHON(USA, all day)Why Thanksgiving? Just because it’s a day to give thanks doesn’t mean it’s not any other day of the year...

THE O’REILLY FACTOR(Fox News, 8 pm) Why Thanksgiving? Time is short. Let the War on Christmas begin!

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