A very Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Every year, I try my hardest to go through the archives of TV shows that had Thanksgiving-themed episodes. That search is made easier by Wikipedia (see their list of specials) being one stop shopping for all my “I need an idea!” moments over the holiday season. And every year, when I’m convinced I’ve outdone myself the previous year, I find something else that surprises me.
When I consider something for my holiday-themed posts, I really try to go for the obscure, hard-to-find factor. Because even if it is something most have forgotten about, there is always a group that have a pretty good memory for these things.
Take, for example, the sitcom featured in this post.
The Torkelsons (yes, I know, quite a name) was a sitcom that aired on NBC for two seasons between September 1991 and June 1993. The show was retooled for its second season (which proved to be its last), and earned a new title along the way – Almost Home. The sitcom focuses on the Torkelson family – divorcee Millicent and her five children.
There’s Dorothy Jane, her fourteen-year-old, who talks to The Man in the Moon for guidance, twelve-year-old Steven Floyd, ten-year-old Ruth Ann, eight-year-old Chuckie Lee, and six-year-old Mary Sue. The family is left in dire straits after Millicent’s husband Randy leaves them, and later divorces Millicent.
The family lives in a beautiful, huge house in Pyramid Corners, a fictional suburb of Vinita, Oklahoma. In order to keep the family in the home, Millicent takes in a renter, Wesley Hodges (whom the kids call “Boarder” Hodges).
And then, season two happened.
The Torkelsons lose their home (and two children) at the beginning of the second season. About the “losing two children” thing…Ruth Ann and Steven Floyd were written out of existence. The family moves to Seattle after Millicent accepts a job as a nanny for Brian Morgan’s two children, Molly and Gregory. Brian runs a successful clothing catalog/magazine. This version of the show, retitled Almost Home, premiered on February 6, 1993, and ended in June of the same year. The entire series ran two seasons and 33 episodes.
I never heard of this show in its initial run (I think I know why – it was on Saturday nights, and we must have turned NBC off after The Golden Girls and Empty Nest), but saw it in reruns on the Disney Channel in the mid-1990s. It was on Sunday afternoons the first summer I had the channel, which would have been (I think) 1997. It’s cute, if not slightly hokey. I remember wondering where two of the Torkelson kids are after the first season (didn’t have things like the internet and Internet Movie Database or Wikipedia yet to explain that occurrence), and why Brittany Murphy was on the show instead. This was, of course, after having seen Clueless, and that’s where I knew her from. May have just been the transition from season one to season two (or I took a week or two off), but yeah, disappearing kids.
During the series brief run, there was never a Christmas-themed episode, but there was a Thanksgiving episode during season one.
“Thanksgivingmesomething” aired on November 24, 1991 (the Sunday before Thanksgiving, which was on November 28th that year – thanks Google!). I thought about doing a recap, because that’s usually what I do, but part of being thankful for your readers is not killing their eyes in the process. That said, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:
It’s almost Thanksgiving in Pryamid Corners, and Millicent is getting a delivery of material to create cushions for the church pews. Langley, the pastor of their church (along with Dave, a friend of his who is Native American and has never celebrated the holiday) make the delivery.
Dorothy Jane, ever the enterprising youth, finds out that their pastor doesn’t have Thanksgiving plans, so she invites the pastor to join them (he accepts). Millicent, unbeknownst to Dorothy Jane, invites Dave and his daughter to join them.
The episode revolves around Dorothy Jane trying to help her mom reclaim being a woman so she can find love (which she hopes will happen with their pastor).
I’d say that’s it, but there’s more, and, well, why not see it for yourself?
And now, for a special Thanksgiving treat, here is the full episode of “Thanksgivingmesomething.”
Yep, let’s do this again next year. Two less kids, and a different city.
But why be a killjoy?
Special thanks to YouTube user “Dorothy Jane Torkelson.” This channel has the complete series on their channel. If you liked this episode, the whole series is worth a look. 🙂
From my table (both the real kind, and the virtual one) to yours, have a safe, healthy, blessed, and above all, happiest of Thanksgivings!
Next week, it will be business as usual, but beginning December 1st, we’ll start the countdown to Christmas!
Thanks for visiting!