The funniest thing I’ve seen in my entire life is a five-minute clip from season two of Succession. In the clip, patriarch Logan Roy throws a dinner party and forces some of his guests, including two family members, to play a sadistic game called “Boar on the Floor.” During “Boar on the Floor,” the players must leave their seats at the dining table and crawl around on the ground as they compete for a nibble of sausage. There are no winners in “Boar on the Floor.” There are no rules in “Boar on the Floor.” I love “Boar on the Floor.”
If “Boar on the Floor” can teach us anything, it’s that family dinners are never about the food. I can recall a few dramatic family dinners from my own childhood, but I can barely make out the food that was served. The food is just a backdrop for family drama, like the time my four-year-old brother cried so hard that he threw up because he was asked to eat a piece of broccoli.
I was reminded of this when New York Times Magazine writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner tweeted over the weekend, asking her followers: “what is the best-ever written scene of a family dinner in all of contemporary literature?” The replies were many, and they got the Takeout team wondering: in honor of “As Seen On TV Week,” what are some of the best family dinners on TV?
I’m thinking of the Dysfunctional Family Dinner sketch from Saturday Night Live (“I drive a Dodge STRATUS!”), or the “Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” episode of Bob’s Burgers that culminates in Bob standing firmly atop an ornate Thanksgiving spread. I’d also be remiss if I failed to mention The Pony Remark scene in Seinfeld, which is less about the “peas bursting with farm-fresh flavor” and more about the awkwardness of dining among strangers and vague acquaintances. So, what’s your favorite family dinner scene on TV? Sound off in the comments.