Annie and Jake try to host Thanksgiving dinner together, but things go awry when Jake's mom tries to undermine them.
Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time even for the happiest almost-newlyweds, as Jake and Annie prove in this week’s holiday-themed episode. But that stress translates to a great show, as Jake and Annie also prove in this week’s episode.

So far, Marry Me‘s strength has been Jake and Annie, and luckily, the show plays to that strength this week. There’s a little Gil, a little Kay, a little Dennah, but it’s really about Jake and Annie struggling to host their very first Thanksgiving together with the supporting characters providing distractions and witty quips—just what they’re good for.

Annie kicks off the episode by revealing to Jake that she wants to host this year’s Turkey Day even though Thanksgiving is usually his mom’s holiday—so this means they have to have a talk with Jake’s mom, Myrna. Jake and Annie go over to Myrna’s house for dinner, but as soon as they approach the subject of Thanksgiving, Jake bows out thanks to a “bathroom emergency,” a.k.a. the perfect excuse.

Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are grocery shopping, and Gil is looking for the right cheese to pair with crackers. At first he picks up some American cheese singles, which should only be used in grilled cheese sandwiches and even then only sparingly. Kay gives him a hard time about his choice (Kay, the voice of reason), and the cheesemonger overhears. And here begins Gil’s relationship with… cheese.

Gil has so far been annoying and seemingly pointless in the context of the show, but in this episode? He’s actually funny (still annoying, though). He tries some cheeses and the cheesemonger realizes that Gil—who, let’s remember, just minutes ago was about to bring Kraft Singles to a fancy dinner—is a “prodi-cheese,” something that sounds a lot more fun to be than an actual prodigy.

Gil then gets invited to a “speak-cheesy” where people sample illegal cheeses after work, and he brings Jake along. For cheese-lovers, a speak-cheesy sounds like the dream, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be: Once they arrive, they’re informed that the cheeses could have listeria, which could result in sepsis, which could kill you. Yum!

This whole scene doesn’t really serve any purpose, unless you count giving Jake a chance to make disgusted faces at the array of cheeses a purpose—which are pretty great faces, but still. A secret dairy event is an exciting setting, but only if something actually happens at the secret dairy event.

Meanwhile, Annie is freaking out at home trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner, but, surprise, she’s not prepared. She should just do what my college professor did for his students on Thanksgiving: Go to Boston Market, put the food in fancy dishes, and call it homemade. But alas, she’s trying to outdo Jake’s mom—who, Jake discovers, made an entire Thanksgiving dinner already just in case Annie’s didn’t work out. Classic mom move.

Once Jake finds out that dear old Myrna is trying to undermine Annie just like Annie suspected, Jake is all about the two of them having the best Thanksgiving dinner ever—which means staying up all night to cook the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. This involves shots of espresso and alcohol (the sophisticated version of Red Bull and vodka) and ends with Annie turning up the heat on all the food once they realize guests are about to come. Really though: These two just made turkey, gravy, etc. all from scratch, but they somehow don’t know that turning up the heat on all their food is a bad idea? Some people don’t watch enough Food Network, apparently.

Of course, their food is ruined and they’re left with Gil’s cheese, which turns out to be cheese made from human breast milk, and crackers. What follows is a typical stressful Thanksgiving dinner that’s made better by the presence of the two best supporting characters so far: Annie’s dads, Kevin and Kevin. One Kevin is mad because they could have been in Ibiza instead of at Annie’s failure of a dinner; the other Kevin is trying to make his other half behave—and failing.

Thanksgiving episodes can often end up too hokey, but Marry Me‘s rose above that and, while there were some sweet parts, stuck to its funny, awkward, core. And for that, we have something to be thankful for.

Best lines

“A cornucopia is a traditional… I don’t know. I really just don’t know what it is.” —Annie

“You’re taking American cheese singles to a holiday dinner party? Was the last Thanksgiving you went to hosted by a Garbage Pail Kid?” —Kay

“Ha, ha. You’re hilarious, Kay. But you know you’re not supposed to encourage my beliefs that the Garbage Pail Kids are real.” —Gil

“It’s casual, but there will be pants.” -Gil on Thanksgiving dinner

“The war between wife and mother-in-law is a tale as old as Everybody Loves Raymond.” —Annie

“Tread lightly here, man. You play this thing wrong, you’re going to end up a divorced orphan.” —Gil

“So in your scenario, the woman I’m not even married to divorces me, and my mom is so mad that she dies.” —Jake

“More or less.” —Gil

“The last time a guy made me feel crazy, I broke into his house, switched all his pills around, and gave his dog up for adoption.” —Dennah

“Dennah, that is crazy.” —Kay

“Oh, the Ibiza gang just checked into the foam party.” —Kevin 1

“Kevin, will you let it go? We’ll find some other way to get pink eye.” —Kevin 2

Episode Recaps

Marry Me
Casey Wilson and Ken Marino play the will they or won’t they (get married) in this NBC rom-com.
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