TV Lists

The 9 Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes to Watch on Turkey Day

Celebrate thanksgiving by hiding from your family and watching these fictional families enjoy turkey day!

Celebrating Thanksgiving usually entails a day of eating, answering uncomfortable questions from your family about your career and romantic life, hearing about your grandma's bunion surgery, and, if you're lucky, a well-earned doze in front of the TV. This year, given the social distancing guidelines, you may bypass the family time and go straight to the couch.

Regardless of your plans for Turkey Day, when that second helping of turkey starts to settle in your belly and your eyelids start to feel heavy, it's time to shove your cousin (or cat) over on the couch, settle in, and turn on one of these classic Thanksgiving-themed episodes.


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Music Features

On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com


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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission is responsible for monitoring broadcast media, enforcing its guidelines on "obscene, indecent, and profane content," and fielding complaints from the public.

In the case of the Super Bowl halftime show, a Freedom of Information Act request from WFAA in Dallas, Texas revealed that the FCC had received more than 1,300 complaints, many of which called for fines to be levied against Fox, NBC, the NFL, or the performers themselves. While the complainants obviously have the right to express their distaste for the sexually suggestive performance that interrupted their three-hour marathon of CTE-inducing violence, many of their concerns were touchingly naïve.

Many viewers felt that J. Lo and Shakira's dancing amounted to pornographic material, with one Wyoming viewer stating that the show "would have been considered soft porn not many years ago." A Maine viewer, describing himself as "a father of 2 teen girls," said, "That 'show' should have been reserved for late night cable TV." Another person in Tennessee complained that, "I do not subscribe to The Playboy Channel, we do not buy porn for $20 a flick, we simply wanted to sit down as a family and watch the Super Bowl… we expected to watch football and a quick concert but instead had our eyes molested."

Eyeball licking

Leaving aside what it means to have your eyes molested, that latter comment seems particularly illustrative of the disconnect between many of these complaints and the reality of our interconnected society. The idea that pornography is confined to specialty cable channels and feature length films that cost $20 is so sweetly outdated that it's almost satirical. In 2004—when the FCC was overwhelmed with the furor of more than 200,000 complaints that Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the halftime show had exposed children to the appalling sight of most of a woman's breast—young Internet users were already assaulting each other with links to disturbing so-called shock sites, like "Goatse," "Lemon Party," and others that should likewise never be Googled.

But at that time the phenomenon was still fairly new, and the lack of awareness more forgivable. Today—more than a decade after the advent of "2 Girls 1 Cup"—estimates place the proportion of Internet content that is pornographic somewhere around 10%, and there is a virtually endless availability of videos and images that are far more offensive than "Goatse." Even restricted platforms like Instagram and Youtube offer much more sexually explicit content—much of it featuring former Disney stars—than anything in the halftime show.

On top of that, the prevalence of "sexting" among adolescents means that in many cases there is no company or platform to complain to—young people are exposing each other to sexually explicit material. It may be that these parents were not so much uncomfortable with the idea that their children were being made aware of the existence of sex, but with the fact that they happened to be in the room together while it happened.

The good news is that the proliferation of internet porn has given us a lot of information on the subject, and there is little evidence to suggest that this kind of exposure is damaging to young viewers' psychological development, or that it leads to sexually risky behavior. So while it's understandable that a viewer in Arkansas would say, "I don't want my kids imitating that behavior," they can probably rest easy knowing that their children will neither take up pole dancing, nor start recreationally slamming into one another in disputes over balls.

In reality, while the idea of acknowledging sex may make them uncomfortable, many of these parents could probably learn a lot from having the sex-talk with their kids, as their confusion seemed to go much deeper than assumptions about pornography and cable TV. Many seemed to mistake J. Lo's flesh-tone bodysuit for actual nudity, and several complaints betrayed deeply confused understandings of the terms "striptease," "orgy," and "masturbation," that any modern teen could probably help to clarify. Here are some highlights:

"It was indecent and inappropriate - with crotch grabbing, cameras zooming in on aforementioned crotch grabbing, a pole dance in a barely-there outfit, and other raunchy acts performed above a group of dancers imitating an orgy. [sic]"

"JLo was not only wearing a thong but bent over and showed her whole butt to the camera. Also, FOX cameramen kept zooming in on her crotch throughout her performance AND at one point her backup dancers were simulating an orgy while she writhed around on a stripper pole. [sic]"

J. Lo Pole Dancing at the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show Pictured: Not what an orgy looks like Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

"The Superbowl halftime show was pure filth and not suitable for on air broadcast. Pole dancing, crotch grabbing, simulated sex acts, and even a brief masturbation by J-low all beamed into our family TV room! [sic]"

"JLo did a striptease pole dance while barely-dressed backup dancers simulated an orgy underneath her [sic]"

"1. exposing practically naked backside (looked like thong with leather straps in place?? and crotch area in the camera while gyrating in a sexual manner. This went on for quite some time of the performance. 2. coming down a stripper's pole doing a striptease practically naked, hardly anything on clothes-wise, same with the dancers depicting an orgy-type of activity. It was disgusting!! [sic]"

"They had stripper poles and on stage masturbation on display. [sic]"

"Allowing soft porn with stripper poles and assholes being shown when children are watching. Totally inappropriate!!! Jennifer Lopez did not need to bring her stripper movie and outfits to the Super Bowl. Thanks for supporting porn! [sic]"

"The half time shows need to have tv ratings as it is not appropriate family viewing to see pole dancing, crotch grabbing and extreme booty shaking. [sic]"

J. Lo and Shakira at the Superbowl halftime show Pictured: Extreme Booty Shaking Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

"The Super Bowl halftime show was 100% pornography w women mimicking masturbation in close up crotch shots, imitating sex acts with men while twerking with bare bottoms. [sic]"

It seems unlikely that the FCC will be compelled to take legal action—nor should they—but it's actually kind of nice to see such heartwarmingly sheltered perspectives shared with the world. It's like visiting a historical reenactment village, or imagining the kind of scandals that caused fainting spells at Victorian dinner parties. We hope you never change, FCC complainers—and that you never check your loved ones' search history.

CULTURE

Meet the Man Who Wants to Sue the NFL for $867 Trillion Because J. Lo Made Him Horny

Coach Dave Daubenmire claims that the "crotch shots" in the Super Bowl Halftime show put him "in danger of hellfire."

Dave Daubenmire is angry.

All he wanted was to watch enormous young men in tight pants giving each other concussions for a living. But instead, Fox decided to put his immortal soul at risk.

He has been called "America's most Christian football coach," but the world's angriest Christian would be equally accurate. Daubenmire, or "Coach Dave" as he calls himself, was once a public high school teacher and football coach in Ohio, until the 1990s, when the ACLU sued him for continually preaching Christian theology to his players. After that horrifying instance of frivolous litigation—so frivolous that it didn't even involve trillions of dollars—Coach Dave left teaching to found Pass the Salt Ministries to "unite, organize, and mobilize the Army of God." His approach to this task seems to largely consist of ranting articles, videos, and in-person motivational speeches.

But last week he elevated his ranting to an artform with a flow of rage so intense and beautiful that it could only be divinely inspired. In a live stream on Monday morning, mere hours after the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Coach Dave had already worked up a head of steam that he could barely contain—switching between a tone of stoic scholarship and rapturous, earsplitting denunciation throughout his hour-long address.

"You didn't tell me… You didn't tell me there were gonna be crotch shots!" (Emphasis is our own… but he seriously spends half the video shouting.)

The phenomenon of "crotch shots" are of particular interest to Coach Dave, who wears a baseball cap with a cross embroidered on the front while he preaches—also available in camouflage from the Coach Dave Live online store. He variously refers to "crotch shots flying everywhere" without warning, and he identifies Jennifer Lopez as "an expert in crotch shots," yet he vehemently denies having seen the spectacle himself—"I didn't watch it. I can only imagine. I saw crotch shots today." While the halftime show put on by J. Lo and Shakira contained no nudity, or even an outline of genitalia, the visible existence of an anatomical space between a woman's legs seems to frighten and disturb him.

J. Lo Crotch The horror...Getty Images

"Would anyone think that wasn't designed to arouse us."

The idea that network television, being "blasted" into our homes could contain images that could cause him to feel urges and temptations in his nethers, "itching, uneasy with desire," is not only unacceptable to Coach Dave, it's grounds for a lawsuit—"Why can't we file a class-action lawsuit, go into court and use this as our evidence?" You might be asking what possible damages Dave could claim for being exposed to "crotch shots," but that's because you're forgetting the highest value of all: the fate of his immortal soul.

As Dave puts it, "Could I go into a courtroom and say, 'Viewing what you put on that screen put me in danger of hellfire?'" When you look at it from that perspective, no sum of money could possibly measure up to the profound damage that Fox and the NFL have done to him, but Dave's suggested sum—"I want to sue them for about 867 trillion dollars"—would be a good start.

Of course, some Christians might try to calm Dave down by reminding him that Jesus preached to "love your enemy," not to sue them. In their view, Christ would want Dave to allow Fox to smack us across the face with J. Lo's ass and simply turn the other cheek. But Dave's writings make it clear that he does not agree. In an article entitled "What Are We Teaching Our Sons" Dave decries the "wussification" of modern culture and invites the reader in the first paragraph to "stop reading now if you think Jesus was a softie"—wise words.

J. Lo and Shakira PIctured: J. Lo and WhoeverAP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Coach Dave knows that this Super Bowl stuff is a big deal. "I think we're at war. I don't say 'oh, that's just a small hand grenade, if they come shooting missiles, then I'm gonna do something.'" No, Coach Dave is diving on that hand grenade by looking at the crotch shots, risking hellfire, and shouting at his fans, "They had a pole dance thing!" While his website refers to his "1st amendment rights" to force high school students to pray with him, Coach Dave knows that free speech does not include "J. Lo and whoever" doing sexy dances.

"That's discriminatory against the values I have in my house. You can't just do that! They w—won't even let you talk about homos on facebook… You mean, I can't watch it because there might be something offensive to me? They can't do that! The judge just can't say, 'Well, Coach, turn it off.'" Coach Dave, who clearly knows a lot about discrimination, has elsewhere argued against interracial marriage after a visit to the zoo because "you don't see eagles marrying buzzards," and "I don't think I saw one Oriental married to a black guy." Solid stuff.

In his article on modern masculinity, Coach Dave argues that "scalping Injuns was a wonderful life for a young man to live. Today you can't even use the name Indian," and later goes on to ask, "Is it any wonder we have gender-confusion in America?" and, "Do you want your son to be taught to be nice or to be a man?" And really, who wouldn't want their kid to grow up to be an angry, violent bully like Coach Dave—i.e. a real man.

Good luck with your lawsuit, Dave! We're all rooting for you.

Culture News

Let's Get Political About Jennifer Lopez's and Shakira's Butts

The Super Bowl halftime show bared a lot of truth.

Depending on who you ask, it's unclear who won the Super Bowl.

Some say the highest trophy went to Jennifer Lopez, who commanded the stage with age-defying athleticism, from pole dancing to expert choreography, leading millions of viewers to Google her age (50 years old, that's right). Many say that Latin music won the night, with Bad Bunny joining Lopez to represent Puerto Rico and Shakira, 43, bringing Colombian and Middle Eastern cultures to the spotlight on the Super Bowl halftime stage. Or, as The Cut says, it was "a very good night for butts"; between the awesome powers of Shakira and J-Lo, we had "a dance routine choreographed by butts, for butts...Hips don't lie, and as it turns out, neither do butts!"

But, as with any sporting event, there were angry spectators who didn't like what was happening, who yelled out their displeasure, and who occasionally ranted that "this is America!" for seemingly no reason. Criticism of Shakira and Lopez's halftime performance ranged from shaming the provocative nature of their costumes and choreography to the "un-American" cultural references embedded throughout their performances.

Is the Super Bowl American?

During Shakira's performance of "Hips Don't Lie," the Grammy Award-winning artist paused to give a nod to her Colombian-Lebanese roots. She leaned down to allow one lucky camera to capture a high vocal trill accompanied by a tongue-wagging movement. While the ululation confused many (and inspired a truly cringe-worthy amount of memes), others recognized it as Shakira's version of a zaghroota, a traditional cry of joy in Arabic cultures. Shakira, whose first name is Arabic for "grateful," was mostly raised in Barranquilla, Colombia by her Spanish and Italian mother and Lebanese father.


In fact, her father introduced her to the doumbek, a traditional drum in Arabic music that often accompanies belly dancing. She first heard the beat in a Middle Eastern restaurant when she was four years old, and she fell in love with the performance. During Sunday's halftime show, Shakira brought her signature belly dancing to the stage, where Middle Eastern viewers recognized their culture represented proudly before millions of Americans. Some took to Twitter to point out the traditional dances from Carnaval de Barranquilla, the second largest carnival in the world—which takes place in Shakira's hometown. She also performed the Champeta, a dance that originated in Africa and has its own version in Branquilla, Colombia; and many pointed out that Shakira's zaghroota was part of her version of "Son de negro," another traditional dance performed in Colombia to celebrate African ancestry.


Jennifer Lopez created equally dramatic moments in honor of Latinx culture. The Bronx-born Puerto Rican singer gave new renditions of hits like "Jenny From the Block" and "Waiting for Tonight." But then came a symbolic interlude when Lopez turned the stage over to her 11-year-old daughter, Emme Maribel Muñiz, to lead a children's choir in a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA." The performance was staged with the children encased in cage-like decorations, a symbolic nod to the thousands of immigrant children being held at the border, most of whom come from Latin American countries. When Lopez returned to the stage, she was wrapped in a feathered version of the Puerto Rican flag, whose white star represents the U.S. commonwealth and white stripes stand for human rights and individual freedom.


"Family Friendly" Sexism?

However, while Shakira and Lopez's halftime performance celebrated Latinx culture with nods to the Latinx diaspora and its numerous contributions to what we know as "American culture" today, ignorance still marred many viewers' perceptions. Criticism ranged from racially charged complaints that "this is not an Arabic country" and that cultural traditions were somehow inappropriate to show on national television to overt, sexist shaming of both Shakira and Lopez for their provocative dancing.

What most critics seem to have in common is a belief that the Super Bowl halftime performance is a "family show," and therefore viewers are entitled to modesty from female performers. Perhaps they also believe that J. Lo is simply too old to pole dance. In a nod to her critically acclaimed performance in Hustlers, Lopez showed off her athleticism with a pole dancing routine in her set, and she was also joined by Shakira for a final hip-shaking pose. Critics found this be too sexualizing and objectifying of women–which it was, if one looks at it through the lens of the default male gaze, which has always warped how we see women in media, placing women in the Edenic role of the seductress and entirely dismissing their cultural origins and personal ability to exert control over their own bodies. But hey, that's Twitter for you.


Rising Star

Alessa Ray Drops Salsa-Latin-Fueled 'Mamacita'

Turns up the heat on 'Mamacita'

Photo Courtesy Alessa Ray

Originally from Paraguay, Los Angeles-based Latin pop singer-songwriter Alessa Ray recently dropped a new music video, called "Mamacita."

While competing in the Music Record Contest in her native country of Paraguay, she realized writing original songs was the best way to express her creativity. Self-releasing her music online, she started performing in regional clubs. Later, she relocated to Los Angeles, where she attended Musicians Institute and performed as a background singer, as well as working on her own music with session players.

Currently in the studio putting together music for her second EP, tentatively slated to drop in September, Ray's sound blends stylish, infectious pop, salsa, and EDM with a distinctive Spanglish charm. The music on the forthcoming EP is inspired by her life experiences, literature, and the unique personalities she's come into contact with.

"Mamacita" opens with a Latin-flavored piano and finger-snaps, and then flows into a swanky salsa/Latin groove alive with sumptuous sensuality. The rhythm throbs with voluptuous undulations and wicked sinuousness. Tantalizing, seductive harmonics marinated in erotic colors roll and swell with languid grace, imbuing the tune with sultry, simmering tumescence.

Ray's lush tones sparkle with posh, polished timbres, saturating the lyrics with oozing come-hither sultriness bordering on hedonistic self-indulgence. It's a voice exuding verve and vivacity, cool and steeped in steamy hues. This song cooks with sweltering erogenous energy.

The video, directed by ZANE, projects supercharged hormonal exuberance, as it depicts the electrifying atmosphere pervading a party.

"Mamacita" is cool and stylish, riddled with cool, gorgeous harmonics akin to a slo-mo atomic hurricane. This song is lit and Alessa Ray has it going on!

Follow Alessa Ray Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.