It’s Thanksgiving week. That means a couple of days of classes (if you don’t blow them off), heading home for Wednesday night’s unofficial national pregame at your favorite local bar (which you definitely won’t be blowing off), and then feasting through your hangover with family on Thursday (which you don’t get a choice about: there is no blowing it off). Friday is for sleeping in until you realize it’s a long weekend, and you start your own party all over again—thankfully, of course.
Along the way, though, there’s plenty of fun stuff to check out in anticipation of Turkey madness, beginning with a double dose of Monday Night Football, with the regularly scheduled Ravens versus Saints game, along with the transplanted make-up match between the Jets and the Bills in Detroit.
Football is also as entrenched a Thanksgiving day tradition as drunk older relatives being hilarious until suddenly they’re not. Thursday’s pro games include Bears at Lions, Eagles at Cowboys, and Seahawks at 49ers. The college gridiron, meanwhile, will light up with the TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns, LSU Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies.
Other than sports, indoor entertainment rules the week, which is perfect for nodding in and out of food comas. Rick Ross’s Hood Billionaire album drops, along with a Soundgarden odds-and-sods box set. Blu-ray releases include The Expendables 3, The November Man, and a Three Stooges rarity collection.
TV traditions carry on, as well, with a Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving special Wednesday night, followed in the morning by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the National Dog Show.
Here are the 14 coolest things to cram like stuffing into this shortened week:
Monday Night Football
With Buffalo buried up to its goalposts in snow, last week’s game scheduled between the Bills and the Jets will take place tonight in the relative serenity of Ford Field in Detroit. Also on this evening’s schedule: the last-place AFC North Ravens visit the first-place NFC South Saints. Adjust your point spreads accordingly.
Libation maven Jack Maxwell stars in the new wide-world-of-cocktails documentary series Booze Traveler, debuting tonight on the Travel Channel. Filmed over seven months this year, Maxwell’s alcoholic adventures include chugging camel’s milk vodka in Mongolia and downing a frogs-in-a-blender concoction with the hearty partiers of Peru. Come see how the world spins.
Rick Ross—Hood Billionaire
Aside from his usual one-of-a-kind beats and rhymes, the sweatily awaited seventh album from Rick Ross features a guest list as huge and heavy as the righteously rotund rapper himself. Check it out and hear drop-ins from Jay-Z, Snoop Dog, R. Kelly, Project Pat, K. Michelle, Yo Gotti, Boosie Badass, Big K.R.I.T., Yo Gotti, and French Montana.
The Expendables 3 on Blu-ray
The third time was not the charm at the box office for Sylvester Stallone’s big screen Expendable franchise and many (us included) blame that on the dunderheaded idea to soften the series from being rated R to PG-13. Raucous relief comes to Blu-ray now, as The Expendables 3 arrives gloriously, gorily unrated. Along with the flicks’ standard stars—Sly, Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, etc.—watch and welcome newcomers Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, and, uh, Kelsey Grammer.
Soundgarden—Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path
Seattle’s supreme prog-grunge superstars unleash a triple-disc rarities collection with a fittingly grandiose title, Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path. The box set features more than a quarter century’s worth of B-sides, unreleased material, live performances, album bonuses, and ancient first tries at songs that later became decade-defining anthems. Dive in with your mind ready to be blown.
The November Man on Blu-ray
Pierce Brosnan stars in (and as) The November Man, a pretty good attempt to turn the former James Bond into another version of the present late-middle-age action superstar Liam Neeson. Brosnan plays an ex-CIA operative who’s forced out of retirement to nail down a Russian agent (gorgeous Olga Kurylenko), who also happens to be a knockout he used to bang.
National Parfait Day
The French word parfait means “perfect.” And the traditional desert by that name, which consists of multiple layers of sweet treats such as ice cream, fruit, flavored syrup, whipped cream, and other delights is pretty close to flawless in that standard form. For National Parfait Day this Wednesday, add a bit of booze to the confection. Click here for some delicious recipes. Now that’s perfect.
The Three Stooges DVD Collection: Rare Treasures
History’s funniest men continue to give to the rest of us knuckleheads and porcupines. The Three Stooges DVD Collection: Rare Treasures is an odd duck, though, as it showcases the gold standard Moe-Larry-Curly Stooge lineup only sporadically, and instead focuses on Shemp and Curly Joes Besser and DeRita.
The box also includes two Three Stooges feature films, Rockin’ in the Rockies (1945) and Have Rocket Will Travel (1959). While this may sound like it’s for hardcore Stooge fanatics only, give these rarities a look—you never know which frying-pan-to-the-forehead is going to permanently fracture your funnybone. Also, one of the shorts boasts the greatest title ever: “Boobs in the Woods.”
Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving Special
NBC ushers in the holiday weekend with a two-hour primetime SNL special featuring the show’s funniest Thanksgiving moments over the past four decades. Expect to see Paul Simon singing in a turkey costume, Bill Hader serving black-and-white dinner as Vincent Price, a song from Tarzan, Tonto, and Frankenstein, and, we’re willing to bet our last drumstick, last weekend’s “Back Home Baller” music video.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Huge balloons of beloved toys and cartoons float over midtown Manhattan for the 88th time as NBC broadcasts the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. New balloons this year include Paddington Bear, Thomas the Tank Engine, Pikachu, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and a Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger. Amidst the usual hodgepodge of beauty queens and Broadway performers, musical guests include Kiss, the Madden Brothers, and Meghan Trainor. Whoa—Kiss!
National Dog Show
John O’Hurly, Seinfeld’s J. Peterman himself, returns to host the National Dog Show live from the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. This circus of pampered pooches has become as much a tradition as the Macy’s parade and, for dog owners, it’s fun to both admire the grace and poise of the canine performers and to see how much cooler your bad-behaved mutt at home is than those nerds.
Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular
In case the National Dog Show only whetted your appetite for four-legged TV variety programs, Jane Lynch and Hillary Swank co-host Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular in primetime. Unlike the regal beagles and such of the championship contest, this special focuses on dog rescues and animal adoptions with categories such as “Cutest Puppy” and “Best Howler.”
The turkey’s in the oven, the morning beers have been cracked, and while you pretend to be available to help in the kitchen, professional football will carry you through until dinner time and beyond. The 2014 NFL Thanksgiving roster features Bears at Lions, Eagles at Cowboys, and Seahawks at 49ers.
Turkey Day 2014’s two college football games both kick off at the tryptophan-nap-friendly start time of 6:30pm. You’ve got a choice between the TCU Horned Frogs at the Texas Longhorns and the LSU Tigers at the Texas A&M Aggies. Make a pot of coffee and enjoy.