Thanksgiving Day means expressing gratitude, connecting with loved ones, and sharing a meal. It also frequently involves overeating, preparation for Friday's orgy of consumerism, and rapidly getting annoyed with your family and friends.
Thankfully, there's a solution: getting lost in hours of reality TV marathons.Many cable networks have scheduled them, so here's a guide to all of the television you can escape to when you ditch your family or just seek out a television without a parade or football.
First, cleanse your television palate by binge-watching fall's best reality series, Starz's “The Chair,” online or on demand. It follows the creation of two films that both use the same script, which is thematically appropriate: both “Hollidaysburg” and “Not Cool” are about returning home for Thanksgiving for the first time after being away at college.
When you're done with artful reality television or just need families more dysfunctional than your own, there's a 13-hour marathon of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (E!, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.). A&E starts the day with “Dog The Bounty Hunter” (A&E, 8 a.m. to noon) and then the “Duck Dynasty” clan takes over its network during the afternoon (A&E, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.), except for a one-hour break for two episodes of “Country Bucks” (A&E, 4 to 5 p.m.). Also try “90 Day Fiance” (TLC, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.) or “Tamar & Vince” (WE tv, 4 to 10 p.m.)
If watching TV about another family with your family isn't quite surreal enough, watch other people's families watch television with a three-hour marathon of “The People's Couch” (Bravo, noon), which is followed by 7.5 hours of “The Millionaire Matchmaker” and its awful star Patti Stanger (Bravo, 3 p.m.), who people apparently trust to find them a life partner.
Holidays are a great time for nostalgia, so remember what “Mythbusters” was like before Discovery fired Kari, Tory, and Grant — and before Grant started working for McDonald's — with this 12-hour marathon (Science, 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. Friday).
Check out your other viewing options on page 2, including “Planet Earth,” “Shark Tank,” “Life Below Zero,” “Extreme Couponing,” and more.
The History Channel defers all actual history to its sibling network H2, instead choosing to broadcast historical episodes of “Swamp People” (History, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and its hit series “Pawn Stars” (History, 4 to 11 p.m.).
Work up an appetite with “Holiday Baking Championship” (Food Network, 2 to 5 p.m.) or “The Illegal Eater” (Esquire Network, 7 to 10 a.m.), or get inspired in the kitchen by watching chefs create meals out of mystery ingredients on the “Knife Fight” (Esquire, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Or find options for drinking away the memories of the day with “Best Bars in America” (Esquire, 8 p.m. to midnight).
If you'd rather go out into nature — via your television, of course — there are marathons of two great nature documentaries, “Planet Earth” (BBC America, 8 a.m. to noon) and “North America” (Animal Planet, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), plus animal-themed shows such as “Nature's Weirdest” (BBC America, noon to midnight), “River Monsters: Unhooked” (Animal Planet, 2 to 8 p.m.), and “The Incredible Dr. Pol” (NatGeo WILD, 3 to 7 p.m.).
Cold and need to appreciate how warm it actually is, relatively speaking? Try a trio of Alaska-set reality series: “Life Below Zero” (National Geographic Channel, 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.), “Alaskan Bush People” (Discovery, 9 a.m. to noon), and “Alaska: The Last Frontier” (Discovery, noon to 3 a.m.).
You can always just laugh at other people with “The Carbonaro Effect” (truTV, 8 to 11 p.m.), the awesome parody/scripted reality series “The Real Husbands of Hollywood” (BET, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.), or the sadly unscripted “World's Dumbest” (truTV, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). There's also “Cops” (Spike, 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.). Or just mock others' decision-making on “House Hunters Renovation” (HGTV, 1 to 7 p.m.) and “Flip or Flop” (HGTV, 7 to 10 p.m.
Finally, prepare for Black Friday with “Extreme Couponing” (TLC, 1 to 6 p.m.), or learn how to really make money with TV's best business makeover series, “The Profit” (CNBC, 1 to 6 p.m.) and the educational yet wickedly entertaining “Shark Tank” (CNBC, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.).