We’re counting down the days to Thanksgiving by looking at a variety of Thanksgiving-themed TV episodes. Thanksgiving episodes are all different, but they have lots of tropes in common. Today we’re looking at the Orange is the New Black episode “Fucksgiving.”
Directed by: Michael Trim
Written by: Sian Heder
Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 9
Where to Watch It: Netflix
This episode has its own dark take on the found family trope common in most Thanksgiving episodes. When Alex tries to reunite with her father and he’s an absolute disappointment, she ends up meeting Fari, the man who gets her involved in an international drug cartel.
This episode has one of the most joyful scenes of the entire series when the inmates celebrate both Thanksgiving and Taystee’s upcoming release from prison. There are adorable moments between Alex and Piper and Poussey and Taystee, but even characters we don’t usually see have a relationship, like Taystee and Big Boo, are affectionate in this scene. The fact that it’s such a rare moment of joy and camaraderie makes it even more dramatic when Healy interrupts to have Piper wrongfully thrown into solitary confinement.
Most of the food in this episode is incredibly unpleasant. First, Red deals with the “turkey trimmings” they’ll be serving. It’s just the parts of the turkey that usually get thrown out by the factory. Then, Pornstache pees in everyone’s Thanksgiving gravy. Finally, while Piper is in solitary, she receives a sandwich with mold on it.
The harshness of all the prison food results in a feeling of anger when we eventually see the absolutely beautiful, lavish Thanksgiving meal that Larry is enjoying.
No football in this one.
Pornstache makes an unfortunate but apt metaphor. He tells the inmates, “We are the pilgrims, you bitches are the Indians. This is the holiday where we cooperate.” Big Boo immediately replies, “Ah yes. We bring you maze and you bring us smallpox blankets.” Pornstache dismissively responds, “Exactly. Everybody wins.”