"Do you see that, Odie? Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. That's the day people celebrate having food by eating as much of it as possible! Yes, that's the day people try to eat every turkey, pumpkin and cranberry on the face of the earth. It's a tradition. And you know how I LOVE tradition!"
-Garfield explaining Thanksgiving to Odie.
Premiered November 22, 1989
Garfield (Lorenzo Music) looks at the calendar and sees that he's scheduled to go to the vet that day. He notices that the next day is Thanksgiving and tries to trick his owner, Jon (Thom Huge) into believing Thanksgiving has already arrived.
Jon goes food shopping, Garfield thinks he's in the clear, but they stop at the vet on the way home.
Jon flirts with Dr. Liz Wilson (Julie Payne), the veterinarian. She's not interested in him, so he resorts to holding his breath until she says yes to his advances. Liz succumbs saying she "hates to see a dumb animal suffer." Liz agrees to have Thanksgiving dinner with Jon at his house. While examining Garfield, Liz says he's overweight and puts him on a low-fat/low-carb diet. Upon hearing this, Garfield gets very upset.
Thanksgiving Day arrives, Jon starts cooking dinner. He has no idea how to cook a turkey. Liz is arriving in three hours.
Jon decides to just put the turkey in the oven and turns the heat way up to make up for lost time. Garfield knows that won't work, but he doesn't care because his new diet prohibits him from eating any turkey.
Liz arrives and wonders if her prescribed diet was a bad idea. Garfield acts sick, so she tells him she would "rather see him fat and healthy." She recommends exercise instead.
So Garfield is free to eat Thanksgiving dinner, but he remembers that due to Jon's stupidity, there's won't be any dinner. Garfield gets Jon to call his Grandmother, hoping she can save the day.
Grandma (Pat Carroll) arrives and goes to work in the kitchen, while Jon stalls with Liz in the living room.
Can Grandma save Thanksgiving? Will Liz think even less of Jon after their Thanksgiving "date"?
J.A. Morris says:
"Garfield's Thanksgiving" is a lot of fun, especially for fans of Garfield's newspaper strip and Saturday morning series. There aren't that many Thanksgiving specials, but this is one of the best. Garfield's primary goal in life is to eat as much as possible, so he makes a perfect subject for a Thanksgiving story. Lorenzo Music is excellent as Garfield (one of the best voice casting choices of all time), the rest of the voice cast is pretty good too. Julie Payne also has some great deadpan lines as Liz.
While I've never been as bad a cook as Jon Arbuckle is in this special, but I have committed some Thanksgiving blunders in the kitchen. So this is something I could relate to. I also don't think Thanksgiving dinner is the best time to have a "first date" in real life, but it goes okay for Liz and John.
As a cat owner, I also appreciated the sub-plot about taking Garfield to the Vet.
The only thing that doesn't work is a song called "It's A Quiet Celebration" sung by Desiree Goyette. It's about the meaning of Thanksgiving near the end of the show. The sentiment is fine, but it feels out of place in Garfield's Thanksgiving. On the other hand, the opening song by Lou Rawls, "Make Thanksgiving One Whole Meal" is great. We don't have many "Thanksgiving-themed" songs, I'm sorry this Rawls' song didn't catch on beyond the special. Give the song a listen:
Like I said, if you're a Garfield fan (especially a fan of '80s-era Garfield), you'll love Garfield's Thanksgiving. If you're not familiar with America's favorite Fat Cat, this Thanksgiving special will serve as a nice introduction to the character.
J.A. Morris' rating:
Four Pumpkin Pies!
This is a classic Garfield special. We have the obligatory cooking disaster Thanksgiving trope, Garfield freaking out about being forced to diet near the holiday (and arguing with the talking scale, which compares him to Orson Welles) and there is even a visual reference to U.S. Acres, the other Jim Davis comic strip from the 80s. Check out Orson the U.S. Acres pig in Liz the vet's waiting room:
|Orson the U.S. Acres pig waiting to see the vet|
|Garfield vs. the RX2 talking scale: "Judging by your weight, you are Orson Welles."|
|Odie acting as a literal whistle-blower when Garfield tries to cheat on his diet|
The only note that rings false to me in this special is the Desiree Goyette "It's A Quiet Celebration" song that J.A. Morris mentions above, the sentiment of it is nice, but the cloying presentation of said sentiment isn't easy to take.
Despite the annoying song, this is a special that makes for recommended annual Thanksgiving viewing.
4 Pumpkin Pies