Thanksgiving Discussions that Won’t End in Bloodshed

Image result for samantha or jeannieLast weekend, we were in Salem, Massachusetts taking a two hour walking tour with a local guide. The focus was on overall history of Salem, not just the witch trials, but we did talk about those because it’s kind of the elephant in the room. But our guide was not one of the occultist ones, although my SIL had some good reasons to believe he was secretly a Witch. [1]

Toward the end of the tour, we passed a statue to that most famous of Witches: Samantha Stevens. This reminded me of a simpler time, when the most heated discussion around the Thanksgiving table was Samantha or Jeannie.

Let me put that one to rest right now. Clearly Samantha is better than Jeannie.

  1. Samantha is smarter than Jeannie.
  2. She does things for her own reasons, not just to please a “master.” Whoever controls Jeannie’s bottle controls her.
  3. She has a stronger support network, including eccentric uncle, a protective mother (say what you will of Endorra–she’s got homegirl’s back), a loopy identical cousin who is kind of hotter than she is, and eventually she has children who also have powers.
  4. Samantha humors Derwood, but let’s be honest, she’s much smarter than he is, and he married way, way up. Most of the series I kept wondering why on earth she put up with him.

Which brings us to the next question: Major Nelson or Derwood. Again, the answer is clear: Major Nelson.

  1. Larry Hagman is hotter and a better actor than either Dick York (although this one’s closer) or Dick Sargeant (please!).
  2. He has a sense of humor and enjoys his relationship with Jeannie more than Daren with Samantha.
  3. Daren is the poster boy for fragile masculinity, totally threatened by his more powerful wife, asking her to suppress her powers so he doesn’t develop erectile dysfunction (I’m assuming that’s the unstated core reason). Major Nelson only wants Jeannie to hide her powers so people don’t lock them up. He digs her.
  4. Astronaut vs. ad man? No contest.

If these conflicts are insufficient to get you through the entire meal while avoiding religion, politics, and life choices, here are a few more:

Ginger or Mary Ann? Clearly, Mary Ann. She’s got that girl next door quality, plus Ginger is always trying to manipulate everyone.

Chrissy or Janet? Clearly Janet. This is basically the Ginger and Mary Ann question all over again.

Flintstones or Jetsons? Flintstones. Dinosaur tropes beat robot tropes.

Velma or Daphne? Obviously Velma. Jinkies! Daphne’s basically a female Fred.

  • What other discussions are safe for your dinner table?
  • Do you agree with my assessments or are you wrong?
  • Do you keep a conflict free Thanksgiving table?


[1] Reasons: 1) he cryptically said he couldn’t enter someone’s house without an invitation, 2) we didn’t enter any houses on the tour, 3) he sure knew a lot about witches and witchcraft, 4) he consorts with other Witches (you can’t swing a dead cat in Salem without hitting someone claiming to be a Witch), 5) he knew where the hangings took place (Proctor’s Ledge behind the Walgreens), but didn’t include that in the tour because “we are all in agreement not to make such a sad place a commercial venture,” and 6) he noted that you could be accused of witchcraft for wearing “gay” (bright) colors), and he was only wearing what he called “sad” colors–so he knows how to avoid capture.


  1. Oooh, you could discuss 90’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch vs 2018’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina! By any chance did your tour guide have an opinion on that?

  2. I could not agree harder re: Samantha vs. Jeannie and Major Nelson vs. Dumb Daren

  3. All of those questions are too hard Angela, maybe I should just out myself instead, or maybe Not I guess. 💜

  4. Cipher in the Snow vs. The Pump

    (clearly, The Pump)

  5. Aussie Mormon says:

    Moss, MJH is my standard for Sabrina. As fun as the new one is, her dark side is bubbling too strongly (which is kind of the point with chilling adventures I guess).

  6. I concur with the character analysis, but IDOG had better opening credits music.

  7. You lost me at “2 hour walking tour”. I’m offended by the very idea of such a long walk and feel personally attacked. I bid you GOOD DAY!

  8. Francis or Claire?

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    I might have voted for Jeannie had execs let her bare her belly button…

  10. Other arguments worth having:
    -Kirk or Picard? I’ve got to go Picard, but Spock over horndog Riker, clearly.
    -M*A*S*H with Trapper or BJ? I love the first 3 seasons best even though Margaret is shrill and two dimensional. The quips are just faster in the first 3 seasons. After that, it gets more heart, but it slows down. I can respect those who prefer later seasons, but I like Ferret Face.
    -Which Star Trek series is best? Discovery. But before that, we were big DS9 fans (Garak is the best Star Trek character ever).

    I liked the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is very dark, but less dark than the comics. It’s slightly less silly than Riverdale. I’m a big Richard Coyle fan, plus Sally Draper! I didn’t ask the tour guide his opinion, but I suspect he would say it’s frustrating that what started as fearful slander is now a cottage industry, and that it dishonors the dead (who were murdered in their innocence) to fictionally imagine they really were guilty.

    Also SIL’s point was obviously wrong. She’s thinking of vampires.

  11. TheMagicRat says:

    I totally agree on Samantha v. Jeanie, Derwood v. Hardman and Flintstones v. Jetsons. Interesting you bring up M*A*S*H in the comments. We have watched them on a continuous loop as we go to sleep for years and know them all by heart. I love the first three seasons because they are quick and funny and good satire. The next two seasons (the first two with BJ and Potter) are really good too, but once Frank departs and Cuck E. Cheese is introduced, it becomes something too sentimental and hit and miss for me, though it still has many quality moments. My wife doesn’t agree. She vastly prefers the later seasons. Shrug.

  12. I am in full agreement with Samantha versus Jeannie. And yes, Major Nelson wins over Darrin. I guess we could also have the discussion: Bradys vs. Partridges.

  13. Gary,

    Clearly Francis. Though Claire has a much cooler cathedral.

  14. Sam. reminded me of my mother. Just saying.
    Jean. reminded me of the wild older girl up the street who had zero interest in me.

    Their guys were both punks but in different ways. We liked Gunsmoke and Bonanza better.

%d bloggers like this: