One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching the classic Mad About You episode, “Giblets for Murray.” It’s the one where Jaime & Paul Buckman host Thanksgiving dinner for their family and friends. We love it. I highly encourage everyone to watch it (it was episode 8 of season 3). Below — and spoiler alert — a recap of some of the best scenes and legendary quotes from the series.
“If she smiles, she’s hurt. If she laughs, she’s pissed. If she gets bubbly, it’s every man for themselves.” Jamie gives Paul some advice on reading her mom’s real emotions.
“Sweetie, it’s like you can’t do it fast enough. Bing bing bing bing bing.” Paul gets a potato peeling lesson.
“I’ve been working on ice all week!” — Jamie threw out the Paul’s ice to make room in the fridge.
“Ice. My biggest profit margin. Just water, cold and time.” — Kim, who runs the nearby deli, to Paul, when he shows up to buy ice.
Paul’s mom Sylvia arrives with potatoes. He protests Jamie has made some. “So she’ll freeze hers.” Meanwhile, Paul’s father Burt can’t fathom the idea of buying ice.
Paul’s mom offers to help set the table. No need! “We’re doing buffet.” Pause. “And why is that, honey” — oh the delivery!
Paul’s mom sees that Jamie has made sweet potato pie with no marshmallows and tells story of not having them as girl. They had no marshmallows? “It was war! … I told myself when the war was over I’d never spend a holiday again without marshmallows. [Pause]. But this is fine.” It. Is. Not. Fine.
Jamie’s mom hears they’re doing buffet & no salad, starts laughing. (Remember, that’s bad). Paul’s dad learns that Jamie has made homemade cranberry sauce. But if it doesn’t make that whoosh sound from a can, he’s not happy, he tells Paul. Time for another trip to the deli.
Paul & Jamie return to find everyone has set a table, rebelling against buffet idea. “We went another way.” Paul lays down the law: it’s Thanksgiving our way or the highway. “We’re not kids anymore. Everything is under control.” Then in the kitchen, they find Murray the dog has eaten the turkey.
Paul sneaks out to buy a new turkey but can’t get back in without being seen. So, he leaves it in hallway outside the apartment until he and Jamie can distract their parents in hilarious ways. By the time that’s done, the turkey is stolen. Jamie: “You don’t leave a turkey in a hallway in New York City!” Paul: “Who knew?” Jamie: “It’s a fact!” (Picking up a line that recurred from others earlier in the episode).
“Yes you do. Yes you do. Yes you do.” (A classic quote from the series, one that star and series co-creator Paul Reiser even has in his Twitter profile). Fran has been doing a marathon phone call with her son and ex-husband to convince them her son likes turkey.
Fran notices most everyone is now gone. “What is going on here?” Ira’s been quietly watching it all from the couch, amused. “I don’t know. But I’m entertained!” Lisa fills them both in. Aunt Lolly remains glued to the TV & her earphones.
Now comes one of the best TV comedy scenes ever. Jamie returns with a second replacement turkey. Coast clear, she heads to kitchen, only to have people start to come out. Then they come from the bedroom. No where to go, she throws the turkey out the window.
The look on Ira’s face! Paul: “Personally, that wouldn’t have been my choice.” Jamie: “I panicked!” Ira & Fran go to get a third turkey. Meanwhile, Jamie’s sister Lisa is forced to tell her mom what happened. She’s sympathetic & promises not to tell. She immediately tells her husband.
How to get the turkey to Paul & Jamie? Ira & Fran go to the apartment above, call Paul & tell him to go to the kitchen. They lower the turkey down on a string and … oops!
Paul’s mom sees Jamie & Paul with new turkey. Everyone’s in on “secret” now. She gets all to pretend to look at something so P&J can get in. Fran: “Good for you!” Paul’s mom: “What? I never had a mother-in-law?” Paul’s dad: “She love you!” Paul’s mom: “Please!” Dinner is served!
Everyone oohs and ahhs over the turkey. That they’re doing buffet. Everything. Paul & Jamie’s own take on Thanksgiving has come out great in the end. “Wait until you see dessert!” says Jamie. Oh, Murray!
“They keep calling me Aunt Lolly, and I’m not even sure which one of them I’m related to.” Aunt Lolly finally speaks. And talks and talks during the credits. “I know. It’s a free meal.”
And so ends a great episode and wonderful teleplay by Jeffrey Klarik. And there’s much more wonderfulness beyond what I covered here!