From 'Stranger Things' to 'Master of None' to 'House of Cards,' food plays an important role in any series.
The holidays are right around the corner, which means all those feelings about spending time with family and preparing the perfect meal are slowly creeping back. Will everyone get along this year? What are you going to say you're thankful for at the dinner table? Is your niece still on that weird diet and do you have enough containers to send leftovers home with everyone? However you’re feeling about the upcoming season, the one thing you can binge on to put you in a good mood (without worrying about your waistline) is television. Netflix series are chock full of fictional food moments that can help for dealing with your real life ones during the holidays. Here are ten Netflix shows with food scenes that capture the essence of and offer lessons on holiday cooking and dining.
Master of None “Thanksgiving”
No Netflix food list would be complete without mentioning this moment, which earned series writer Lena Waithe a historic Emmy win. The episode features a host of great food and funny company over the course of a decade's worth of Thanksgivings. But it’s the emotional resonance of the meals—meaningful conversation, the potential for understanding, and mutual affection—that make this one of the best representations of what sharing a meal during the holidays is about.
The Defenders “Royal Dragon”
We may not all bring superheroes to our tables during the holidays (or any other time for that matter), but this surprise meet-up in a Chinese restaurant between New York’s vigilantes is a metaphor for some of our favorite or dreaded holiday dinner conversation. Being dodgy about your love-life when someone asks? Check. Complaining about your job? Check. The occasional unexpected dinner guest? Check.
Stranger Things “The Monster”
There is no more do-or-die time when it comes to food than the holidays—whether it’s battling fellow shoppers and long lines or your very own cousins over that last slice of Grandma’s pumpkin pie. Pure determination and dedication are necessary to achieving our holiday meal necessities. These are things Eleven understands, as evidenced by her mission to acquire her preferred comfort food of Eggo waffles in Stranger Things first season.
BoJack Horseman “Chickens”
Sometimes we don’t spend our holiday meals huddled around a table with our rarely seen extended family. Sometimes it’s just us, alone, eating Chinese take-out or a greasy bucket of chicken because those were the only places open. In this marginally unsettling jingle about franchised fried chicken, BoJack Horseman uses its trademark dark humor to remind us that when we have those kinds of holidays, it’s best to enjoy the meal and not to think about where the food came from.
Voltron: Legendary Defender “Changing of the Guard”
In the far reaches of space or (more likely) spending holiday meals with unfamiliar people, the exchange of food and even culture is bound to happen. In fact, bringing and sharing in dishes that represent you and your tastes can be one of the many things that make the holidays something special. In the case of Voltron’s yellow paladin and resident chef, Hunk, that means offering your intergalactic guests your very best pizza rolls and pigs in a blanket. (Sometimes it’s not about what you make but how well you make it.)
Grace and Frankie “The End”
Many of us learned from a young age this number one table manners rule during holidays: don’t make a scene. Even, but especially, when things feel like escalating to emotionally-fueled food fights with family members. Still, Grace and Frankie’s response to their husbands’ gay love affair announcement in a crowded restaurant felt like an occasion that called for it, and it could only be expected that all hell and food would break loose.
Santa Clarita Diet “So Then a Bat or a Monkey”
From picky eaters to restricted eaters, accommodating everyone’s food preferences and diets can be one of the hardest parts of holiday meal making. No family knows this better than Santa Clarita’s Hammonds. From the jump the trio has their work cut out for them as recently undead matriarch Sheila must find the appropriate dish to satisfy her special cravings. It’s no easy task, but paying attention to the small things on our loved one’s plate means the world to them, and can be a kind of emotionally filling experience.
House of Cards “Chapter 1”
Whether it’s a BBQ-rib breakfast or eating his political opponents alive, Frank Underwood has shown he’s up for the challenge of devouring a meal at any hour—a signature of holiday feasting. From the time we rise to the time we lay down, we dine at the will of our appetites. The best thing about Frank’s appreciation for a good meal, however, is how he can’t say no to seconds, as you see you in this episode’s final minutes.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “Kimmy Goes to School!”
A holiday food coma is never complete without a glass of wine. Thanks to Titus’ “Pinot Noir” video, you can now appreciate the red wine on a whole new level. His blushing and gushing minutes-long glass of praise for this wine isn’t just the perfect musical embodiment of Titus himself, either. It’s everything we love (and sometimes fear) about the holidays: It loosens us up, tickles our tastebuds, and lets us express ourselves.
Fuller House “Break A Leg”
The process of preparing for a holiday dinner can be stressful, especially for those doing the cooking. With expectations so high, it can feel overwhelming, and some hosts find themselves having to stretch outside their cooking comfort zones to make the perfect meal for their guests. In “Break a Leg,” Kimmy Gibbler illustrates the lengths people go to make their loved ones' celebrations at the table something to remember.