4.8 Thanksgiving

 

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Original Air Date: November 23, 1992 Production number: 77611
Written by:
Mitchell BurgessDirected by: Randall Miller


Joel: I'm to believe that this tomato was simply Ed's way of saying Seasons' Greetings?

Log line (1): Cicely readies itself for the annual Day of the Dead parade and Thanksgiving Day feast; Joel discovers he owes the state of Alaska a fifth year of service.
Synopsis (1):

The Indians celebrate Thanksgiving as the Day of the Dead with various traditions including costumes, parades and throwing tomatoes at white people. As all of the townspeople join in preparing for the festivities, Chris reflects upon the best Thanksgiving he ever had, which he experienced while in the State Penitentiary.

Joel receives a letter from the State of Alaska stating that he owes them a fifth year of service. He immediately brings the letter and the original contract to Mike Monroe for his legal advice. The contract, executed in 1986, stated that, at that time four years worth of work was equal to the cost of Joel's medical school tuition. Since that time, the value of the dollar has decreased, thus Joel now owes another year. The thought of being forced to stay in Cicely a year more than he anticipated depresses Joel to the point that the celebration going on around him cannot raise his spirits.

Background
(Production Bible):

The town prepares for a big Thanksgiving feast at Holling’s bar.  Joel is flabbergasted by a Cicelian Native Americans tradition – hitting white people with tomatoes.

Joel falls into a deep funk after receiving a letter from the State of Alaska informing him that he owes an extra year of service as resident doctor in Cicely.  Chris feels unsettled about the holiday until he realizes he misses life in prison.  The attraction between Maggie and Mike heats up as they prepare vegetables together in his bubble.  After a brief relapse, Mike threatens to move his bubble to Greenland (Don’t let us keep you, Mike!).  Maggie gently pleads with him not to go.  The Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with their very colorful annual Day of the Dead parade.  Joel, who Marilyn concludes is not white anymore because of his sense of hopelessness, marches with them.
Guest stars (9):

Mike Monroe - Anthony Edwards
Dave the Cook - William J. White
Sisyphus - Tom Spiller
Patient - Al DenBeste
Mike - James L.Dunn (Chris: Oh, Mike just got nailed...)

Parade Performers:
Capefolk Dancers
Bathtub Gin Party Band
Red Hawk Singers
Spearfish Singers
Tillicum Village Dancers (**I saw these performers on a trip to Seattle when I was 12 - in 1982!)
Twin Lake Cowboys

Music:
(Note music listed is from the original TV airings. The DVD may differ. * Indicates correct song on the DVD.)

Lambeth Walk - Django Reinhardt
[Main Street: Cicely prepares for the Thanksgiving parade.]

Over the River and Through the Woods
[Chris talks about Thanksgiving on the air.]

Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way

Blue Ridge Party
[Everyone talks about Thanksgiving.]

Autumn Leaves
[Joel shops in Ruth-Anne's store.]

Symphony No. 54--First Movement (Haydn)
[Maggie and Mike talk.]

Flight of the Cosmic Hippo - Bela Fleck
[Joel dreams of Sisyphus.]

Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache) - The Mavericks
[Maggie and Mike talk about gardening and herbs.]

• Sonata in C-Minor (Scarlatti)
[Ed and Mike talk in the bubble.]

Cabaret - Louis Armstrong
[The parade.]

Shelly's Earrings:

Pumpkins [Discusses menu with Maggie.]
Skeleton hands [Gets stain remover from Ruth-Anne.]

Additional Notes:

Dream sequence with Sisyphus and the rock; gives Joel the rock. Sisyphus was the legendary king of Corinth, in mythology, who was doomed to perpetually manhandle a boulder up a mountainside in Tartarus - the bottomless pit below Hades - only to have it roll back down every time. (6)

If Chris jumped parole, wouldn't the prison know it?

No snow in Alaska for Thanksgiving??

Hallmark's syndicated airings cut the line "It's open season on Joel Fleischman!!" when he tries to get someone to throw tomatoes at him. He just found out he has to serve a fifth year.

This episode was the third for CNN.com's 2007 Thanksgiving TV favorites.

Footnotes and additional research

 

© Copyright, 2013 • Northern Exposure is Copyright Universal City Studios. All Rights Reserved. • Created 1/29/02 • Updated 2/2/13