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February 26, 2015
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The holiday season is fast approaching, which means many of us will be heading home to spend some quality time with friends and family. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to come up with subjects to chat about with all the various friends, family, and random acquaintances you’ll be running into back on the homestead. But hey, you live in the Golden Age of American television. If you catch up on the right shows, you’ll be a conversation kingpin from Christmas Eve all the way until Martin Luther King Day (January 9th) .


Grandpa Who Won’t Talk To You Unless You Mention A War Of Some Kind

It’s usually hard to tell if Grandpa’s listening to you or if he’s just fallen asleep with his eyes open again. If you ask him about sports, weather, or aunt Erin’s tendon surgery, he’ll just stare at you like a stoned sea turtle, but if you mention the names Ghengis Khan or William Wallace, ol’ Granddaddy turns into a living Ken Burns documentary. To stand any chance of holding a conversation with the old man over the holidays, you should probably start catching up on Vikings. The historically-rooted original drama combines everything Grandpa loves — old sea vessels, powerful empires, and people dismembering each other. Show him two minutes of the first episode and Grandpa will be talking your ear off like a six year-old kid on a sugar high. And if he gets too excited, you can just calm him down with unfamiliar words like “podcast,” “Venmo,” or “Arianna Grande.”



Your Cousin Who Doesn’t Understand Why You’re Taking Improv Classes

So you’re home for the holidays and being grilled by your older cousin Mitchell about how you’re spending all your time and money these days back in the big city. Someone (thanks, Mom) has let slip that you’ve been taking improv comedy classes, performing most weekends with your improvisational comedy troupe, Cat Pajamas. “Comedy, huh? Tell me joke.” Mitchell says, almost suspiciously. After explaining that improv “doesn’t work that way” (and starting to seriously question your own life choices yourself), you remember that Amy Poehler is a very successful comedic actor who got her start doing improv, and who’s famous enough that even an older cousin who races ATVs and owns his own roofing business might know her name. “You know that show Parks and Recreation?” you ask, knowing that this is your only chance to add an air of credibility to your passion for pretending to be robots and wizards on makeshift stages in the basements of sports bars. “Amy Poehler is a big improv person, she basically, like, brought it to New York City. …What’s that? Have I ever met her? Well, no, but I did walk by Aubrey Plaza once at the theater and I’m pretty sure we made eye contact.” If that doesn’t get him off your back, now would be a good time to break off and grab another drink — after all, they’re free and you’re not doing so hot for money right now.

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