As the holidays come to an end and we all head back to work, you may be dealing with some lingering feelings of depression. Maybe it’s the post-holiday blues. Or maybe it’s from having recently gathered with relatives, where you came face to face with your future and realized that, if genetics are any indication, you will be a balding, thrice-divorced, conservative talk radio listener by the time you’re 49.
So, to lift you out of your post-holiday funk, let’s turn to my favorite remedy: the misery of public figures. Here are five family gatherings that almost surely made your holiday seem like the heart-swelling scene from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
5. The Schwarzeneggers
The elephant in the room: There were a few new guests around the Schwarzenegger table this year, as this would be the first year that Mildred Baena attended the celebration not as the housekeeper, but as the mother of Arnold’s secret child.
What made it worse: When Arnold attempts to give a heartwarming toast about the importance of family and to apologize for neglecting them, his kids immediately recognize it as the same clunky speech he gave at the end of Jingle All the Way. His newly revealed ten year-old son bursts into tears at the sudden realization that his dad is a total schmuck.
4. The Weiner Family
The elephant in the room: Anthony Weiner finally succumbed to the natural humor of his last name by using his very public Twitter account to send photos of his private parts to young women – some of whom were invented by a conservative group to uncover political scandals and generate hilarious NY Post headlines.
What made it worse: After teasing him endlessly, Anthony’s two brothers cap off the eight-day holiday by stealing Anthony’s phone and sexting his private photos to everyone at the dinner table, including his elderly Jewish mother who just learned how to open picture texts on her phone.
3. The Anthonys
The elephant in the room: When one member of a family evades a murder conviction by accusing other family members of committing the murder…let’s just say it’s going to be an awkward dinner.
What made it worse: Shortly after opening gifts, the Anthonys notice that a few presents are missing. They suspect Casey might’ve stolen them, but don’t do anything about it for a month or so and by then there’s no evidence so the whole thing is dropped.
2. The Cains
The elephant in the room: While Cain managed to dodge the sexual harassment accusations, which were at worst unsubstantiated and at best legally sealed, he could not explain why he had been secretly providing financial assistance to a woman who was not his wife for 13 years. He claimed he just happened to give her money sometimes. She claimed they were sleeping together. One of those claims made a lot more sense than the other, so he suspended his campaign.
What made it worse: Herman’s in-laws offer to pick up pizza for New Year’s Eve, and arrive at the Cain household with Papa John’s, instead of the usual Godfather’s. They explain that they just feel that Papa John’s uses better ingredients that would never sexually harass other ingredients or cheat on them after 43 years of marriage. Herman tries to laugh it off, until his wife suggests a New Year’s Eve Michael Douglas marathon, that includes Disclosure, Fatal Attraction and The Perfect Murder.
1. The Paterno Family
The elephant in the room: The holiday season means two things – lots of family and lots of football. My guess is that when things get quiet or awkward in the Paterno household, the conversation always turns to the safe and familiar subject of college football. Except this year…
What made it worse: When the whole Paterno family comes over to watch the New Year’s day bowl games, Joe suggests they do something different this year and instead puts on the entire third season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which they watch in silence.