In it’s third season, Master of None does this wonderful thing where it lets some of the supporting cast take on lead roles and tell their stories. We saw an example of that with the New York, I Love You episode recapped last week. This week’s episode, Thanksgiving, also takes the focus off of Dev and lets Denise shine through & showcase her unique experiences.
Set over the course of many Thanksgivings, starting in the 90’s, we see Denise’s progression from a young girl whose not quite sure of her sexuality, to a teenager who comes out to her friend Dev but not yet to her family, to a woman coming out to her mother and bringing home dates for Thanksgiving dinner.
Lena Waithe shines in this episode, managing to portray Denises internal struggles and the emotions that go along with the various coming-outs to various people in her life. Credit also goes to Young Denise & Young Dev, who capture their adult counterparts down to their voices and their speech cadence. Let’s not forget Angela Bassett, who freaking slaaaays as DD’s mom, putting so much love and feeling into those difficult moments and really conveying that she only wants the best for her daughter, that the intentions are good.
So let’s get down to recapping;
- Thanksgiving 1: Denise thinks Dev is black and thinks Disenfranchised means Franchise
- Thanksgiving 2: Mom makes her put on a dress that she hates with a passion so she changes into a fly-ass outfit
- Thanksgiving 3: She comes out to Dev as Lebanese (not yet comfortable with Lesbian) and they get high together
- Thanksgiving 4: Denise comes out to her mom in a diner before Thanksgiving, mom cries, says she doesn’t want life to be hard, Denise is visibly uncomfortable, everyone is tense. When Thanksgiving rolls around, her girlfriend Michelle comes to dinner, and the family is awkward AF
- Thanksgiving 5: Denise brings home her new girlfriend (Michelle got too serious) whose Instagram handle nipplesandtoes23 should tell you everything you need to know about her.
- Thanksgiving 6: MICHELLE IS BACK! Everyone gets along, mom finally knows how to deal with her queer daughter and her partner. Denise is happy – really openly unapologetically happy, and it’s inspiring to see.
Through it all, Dev is at every thanksgiving and provides some comic relief (repeating everything back to grandma, whose a bit hard of hearing), support for his friend, and is on Denises side when her mom & aunt are talking about her the year that nipplesandtoes is over. Special shout out to Aunt Joyce aka Kym Whitley & her fabulous hair changes throughout the years.
Have I mentioned how much I love this episode? It’s so raw and so real! You can feel Denise struggling with her identity and slowly coming into herself and becoming comfortable with herself. The same can be said for the family, coming out is such a unique experience for people and it isn’t always as black and white as movies and TV shows make it seem, sometimes your mom is trying her best but she says all the wrong things anyway, but she loves you and you make it work over time – & the show showcased that beautifully. Not surprising since Waithe drew on her own experience in writing the episode.
Anyway, Thankgiving is perfect, I love it, go watch it again & check back with us next week when we recap the penultimate episode and I let you in on a little secret (hint, it’s about Francesca and how much she annoys me.)