The ruins of Thanksgiving, the triumph of Thor, the decline of Papa John’s, and the challenge of the chair


There are so many things to be thankful for this year (let me get back to you about what those might be), but first and foremost among them should be that whoever cooked your Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t one of the hundreds of amateur chefs whose attempts at side-dishing got more play on Twitter than at the buffet. Thanksgiving Fails have become a hallowed sub-tradition on social media, which on Thursday felt like a virtual conveyor belt of culinary horrors, from torched pies and scorched casseroles to broiled marshmallows (really?), and canine-compromised cornbread. An honorable mention goes to some guy named Greg who masterfully walked the conceptual line between success and failure by sculpting a miniature Tesla Cybertruck out of his mashed potatoes and parking it in a shallow lake of gravy, proving that even the most tragic disasters can be made savory.



Speaking of edible catastrophes, alleged pizza merchant Papa John’s made the news this week after ex-CEO John Schnatter (ousted for his use of racist language in what he describes as “a farce”) gave a “visibly damp” and deeply strange interview with a Kentucky TV station in which he decried what he perceives as a decline in Papa John’s pizza quality since his departure, which . . . wow, the imagination races. “I’ve had over 40 pizzas in the last 30 days, and it’s not the same pizza,” Schnatter said, possibly clearing up the visible-dampness thing, and promised a “day of reckoning” (which I’ve always understood as the one immediately after eating Papa John’s). Suffice it to say the Internet ate the whole thing up like a pizza from, well, pretty much anywhere else.



Also getting eaten up by everyone online? Thor! The Houston-based bulldog who is such a good boy and who became an instant Internet celebrity after taking home Best in Show honors at this week’s National Dog Show. Millions tuned in on Thanksgiving day to avoid interacting with human family members and marvel at some of the finest canine specimens on four expensively groomed legs. Some fun facts about the chonky champion: Thor loves part-skim mozzarella string cheese, enjoys alone time on the sofa and “just looking cute,” and is an avid watcher of “House Hunters” on HGTV. All of which makes me think I have a pretty good shot at winning this thing next year.


I don’t have the space here to provide a comprehensive list of all the things women can do that men simply cannot, so I’ll just tell you about the newest one which is receiving thousands of demonstrations on TikTok. It’s called the Chair Challenge, and involves taking a few paces back from a wall, bending at the waist, touching your head to the wall, sliding a chair underneath you and pulling it up to your chest, and attempting to straighten yourself back into a standing position. Dozens of clips suggest that women (who, the lore goes, have a lower center of gravity) have no difficulty performing the move, while men end up stuck with their heads against the wall. Weird! And not to be confused with the other Chair Challenge (which involves circumnavigating a chair without touching the floor) or the Recliner Challenge (which I will be practicing all weekend).


Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.