Dinner and a Show

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Wow. Dinner and a show.
The comment of a guest as yet another Walker family dinner descends into an argument
What is this, Cabaret? Entertainment while you eat?
The Cat, Red Dwarf

When a family get together in a Sitcom for a big family dinner, expect hilarity to ensue. Sometimes this is treated as just normal craziness that happens when the family get together.

Not to be confused with At the Opera Tonight.

Examples of Dinner and a Show include:


  • In Meet the Robinsons, the family dinner turns into a kung fu fight between Trudi and her brothers, armed with spaghetti and meatballs, while the rest of the family cheers.

Lewis: Is dinner always like this?
Art: No, last night we had meatloaf.


Live Action TV

Robert: Is this your first Walker family dinner?
Sarah's latest male friend: Yes.
Robert: Good luck.

  • One of the defining characteristics of the Crane family from Frasier, although usually some guests are involved as well. Recounting every time the family has thrown a disastrous dinner that descended into blood, tears, and chaos by the third act would take up half the page, but special mention should go to the time it was heavily Lampshaded in "Daphne Does Dinner", which featured a bizarre, Noodle Implements-filled opening scene, and in which Daphne's Epic Failure at her first lavish dinner since marrying Niles causes Frasier to proclaim that she is now "officially a Crane."
  • Soap
  • For those in the United Kingdom of a certain age, this should bring the TV series Bread to mind...
  • Basically every episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, whether or not more extended family members or Debra or Amy's parents are involved.
  • Michael and Jan's dinner party in "The Dinner Party" episode of The Office descends into a bitter fight between the two and utter chaos, much to the simultaneous amusement/horror of their guests.
  • Titus was fond of this trope as well: There was the episode where Titus' family and Erin's family came for Thanksgiving and wound up in the hospital, twice with his mother making dinner (one time drugging the entire family and trying to kill his dad, another with her psychiatrist fiancé showing up and making Titus and his dad upset), and once when Tommy was dating a woman who had slept with Titus - they went to her restaurant. Ken Titus even used the trope title as things got more and more awkward.
  • Lampshaded by Lorelai when she and Rory once arrived for Friday Night Dinner and they watched an argument between Richard and Emily.
  • In Due South, Ray Vecchio's family seems to have this as their default setting.
  • Malcolm in the Middle. In fact, the family probably aren't any more dysfunctional at dinner than the rest of the time - it just brings them all into close proximity.
  • If we are to go by Six Feet Under, family dinners can get quite interesting when one member of the family has had ecstasy. Without him knowing about it.
  • So common on Picket Fences whenever they have dinner guests, that lawyer Wambaugh lampshaded it when urging another guest to accept an invitation: "Strange things happen when they eat."
  • Californication seems to be going out of its way to have one of these every series. They're yet to top the one from series 2 though.
  • One Saturday Night Live sketch was an advertisement for the greatest hits of dysfunctional family holiday dinners (for those who can't make it home this year). Each one ended with the father (Will Ferrell) yelling "*BLEEP* this, I'm leaving!" and flipping his dinner plate into the air. What really made this funny was that Ferrell's plate flips just got harder every time until the last one where he practically launches it across the table.
  • On Heroes, Thanksgiving dinner at the Bennet house starts with a massive argument and ends with Claire self-mutilating in order to demonstrate her Healing Factor, causing her mom's new boyfriend to pass out. Meanwhile, at the Petrelli house, they discuss how one of the brothers is actually dead, with his memories transferred into the body of a mindwiped shapeshifting villain.


Western Animation

  • "There's a bomb in the lasagna!"
  • Hey Arnold! had quite a few of these, too.
    • Most notably the Thanksgiving episode where the phrase is uttered during Mr Simmons Thanksgiving dinner. When the girl known as Joy starts choking, Mr Simmons' "friend" Peter dryly states this as he sips some red wine.