Thanksgiving is next Thursday and across America, families will gather together to share a meal, argue about politics, and tweet unsettling things about their relatives. Prior to the traditional family time, however, many will partake in a kind of gathering that's burgeoned in popularity in recent years - "Friendsgiving". A chance to meet up with close friends before holiday obligations get into full swing, it's often a more enjoyable version of the holiday itself, free of travel hassles and family drama.
The concept isn't just a millennial fad, either - it's caught on across generations, including with, conveniently enough for our purposes, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. We now take you to the Bielema Friendsgiving, already in progress.
BRET BIELEMA: Man, I'm so glad that all of you could make it tonight. It's been a busy, up-and-down season, and it's so rare for me to be able to take any time to relax and enjoy a meal with my closest friends.
REDFORD Q. "BIG RED" BIELEMA, SR: Hey, you deserve the break, cousin. You know, I just can't help but feel like the college football media is unduly hard on you at times. Especially those no-account blogs.
BRET: Ah, it's nice of you to say that, Red. Look, I understand a certain degree of criticism is inherent in a high-profile job such as my own, and I try not to take it to heart. Besides, you know, some of those blogs are pretty funny.
A MEAN CHILD IN A WARIO COSTUME: BLOGS ARE TRASH THEY'RE JUST A BUNCH OF UNHAPPY LAWYERS
BIG RED: He's right, you know.
MEAN KID: WAAAAAAAH
CRUEL-AID MAN, WHO IS JUST A PITCHER FULL OF GOAT BLOOD: It's not just the blogs, though. The blowback from other coaches is what galls me, personally. I mean, that whole thing with Kliff Kingsbury calling you out: what resume does he have to make him feel justified in saying that? His high watermark to date is an eight-win season with Tommy Tuberville's players.
BRET: Now, now, Frank, let's not get too worked up. Kliff's young and impetuous, and I certainly shot from the hip a bit more in my younger days, too, you know. Besides, it's got to be a tough burden being the prettiest person in Lubbock. Poor fella keeps getting tied to railroad tracks by bandits.
AN AUTOMATED CITY TRASH COMPACTOR THAT'S MALFUNCTIONING BECAUSE A NEARBY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT'S BEEN ILLEGALLY DISPOSING OF FOOD WASTE IN IT: I just don't think you get nearly enough credit for the progress you've made in turning things around in program that's very difficult to succeed at.
A STOLEN EASTER ISLAND MOAI, BANGING AROUND UNSECURED IN THE BACK OF A CHEVY S-10: It's true! This is a program where there's still a significant portion of the fanbase who look back fondly on the tenure of Houston Nutt! Houston Nutt! The guy who's practically begging to coach UCF now! It's not like you have the resources or recruiting base of an Alabama or LSU, but you've still got to play those schools every year! Maybe people got spoiled during the Bobby Petrino years, thinking suddenly 10-win seasons were going to grow on trees here, but that's never been the case historically. And you can't look at any of the good things Petrino did without looking at the rest of the equation!
BRET: Listen, fellas, I really appreciate that I have good friends like you who support me and understand what I'm going through. I'm trying to build something lasting here, and that doesn't happen overnight.
DARRYL FLINTSTONE, FRED'S HALF-BROTHER WITH A RECORD WHO CLAIMS TO BE PUTTING HIS LIFE BACK TOGETHER: I think a lot of the criticism would be muted if you played a trendier style of football. You look at a Sonny Dykes or a Rich Rodriguez or a Kingsbury, the fans and media are a little [vapes] more willing to cut some slack simply because the games are more "fun" to watch. Heck, you've got a better career record than Mike Leach, but you publicly criticized spread offenses, and that makes you a target.
KEVIN: Well, losing to Toledo makes you a target, too.
OTHERS: [all reacting angrily]
STOLEN MOAI: What the hell, Kevin
TRASH COMPACTOR: You're a real jerk, you know that, Kevin?
CRUEL-AID MAN: I don't know why you have to say hurtful things.
THE ROVER FROM "THE PRISONER", BUT NOW IT'S COVERED IN BUMPER STICKERS: I think we all agree that Kevin's being insensitive right now. Toledo's a good team, and early-season trip-ups happen to lots of teams. Frankly, I think it's having to go to Little Rock for home games that causes trouble. What other team has to balance two different home sites?
ONE OF THOSE INFLATABLE WAVING ARM THINGS, BUT INSTEAD OF AIR IT'S FILLED WITH DOORKNOBS: I think people need to trust in your process. You had a good deal of consistent success at Wisconsin, but you still chose to pursue what's realistically a harder job to succeed in. You'd think you'd get more credit for challenging yourself instead of just coasting in a weak division.
And sure, you can come off as brash, loud and overconfident at times, but that doesn't mean it's right for the blog media to build you into some cartoonish, malevolent Blutarsky-ish meathead stereotype. If they knew you, they'd probably find you to be a caring, sensitive family man who genuinely cares about his players.
BRET: That really means a lot to me, guys. You're all the best friends a guy could ask for. Now, who's ready for the main course?
ALL, happily: We are! Hooray!
BRET: Bring it out, honey!
HOKIEBIRD, trembling: please, sir, I've told you multiple times, I'm not actually a turkey, I'm just a grad student in a mascot costume, if you'd just let me-
BRET: Beamer's not around to protect you anymore you succulent son of a bitch
BRET: FETCH MY TURKEY HAMMER
HOKIEBIRD: WHO CARVES A TURKEY WITH A HAMMER