The holidays are upon us. It’s almost time to eat too much and then retreat to a private corner before Uncle Gus again starts asking why you don’t have a girlfriend. Hey, I didn’t say that’s a question I’m familiar with. But many families put those kinds of questions on the table. Right next to the yams.

Most people can relate at least a little to family dysfunction. Especially around the holidays. So to make you feel better about your own this holiday season, we’ve compiled a list of TV’s (mostly cable because networks wouldn’t dare show truth) most messed up clans.

DEXTER (Season 4)

5. The Morgans, “Dexter.” Sure it looks like a happy brood. The family of five lives in a nice new home. They’re grilling out with neighbors. There’s a new baby. Mom is finally happy after a horrible previous marriage. Daddy Dexter is even taking little Cody on a Young Sailor’s outing. But in the middle of that outing, Dexter ducks out to murder a man he thinks has gotten away with murder himself. You can’t help but love Dexter, but when you get down to it, he’s the No. 1 ingredient for their truly terrible family structure.


4. The Griffins, “Family Guy.” The talking, walking family dog is in love with mother Lois. Baby Stewie plots to kill Lois on a regular basis (I’m pretty sure he’s also actually killed someone). Teen Chris once dressed as Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs” during the infamous penis-tuck “Goodbye Horses” dance. His sister Meg will do anything for attention. And father Peter is a complete idiot. I love what has happened to cartoons. Seriously.


3. The Fishers, “Six Feet Under.” The HBO drama has been off the air for several years, but the Fisher family proved to be so dysfunctional that they can’t be forgotten. They live in a funeral home for starters. Dad fisher is killed in the pilot, but his ghost visits family members throughout the series. Someone is always cheating on someone else. Brothers are resentful. Daughter Claire is a druggie who always chooses the wrong men. But it’s Son Nate’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Brenda (and her crazy brother) who bring the most dysfunction. Brenda might be one of the most messed up characters in television history.


2. The Henricksons, “Big Love.” I’m not saying plural marriage is instant dysfunction. But when a man has three wives, they’re each going to have their own drama. How could there not be madness? First wife Barb might have her overbearing ways, but it’s second wife Nicki where most of the dysfunction brews. She’s straight out the compound with her hair poof and frumpy dresses. But she’s not as simple as she dresses. She’s a double agent of sorts between her new family and her old. She’s stolen money, tampered with investigations and has even fallen in love with a man other than her husband. Then there’s third wife Margene. Her infantile ways are always getting the family in some sort of bind. And that creepy sexual tension between her and her teen-aged step son. Nice.

WEEDS (season 4)

1. The Botwins, “Weeds.” Never in television history has there been a more dysfunctional family. As if the fact that mother Nancy was a suburban housewife turned drug dealer wasn’t enough, there’s so so much more. Nancy has put her two sons in danger so many times I’ve lost count. Then there’s the whole thing where she’s never around to offer them guidance. That’s why her oldest son Silas is now a dealer himself. And her younger son Shane has already had an STD and murdered a woman before his 16th birthday. And she just had a new baby! And married a corrupt politician/drug lord! How wonderful. Good ones, Nance.

It’s always so hard to narrow these lists down to five. So I at least want to share what a Top 10 might have looked like:

6. The Bundys, “Married With Children”

7. The Gregsons, “The United States of Tara”

8. The Drapers, “Mad Men”

9. The Bluths, “Arrested Development”

10. The Van de Kamps/Hodges, “Desperate Housewives”

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