->''"What is this, cabaret? Entertainment while you eat?"''
-->-- '''The Cat''', ''Series/RedDwarf''
%%% One quote is sufficient. Please keep the main page neat and simple. Additional quotes can be put into the sub-page.

When a family gets together in a SitCom for a big family dinner, expect [[HilarityEnsues hilarity to ensue]]. Sometimes this is treated as just normal craziness that happens when everyone gets together. Frequently there's overlap with DysfunctionalFamily and BigScrewedUpFamily.

An unfortunate bit of TruthInTelevision, as any advice column published around the holidays can attest to, as relatives who can get along when they keep a respectful (hundred miles or more) distance from one another can end up uncomfortable with one another if they have to be in the same room, especially if the stress of major holidays and the social pressure to present a joyful facade reach a boiling point.

Not to be confused with AtTheOperaTonight where people go to have dinner and watch a show. In this trope they are part of the "show".


[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'', the family dinner turns into a kung fu fight between Frani and her brothers, armed with spaghetti and meatballs, while the rest of the family cheers.
-->'''Lewis''': Is dinner always like this?\\
'''Art''': No, [[ComicallyMissingThePoint last night we had meatloaf]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'', when Manny, Sid and Diego steal a melon from the dodos, the dodos fight back hysterically (and ineffectually) prompting Manny (played by Ray Romano, who's [[Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond seen this trope played out many times before]]) to comment, "Wow, dinner ''and'' a show."

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The Thanksgiving movie ''Film/WhatsCooking?''. You get FOUR dinners and FOUR shows as four diverse families celebrate the holiday in Los Angeles.
* ''Film/FourHolidays'' featured the protagonists being forced to suffer through four meals with four dysfunctional families they usually left the city to avoid over Christmas.
* A very uncomfortable example in Literature/WhaleMusic. Claire invites Dennis' friends, most of whom haven't seen him in years, and he has a meltdown, thinking Danny is speaking to him.
* The fight between Rex and Fly in ''Film/{{Babe}}'' prompts Mr. Hogget to leave his dinner and try to split the dogs up.
* In ''Film/ThePest'', while Pest is have dinner with his girlfriend's parents, a tracker chip placed in his underwear starts to overheat, causing him to get up and flail around on the floor to stop the burning.
* In ''Film/TheDoors'' by Creator/OliverStone, we get a good one, complete with infidelity, LSD, celebrities, and a curb-stomped duck.
* The dinner scene in ''Film/SaturdayNightFever''. Unusually for this trope, this is a normal family dinner at the Ramero household, not a special occasion.
* In ''Film/{{Elle}}'', the dinner party Michèle hosts for her friends and family goes south when her mother announces she's engaged again, to Michèle's displeasure.
* When the Leonides family sits down to dinner with Charles in ''Film/CrookedHouse'', it isn't long before the family's dirty laundry starts being aired: with accusation of everything from murder to Communism.

* A darker than usual example in ''Literature/AliceAdams'', when Arthur comes over to the Adamses for dinner. SocialClimber Alice is desperate to pass herself and her family off as rich sophisticates, but it all goes to hell. It's far too hot, especially for the heavy dinner that the Adamses have prepared—the soup makes everyone more sweaty, and the ice cream is melted. Malena's half-assed attitude is expressed in her cap continually falling over her face. Virgil acts like the coarse factory worker he is rather than the successful businessman Alice wants him to pretend to be. Virgil accidentally exposes Alice's lie that he has two secretaries. It gets more and more uncomfortable until Arthur finally leaves.
* The infamous dinner party hosted by Miles in ''Literature/ACivilCampaign''.
-->'''Miles''': "My dinner party. It's just breaking up..." ''And sinking. All souls feared lost.''
* AJ's Annual Party from ''Literature/NakedLunch''. The party involves a live sex show (with possibly-simulated hangings), an orgy, and AJ decapitating a group of party-crashers while singing [[Literature/TreasureIsland "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest".]]
** Another instance in Hassan Salvador O'Leary's backstory, where he drove a herd of wild boars through a fancy restaurant and they ate the chef.
* In Creator/JamesJoyce's ''Literature/APortraitOfTheArtistAsAYoungMan'', the Dedaluses' [[ChristmasEpisode Christmas dinner]] early in the novel soon degenerates into an angry debate about Charles Stewart Parnell[[note]]MP who had almost gotten an Irish home-rule bill passed in the 1880s until he was brought down by a sex scandal[[/note]] and the role of the Catholic Church in Irish politics, between Stephen's father and his aunt.
* In Creator/IrvineWelsh's ''Literature/{{Skagboys}}'', Alexander brings Alison to visit his family at a barbecue shortly after she starts working for him. His sister and mother confront him over his separation from his wife and children.

* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment''. "All in all, it was one of the Bluth family's better parties."
* ''Series/BrothersAndSisters'', where Walker family dinners inevitably result in an argument. The only reason they're not the the page image is because deciding which dinner to use is a Herculean effort. They've started LampshadeHanging it, especially Robert [=McAllister=]:
-->'''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 ''Series/{{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, NoodleImplements-filled opening scene, and in which Daphne's EpicFailure at her first lavish dinner since marrying Niles causes Frasier to proclaim that she is now [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming "officially a Crane."]]
%%* ''Series/{{Soap}}''
%%* ''Series/{{Bread}}''
* Basically every episode of ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', 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 ''Series/{{The Office|US}}'' descends into a bitter fight between the two and utter chaos, much to the simultaneous amusement/horror of their guests.
* ''Series/{{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.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'': Lampshaded by Lorelai when she and Rory once arrived for Friday Night Dinner and they watched an argument between Richard and Emily.
* In ''Series/DueSouth'', Ray Vecchio's family seems to have this as their default setting.
* ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle''. In fact, the family probably aren't any more [[DysfunctionalFamily dysfunctional]] at dinner than the rest of the time - it just brings them all [[CabinFever into close proximity]].
* If we are to go by ''Series/SixFeetUnder'', family dinners can get quite interesting when one member of the family has had ecstasy. Without him knowing about it.
* So common on ''Series/PicketFences'' whenever they have dinner guests, that lawyer Wambaugh [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] it when urging another guest to accept an invitation: "Strange things happen when they ''eat''."
* ''Series/{{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 ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' 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 ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Thanksgiving dinner at the Bennet house starts with a massive argument and ends with Claire self-mutilating in order to demonstrate her HealingFactor, causing her mom's new boyfriend to pass out. Meanwhile, at the Petrelli house, they discuss [[spoiler:how one of the brothers is actually dead, with his memories transferred into the body of a mindwiped shapeshifting psychopath]].
* OnceAnEpisode in ''Series/BlueBloods'', the Reagan family has Sunday dinner. Sometimes it's a serious discussion of the episode's events, sometimes it's the funniest part of the episode.
* ''Series/DowntonAbbey'': "Upstairs" meals are often the scene of some dramatic event or other--generally [[StiffUpperLip understated]] when guests are there, but Robert's private breakfasts with his daughters can involve a bit of overt shock (and they do much to shock him). "Downstairs" meals in the servants' hall can also be the site of much tension, which is inevitably broken abruptly by Carson or Mrs Hughes saying, "Back to work".
* On ''Series/DeviousMaids'', the ex-wife of a dinner party's host crashes the party and threatens to destroy the dinner after chucking a piece of crystal at him. This forces Marisol to intervene and forcibly shove the ex-wife out the door.
* Happens more or less every episode in the SliceOfLife sitcom ''Series/TheRoyleFamily''.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' 's season 4 Thanksgiving [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YstSuPnnE94 scene]].
* On ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'', this is how Trip describes T'Pol trying to eat with chopsticks.
* Happened during ''Series/{{Roseanne}}'' 's yearly ThanksgivingEpisode. Some notable fights included Jackie and Bev fighting about Jackie's cop job, Nana Mary talking about her two abortions prior to having Bev, Jackie and Roseanne finding out about their father's decades of infidelity, and Bev [[ComingOutStory coming out]] as a lesbian.

* Fodder for many an AntiChristmasSong. A good example would be Music/TheArrogantWorms [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCgxJR5dixA "Christmas is Here,"]] where everyone is already tense, but then one member who has been drinking heavily insults his in laws, followed by announcing his wife's affair [[SleepingWithTheBoss with the boss]], causing the wife to start a FoodFight, escalating to knives and shotguns being picked up, and finally the cops arriving to find a massacre.

* The basic premise of ''Podcast/TheDinnerParty'' from American Public Media, a talk show framed as [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a dinner party]].

* This is the basic premise of the stage comedy ''Theatre/YouCantTakeItWithYou'' by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'': Judy (at the insistence of Mrs. Funnie) brought her new boyfriend Kyle home for dinner. She was reluctant to do so because she viewed her family as being boring, so she staged a performance where her parents were a writer and an anthropologist, and Doug was a butler. Doug was upset at this, so he tried to spice things up by being a secret agent instead. Kyle tells Judy that he would have accepted her family, no matter how "uncool" they were, and that she didn't have to put on a show for him. Afterwards, Kyle is never seen again, implying that he and Judy broke up (whether because of the antics of this particular evening, or for another reason.)
* ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' 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.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', Rocko is invited over for dinner at Heffer's house. Awkwardness ensues when he finds out that Heffer was (literally) RaisedByWolves...and that he has no idea that he's adopted. The Wolfe family, meanwhile, are pretty dysfunctional in their own right.