Turkey or Fish
Screenshot turkeyorfish
Ray and Debra in "Turkey or Fish"
Season 1
Episode 10
Air Date November 22, 1996
Cast Ray Romano
Director(s) Michael Lembeck
Writer(s) Tucker Cawley
Preceded by Win, Lose or Draw
Followed by Captain Nemo

Turkey or Fish is the 10th episode of Season 1, and is episode 10 of the full 210 episodes for the entire series. In this episode, Debra wants to have Thanksgiving dinner at her house this year. But, instead of turkey, she decides to cook fish. Marie invites some of the extended family over in hopes that Debra's dinner will be a flop.

Episode InformationEdit


Debra wants to start her own tradition this year of having the family over for Thanksgiving at her house. Part of her new tradition is cooking fish instead of turkey. Marie then sets her up to fail horribly. She informs her and Ray that Uncle Mel and Aunt Emma are also coming for Thanksgiving.

Wanting to impress Marie and the rest of the guests, Debra does everything possible to make this meal absolutely perfect. Expecting things to fall apart, Marie brings her own turkey.

During the dinner, Frank begins choking on the food. Both Debra and Marie argue over whether it's the fish or the turkey. After Frank spits out the food, they find that it is in fact the fish. Then Marie makes Debra feel horrible. They then have a talk and resolve the issue.

Running GagsEdit

This is the first appearance of the character Uncle Mel. And it's also the first time he makes mention of him not being gay. Mel says that in every episode in which he appears.

This episode also has Marie criticizing Debra's cooking skills.


Similar to a few of the early episodes, there was a slight mistake with the staging and positioning of the cameras in the studio. Microphones can be seen in certain scenes.

This is also the first (and only) appearance of a dog named Maggie.

The battle between Marie's turkey and Debra's fish is referenced later in the series, specifically Season 2 Episode 15 "Marie's Meatballs".

Though he didn't appear in this episode, Ray's friend Bernie is mentioned.

The piano ditty from Where's Lunch wasn't heard. A clucking chicken was heard instead.


  • MEL: Fred and Bishop are parking the car.
  • DEBRA: "Fred and Bishop"?
  • MEL: They're friends of mine. We're not gay!
  • FRANK: (after choking on a piece of fish) Will somebody please pass the fish?
  • ROBERT: Here's some advice Dad. Chew!
Season 1 Episodes

PilotI Love YouI Wish I Were GusStandard DeviationLook, Don't TouchFrank, the WriterYour Place or Mine?In-LawsWin, Lose or DrawTurkey or FishCaptain NemoThe BallDebra's SickWho's Handsome?The CarDiamondsThe GameRecovering PessimistThe DogNeighborsFascinatin' DebraWhy Are We Here?

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