A Very Special Holiday Season: Reader’s Choice!

Happy Holidays, Very Special Readers! I’m letting you pick this year’s holiday episodes again!

Same rules as last year (except I’m being lazier so only the top SEVEN shows will be included this year).

Some things to note:
-You can vote for as many or as few episodes as you would like
-You can vote as frequently as you would like*
-The 7 shows with the most votes will appear on The Very Special Blog from December 18th through December 24th

*voting closes December 10th

Also, please enjoy this “festive” coke-filled video that “NBC Classics” produced a few years ago to promo both Miami Vice and the holidays?? FYI the last image in this video is v. disturbing, not even kidding.

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Mama’s Family: Zirconias are a Girl’s Best Friend

I’m not sure how this popular sketch from The Carol Burnett Show became a fairly long running sitcom, but then again I’m not sure how Vicki Lawrence had a #1 song either, so I guess she was leading the charmed life in the 70’s/80’s.

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Anyway, I’d like to talk about a very serious issue that we haven’t yet covered here: shopaholicism.

As a person living in the digital age, I find myself suffering from this frequently. But for some people, it’s a debilitating disorder. And even before we had the internet in our homes, people suffered from it via THE TELEVISION.

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Shopping is a slippery slope. First, you’re just buying some fake diamond earrings that remind you of the ones your mother used to wear. Then you’re using your credit card that’s “only for emergencies” to buy some miniature fans in bulk. Then you’re buying “a portrait of Elvis that lights up.” (But actually that one sounds cool. I want that one. Someone link me to one in the comments!!!)

Then you’re skipping church meetings to watch the 3 O’Clock Bargain Bonanza! Money is the root of all evil, lest we forget.

After about three weeks of this nonsense, Mama’s family intervenes (probably because she’s spending a lot of money and they all seem to be moochers) with aversion therapy. This consists of hitting her with rolled up newspapers–as you might do if you’re really bad at training your dog and also kind of an a-hole–every time she tries to order something over the phone. And for the price of only four people hitting her with newspapers in three easy-installments, Mama is cured for good! Wow!

Very Special Lesson: tbh I learned nothing from this and am heading to Amazon right now. I have to find that picture of Elvis!

Okay…so…about Halloween…

Maybe you’re wondering what the heck happened to the final Halloweek episode? Well, all I can say is I watched an episode of Small Wonder all ready to snark about it when I got home from a big trip on Halloween night. But instead I came home, met up with a friend, and saw It. I don’t know if you remember this, but I don’t like horror films like at allHere’s the write up I did about how traumatized I was the first time I saw Scream and that was a COMEDY. So yeah it took me approximately 72 hours to sleep normally again and thus I failed to fulfill my blog commitments.

Please allow me to make it up to you this week with a very special episode (that I have already written about and scheduled so I’m 100% sure I’m not going to be a liar this time). This episode is a one of a kind gem (hint, hint) and I’m really happy it exists in the world for me to share it with you.

Smart Guy: Diary of a Mad Schoolgirl

(Okay, once again I’m sort of cheating, as this is not technically a Halloween episode. However, this is one of the most macabre episodes of a children’s television show I have EVER seen and thus I must write about it. This gave me a severe case of the heebie jeebies as a kid. Let’s see if it still does.)

TJ’s class has to write a 10-page paper on a topic related to our criminal justice system for their “Teens and the Law Class.” Kind of a weird name for a class. But okay. His partner for this project, Janice, has never heard of Lizzie Borden, so TJ sings her a creepy song to describe the double homicide she was acquitted (but largely suspected) of committing. “Lizzie Borden took an axe/Gave her mother 40 whacks/When she saw what she had done/She gave her father 41.”

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Meanwhile Tj’s older brother is super into this girl Janice. I say “super-into” meaning he thinks she’s hot and relentlessly pursues her even though he doesn’t know her and she’s specifically expressed her disinterest. Because he is gross and rude. But there’s a laugh track, so we’re supposed to think it’s cute/funny?

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When Marcus is super bummed that Janice isn’t coming over to the house to work on the project with TJ, TJ describes how such in-person interaction is unnecessary in the modern high school world, “We’re file-sharing–doing everything over the computer. See all we need is a phone line and we can retrieve each other’s files from the database. We never even have to be in the same room with each other!” Aw, the 90’s, when people had phone lines!

TJ accidentally opens her diary because it is called “My history,” and yes, that would be a bit confusing when working on a history project. He isn’t going to read it because he’s a good kid, but Marcus pressures him to let him look at the file. When TJ sees she’s mentioned enjoying working on the project with him, he decides to continue reading as well.

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Of course, Marcus starts using the stuff in her diary to pretend to be her perfect man, who likes everything she likes, and is thoughtful and sensitive and cultured and adventurous and blah blah blah. But things kind of backfire when she starts talking about wanting to be his wife and have his babies. She even wants to take him to the cemetery to meet her dead grandma. Things turn genuinely obsessive when she says she wants to take every single minute with him until they both die.

So he decides to then act like a gay guy to turn her off, and huh, well this got offensive. I didn’t remember this part. Sorry team. But hey, she decides she likes this too. Hehehe.

She starts to get upset when he suggests they take things slow, and then he gets scared. He’s like totally intimidated by her and maybe afraid for his life, which is, you know, a thing women frequently feel in relationships with men. So this is an interesting role reversal. It’s terrible and unhealthy and definitely not okay, but it’s an interesting choice for a family show.

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On a dark and stormy night, while TJ and Marcus hang out in their bedroom, TJ notices that Janice has changed the ending of their report. She’s rewritten it to say, “I started this report thinking Lizzie Borden was a monster. But now I see that there are good reasons for a woman to chop people up. And what strikes me as interesting is she got away with it.” Based on this obviously disturbing and murderous re-write, they decide to check her diary.

Her diary says she’s noticed Marcus flirting with his sister’s friend Alicia. She says, “Can’t have that now can we? Let’s see, what would Lizzie Borden do?” Their sister runs in and tells them that someone has tried to run Alicia over with a car. Then the lights go out. Their sister tires the phone and finds the lines dead. She decides to go next door to use the phone and warns her brothers not to open the doors for anyone.

Looking out the window, Marcus and TJ realize they they are the only house without power. Marcus sees someone wearing a pig mask and carrying a meat cleaver run across the driveway. They lock all of the doors! But they don’t get to all of the doors in time…there are also MULTIPLE people in pig masks. Then they hear this creepy little song as they’re chased downstairs:

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“Janice Walker took an axe. Gave that Marcus 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done. She gave his brother 41.” Oh wait, but JK, it’s all a JOKE!!! This whole thing was a setup. When Marcus and TJ’s sister saw how weird Marcus was being (aka changing his entire personality), she and her friend talked to Janice. They figured out he had been reading her diary through TJ’s file-sharing and decided to start planting things in the diary to mess with the two of them. Then they staged this whole thing with rubber clevers to teach them a lesson. This episode is still creepy AF.

Very Special Halloween Lesson: This is a very severe prank. I feel like maybe some laws were broken. Also, we didn’t even really learn anything about Lizzie Borden. But I did learn a whole lot about file-sharing! I think the real lesson here is men best not be shady because women aren’t going to take it.

Family Matters: Stevil II: This Time He’s Not Alone

This is so late into the Family Matters run that little Richie is calling Urkel “Uncle Steve.” We see this during the obligatory pre-show warning that this is a “scarrrrry episode.” No, but it really is scary. I’m terrified.

I think it’s pretty obvious that this is a dream-sequence episode because Steve literally falls asleep on the couch in the first two minutes and the dream sequence music plays. HOWEVER, the power of Stevil is great and just in case Freddy Krueger laws apply, I don’t think we should feel TOO SAFE in the dream sequence.

Stevil emerges from the toilet (where Steve ground him up and flushed him away years ago) only to reveal that he’s been bobbing for rats in the sewer. BARF. But now he’s back in the Winslow house. He’s there to steal Steve’s soul.

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Of course, he showed up at the Winslow house. Stevil is too smart to go looking for Steve at Steve’s house. Guys, does Steve have parents? Like maybe they moved away years ago and he’s just like lingering at the neighbors house because he didn’t want to move to a new town. Didn’t that happen in Boy Meets World? Like Topanga didn’t want to move away from Philly so she like tried to live with Corey and that was weird for obvious reasons. Okay, okay, wrong show. Let’s get back to Family Matters.

Just as Stevil is sucking Steve’s soul out of his eyes, Steve wakes up on the Winslow house because it was all (say it with me now) JUST A DREAM!

After comforting Steve and telling him to grow up, Carl Winslow heads upstairs and goes to bed fully clothed, sleeping on top of the covers. Cue the next dream sequence.

Carl heads downstairs and finds a box marked “fragile” and labeled with his name. He opens it to find his very own CARL VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY! But he thinks it’s cool and not at all scary. But it doesn’t take long for him to realize that this dummy is possessed too! He is known as “Carlsbad.”

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But then the worst thing they do is have a dance-off amongst themselves.

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OH WAIT. THEY’RE TRYING TO STEAL SOULS AGAIN! They chase Carl and Steve throughout the house. It’s a surprisingly tight race, considering that Carl and Steve have normal, adult-male sized legs, whereas Carlsbad and Stevil have doll legs.

In hot pursuit, Carlsbad and Stevil break down the door to Carl’s room, where he and Steve have created a barricade behind a large chest of drawers. Just as Carl thinks they’ve defeated them, Steve disappears. They’ve stolen his soul!! And actually, yeah, Jaleel White does look pretty creepy here:

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Carl and Carlsbad engage in a battle to the death. Or battle to the soul? Whichever comes first, I guess. Carl wins out against the dummies, but Steve zombie still wants to eat his soul!!

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Okay, but remember how this was all just a dream? It totally was, so don’t worry!! Unless, you believe the end credits where Carlsbad and Stevil are standup comedians. Ugh. Actually, something about that is even creepier than anything else in this episode.

I dunno. Maybe you guys don’t think Stevil/Carlsbad are scary. I think they’re terrifying. But the more I think about it, the more I think that may be because I watched the movie Magic with my mom when I was five. I don’t think she realized it was a horror movie. Kind of like the time my grandmother read that Leprechaun was going to be playing on TV and assumed it was a children’s movie. It’s amazing I survived my childhood. And now I write this blog! Never give up on your dreams!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: No. Dolls.

Night Court: Halloween, Too

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Before you start thinking that Night Court is just underrated yet dated NBC comedy from the late-80’s/early-90’s, let me remind you that the real Manhattan night court is, apparently, a tourist attraction.

Now, I’m not sure that the real night court celebrates Halloween–nor would I want to visit Manhattan’s nightcourt on Halloween in order to find out–but in NBC’s version the court is bubbling over with Halloween cheer. The lovable judge of the night court, Harry, is particularly excited about the holiday, having recently fallen in love with a woman whom he directed to the traffic court.

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Sadly, it’s not long before the honeymoon is over. She appears in Harry’s court a few days later having been arrested for destruction of public property and disturbing the peace. She “danc[ed] robustly through Central Park.” Oh yeah and she built a bonfire. Because she is a witch. It was a witch thing. Oh and also the mom from The Goonies is a witch too and she was there with her. (She was dancing naked by the bonfire. Yep, sorry, now you have that image in your mind.) Of course, Harry has to recuse himself from the case. But what of their romance?? Will Harry recuse himself from that too? More, after the jump!

Lol. Just kidding, of course there is no jump. Ugh, I hate when people do that. But I would like to take this time to apologize for the lame ads that WordPress is probably making you view on this site. It’s because I’m cheap and I didn’t pay for premium. I didn’t even pay for my own domain. Can you get any cheaper??

Well, I guess maybe there was a jump, after all. Sorry. So yeah Harry’s skeptical of the legitimacy of her witch-claims. So she proves it to him by zapping a miniature chandelier into his hand. Kind of an odd choice. But okay.

So he says, “You really believe you’re a witch?” Uh, no shit dude. How do you think you ended up with a light fixture in your hand??? At this point you should believe it too.

And she says, “It’s not what I believe. It’s what I am.”

And he says, “I believe that you are the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. And I’m gonna fight like hell before I even think about giving you up.”

hqdefaultOkay, calm down, no one said anything about having to give one another up. As they embrace at the resolution of a drama that existed only in their own minds, a journalist shows up and wants to interview them about their “compromising position.” But she tells some stupid story about how they’ve known each other since the second grade. She says Harry’s just offering her free legal advice because she once gave him lunch money. It works and the journalist is bored enough to leave them alone.

Then Harry asks her to stop being a witch. Why??? And then they realize that neither of them could ask the other to change. Thus, they can never be together. BUT WHY??

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Then they have a super weird conversation that I do not understand. If you understand it, please explain it to me in the comments.

Harry: Suppose, you walk out one night and there’s this message blazing across the sky or there’s a burning bush and it’s got my name on it.
Witch: (sobbing) You’d be the first one I call.
Harry: Fine. Just as long as we’re clear on that.
(She runs away in tears.)

Very Special Halloween Lesson: If you meet a cool person and you want to date each other then do it. Don’t make up stupid, potentially discriminatory against witches, reasons not to.

Full House: Baby Love

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit here because this is not *technically* a Halloween episode. But the subject matter is very appropriate, so I’m including it.

This episode is from the middle of the show’s second season and features a cold open with three Shar Pei puppies that the Gibblers are selling. This was obviously a blatant grab for ratings. Look, cute kids and puppies!

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Danny and Becky are in the early-stage of dating, which means they’re being obnoxiously cute in a way that must be delightful to the couple and nauseating for everyone around them. He announces to Joey and Michelle that they MUST watch Wake Up San Francisco because Becky will wink once if she agrees to go out with him that night and wink twice if they do not. Gross. She signals that they have a date OF COURSE.

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For some reason, Becky has her two year old nephew on the show as well. It seems like his sole purpose there is just to wave to Grandma and be cute. Michelle has a little crush on him and the whole family makes a big deal about him being her “very first boyfriend” which is so gross and annoying. They have their whole lives to deal with the perils of dating and even worse, the perils of your family knowing who you are dating and making a big effing deal about it, so why can’t they just be two year-olds for the love of God??

But now here’s the Halloween spooky stuff. DJ and Kimmy plan to watch “The Wolf Man” and Stephanie wants to watch too. Jesse says it’s fine, but Becky says she’s too young. So she says, “Jesse, are you telling me you’d let your kids watch anything they want?” And he’s all like yeah as long as they can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. This leads to a conversation about baby names.

Man, these people move fast.

In the middle of the night, Stephanie wakes up and is totally freaking about about “The Wolf Man.” DJ gets up to get her a glass of milk, leaving Stephanie all alone and freaked out by George Michael’s facial hair.

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But as it turns out, DJ is pretty freaked out herself. All of screaming ensues, waking up all of the Dads.

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Jesse and Joey make it better by pretending that Jesse is the Wolf Man and they are his nagging parents, who make atrocious jokes.

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All better right, Steph? All you have to do is make scary things funny! The end!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: Just laugh at all of your fears? Overwhelming fear of dogs? HAHAHAH, so funny!!!! Afraid of dying? LOL! See it works!!!

Fun Fact: Howie was played by twin girls.