Disney Episode Showdown: And the Winner is…

Full House!

Yes, that’s right. This show is a double vacation episode title holder. Here’s how you voted:

Point Break Down:
Blossom: Vacation Attire (57% of the vote)  + Music (67% of the vote)  = 2 pts

Full House: Overall Plot (71% of the vote) + Integration of Setting (67% of the vote)= 3 pts

Very Special Winner: Full House

Disney Episode Showdown: Full House vs. Blossom

It’s time to decide who will be victorious in the Disney Episode Showdown! But here’s the thing. My brain has been really tired lately. So I thought I’d let you guys decide the winner. People’s choice awards, right? As Valerie Cherish says, those are the most important because they come from the people.

So brief point of order:
All episodes will be graded on a 5 point scale and the winning episode will have the higher score based upon which categories it wins:
Overall Plot–2 points
Music–1 point
Vacation Attire–1 point
Integration of Disney Setting –1 point

The final round consists of Full House and Blossom. Both of these shows have reputations for being very special shows, but now they must face-off in the ultimate showdown.

In terms of plot, I think the best analysis is through comparing very special lessons:
Blossom learned to trust her boyfriend to be honest with her. Blossom’s bf learned to be honest about his feelings. Blossom’s non-Joey Lawrence brother learned to be happy he had a hot girlfriend and stop freaking out about the fact that others are attracted to her. (a.k.a. He learned to stop being a possessive freak.) Joey Lawrence learned it’s possible to have a blast with a nun and that even celibate women can show you a good time. Six learned that it’s okay to be a little bummed at Disney World, and also that if you ride the Jungle Cruise enough you can hook up with the cool guy from school. Blossom’s dad learned that he didn’t need to hide his Elvis impersonator gig because there’s nothing shameful about taking a dumb job if it feeds your kids.

In Full House, Jesse learned that he needed to make quality time for his wife. Danny learned that he was ready to ask another woman to be his wife. Michelle learned that sharing is caring. Stephanie learned that it’s caring to love even those who don’t share. Joey actually did something useful for once and helped Stephanie not hate her sister while everyone else was too busy dealing with their own Disney adventures. We all learned how great the Disney security team is because Michelle had a trusty companion in Snow White literally the entire time she was missing from her family.

“All About Love” by The Party from Blossom

“For the Times” by John Stamos from Full House

Vacation Attire:
These episodes came out about the same time, so you have comparable early 90’s looks to decide between. I can’t find any high quality photos of Blossom from this episode, so I’m going to refer you to this 90’s video supercut, specifically the Full House and Blossom parts.

Integration of Disney Setting: This one just means how much they incorporated the park (or parks) into their episode. So basically, do you feel like Joey/Jesse in the fish tank at the Coral Reef Cafe or Michelle/Stephanie in the parade was like super awesome. Or do you prefer the more chill reminiscing on the Sky Buckets/Helping the cute guy lead the jungle cruise.

I will reveal the results tomorrow evening, so get to voting!

Disney Episode Showdown: The Golden Girls vs. Blossom

Remember, that The Golden Girls never actually went to a Disney Park, so they are once again at a disadvantage in this competition. But everyone loves an underdog. And everyone loves The Golden Girls. The only reason that Dorothy and Sophia never go to the park (aside from one short ride on Space Mountain in the credits) is that Dorothy has really only taken her mother on a trip in order to be able to spend time with her without interruption. They basically could have found a quiet corner booth in a Miami diner and had this exact same experience.

And while the plot is strong, we do have to remember that this is a “Disney Episode Showdown” and not a “talk about going to Disney Episode Showdown.” The Golden Girls easily beat out quintessentially low-performing Step by Step because the “family takes a trip to Disney” didn’t a plot really at all. If you watched the episode, you had to sit through 40 pain-staking minutes of people following other dreams at Disney while incidentally being at Disney. The only truly Disney specific event is Flash’s quest for the world record. And maybe if that had been like the entire episode and the whole family really pulled together to work on that and like met some Imagineers and discussed theme park planning or whatever then maybe it would have been more interesting.

But instead we got to watch long montages at probably four different points in the show and that was a major plot point. The rest of the time was spent watching two boys waste all of their savings to chase girls, mom & dad complain about their lack of alone time, and the sisters attempt to win a singing competition. I mean, they could have just as easily been at Universal. But honestly, I’m not here to shit on Step by Step again. It’s just that awarding The Golden Girls plot victory over Step by Step (or even Roseanne for that matter) feels pretty justified even though The Golden Girls never went to the park.

But with Blossom it just doesn’t feel fair. I think that’s because even though the plot points on Blossom are somewhat incidental too–like would any of this really hold together as an episode without the setting, iffy–the plot points are incidental in a good way. This couldn’t work as a stand alone episode but that’s because everyone’s kind of having a personal moment at Disney. And that personal moment is somehow created or rectified by actually being at the park. We shouldn’t expect much less from the O.G. of very special episodes.

Blossom would never have had an awful fight with her boyfriend if it weren’t for the fact that he started behaving strangely because he was afraid of all of the theme park’s attractions. He wasn’t just afraid of The Matterhorn, he was freaked out by The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. That’s how bad his fear of heights was. And it made him act like a weirdo. But like many teenagers she totally took it personally and made it all about herself. At the end of this episode she learns that it’s a stupid thing to do, and he learns it’s shady to pretend nothing is wrong when there is obviously something wrong. It’s a good lesson that they could have learned anywhere, but it’s cool that they learned it at Disney because that’s the kind of weird shit that you learn about each other at theme parks. This is a great way to integrate the setting and have a good overall plot all at the same time.

So I’m very sorry to The Golden Girls because this does conclude their time in the competition, but I would like to thank them for being a friend. And also I’d like to point out that they only lose by one point. That’s pretty badass for a couple of ladies on a soundstage.

I think their music was way better than “The Party.” And I still love those cardigans.

Point Break Down:
Blossom: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  = pts

The Golden Girls: Vacation Attire (1 pt) + Music (1 pt)= 2 pts

Very Special Winner: Blossom

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Disney Episode Showdown: Family Matters vs. Full House

We have made it to the first matchup of the semi-finals! As you will remember, Family Matters has taken a trip to Disney World so that Steve Urkel can show of his DNA altering machine. And yes, he needs to bring the entire family next door in order to do so. Laura breaks the machine so that Steve is forced to remain Stefan Urquelle. They nearly get married, but Laura begins to feel guilty about essentially murdering Steve. She only begins to feel this way because Steve’s girlfriend Myra cries about how Steve is gone forever. (Is it cheating if your DNA was technically different at the time?)

Full House is at Disney World because Jesse has a gig at Cinderella’s castle. Becky comes along so that they can spend their anniversary together. Joey comes along so they can do their radio show live from the fish tank at Epcot. The rest of the family comes along just because. Stephanie learns to love Michelle even though she’s a jerk, Michelle learns not to be a jerk, DJ sees Steve everywhere, Steve actually joins their vacation, Danny proposes to Vicky, and Kimmy Gibbler was there.

I think Full House deserves the point for best overall plot. I guess Family Matters had the better plot setup, but it’s weird that Laura just sorta feels bad about breaking Steve potentially-Noble Prize winning machine. The horror is over almost as soon as it began. And I worry that’s more true to life. But Full House still wins because they managed to have good subplots. I think the main plot is Uncle Jesse works too much, but all of the subplots are so good that it’s hard to tell the B’s from the A.

Family Matters had a cute cover of “Kiss the Girl,” but Uncle Jesse still wins this round for his impromptu performance of an anniversary love-ode after he misses his picnic with Becky. That’s one way to get out of a fight. Full House also wins for best integration of Disney setting. The showed so much park property you could almost plan your trip from it. Also, I’m kinda bummed out that these attraction haven’t changed that much in the past twenty years…

But Family Matters still wins best vacation attire. This is mostly because there are too many sweatshirts tied around waists, Vicky’s dress is really ugly, and Becky wears open-toed clogs.

Whereas this is a total class act. Look at those platform jellies and pressed slacks:

Point Break Down:
Full House: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Music (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  = 4 pts

Family Matters: Vacation Attire (1 pt)= 1 pt

Very Special Winner: Full House 

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Disney Episode Showdown: The Golden Girls vs. Step by Step

If you watched The Golden Girls episode for this bracket challenge, you probably noticed that none of it is actually filmed on the Disney Park Grounds. The reason I’ve included it anyway is that I needed an even number of shows for this bracket, and it is possible to win the challenge without winning the integration of setting point.

So if you haven’t guessed already, Step by Step wins the point for integration of setting. Aside from the fact that they are winning by default, this episode actually does a good job of integrating pretty much all of the major attractions. This is done largely through extended montages that depict a family friend, Flash, trying to break a world record. He’s attempting to visit all restaurants, food carts, and rides in less than four days. He’s doing this largely because a Russian holds the current record. And this is America. The montages are way too long, but it really cool to see how two of the boys work with Disney staff to set up a base of operations for Flash. I’d like to think this is something Disney would be down for in real life. 

This episode also incorporates Downtown Disney, which we haven’t seen before in this competition. One of the 7 children in this blended family, enters a singing contest at the Neon Armadillo. It’s also because of her efforts that Step by Step wins the point for music.

But that’s where the easy points stop for Step by Step. Now, this episode is nowhere near as bad as their Hawaiian episode, but the overall plot cannot hold a candle to The Golden Girls. That’s partly because the only plot in Step by Step is the family doing random stuff at Disney and spending way too much money. The Golden Girls, however, captures all of the weird emotional baggage that can come with a family trip. In fact, the only reason that Dorothy has brought Sophia to Orlando is that she’s worried that her mom will die soon and they will not have spent enough quality time together.

Morbid. I know. But this is The Golden Girls so it’s funny. All Sophia wants to do is ride Space Mountain. But Dorothy has brought photo albums and slides and wants her mother to sit in the hotel with her for hours and tell her every single thing she was thinking in every single one of the photos. She also starts to keep a journal of Sophia’s witty one liners. This pisses Sophia off to no end, so she goes to the hotel bar and tries to have a Casablanca moment with the bar pianist. He doesn’t get the joke though so instead of playing “As Time Goes By” he plays a light-jazz version of “It’s a Small World.” When Sophia is finally ready to ditch Dorothy and go to the park herself, it rains in a torrential downpour for 24-hours straight. Luckily, Dorothy realizes she’s being a little nuts and does take her mother to Space Mountain before heading to the airport. We sort of get to see this as the end credits roll over what looks like the interior of space mountain, so that’s kind of cool. I’m also giving the Vacation Attire point to The Golden Girls because I like a woman who can dress well at any age and Dorothy is killing it. Also, I hope to own as many cozy cardigans as possible as an elderly woman, so I’m very inspired by Sophia’s wardrobe.

Point Break Down:
Step by Step: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Music (1 pt) = pts

The Golden Girls: Overall Plot (2 pts)  + Vacation Attire (1 pt)= 3 pts

Very Special Winner: The Golden Girls

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Disney Episode Showdown: Blossom vs. Boy Meets World

Blossom really captures the whole Disney spirit. The episode is narrated by someone who sounds exactly like Snow White, and they even manage to make The Hall of Presidents interesting. Yep, seriously. The episode is the only one in the competition to take place at Disneyland, and (taking advantage of the smaller park size) they have all of the characters interact with the Disney characters/attractions in a very comprehensive way. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the episode, does anyone find it odd that I’ve never once covered a Blossom episode on The Very Special Blog? I mean, she is the queen of very special episodes, right?

Well, there is one simple reason for that. You see, I got in trouble in elementary school for watching Blossom. It was that episode where Blossom and Six go to a make-out party and after that it was like the Blossom police lived in my house! I did manage to see this Disney episode though, but I remembered pretty much only the part where she sees her boyfriend kissing another girl from the Sky Buckets.

That’s pretty much the only plot in this episode. Blossom sees Vinnie kissing someone (who turns out to be his cousin) and she flips out. When he tries to explain that it was a totally innocent situation, she doesn’t believe him. This makes her kind of an ass, in my opinion, but he’s been acting really weird all day, so her suspicions are not without merit. It also turns out that Vinnie has never been to Disneyland before and is incredibly afraid of heights–which he’s been trying to hide since he’s a cool guy and all that. Other than that, we get to see Joey try to get a date with Sleeping Beauty, who tells him that she’s engaged and so are all of the other princesses. (Sheesh, stop hitting on these women while they are working!) Then he gets stuck riding the rides with a nun all day since they are both alone, and it’s pretty great.

Blossom’s other brother (the not Joey Lawrence one) has brought his girlfriend to the park with them and every character in one of those full body-suits is into her. That’s really weird. I mean like fine if she’s soooo hot or whatever, but in that case shouldn’t the princes be trying to get with her? It’s like only Tigger and Dopey are into this girl and yet this dude gets jealous. Luckily, Abe Lincoln sets him straight in the most interactive Hall of Presidents ever in the history of halls and presidents. Six also gets with the Jungle Cruise guy who they happen to know from high school. Then they discover that their father is actually an Elvis impersonator performing center-stage at Tomorrowland. It’s boring and the only reason I’m pointing it out is that he makes out with Belle at the end of the episode in which there is a montage of make-outs. (There really was SO much kissing on this show.)

The plot of this episode isn’t the cool part though. It’s really great how they feel so genuinely connected to this place. They are a family with memories there, and that makes it the most realistic of all of these promotional episodes. Six talks about feeling a little sad because the park reminds her of spending time there as a kid before her parents split up. Blossom and Six make a b-line for the Sky Buckets because they have traditionally always started their days there. It just feels really sincere in a way that the other episodes don’t. And since Disney is a place where sincere and fake come together to form magic, then I think this episode really nails it on integration of setting.

The overall plot of Boy Meets World, is a little more intricate, but that doesn’t make it better. Basically, Corey has been dating every single girl in school since he broke up with Topanga and that makes her not want to date him again. No shit. Anyway, he follows her to Disney World after she and two other classmates win a contest to study dolphins in Epcot. The other two classmates are alleged cult-leader Andrew Keegan and a girl who Corey recently went on a date with right before the trip. This girl also has a bad habit of showing up when Corey is professing his intense feelings for Topanga, and mistaking them for his thoughts about her. Corey sneaks away from Philly without telling his parents, Eric covers from him surprisingly well with a really stupid looking life-size plush, and Corey manages to stalk Topanga all over the place while posing as Disney workers and sneaking into unauthorized areas.

Now, I can take a lot of ridiculousness for an episode (i.e. Michelle gets to be a Princess and total asshole to her family for a day) but this is just too much. Someone on the Disney side of things would have shut this down and put him in Disney jail until Alan an Amy could get on the next flight to Orlando. Also, I’m not buying that they didn’t notice he was missing. They’re like the most hands on parents in the 90’s ABC family. Ridiculous things happened in Full House but since Snow White found Michelle almost as soon as she disappeared and Danny was rich enough to live on Alamo Square and take 10 people to Disney World–I figured they had special circumstances.

Anyway, Topanga isn’t down for Corey’s stalking, and it’s only after he bumps into Stacey Keenan (we’ll see her later in Step by Step) who has decided to “hang back” alone after a guided tour (ugh yeah right) and becomes best friends with a sad dolphin who has lost her lover that he stops acting like a maniac. Corey realizes that he needs to chill out and let Topanga live her life, which is of course when she decides to date him again. Other than Corey/Shawn sleeping on Splash Mountain (so ridiculous), we see a few choice locals but nothing is really integrated into the plot. Almost by default, Blossom gets the point for plot. While Boy Meets World may be more intricate (sort of), I want to yell at it a lot.

The fashion point totally goes to Boy Meets World though. I would have expected Six to bring this one home for Blossom but she wears a really weird purple sweat-headband the entire episode and I’m not on board. Plus, Topanga’s outfits are rocking the entire week she is in Disney. I especially like her sea-foam green crop top and pants set. I can’t find a picture of that so here’s a picture of another one of her cute outfits:

Blossom also gets the point for music because they had a live performance form a band called The Party which is made up of former MMC cast members. I didn’t particularly like their music but their cool 90’s choreography won me over. Plus, BMW didn’t have any music at all.

Point Break Down:
Boy Meets World: Vacation Attire (1 pt)  1 pt

Blossom: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  + Music (1 pt) 4 pts

Very Special Winner: Blossom

*While this was not a “very special episode of Blossom,” Snow White does say that they’re going to the park for a “very special day.” Also, what is this trend of good costumes bad everything else? Maybe I should run some analytics on this. Maybe the next bracket challenge will even have seeds and statistics.

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Disney Episode Showdown: Sabrina the Teenage Witch vs. Full House

So next time I do a bracket challenge, I should probably figure out how to seed these show because Full House won by a landslide. You could probably expect that Full House would win heavily against any first round competition. After all, it did beat out The Brady Bunch in a controversial upset to become the Champion of Vacation Episode Champions.

Sorry Sabrina, but what can I say? First of all, Sabrina took place entirely in Animal Kingdom and the Coronado Spring Resort, whereas Full House went to every park (in existence at the time of the episode) and featured both the Grand Floridian (where the extremely wealthy San Francisco denizens spent their vacation) and The Polynesian Resort (where Michelle hosted a Luau of sorts). It was no contest for integration of setting on this one.

The plot of Sabrina (while much better than that of Roseanne and about on par with Family Matters) revolved around a single task, whereas Full House had tons of subplots and moving parts. That is what they do so well on vacation episodes. That is why this is the team to beat. But I do believe it’s possible. Or do you think they will become double vacation episode title holders?

Sabrina has to go to the Animal Kingdom in order to take a test for her witch’s license. She has to turn her self into an animal with a potion and then also be able to turn herself back (with another potion). I imagine this task would be difficult without thumbs, so I was curious to see how this would play out. But her friend with the straight hair (not curly-haired girl from season 1) and Libby accidentally get the potion instead. So Sabrina has to rescue them and still manages to pass the test, which is stupid because she didn’t actually complete the task at hand.

The best part of this episode is that you get to watch Harvey be the safari tour guide. Aunt Hilda zaps him into that role to get him away from Libby (because apparently Harvey is totally untrustworthy?) Oh yeah, Hilda and Zelda are there as chaperones, but they spend almost no time at all with the kids. They’re the kind of chaperones who would let your kids lose their virginity in a maintenance closest behind the tree of life or walk around in the animal-only areas. Real winners. Actually, yeah the second one does happen. Poor, Martin Mull is the only one trying to keep these kids in line! And apparently there are also no Disney staff members around, which I find to be the least plausible part of all of this. Even less plausible than the witchcraft.

Full House features a bossy/bratty/still sweet Michelle winning a contest to become “Princess for a Day,” which she was only able to do because she cut in front of Stefanie in line. This grants Michelle the ability to have a series of wishes granted to her by the Disney Parks. She also gets to ride in a parade. And there are posters at every park and hotel declaring her the Disney Princess. This is ridiculous and I would like to subtract points for it, but overall the show has a better plot than that of Sabrina. There’s just no way that Disney World (who wants to make EVERY kid feel like  princess/prince/pirate/magical creature/personified rodent/etc would ever publicly display everywhere in the park that they had a regular kid just like you to lord over you for a day on your expensive vacation. Speaking of vacation, the reason for this trip is that Jesse is taking a working-vacation with the family. His band, Jesse and The Rippers are playing at Cinderella’s Castle.

I love John Stamos, but there’s no way they are Cinderella’s Castle level entertainment. These guys would be lucky to the get the stage near Canada at the World Showcase. The only Jesse and The Rippers performance I have ever enjoyed was the time they covered “Hot Child in the City” on Wake Up, San Francisco! But I can’t find that anywhere on the internet, so I am starting to worry I invented that memory. But this episode does win in terms of music, not for the band (or for the fact that Sabrina doesn’t really have music) but rather for the fact that Jesse sits down at the piano in the Grand Floridian lobby and beckons Becky to watch him doe-eyed from the balcony even though he’s been too busy working to spend time with her. He’s like some Greek-Romeo/Bryan Adams combo and it’s incredibly effective.

Other notable plot points include:
Danny proposes to Vicky using Fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Stephanie deals with loving Michelle even though she is an asshole. Michelle becomes less of an asshole. DJ/Kimmy/Stephanie lose Michelle and she’s rescued by Snow White. DJ thinks she sees Steve everywhere, which means that actor gets cameos as Indiana Jones and most princes (extra cool since he really was the voice of Aladdin). Then he shows up at the Grand Floridian to surprise her! (Remarkable for someone struggling to save for college.) Joey and Jesse do their radio show from the tank in the Coral Reef restaurant. (Still don’t see the point of having a radio show in a cool visual location.) And we barely see twins, Nicky & Alex, thank God!

Sabrina does have them beat on fashion though. Melissa Joan Hart is rocking some cool late-90’s checked pants and pigtail braids. God, I miss pigtail braids.

Point Break Down:
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Vacation Attire (1 pt)  1 pt

Full House: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  + Music (1 pt) 4 pts

Very Special Winner: Full House