A Very Special Episode

Ok I'm not really this old.

I’ve been an avid TV fan since Frasier had hair and you had to stand up to change the channel. My parents and I would gather around the television with our TV trays and watch everything from the Cosby Show to Knots Landing to the Church Lady. Situation comedies in particular influenced my path to adulthood in many wonderful ways. In fact, I first learned how to speak Valley Girl from an episode of Family Ties (gag me with a spoon!)

Yet there’s a certain something missing from today’s television shows – that element of family togetherness strengthened only by watching your favorite sitcom personas learn valuable lessons whilst undergoing extreme duress sans laugh track. Where have all the “very special episodes” gone?

Once upon a Full House, you’d know it was getting serious when the “very special” leitmotif played in the background of DJ skipping school or Stephanie considering a cigarette or Michelle getting amnesia. A very minor B story line would keep the mood light, but the real drama would unfold at a breathtaking pace while my Swanson mashed potatoes cooled in their little plastic tray.

I’ve never had a larger lump in my throat than when Chandler Bing (aka Mr. Matthew Perry) died on Growing Pains after a drunk driving incident, I’ve never been as glued to the screen as when Jessie spun out of control while singing “I’m So Excited” on Saved by the Bell, and I’ve never had a greater anticipation for a night of television than when I heard the words, “tune in for an unforgettable episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

Sure Charlie died on Two and Half Men and everybody has a serious (yet awe-inspiring) drinking problem on Cougar Town, but where are the heartstrings to be tugged and lessons to be learned?

Perhaps it’s because spoiler sites lessen the impact, perhaps it’s because families don’t watch TV together anymore, or perhaps it’s just because after six seasons of Sex and the City nothing can be considered “special” anymore. But whatever the reason, I want to cry during sitcoms again!

What is the “very special episode” your remember most?

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About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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20 Responses to A Very Special Episode

  1. On Diff’rent Strokes, when Arnold and his buddy Dudley went to the hobby shop and the owner (played by the Maytag Repairman) took pictures of them jumping on a trampoline with their shirts off. Arnold got creeped out, but Dudley stuck around for a while. oofah…

  2. Joe Dawkins says:

    The CPR Punky Brewster episode, when they were playing Hide N’ Seek outside and Cherie hid in the damn refrigerator! Thanks to Punky and Margaux saving her, since Alan couldn’t remember how to do CPR!

  3. Loving your post and I will have to think of one to your question (not popping right into my head for some reason)! Have a Great Weekend!

  4. It surprises me to admit that the “very special episode” I remember most is the one where Blossom ran away from home to shack up at a hotel with the guy from “Hey Dude”. While wearing a bowling shirt.

    That Michelle having amnesia storyline was just bizarre.

  5. ashazenzi says:

    1) i learned a new word today. thanks for leitmotif 🙂
    2)i think Frasier was the last of the mohican’s–in this case mohican’s being good-all-around sitcoms with heart and humor
    3) these two tie for ‘very special episodes’ for me–when Theo (Cosby show) found out he was Dyslexic & when Darlene (Roseanne) wrote the award winning poem about being a tom-boy. GREAT post! 😀

  6. I’m obviously a little older than others who have posted, and I’m about to prove it:

    I remember an episode of Archie Bunker when a man broke into their home. Edith was home alone, and the man forced himself on her. I was young and extremely terrified. I also remember an episode of Maude when she had an abortion. This, too, was probably to mature for me to watch, but they both left a lasting impression on me.

  7. gojulesgo says:

    Ha! Yes, this is up there with my favorite guilty pleasures. I think the most memorable ‘very special episode’ for me is, understandably I’m sure, the Very Special Episode of Punky Brewster when Cherie gets stuck in an abandoned refrigerator while playing hide-and-seek. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgbZPTdbLys&t=6m27s

    OH DANG – just read that Joe beat me to it!

  8. Great post. Glad I ran across your blog.

  9. nancyfrancis says:

    The plethora of episodes involving Donna (Tory Spelling) considering ‘giving it up’ and endlessly weighing the pros and cons. Not really a sit com at all – I know – but I do remember hanging on the edge my seat!

  10. kitchenmudge says:

    You must be too young to remember the episode of MASH in which Henry Blake was lost. Pretty big deal at the time.

  11. MaximumWage says:

    I remember when the tonight show with Johnny Carson ended back in 92, right around my birthday.

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