5. Friends “The One with Ross’s Wedding: Part I” (1998)
I am aware that by including an episode of Friends in a list of top anything greatly reduces my credibility as a television aficionado, but go ahead and chastise me, this episode was great. The ENTIRE cast (sans Phoebe, who was super pregnant, on the show and in real life) went to London. A budget that big proves that I wasn’t the only asshole watching. Seriously though, any travel episode which features a destination mini-montage AND a cameo by British royalty (Fergie) warrants a mention on this list. And yes, I know, both Friends and the world be be a better place in the absence of Matt LeBlanc, so shut up and enjoy the clip:
P.S. That laugh track is OUT OF HAND. Who are they trying to fool? It was 1998 and filmed on location. Wow.
4. I Love Lucy “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (1956)
Admittedly, I’m a little fuzzy on the details of this episode. What I believe occurs, is that a famous Italian “cinema” director spots Lucy on a train, and decides she would be perfect for his latest film, “Bitter Grapes.” Although he wants her to play the role of “average American tourist,” Lucy believes it is important to “soak up some local color.” Hmm. I wonder if Lucy is going to get in some kind of zany and troublesome situation. Oh, wait, yep, here it comes. We’ve all seen this scene, it’s probably one of the most famous from not only I Love Lucy but of television in general. I still won’t ever understand how the 1950’s disallowed Lucy and Ricky from sharing a marital bed or using the word “pregnant,” but did allow two women to wine-wrestle in a vat of juicy grapes. Go figure.
3. Full House “Tanner’s Island” 1989
No tropical vacation in TV land would be complete without a stranded-on-a-desert island incident! When the Tanner clan (and Rebecca, Danny’s co-host, wait- why is she there?) decide to celebrate their two-year anniversary of becoming a family (a hit show)–wait, didn’t they become a family when the mother died? This seems like a wildly inappropriate celebration now. I imagine little Stephanie in therapy many years later, “First, I’m addicted to meth. Secondly, one September my mother died in a drunk driving incident, and when we celebrated that fact in Hawaii two years later, we ended up stranded on a deserted island. How rude!” In the end, the Tanners + future Aunt Becky discover that they weren’t stranded at all, they were just on the WRONG side of island. Happens all the time (See: Golden Girls “Vacation” 1986). When taken to the Polynesian show on the proper side of the island, I think it’s only obvious what’s about to go down. A “reluctant” Jesse takes over the mic for a rousing rendition of the Elvis classic, Rock-a-hula, as the rest of the cast dances around on stage. I’ve always wondered about that audience. (A) Did they all seriously sit there just to catch a 30-second glimpse at the cast of Full House? (B) Do they mention this event every time they meet a new person? If not, why??
2. Saved by the Bell “Hawaiian Style” 1992
Alright, alright, you got me. This isn’t actually an “episode” of SBTB– it’s a SBTB movie. But give me a break, it was the greatest vacation I never went on but have the fondest memories of. Kelly’s grandfather invites her and the gang to stay at his Hawaiian Hideaway Hotel one last time, because it’s about to be taken over by something corporate. Will a gang of mildly retarded teenagers save the day? You betcha! Oh and also, Zack will hook up with a cougar, whose daughter is like 10 years younger than him (am I the only second-grader who was creeped out at the possibility of my mother dating Zack Morris, cause seriously, that kid was like 8!) Oh, and don’t forget about Screech’s foray into idol-dom at the hands of the Pupuku tribe. Still unsure how a Polynesian/Hawaiian “tribe” could mistake a fro-headed Jewish kid in parachute pants for their god, or why there are no clips of this on YouTube.
1. The Brady Bunch “Hawaii Bound” (1972)
So this list could more aptly be called “greatest Hawaiian mishaps” but that’s beside the point. This 3-episode arc might be my FAVORITE in all of television. Seriously, as a kid, the Hawaii episodes (Hawaii Bound, Pass the Tabu, The Tiki Caves) warranted a sick day. Come on! Bobby and Peter find an “ancient Polynesian Tabu” at Mike’s construction site (and let me get this straight. Mike is working for a like Fortune 500 company that can afford to send his nine-person family to Hawaii for three weeks (episodes) yet, Mike, the architect of a GIANT project in Hawaii, cannot afford a home with more than one bathroom for his half a dozen kids?). At any rate, the tabu is cursed and will “bring bad luck to all that touch it.” And thank god, because otherwise I would have never had the opportunity to see Barry Williams eat shit on a surfboard. The show wraps up when some drunken hobo type informs the boys that the tabu must be returned to some ancient burial grounds/temple, where VINCENT PRICE holds them captive. Oddly, I have no recollection of what the Brady girls get up to while the boys are stuck in a temple with a possible pedophile.