Top Five Fridays: TV Vacations

by Judi

Whenever a beloved TV show ventures on location, it’s a risky business. Aside from the shooting challenges as opposed to the safety of a soundstage, we ask ourselves questions like- do we really want to see Roseanne in natural lighting?

The answer, of course, is sometimes. Because when it pays off, you’ve got yourself a classic episode. And when it doesn’t, well, nobody but us remembers those episodes anyway so no harm, no foul.

So, without furder ado, Next Time On presents our Top 5 TV Vacations. And I get to go first this time.

1. Absolutely Fabulous– “France”

Being fabulous is exhausting, sweetie. So when the going gets tough and your prim mother keeps showing up and your insufferably uptight daughter is just always in the way of you popping another pill, the only recourse is to take your best friend and flee to the south of France. Of course, it would be helpful if you first learned the language. Otherwise, you might end up staying in the grody caretaker’s cottage instead of that swanky hotel where you made reservations. Luckily, a little cocaine goes a long way to improving a ping-pong match and nothing screams class like stumbling out of a vineyard, piss drunk and convinced that someone’s stolen your steering wheel.

2. Beverly Hills 90210– American Girls in Paris episodes

There that French language goes, getting in the way of our good time. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you go to a swanky restaurant and order brain. Delicious. But hey, at least Dean Cain is there! And he’s dumb enough to actually believe you’re French! How do you say “score” in the language of love? Maybe we should ask Dylan and Kelly, who use Brenda’s time in Paris to get it on, the way only your best friend and boyfriend can (I’m still harboring resentment for this, apparently.) But hey, as long as it all leads to this memorable scene in 90210 history, the trip was totally worth it.

3. 30 Rock– “Cleveland”

It’s hard to decide which is better- the scene where Liz Lemon and her boyfriend Floyd decide to take a mini-break to Cleveland or the scenes where they’re actually in Cleveland. I’ll take all the scenes actually- from the guy on the New York City street who spits in Liz’s mouth and the skipping woman who gets shoved into a heap of garbage all the way to Liz revealing that she did some catalog modeling while in Cleveland, prompting Jenna to snap, “We’re all models west of the Allegheny.”

Be honest. After petting a real police horse, getting first pick at the hot dog cart, and lunch with Little Richard, wouldn’t you want to flee to the Cleve? Even movie stars like Tracy Jordan come to Cleveland to get away.

4. I Love Lucy– “LA at Last!”

This is the LA of my dreams, really. The kind where you might just run into Eve Arden or William Holden at The Brown Derby. While the rest of us suffer through the dregs of LA traffic, smog, and Paris Hilton haunting the IVY, Lucy gets to shove a pie in William Holden’s face and then form a disguise by fashioning a fake nose, only to set fire to it and put it out in a coffee cup. And that’s just the first day.

5. Samantha Who?– “Out of Africa” (And by Africa, we mean Miami)

I’m really, really going to miss Samantha Who?, tragically cut down before its proper time. And I really, really loved this episode. Amnesiac Sam decides that she’s “graduated” into her new life, her life as a good person, and once and for all has distanced herself from the slutty, selfish bitch she was before being mowed down by a car. Except, well, she gets super drunk with her friends celebrating said graduation and then sleeps with her ex-boyfriend. And then gets so freaked out that she decides to go to Africa and build something for children.

Except she gets freaked out by all the shots she needs for Africa and the bugs (“Have you ever seen a scorpion? They’re like spiders with KNIVES.”) and chickens out completely. And then goes to Miami with her friends instead. Except while she’s getting her tan on, there’s a violent outburst in Chad, where she’s supposed to be, and her mother (the incomparable Jean Smart) reacts in typical, deadpan fashion. “She’s dead. I know it. My little girl is dead.”

It’s a great episode.  Stupid network executives.

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