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Archive for the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ Category

5.  Andrew Lawrence to Joey Lawrence in Horse Sense – Disney Channel Original Movie – November 20, 1999

So fine, Andrew Lawrence doesn’t actually utter “You’re not my father,” but the meaning is all the same AND I’ve been dying to mention Horse Sense since this blog’s inception. In a classic diluted-rich-kid-learns-the-meaning-of-hard-work SLASH hardworking-poor-people-are-about-to-lose-the-family-ranch plot, little Andrew teaches Joey a thing or two about hard work and family. Then, in an effort to prove to him how far he’s come (both in work ethic and playing a father figure type) Joey completes the tree house Andrew had been working on alone since his father passed away. When the kid arrives home to find his cousin putting the finishing touches on the LAST REMAINING TIE TO HIS DECEASED FATHER he has a come-apart, scurries up the ladder and starts to rip it apart, all the while yelling, “This is mine and MY FATHER’S! MY FATHER’S!! NOT YOURS” etc. Please FF to the 7 minute mark to see this doozie of a clip.

4.  Julia/Baily/Claudia to Charlie in Party of Five – “Pilot” – September 12, 1994

Again, sorry, fine, so “You’re not my father” is only implied here. Lay off, I had a long week (of quality time with my own father no less). At any rate, no show could pull the ol’ dead-parents-heart-string quite like Party of Five, which they did in droves. Remember the pilot episode, when they’re all just becoming accustomed to the lives of well-to-do orphans, as barely-older brother Charlie takes on the responsibility of raising his sassy siblings? First, it’s Julia that tells Charlie to fuck off and then Claudia (AFTER PAWNING HER VIOLIN FOR MONEY!) shuts him down and finally Bailey exclaims, “A piece of paper does not make you a parent.” You’re right, Bailey, so quit bitching about skipping “practice” to supervise annoying baby Owen already.

3.  D.J. Tanner to Joey Gladstone in Full House – “Joey Gets Tough” – November 25, 1988

CLASSIC! This blog might as well be called “I ❤ Full House.” Not only does this show make half the lists on here, but this episode appeared as #1 only a few weeks ago and with good reason! When Joey, the house door mat, gets lambasted by Danny for being too easy on the girls, “Joey gets tough,” grounding D.J. for coming home late from karate practice. FORCING her to proclaim “You’re not my father!” before dramatically storming up the stairs to her room, all whilst clad in martial arts attire. Now, first of all punishing your child for coming home late from, say, a drug-induced underground rave is one thing. Grounding them for merely staying after practice to discuss strategy for an upcoming tournament, is quite another. If I were D.J. I’d surely have said, “Good. I hate participating in after school sports activities and I thank you for freeing up my weekend for some serious television time.” This probably spawns from the fact that I was K.O.’d in a karate tournament myself, circa 1993.

2.  Steve Sanders to Rush Sanders in Beverly Hills, 90210 – “Angels We Have Heard on High” – December 20, 1995

Sheesh. Steve’s father Rush (what a name!) was such a dick. Sure Steve was a bit of a rich brat but he never did anything that awful, especially in the eyes of an absent father who is generally proud of the early indicators of a future in shady business practices. And poor Steve, adopted son of a family sitcom star and a rich business man and from a broken home! It’s not his fault he delivered the sexy negligee to that dude’s daughter and the Easy Bake Oven (or whatever dumb toy) to the guy’s mistress. SOMEONE ELSE PUT THE LABELS ON THE PACKAGES! And of all things for Rush to really lose his shit over. Like what? You’re mad at me because I accidentally revealed to a nice lady and her young daughter that her husband/father was a cheating bastard. SOOOOORRR—RRRRYY!! Let’s also not forget that Steve finds out that Rush IS his real father, that he knocked up some waitress in the desert, and BOUGHT the baby from her to raise with his wife. Talk about nothing to be proud of, Rush! Unfortunately (and unbelievably) this clip cannot be found on the Intertron. So I offer you this bit of dialogue to act out with a partner:

Rush Sanders: I always knew you were stupid, but I never thought you’d be so self-destructive!
Steve Sanders: Thanks for the support, as usual.
Rush Sanders: Oh, good sonny boy. Keep up that sarcasm on the unemployment line.
Steve Sanders: What does that mean?
Rush Sanders: It means you lost your job at ITM, and you embarrassed the hell out of me considering that I was the one that got you that job in the first place. Scott Coveny told me to tell you that you’re finished there.
Steve Sanders: What are you talking about?
Rush Sanders: You messed up is what I’m talking about! You delivered the present that Scott was sending to his mistress to his niece. His wife’s sister’s kid got a leather bustier. His mistress got a Holly Home Maker oven! What the hell is wrong with you, you idiot? That note that was included in the bustier is gonna cost Scott a fortune now since his wife is now going to sue him for divorce.
Steve Sanders: [incredulous] Dad, I just delivered the packages to the addresses on the labels. I didn’t write them. I didn’t screw up. Somebody else did.
Rush Sanders: Somebody else screwed up. That’s your MO, kiddo. Did you just make that up, or did you rehearse it in front of a mirror before saying it to me? Yeah… sure, you mess up and it’s always somebody else’s fault. You used that same excuse last year for the bloody fire.
Steve Sanders: You know what? I don’t need to take that crap from you. That’s your MO. I didn’t do anything wrong and you never believe me. I got nothing further to explain to you, ’cause you just will not believe me.
Rush Sanders: Sometimes I’m ashamed to call a loser like you my son.
Steve Sanders: Then don’t bother. You’re not my father anyway!
Rush Sanders: Don’t say that.

Steve Sanders: Why not? You’re not my father! You’ve got nothing to be ashamed about and neither do I.

1.  Will to Uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse” – May 9, 1994

Go ahead and cue the tears. THERE’S SOMETHING IN MY EYE! In a show that was generally zany to the max (I mean look at all the neon up in there- “to the max” is an acceptable phrase) this episode really takes us to a new place EMOTIONALLY. I’m pretty sure that this fine episode is the reason that Will Smith was able to go on to a lucrative career in “dramatic” film acting.  Will’s deadbeat father Lou shows up in Bel Air and makes big summer vacay plans with Will. I wonder where this is going! In an effort to “protect” Will’s feelings, Uncle Phil tries to put the kibosh on Will’s trip, leaving Will with only one option: “YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER!” Oh and don’t worry, he eats it later (I mean, I don’t mean to be a dick, Will, but Uncle Phil did tell you so) when bum Lou eludes Will’s undying love yet again. “Why don’t he want me?” OMG! This episode is just heart-wrenching! Question: What is keeping Will’s mom in Philly? Why doesn’t she move in with the Banks? Or at least to L.A.? I feel like she doesn’t really love him either. Is that cold?

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I’m not going to lie, you guys. I am REALLY excited about today’s list.

I love the “You’re NOT my father!” moment of pretty much anything. One of our most gloriously over-used cliches in both TV and film, it’s pretty self-explanatory. A well-meaning authority figure tries to instill a little wisdom or caring and the uncaring brat responds with that most below-the-belt of blows- “You are not my biological parent.” It’s best when used in a sitcom so there’s a proper storm-out or run up the stairs (A Full House specialty, the run up the stairs) and the studio audience can go, “Ooooooooooh.” I highly encourage you to say, “Oooooh” at the end of each entry, it really does make a world of difference.

5. Shawn Hunter to Mr. Turner in “Cult Fiction” on Boy Meets World (1997)

Ah yes, the classic “Cult Fiction” episode. Occasionally, a series will whip out the old “main character joins a cult” situation (Kelly on 90210, Tori Spelling and that religion that’s supposed to be Scientology on So Notorious, Veronica Mars tries to live on that farm in that one episode) and who doesn’t love TV’s squishy take on what a cult is really like (namely, there is so much hugging involved that this can’t be kosher). When it comes to Boy Meets World, poor (ha ha ha, SHAWN’S POOR!) Shawn Hunter has been having a hard time of it lately- his trailer trash lifestyle has become even more trailer-tastic after his dad takes off after his wayward mom and leaves Shawn in the care of first the Matthews (who clearly don’t know what to do with someone who wears so much flannel and doesn’t appreciate clean cut wisecracks from a little sis) and then oh-so-cool teacher Mr. Turner, not at all sketchy for a single man with a Jheri-curl to take in a teenage boy. When Shawn takes up with the Huggers, Mr. Turner steps in and obviously Shawn’s not going to listen to someone who is NOT HIS FATHER. Don’t you ever watch television, Mr. Turner? God.

4. Jessie Spano to her New Stepmom in “Palm Springs Weekend I & II” on Saved By the Bell (1991)

Some woman at the hotel where the SBTB Palm Springs episode was filmed. I love the internet.

Some woman at the hotel where the SBTB Palm Springs episode was filmed. I love the internet.

This is the Saved By the Bell episode where you muttered to yourself, “I think there’s something wrong with Jessie Spano.” She REALLY hates her new stepmom to-be. Like, tries to drown her in the Palm Springs pool hates-her (not ok, Mama). Although, if I were forced to wear that heinous bridesmaid dress, I might also consider making snide remarks about my dad’s fiance’s youth and inappropriate hotness to everyone too. I mean, she’s a aerobics instructor for God’s sake. I think we all know why this wedding is taking place.

But don’t worry. Zack Morris, next door neighbor, best friend, always there with a snappy blazer, is there for some friendly advice. Namely, suck it up and get back to the wedding, in the name of all that is holy so we can end this episode and move on to California Dreams where I think Jake and Tiffani are about to hook up in the gang’s garage thisisthebestSaturdaymorningever!

3.Tracy Morgan to Everyone Who Tries to Tell Him What To Do in “Rosemary’s Baby” on 30 Rock (2007)

You have no idea how much I wish there was a clip of this scene. Basically, Tracy has an issue- whenever an authority figure (Jack, in this case) tells him not to do something, he has to do it. Even dog-fighting, the most repulsive thing a person could do (which Grizz and Dot-Com hilariously try to circumvent by recruiting poodles). When Jack tries to talk some sense into Tracy, he retorts, “You’re not my dad!” And prompts a series of flashbacks when Tracy was a little boy, played by Elijah Cook who is SPOT-ON with an attitudinal delivery that just kills me every time. It goes something like this:

“Tracy, don’t play with matches!”

“You’re not my dad!”

“Tracy, don’t stare directly at the sun! It’ll make you crazy!”

“You’re not my dad!”

And my favorite- little Tracy’s dressed for church in a red dress and matching hat. “Tracy! You’re not going out dressed like that!”

“You’re not my dad!”

AAAAAND scene. Seriously, Hulu, I can’t believe you want to charge me and yet you don’t even have that clip. Pathetic.

2. Buffy Summers to Ted (John Ritter) in “Ted” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

In one of Buffy‘s greatest episodes ever, John Ritter plays Ted, new boyfriend to Buffy’s mother, poor suffering Joyce. Everything seems dandy except Buffy thinks he’s a giant creep. Nobody else does though, since Ted’s making these cookies with dreamy tranquilizers in them, that make everyone just love the guy. We see flashes of the real Ted though, when he tries to smack Buffy around and it’s all the more creepy and awful because nobody sees it or is really on her side. So when she has enough and roundhouse kicks him down the stairs, it’s a short-lived rush of satisfaction. See, Buffy actually kills Ted and the ramifications of her killing a person, not a demon or a vampire, are pretty heady. (Not to mention the most dramatic “You’re not my father!” overreaction ever).

Luckily for all of us, he’s actually a sociopathic robot who comes back to life to try and recruit Joyce into living with him in his creepy basement of love. Which means we get to see Buffy’s fears validated. And she gets to kill him again, always a bonus.

1. Will Smith to Uncle Phil in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse” on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1994)

This picture is unrelated. It just makes me laugh.

Welcome to the part of the program where I tear up uncontrollably. I’ve mentioned previously my inability to watch this episode of what has to be one of the most ridiculous sitcoms of all time without getting choked up and making excuses like, “I’m sorry, there’s a ceiling tile in the bathroom that needs my attention” so that my friends don’t mock me when Will blows up at Uncle Phil for not exactly being psyched that his deadbeat dad Lou (Ben Vereen NO!) has shown up to make yet more false promises. And then when Lou makes an excuse about bailing on him AGAIN and Will breaks down I just, I can’t- I’m sorry, there’s a ceiling tile in the bathroom that needs my attention right now. (PS originally my choice for this week’s topic was “Very Special Episodes on Sitcoms That Actually Really Did Make Me Cry Don’t Judge Me” so you see we’re killing two birds here.)

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by Beal

In the first grade, local weatherman Kevin Orpurt visited my elementary school. The student body gathered in the gymnasium and sat on the floor (wow, this is even more low rent than I originally remembered) for Kevin’s captivating presentation about weather patterns and storm facts, probably, I can’t actually remember, because I was SO EXTREMELY PUMPED THAT I WAS MEETING A REAL LIVE TELEVISION STAR. Now, keep in mind that I was six and I had no idea what a “local affiliate” was or that MY “local affiliate” was located in Terre Haute, Indiana. What I thought was that Kevin Orpurt was the WORLD’S meteorologist and that me and my school were so special that he traveled all the way from 30 Rock to share his love of climate with us. Eventually, my excitement for meeting Mr. Orpurt turned to shame and a source of family mockery. Sixteen years later, I moved to Los Angeles where celebrity sightings are typical and routine so when I encountered one in the drugstore, the post office or a coffee shop my reaction was more of a “oh cool” than “HOLY SHIT HE’S ON TV!!!” Excitement-wise, nothing can compare to the Kevin Orpurt incident (that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever typed) but here are a few TV STAR ENCOUNTERS that come close. . .

5.  Jasmine Guy — Whitley Gilbert in  A Different World (1987-1993)

Jasmine Guy/Whitley GilbertYou know what’s greater than seeing Jamie Lee Curtis or Meredith Baxter Birney walking into an A.A. meeting? Seeing Jasmine Guy approaching the facility in which the meetings are held at the time in which they are held. See, I used to work four doors down from a church that held celebrity-studded alcoholics [not so] anonymous meetings on Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. The first time I saw Jamie Lee (who once called me “lovey”) I thought, no shit? what’s she doing walking around here at 9 a.m.? Until my boss informed me what all those people that smoked in front of the church were there for. Now Jamie didn’t smoke, and I can’t say that I ever say M.B.B. did either, and that doesn’t really matter, because the point is those two SEEM like they could be alcoholics. BUT WHITLEY GILBERT??? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never been closer to figuratively shitting my pants. I had roughly a solid minute of Jasmine Guy approaching me head on, since I was walking up the street towards my office and she was walking down the street, POSSIBLY towards this meeting. Now, I can’t say for certain, but she had parked up the street (meaning she didn’t live in one of the houses down the street) and the only thing between her and the church was a nail salon, a waxing store (what do you call those?) and a boutique. HOWEVER, none of them opened until 10 a.m.! So, by the powers of deduction, Jasmine Guy may or may not have a drinking problem and I [sort of] witnessed it first hand.

4.  Patricia Wettig — Nancy Krieger Wilson in thirtysomething (1987-1991)/Holly Harper in Brothers & Sisters (2006-present)

patwettigPerhaps Patricia Wettig isn’t exactly who you think of when you think “Television Star,” but she made my list because of the frequency in which I ran into her, literally one time RAN INTO her (incidentally on the same day I “ran in” to her co-star, please see #1). From what I gather, Patricia (and her husband Ken Olin) must live in Pacific Palisades, a smalltown-esque celebrity enclave nestled on the bluffs between Malibu and Santa Monica. We share a favorite restaurant, Cafe Vida, because I saw her there at least once per week. It’s a small place, less than 20 tables, so no one could come in without you noticing (which Heidi and Spencer, vomit, did on the daily). I always really wanted to approach Patricia, and tell her I really liked her show, but I could never bring myself to do it, for fear of appearing as if I cared about celebrity (so instead I am blogging about it years later). The last time I saw her was at the CVS on 26th and Santa Monica Blvd. I was visiting L.A. the week before Christmas, stopped at the drugstore for something and as I rounded the corner of one aisle I smacked head on into another person. When I looked up and made eye contact, it was none other than Patricia Wettig. We said, “Excuse me” to one another, all the while making solid eye contact, and for a brief moment I considered sparking up a conversation. However, she seemed to recognize me (no doubt from our regular luncheons) and that was more satisfying to me than mentioning that strangely (and sounding made up) I had just seen her co-star at the mall.

3. Will Smith — Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996)

Will Smith/Fresh PrinceSpotting celebrities in traffic is pretty spectacular. It’s like they think that within the confines of their $100,000 automobile, they are invisible. It’s quite the opposite actually. You see a retardedly expensive/shiny car and, as much as you wish you didn’t, you wonder who is inside. Nine times out of 10, it’s a nobody with a car payment that will bankrupt him before his cheating trophy wife can do it but once in awhile it’s Dennis Quaid or THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR! Heading into Hollywood one sunny afternoon I noticed a lustrous black Bentley convertible to my right. From a slight distance the driver appeared to be a Laker, but when the light turned red and I rolled up directly next to the vehicle, a perfect place to cock my head and stare, I noticed that it was, in fact, Will Smith. It was Will Smith, sitting in traffic next to me biting his nail. It was Will Smith spitting his finger nail into mid-air in the general direction of my car! The light turned green and, partly horrified, I continued east on Sunset Boulevard. Traffic is thick and another light turned red, aligning Smith and I for yet another couple minutes. I played it cool, nonchalantly looking to my left away from Smith and wouldn’t you know it, there he was again, this time as Hancock on an excessively large billboard. I turned back to my right, as it was exciting having both a picture of his face and his actual face on either side of my vehicle. THIS TIME, Will, a friendly guy, noticed me staring. He gave me a head nod which I returned (desperately wishing that I had “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” in my stereo) before he pulled in front of my car and turned left on Laurel where low-lifes like me, fear to tread.

2.  Ali MacGraw — Lady Ashley Mitchell in Dynasty (1984-1985)

Ali MacGraw/Lady Ashley MitchellPerhaps Ali MacGraw (no relation to Phil) is better known for her Academy Award nominated performance in Love Story than she is for her role in Dynasty, where she was killed in the Moldavian Massacre, but humor me. Now, admittedly, Ali MacGraw isn’t really on my celebrity radar. In fact, I had no idea who she was until after our chat. I was in a boutique store in L.A. trying on jeans when someone else came in to look around. I heard her tell the manager/my friend that she’d been keeping busy “working for Vogue.” Being that there was no mirror in the dressing room, I was soon forced to exit in order to use the large one located in the middle of the store. I plant myself in front of the mirror, and Ali MacGraw says to me, “Oh my god, those jeans were MADE for your body. You really have to get them.” Now, maybe she was just being nice, or maybe I was having a skinny day, or maybe the jeans were just high-waitsed enough to hide my muffin top BUT I will never be above taking false fashion compliments from a maiden of Vogue. I decide to purchase the jeans and for the next 15 minutes chat with this lady about her new home in Sante Fe, how she doesn’t miss L.A. and how much she loves this one kind of sandal that my foot is too fat for. After her departure, I was told who she was and thank god I didn’t know before or I may have had a Sweet Dee-style dry heave right in front of her or more likely done the ever-rude “My MOM loved that when she was a kid”. I still have the jeans, which I refer to exclusively as “my Lady Ashley Mitchell jeans.”

1.  Calista Flockhart — Ally McBeal in Ally McBeal (1997-2002)/Kitty Walker in Brothers & Sisters (2006-present)

Calista Flockhart/Ally McBealThe story I’m about to tell you is true. I almost [accidentally] killed Calista Flockhart. Part of me is glad that this was an “almost” situation and the other part of me wonders what doors would have opened up for me if I had, in fact, killed Ally McBeal or at least maimed her. Last December, L.A. was unseasonably cold, and rainy so instead of shopping outdoors on Melrose or the Promenade, I was relegated to the indoor Westfield Shopping Center in Westwood on Pico. Apparently the same thing happened to Calista. Now, I wasn’t actually living in Los Angeles at the time, only visiting,  and my friend Bic (you know, the girl who likes pens) was kind enough to loan me her apartment and brand new car for the week–the car that nearly killed Calista. As an Angeleno, parking AS CLOSE or CLOSER to the entrance as humanly possible is requisite. I noticed a spot and headed straight towards it at a reasonable speed. From the corner of my left eye I noticed a quick flash of a vehicle’s tail lights, no doubt the result of someone pushing the lock button on their deal. WITHOUT LOOKING FOR CARS, said person steps directly into oncoming traffic (me, in Bic’s car) FORCING me to SLAM on my breaks. This person gets out of harm’s way somehow (I couldn’t see my head was flying forward due to the violent slamming of the breaks) and is now standing directly next to my driver’s side window. I look over and wouldn’t ya know it! It’s Ally McBeal! She makes an “oops” face, smiles and politely waves. I smile awkwardly and wave back–a mutual exchange of “I’m not sure which one of our scatter brains lead to this almost tragic accident.” (Classic Ally). I quickly parked the car and spent the next hour stalking her and her family in Nordstrom.

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by Judi

I’m going to start with this- casting is right up there on the list of Things In Hollywood That We Take For Granted. It’s kind of like the CIA- when everything’s working as it should, you don’t hear anything about it (case in point- casting, while being a HUGE portion of the entertainment industry, is not an available category for the Emmy’s or Oscars or any Hollywood award). The only time you hear about it is when something goes horribly awry. And I’m not just saying this because I happen to know a pretty amazing casting director in real life (Hi Beth! Ahem). Sadly, for every perfectly cast ensemble (Seinfeld, Mulder & Scully, Arrested Development) there is at least one bona-fide head scratcher, a casting decision that makes you wonder if this person had some blackmail photos in their pocket when they went to the audition.

Welcome to When Things Go Awry.

5. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Henry VIII on The Tudors (2007- Present)

Perv Who Enjoys Chicken

Perv Who Enjoys Chicken

Sexy Times McGee

Sexy Times McGee

This one is pretty obvious, essentially because we know that Henry VIII was a fat, pervy bastard. And while Rhys-Meyers gets a point for being a bastard, may I remind you that it isn’t pervy behavior if the guy is sexually attractive. “Perviness”, along with its slightly incestous cousin “The Ick”, is directly proportional to how revolting you find the person (consider Chris Rock’s take on the matter- “If Clarence Thomas looked like Denzel, this never would’ve happened.”) and so Showtime’s decision to give British history the “old Showtime treatment”, short of hiring the wretched Diablo Cody to write the thing, is nothing short of ridiculous.

He’s also kind of a terrible actor. There, I said it. I hope my Bend It Like Beckham DVD didn’t just burst into flames or anything…

4. Jennifer Love Hewitt as Melinda Gordon on Ghost Whisperer (2005- Present)

Jennifer Love Hewitt has always made me laugh. Not in like “She’s the original Tina Fey” way or anything. More like, she was the theater kid I used to laugh at even though I was a bigger loser than she was. Things have not changed much in our respective hierarchy but she still makes me laugh. She’s just so earnest, trying to come off  as vulnerable, whether it’s to husband Jim or Bailey, with her big hair and her big boobs getting all in the way. I guess casting her in a ghost drama on CBS makes sense (it is CBS after all, not exactly a stable of our finest actors.) but this show would be so much better if Melinda Gordon was played by someone who didn’t crack me up for all the wrong reasons. And for God’s sake, can we dress her APPROPRIATELY for once? Why is she always running around in sundresses in the middle of winter? But that’s a topic for another Friday…

This show really is just a Lifetime movie that’s lasted for four years, isn’t it?

3. Michael Stoyanov as Tony Russo on Blossom (1991-1995)

2835Right off the bat, Tony Russo is a strange choice for a sitcom character, being a recovering alcoholic and all in The House That Quirk Built. Add Six and Joey’s “WHOA!” and Dad’s piano-playing and we’re left to wonder what we’re supposed to make of Tony exactly. Michael Stoyanov, though well-meaning, seems confused about this as well and I think he might be wondering what he’s doing cast as Joey Lawrence’s serious older brother when he could be doing Off-Broadway somewhere.

2. Daphne Reid as Vivian Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1993-1996)

Here’s an interesting decision. Take a character on a hit sitcom and cast a hilarious actress in the role. Then, after three years, recast the smart, feisty actress with the comedic equivalent of a modern-day, rich June Cleaver. While I love June Cleaver as much as the next person, I do not want to watch her partake in zany antics or, worse, sit on the sidelines like a piece of melba toast while everyone else has all the fun.

Let’s go to the video tape.

1. Evangeline Lily as Kate on Lost (2004- Present)

Evangeline Lilly Biography

On paper, Kate is a fantastic character. She comes from a broken home, she killed her abusive stepfather by BLOWING UP THEIR HOUSE and then went on the lam, ends up on a tropical island and becomes a kind of GI Jane of the Jungle, surviving capture and getting rescued and losing her kid and TIME TRAVEL and a romantic triangle to boot.

Which is why Evangeline Lily brings me so much pain. I want to like Kate so much but from the very first episode, Lily was just wrong for the role. I mean, she’s certainly pretty (no one is disputing that) but, in Kate, I wanted more than just “pretty” and “freckles.” This character needed grit and Evangeline Lily has about as much grit as overcooked oatmeal. What makes this all the more evident are the well-cast roles of Sun and Juliette, who managed to actually elevate their characters into something else entirely, something infinitely more interested than what was written. As opposed to Lily, who just seems to be holding on for dear life.

Watch clip.

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by Judi

Ok, fine. FINE. I admit it. I LOVE musicals. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? I am one of those people who “totally gets” what’s so great about people who spontaneously burst into song and tap-dance in the street in big, choreographed numbers. I think the fact that the musical is now a relic of better times (and High School Musical does not count, sorry. Call me when those kids challenge The Jets) is a travesty and must be remedied. But I digress. This platform is not the place for movie musicals. It’s a place of television MAGIC.

Occasionally though, these two worlds collide in outrageously entertaining fashion. Some are lavish, all-episode affairs (see #1) and some are, well, ridiculous. Some shows did it a little too much (I’m looking at you, McBeal.) And some shows not at all, sadly. More often than not, it’s just an excuse for an actor to showcase his-or-her vocal skills. Whatever the reason, bring it on!

5. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air- Ashley sings “Respect” to Uncle Phil (who is clearly not respecting her)

Tatiana Ali is no stranger to vocal exercises, having been on Star Search singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” when she was a precious little thing. So it was inevitable that Fresh Prince would make her sing at some point. But, oh, using a karaoke moment to perfectly illustrate her point? That’s just sitcom gold, people. GOLD.

That’s right. It’s in German. This is how I’m watching Fresh Prince clips from now on. Hilarious.

4. Bones– Brennan sings “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” until Booth gets shot, ruining her solo

We all know Zooey Deschanel can sing but who knew sister Emily can bring it too? In the second-to-last episode of Season 3, Booth and Brennan track down a dude who murdered a karaoke singer and Booth ends up adopting the singer’s stalker (whoops). Since the victim was a singer, it’s only natural that the pair would end up discussing the benefits of karaoke, leading Brennan to announce that she has an awesome voice (in her usual, blunt way). No one really believes her (it was her mom who told her she was good) so they set up a little surprise. Except, halfway through the song (that Brennan is enjoying so much that it’s almost cringeworthy) the stalker shows up and shoots Booth. So Brennan, you know, grabs Booth’s gun and shoots the stalker through the throat. “Girls Just Want to Have Excellent Marksman Skills”?

I apologize for the crappiness of the clips but what can you do?

3. The Cosby Show– Happy Anniversary performance

If there’s any video representation of what my family has tried to be like over the years it’s this. (It hasn’t happened yet but we keep trying). It’s all so great. The moves, Theo’s descent down the stairs, little Rudy, Phylicia Rashad cracking up… Classic.

You really need to watch it again. Come on, it’s so good. Skip to 4:05 for the good stuff.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer– Once More With Feeling

Joss Whedon loves musicals too. (Just ask Dr. Horrible) I don’t know what it is about this all-musical episode of Buffy but people reeeeally love it. Like have parties and sing-along love it. THEY DO LIVE PERFORMANCES (see below). The premise is made to tie in with a demon, of course, one that turns little sister Dawn’s world into a musical extravaganza leading to such numbers as “Something to Sing About” and “Where Do We Go From Here.” The singing is awkward but well-meaning but really, before this no show tried to capture what’s so great about musicals- that singing your feelings is a very pretty way of, you know, singing your feelings.

1. The Brady Bunch– The kids sing “Sunshine Day” and dance their way into the Camp Hall of Fame

As usual, the reason for the Brady kids singing on the Pete Sterne Amateur Hour is all Jan’s fault. I forget why but the PLOT of this classic episode is hardly the point. No, the point is awkward singing, the most cheerful song in the history of mankind (it’s really more like a sitcom jingle than a song but I digress), the choreography and what this would all lead to… the genius, short-lived program known as The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (which Jan refused to be a part of, thus ruining that too. Thanks a lot, Jan) Don’t you dig the sunshine? Don’t you hear it calling your name?

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by Judi

1. Saved By the Bell– “Jessie’s Song” (1990)

There’s a reason why this Saved By The Bell episode is possibly the most famous “Very Special Episode” in sitcom history (so much so that it prompted a mention in Beal’s overview of today’s topic) and nothing encapsulates the After School Special/Over-Dramatic Ridiculousness of Jessie Spano getting hooked on CAFFEINE PILLS more than the scene above. Even setting aside the fact that the last thing our uptight Jessie needs is the Saturday morning sitcom equivalent to crack cocaine, the episode just crackles with the kind of over the top acting that kind of makes you want to die a little bit upon viewing it as an adult.

And let’s face it- that Hot Sundaes song is pretty catchy.

2. Beverly Hills 90210– “Thicker Than Water” (1994)

I’m pretty sure that whoever is behind those Drug-Free America commercials, the ones that espouse how pot will make you accidentally kill your younger siblings, has this episode of 90210 playing on constant loop in the background. Indeed, what can be more tense than David Silver on meth, losing his baby sister at the park because he’s too busy practicing his patented “moves” over by the swing set? Or, ok, just takes a nap.

90210 forced poor David into drugs quite a bit over their decade-long tenure and while this episode PALES in comparison to some of the others (particularly the hilarious episodes when David gets clean and “finds music again” by playing the keyboard while the “famous” Jazz musician next door wails on the sax in his garage until they’re jamming together and it’s oh, so sweet), I think you need to draw the correlation between David Loses Erin and pretty much every drug-free campaign over the last ten years. Coincidence? I think not.

3. A Different World– “No Means No” (1993)

It’s all right there in the title of the episode, isn’t it? Now, A Different World is no stranger to The Very Special Episode but this one stands out in my mind, if for no other reason than it’s resolved because Dwayne Wayne jumps ON THE ROOF OF THE CAR (3:18) and basically fights Freddie’s date, a star basketball player who apparently didn’t read the title of the episode, through the sunroof. Fantastic. And really, Freddie, I don’t blame you for not suspecting him- a basketball player named Garth?

4. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air– “Bullets Over Bel-Air” (1995)

I’m going to officially embarrass myself right now and reveal to you that I kind of can’t handle it when Will Smith cries. I KNOW. To quote Freddie (see clip above), I am a dork of the highest magnitude. That episode when his deadbeat dad breezes into town (Ben Vereen, NO!) and then leaves again? I don’t even really want to talk about it. Like, for real.

This episode, when Will gets shot after he and Carlton are robbed, would probably be up there in the “oh my God, Judi- are you ACTUALLY CRYING right now?” meter if Carlton didn’t respond to the situation by stupidly purchasing a gun, despite the fact that he apparently plans on using it while wearing a khaki jacket, thus necessitating the need for protection in the first place. Alfonso Ribiero has many, many fine sitcom talents but over-dramatic acting has got to be the greatest one of all.

5. Growing Pains– “Second Chance” (1989)

This was possibly the most effective Very Special Episode in my own life because upon seeing it, I vowed never to drink and drive ever. EVER. I wouldn’t drink ANYTHING while driving, in fact. No water, no orange juice nothing. Yes, I was eight at the time but seriously- THE KID DIED. I’m not even kidding. Growing Pains killed Carol’s boyfriend for drinking and driving. Alan Thicke is not fucking around, people.

This episode, and that scene when Mike tells them Sandy is dead and Carol thinks he’s joking, affected me so much that when I first saw Matthew Perry in Friends, I almost had a heart attack. “SANDY. He’s alive! Please don’t go to a bar ever again!”

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