80s TV The Most Bizarre Very Special Episodes of Classic Sitcoms  

Devon Ashby
6.2k votes 1.6k voters 257.9k views 16 items

List Rules Vote on the weirdest, funniest, and most memorable

What's your favorite "Very Special" sitcom episode? Those of us with an affinity for classic sitcoms all remember "Very Special Episodes." An odd trend in the sitcom universe, Very Special Episodes were episodes about social issues, usually with an uncharacteristically serious tone, and often with a preachy message (sometimes delivered out-of-character) tacked on at the end. Some of these episodes are uncomfortable, some unintentionally hilarious, and a few are just plain weird. What are your picks for the best Very Special sitcom episodes of all-time?
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Jessie's Song (Saved by the Bell)

Jessie's Song (Saved by the Be... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Bizarre Very Special Episodes of Classic Sitcoms
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No list of unintentionally hilarious sitcom episodes would be complete without this classic installment of "Saved By the Bell," in which Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkeley) – Bayside High's resident goodie two-shoes – suffers a full-blown, speed-freak meltdown after becoming addicted to pep pills. The scene in question is so legendary that even people who never watched "Saved By the Bell" are at least familiar with it (especially since the X-rated, so-bad-its-good cult fave Showgirls, starring Berkeley as an ambitious Vegas dancer, was released a few years later).
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The Bicycle Man (Diff'rent Strokes)

The Bicycle Man (Diff'rent Str... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Bizarre Very Special Episodes of Classic Sitcoms
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Wacky, mismatched foster family sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" got in more than one solidly preachy episode during its run. Perhaps the most skin-crawlingly memorable, however, was this two-parter from season five about child molestation. After befriending Mr. Horton, the jolly owner of a local bike shop, Arnold (Gary Coleman) and his friend, Dudley, drop by the man's apartment after school one afternoon, where Mr. Horton promptly attempts to get them drunk, talk them out of their clothes, and take shirtless photographs of them.

Luckily, the police sabotage this seductive milieu just in time, and the episode closes on a somberly out-of-character Conrad Bain delivering a message to the viewing audience about the dangers of sexual predators.
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3 366 VOTES

Edith's 50th Birthday (All In The Family)

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All in the Family was a controversial show in its own right, and broke ground for its portrayal of series issues that had never before been tackled on TV. But in one very special episode, some raised their eyebrows at a plot addressing sexually assault quite in this way. 

In "Edith's 50th Birthday," Edith is at home while her family is planning a birthday party for her. A stranger knocks at the door claiming to be a police detective and Edith lets him inside. Then, he viciously attacks her and threatens to rape her. Luckily, the birthday cake she had in the oven catches on fire and smoke billows out from the kitchen. She throws the cake and him and he flees.

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Shape Up (Full House)

Shape Up (Full House) is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Bizarre Very Special Episodes of Classic Sitcoms
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Round-faced DJ was still a few seasons away from being actually, discernibly pudgy, but that didn't stop her from falling pray to an eating disorder in this season two episode. After DJ's best friend, Kimmy, announces she's hosting a pool party for her birthday, DJ becomes obsessed with losing enough weight to look flawless in a bikini.

Starving herself for days on end and painfully exhausting herself at the gym, DJ finally collapses in front of her dad and little sisters, prompting a heart-to-heart from her father about the true meaning of beauty and self-respect.
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