A Very Special Update!

Hello Very Special Readers!

I know I’ve been sporadically posting for the last few years. The truth is, I just cannot stand the way WordPress is setup now.

Oh how I long for the days of that old school “classic editor”! I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally deleted shit when writing last year’s Summer of Swayze and I kinda just didn’t want to finish it because the formatting process was so cumbersome and unfulfilling. And I don’t feel good about how many projects I’ve deprioritized because it takes too long to make them work on here.

That’s why I’m going to move on over to Substack. I hope you’ll join me! You can either read “The Very Special Blog” directly on Substack or subscribe to receive my newsletter directly to your email. It’s real easy, just head to: https://theveryspecialblog.substack.com/

I’m starting a new series this summer where I will be covering the “Malibu Sands” episodes of Saved by the Bell. In addition to my hot takes on Jesse Spano’s perfect beach waves, you’ll also be receiving a cool homemade ice cream recipe with each episode. (I couldn’t even crack an egg when I started this blog, so if I can make ice cream, then you can too!! As an added bonus my recipes do not require an ice cream machine.)

I’m keeping this blog active because there’s almost eight years worth of content on here! And I’m not ruling out posting on here in the future…but I think it’s time for something new.

Check Me Out on the Enough Wicker podcast!

Happy New Year, Very Special Readers! After seven and a half years, I’m going to let you hear my voice. 😱😱😱

I’m featured on today’s episode of Enough Wicker talking about The Golden Girls, teenage bullying, and Tuckman’s theory of group development.

The intro to my part starts at the 17 min mark. All the submissions are SO GOOD so I encourage you to listen to the whole episode.

But if you’re not going to listen to the whole episode, please still listen to my part…

Okay, that’s it for my shameless plug!

Here Is My List of Excuses

Hi. Clearly, I’ve abandoned my posting schedule, whoops. But I had some really good reasons, which I will list below because I don’t want you to think I’ve been ignoring you for no reason:

  1. I was too busy socializing in-person with other vaccinated friends!
  2. I got tired from all the socializing, so instead of rewatching and researching Dirty Dancing, I watched this really delightful movie with Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin that I thought would be a thriller but actually turned out to be a buddy bounty-hunter/bond jumper movie that even had one of the Fratellis from The Goonies. (Joe Pantoliano, who was also in Risky Business, The Sopranos, and a million other things). Also, Dennis Farina played a mob boss! Anyway, it’s called Midnight Run and I highly recommend it.
  3. I got scared about the Lambda variant because what. the. actual. fuck.
  4. I spent a few days mainlining true crime because that’s evidently what I do when I get anxious. Which to be fair, I am anxious most of the time. But it was really bad this past week (see above regarding Lambda).
  5. I’ve been working on a giant project and my job (which pays me so I have to prioritize it *sigh*).
  6. I finished editing my novel!
  7. I’ve started (thinking about) writing query letters!

Stay tuned for Dirty Dancing in the next few days! I’m drafting!! No more empty promises (I promise)!

In the meantime, please enjoy this clip of El DeBarge on Miami Vice because it has me in a summer mood

The Pandemic Made Me Love My Kitchen

I spent so much of my time in the kitchen during 2020 that I enjoy shopping for kitchenware now! I’m obsessed! Here are some things I found on the internet that feel inexplicably important to have in my kitchen:

Blue’s Clues Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, & Paprika Shaker Set – $19.90 from BoxLunch

Blue's Clues Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, & Paprika Shaker Set - BoxLunch Exclusive
I’m a bit too old for Blue’s Clues but I really like that a paprika shaker exists in this set because honestly I think we could all use a little more paprika. I really like the idea of having it available on my table in an adorable shaker right next to the salt.

Geeki Tikis Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine Punch Bowl | Shaggy & Scooby Mini Muglets – $119.99 from Toynk

Geeki Tikis Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine Punch Bowl | Shaggy & Scooby Mini Muglets
I have no idea when or why I would need this but it feels like a summer must-have for me. Also I’ll point out that the “muglets” appear to be quite small so it seems like they would be best utilized as shot glasses. Proceed with caution.

Golden Dirty/Clean Dishwasher Magnet – $5.00 from Lunasea gifts

Is this slut-shaming? Yes. Would Blanche be delighted by it? I think also yes, so I’ve decided it’s perfectly fine to display in the home.

Cheers Bar – Cheers, Cheers TV Show Art Print, TV sitcom – $15.98 from Beautiful Peace Shop

Cheers Bar  Cheers Cheers TV Show Art Print TV sitcom image 0
You know, honestly, this one is just a little wall decor to spruce up the place. I’ve been told my walls are too sterile and I’m trying to be more accepting of feedback now that I’m in my thirties.

Disney Toy Story Kettle Style Popcorn Popper – $80.90 from BoxLunch

Disney Toy Story Kettle Style Popcorn Popper
I don’t know if it’s the cute little crank or the Toy Story Theme, but this is another item that I find myself undeniably drawn to even though it is rather expensive and I only eat popcorn twice a year because inevitably one kernel will get stuck somewhere in my teeth and it will take me an entire six months to work up the courage to try popcorn again.

Disney Lilo & Stitch Ice Pop Mold – $12.90 from Hot Topic

Disney Lilo & Stitch Ice Pop Mold
My take on this would be to freeze some lemonade and use it to cool off when things get sweltering in July. However — I have read the reviews and there does seem to be some indication that these also work for cake pops.

Joey doesn’t share food // Friends Tea Towel – $7.00 from BlanketsAndThingShop

Joey doesnt share food // Friends Tea Towel // Flour sack Tea image 0
I don’t know why this was played for laughs because I firmly believe that this is an entirely reasonable philosophy.

Dwight Schrute First Aid Training Fail Mug – $14.42 from Teezion

Dwight Schrute First Aid Training Fail Mug  Coffee Mug Gift image 0
This is so incredibly disturbing to look at, so I need it. Absolutely one of the funniest moments on the show. And who doesn’t love a little horror with their breakfast?

A Very Special Long Lost Show with Jason Priestly!!

Do you ever have a moment where you think you’re experience the Mandela Effect but it turns out to be REAL…so yeah I guess that’s actually the opposite of a Mandela Effect.

Pin on Brandon Walsh

Anyway, I had a vague memory of being a wee child watching this show on the little TV set in my parents bedroom which like lol idk why my parents were letting a toddler watch a teen show (btw shout out to my mom who is reading this post)! But for years all I could remember is that there was a teen angel who wore a leather jacket and would travel down from heaven to help kids on earth. That is…only if it was real and I didn’t totally fabricate the memory…which it turns out I did not so that’s a win for my cognitive functioning!

I’m also convinced that the other reason I remembered this for oh – I don’t know – a few decades is that Jason Priestly is literally so beautiful my brain encoded his face like a work of art. Just like I cannot remember the first time I saw a picture of the Mona Lisa, I also cannot remember the first time I saw Jason Priestly’s face. And for those of you who are like WOW come on that’s a little heavy handed, please bear in mind that it is my journalistic duty to paint an accurate portrait of the millennial generation’s zeitgeist and I am just reporting the facts!

As it turns out, this show was so incredibly hard to find because it wasn’t a real show. Similarly to how the original Mickey Mouse Club aired short serial shows like “The Hardy Boys,” The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (the one with Britney, Christina, Ryan, Keri, Justin, JC et al) aired “Teen Angel.”

Here is an adorable behind the scenes clip featuring a pre-90210 priestly. (Evidently, Jennie Garth joined him in the sequel serial “Teen Angel Returns” so that’s cute too.)

Also, sorry I’ve been a little MIA. I’ve been busy socializing indoors in-person for the first time in a century and you can too if you get your vaccine!! (Please, please do. I got mine and it made me sleepy, sleepy for a couple of days but nothing too bad and I’m soooooo excited to be inoculated. Woohoo!!)

Oh and also, while you’re living your best roaring 20’s life and you’re maybe not in front of the computer so much, here’s a friendly reminder that we’re fully mobile friendly over here at The VSB and I will miss you all if you don’t continue to read this shit and leave me comments. THANK YOU!! — The MGMT.

Cheers: Uncle Sam Malone

Do you love the saving for retirement? Do you love Cheers? You do?! You love both!! Great. I have a very special “lost episode” for you.

At the top of this episode, or should I say mini-episode (because it clocks in at less than twelve minutes long), Cliff announces that he will be taking a trip to Tahiti by using his savings bonds.

Watch a long lost 'Cheers' episode made for the U.S. government

Sam says he’s thinking of buying some savings bonds as well, but Diana poo-poos this and says they offer poor returns. But fun fact, this episode was commissioned by the U.S. Treasury, so for once Cliff gets to be right. Even better, you get to hear Norm actually talk about accounting and sound like he’s good at his job instead of just someone who sits at a bar when he’s supposed to be working.

When Carla and Coach admit that they don’t have many savings, Sam decides to start a payroll savings plan for the bar BECAUSE IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO BE A FAIR AND EQUITABLE EMPLOYER. This short film should be required management training!!!!

Cheers" Uncle Sam Malone (TV Episode 1983) - IMDb

The rest of the episode is pretty dry. I’m so sorry to say that because if Cheers cannot make retirement planning interesting to me, then I’m probably doomed to work until I literally drop dead because I won’t have grasped the key fundamentals necessary to create my nest egg. Anyway, maybe you’ll get something more out of it than I did.

See for yourself below:

Bizzaro Episodes: The Most 2020 Trope

2020 has been nothing if not bizarre. So let’s round-out the year with a look back the moments when your favorite tv shows got well, weird.

So in case you’re like — hey, hey wait as second what is a bizzaro episode anyway? It’s anytime a show breaks from form or tone in such a remarkable way that the episode gives regular viewers an uncanny feeling. As Pop Culture Crime says of one dark episode of I Love Lucy, “I felt like I was in the midst of a weird fever dream.” If that’s the vibe you’re getting from a show you regularly watch (unless that show is Twin Peaks) then chances are — you’re viewing a bizarro episode!

Stay tuned this week for an in-depth look at bizarre episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Miami Vice, and Murder, She Wrote.

Let’s Talk Puzzles

Let’s not mince words. We’re swiftly moving into winter, the days are short, and the quarantine is long. I’m comforting myself with the emotional weighted-blanket that it several seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. (I started watching for the first time in August! Wow, what a ride! It’s a soap opera! I didn’t realize! Now I’m addicted! But that isn’t the point of this post!)

Anyway, the point is that 2020 is weird. And sometimes when you’re binge watching, you also need a task to help with the crippling anxiety. We are utilitarian people and we need to feel handy!

As a small child, people tried to encourage me to do puzzles to help with my motor skills or cognitive reasoning or whatever and yet, for DECADES, I have felt that puzzles are unequivocally boring. However, many fellow humans have told me that they’ve found puzzles satisfying during COVID times. So idk, maybe I’ll give them another shot. (But probably not.)

In the event that I decide to give puzzles another go, I did some research on potentially cool ones. I’ve decided to share that research with you in case you do not have the same lifelong hatred of puzzles that I seem to have buried deep, deep within my soul.

Also I wrote a post several years ago about novelty television board games. So if you’re anti-puzzle like me but you love board games (also like me), then might I recommend checking that out for inspiration?

500 PIECE PUZZLES

The Golden Girls “Stay Golden” available for $19.99 at Urban General Store

The Office available for $14.95 at Books a Million

Blockbuster Clueless Poster VHS puzzle available for $10.43 at Hot Topic

 1000 PIECE PUZZLES

The Golden Girls “I Heart Miami” available for $14.99 at Target

Friends Milkshake Puzzle available for $19.95 at the WB Shop

Die Hard Nakatomi Plaza available for $29.99 from Target

“The Color of Fun” Crayola puzzle available for $19.95 at The Paper Store

I know the last one doesn’t fit the theme. But doesn’t a box of crayons just make you feel safe?

You know what though, the more I think about it…the more I’m like…that Golden Girls “Stay Golden” puzzle is super cute, so maybe I will order that one. I finally came around to cooking in quarantine, so truly anything is possible.

GLOW: How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

2020 is once again kicking us while we’re down! Netflix announced yesterday that GLOW is canceled. As many of you may know, the show had begun filming its fourth season when shooting shutdown due to the pandemic. And it appears that the pandemic has now ended the shows run for good. I don’t even production teams (especially those with larger casts) for struggling to navigate this unprecedented landscape. My first instinct, of course, is to wallow in sorrow forever. But I’ve decided to share a list of coping strategies instead:

  1. Check Out the Fabulous Documentary About the Real Show
    If you love the fictionalized version of GLOW, you’ll love the documentary about the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

2. Read the comic book series.
Keep the characters alive with the four-part comic book series.

3. Re-Design their fabulous costumes with the fan-made coloring book.
If you’ve ever wanted the opportunity to lend your artistic-hand to some
of GLOW’s most famous spandex attire, now’s your chance with this
super cute coloring book from Department of Awesome on Etsy.

4. Organize your friends to send a can of Summer’s Eve to Netflix, demanding they fund a special series finale when this is all over.
When promoting the shows first season a few years ago, Betty Gilpin
mentioned that a can of Summer’s Eve appeared on set as a joke until
they all realized how intimate the wrestling scenes were and people
started actually using it. I’m not endorsing this product — that’s between
you and your gyno — but it definitely seems like a way to get Netflix’s
attention! Here’s a list of other fan campaigns for inspiration. If you have
a better idea, let me know in the comments!

I Am Fully Aware that None of You Google Milli Vanilli

At least not as much as I do. (But that’s okay. I’m doing the work so you don’t have to.)

In the interest of historical accuracy, I would like to point out that I am a little too young for Milli Vanilli. Although I was alive when they returned their Grammy, I didn’t know who they were or anything. Alas, I think my first actual memory of these guys was from this commercial:

But I didn’t even realize who they were or what their whole controversy was. In my teen years, my Spanish teacher who is the same age as the real Zach Morris, would make jokes about Milli Vanilli and I would laugh along because HELLO I GET CULTURAL REFERENCES. But as it turns out, I didn’t get the reference. I just thought they were a silly washed up early 90’s music group. She might as well have been making a joke about C&C Music Factory (who also had a different lead singer on vocals than the lead singer in their “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” video, by the way).

The actual story of Milli Vanilli is quite tragic and more than likely contributed to Rob Pilatus’s early death from an overdose.

I didn’t know the entirety of this story when I started binge listening to “Girl You Know It’s True” during a very dark period in my own life. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed…but when I find a piece of pop culture I think is interesting, I like to obsessively find out all of the information I can about it and then write a personal essay about it.

It’s been well documented that they were taken advantage of, but I think their arrogance pre-controversy made it difficult for people to want to listen to their side of the story once the truth came out. The dynamics of power in this situation were clearly not in their favor. But if you know you’re faking it, you probably shouldn’t compare yourself to The Beatles.

And now you may be thinking, “why have you wasted my time with a really old story that is sad and we already all know about? And why the heck are you Googling, Milli Vanilli on a semi-regular basis??” Excellent question. The reason is that I find the second-half of this story to be very up-lifting.

So I like to check-in on Fab.

Here he is explaining the fallout from his perspective:

And if I hadn’t Googled Fab recently, I wouldn’t have found this excellent “Blame It on the Rain” performance. And I just want to say that he sounds fucking amazing and you should all listen to it immediately. I think I like it better than the studio recording. And you can quote me on that.