Hi Very Special Readers! I have a new podcast called “Forgotten Film Club” and I’d love for you to give it a listen! My friends Hallie and John join me to discuss a movie forgotten to time (or VHS) and then we talk about how we’d update the movie for a modern audience. The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor. Our first episode on the 1991 John Hughes film Career Opportunities dropped today.
Trigger Warning: Terrifying Dolls
It recently came to my attention that there was a spooky show called Friday the 13th (no plot connection to Jason Vorhees) back in the late 1980’s. I was like oh cool, I’ll write a post on that for The Very Special Blog this Friday! And then I watched the thirty second promo for the first episode and while it is 99% hokey, these dolls are some scary ass shit. Therefore, I will not be watching any further. Here’s the promo if you want to see for yourself:
There’s also a really robust Wikipedia page that, of course, I couldn’t read (see above regarding dolls). Checked it out if you’re so inclined!
For other spooky very special reads this Friday the 13th check out some posts from the archives:
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I See You Aunt Becky, You Ain’t Low
Oh I have many, many thoughts on the college admissions scandal. I could literally write 72 blog posts on this (but I’ll spare you). I think one of the ickiest vibes I have from all of this (aside from the blatant cheating and the continued marginalization of underprivileged teens and first-generation college students) is that all these chill, work-hard, down to earth celebs are LIARS who are just gonna came the system like every other stereotypical entitled rich white lady — ahem — I’m looking at you Aunt Becky.
But let me just real quick sum up my thoughts with a side by side comparison of two episodes of Full House that I’m sure you’ve already heard a lot about this past week. Like wtf how many of us get to literally role-play potential crimes and then are like “yeah sign me up for the cheating and the fraud, please.” Psychologists of the world, let me read your case studies.
Okay, bear with me as I now undertake the HERCULEAN task of reviewing two Full House episodes SIMULTANEOUSLY. (Lord, I don’t even know if I can handle it. Will I go into a diabetic coma from all of the saccharine schmaltz. Pray for me, Very Special Readers. Pray.) They are: “Be True to Your Pre-School” and “The Test.” I will not have time or patience for B-plots!
During a play date, Rebecca and Jesse realize that they’re behind on the preschool game. They haven’t been researching preschools, so they other parents tell them that there is a big risk their kids won’t be “on the fast track for life.” Okay, are we noticing some similarities to REAL LIFE yet, people??
The questions on the application are very difficult for two year-olds and include things like, “Evaluate the scope of your child’s verbal skills.” Joey recommends that Jesse lie on the application. (I hate Joey but I do feel that this is a little out of character). Basically, Jesse feels that he’s only helping his children out because if his parents had sent him to a good preschool then he probably wouldn’t be in night school trying to earn a high school diploma.
With Jesse’s lies, the boys make it to the next stage of admissions: THE INTERVIEW (cue ominous music). As they walk into the interview, he confesses to Becky that he embellished on the application “little bit,” which included claiming to be an ambassador.
Although, Becky goes along with the shenanigans at first. She comes clean pretty quickly in the interview and admits that her husband lied. The admissions person tells her that they figured that out when they read the portion of the applicant that referred to the boys as “proficient on the bassoon.” However they don’t care because: “it only shows you want whats best for your boys.” UGHHHH WTF I DISAGREE WITH THE PREMISE.
Anyway, Becky is yet again the voice of reason when she tells Jess (who is rigorously trying to cram some knowledge down the boys’ throats) that they’re not letting their kids “be kids” and he’s asking too much of them. Almost like you should let your children be guided by their natural abilities…hm…
“When they’re ready to go to preschool, we’ll find the right one and do everything we can to encourage,” she says. I guess this doesn’t apply to ASU. That must be an exception.
Now, let’s move on to “The Test.” In the opening of this episode Joey calls out Jesse for trying to reuse a stamp a.k.a. “trying to cheat the U.S. postal service.” WHAT ARE YOUR MORALS JOEY? Anyway, DJ is stressing because she has to take the SAT and she MUST do well so that she can go to Stanford.
When DJ says she is too stressed out to eat dinner, Danny coaches the family to tell DJ the whole SAT isn’t a huge deal and to not be so stressed. This doesn’t work and she has a stress dream in which Uncle Jesse steals an SAT answer booklet off of the proctor’s desk and proceeds to read the answers to her through a walkie-talkie hidden in a breakfast burrito.
Joey overhears this and is very upset about the cheating. Once again, I would like to know what happened in Joey’s life between season six and season seven that caused him to go from cheating-instigator to cheating-police.
The next morning, DJ is so upset from her dream that she asks her dad, “Can you write me a note to get me out of college?” And her dad’s like no and apologizes for minimizing her stress, which actually only made her more stressed. And then he’s like just do your best cause he’s a normal dad and believes in his daughter.
I do believe I’m getting older though because this was the first time I watched an episode of Full House and realized that Bob Saget was kind of a DILF. So now I have to live with that knowledge.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say that standardized testing is some bullshit, patriarchal tool of the oligarchy and plenty of smart people are setup to fail on it. GOODBYE.
A Very Special Shopping List for Your Holiday Season
Happy Cyber Monday! Have you already been shopping all weekend? Do you already have a robust list for all of your loved ones holiday gift needs? Are you wondering what niche gifts you can purchase for the pop culture fan in your life? Why check out Oprah’s Favorite Things when you can check out this fully curated list of random things that I think are cool for the holiday season?
Halloween 2018: Phoning it in
Full disclosure: I’ve covered MANY a Halloween episode on this blog (head on over to the side of the page there and you can check them all out on “A Very Special Halloween.”) And this year I didn’t really have it in me to do a full week of episodes again.
Instead, I watched The Haunting of Hill House, which was AMAZING and this is coming from ME the person who had a traumatic reaction to Scream.
But tonight, I decided to get reflective and was like…huh…so what were my favorite episodes from every single Halloweek on The Very Special Blog?
In short, I’ve loved every single Halloween episode of Boy Meets World, especially the one with a Sabrina bonus. It’s not a show I can usually write about on The VSB (frankly because it’s too good and doesn’t have very special episodes), but this episode of That 70’s Show is one of the greatest Halloween episodes of all time.
The Halloween episode of Happy Days is so aesthetically pleasing that it gets an honorable mention, but I don’t really recommend it overall because it’s a bit boring. Watch it for the set decoration and costume pieces alone.
And finally, nothing could ever hold a candle to one of the weirdest pieces of television I’ve ever seen: The Miami Vice episode with the aspiring-mime, amateur artist, raw-meat loving, cover your face in flour, cat burglar. This episode is a GIFT, people.
God bless the person who made this higlights video:
The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia & The Mystery of The Secret Passage
As an avid Clue player, I love a secret passage.
This episode starts off with the BSC looking at baby photos of themselves and remarking on whether or not they look like their siblings. “Do most sisters look-alike,” Mary Anne queries. I’m concerned about the quality of education they’re getting at Stony Brook Middle School…
So as it turns out Dawn just happens to have a secret passage chilling in her house. UGH SHE HAS THE BEST LIFE. Great hair. Great step-sister. Great secret passage.
The BSC is working on a photo-history project and Dawn has stored the bulletin board there because it was too big and obtrusive to keep in her room. (Hm… I mean okay fine whatever guess we have to investigate the secret passage somehow). Instead of leaning the bulletin board against a wall in this very spacious passage, Dawn has wedged it in between insulation pieces in a broken-down partial-wall.
Dawn can’t pull the bulletin board out easily, so she pulls while Claudia pushes from the other side. In the process, Claudia finds a taped up “treasure map” in the wall.
Okay finding things in walls is cool. Treasure maps are cool. But you wedged a bulletin board in a broken wall? Like it’s a freaking secret passage. You could have just been like “cool, let’s snoop in the secret passage.” Also, can you imagine a Goonies version of the BSC? Kristy would be like absolutely crazy on the treasure path.
But it isn’t a treasure map. It’s just an old note. The note reads: “I didn’t lose Bettina’s diamond ring. Why won’t she believe me? She’s so mean sometimes that I’m afraid of her. I wish with all my heart I never had a big sister. I vow never ever to speak to her again.”
Claudia decides that “Bettina sounds really evil.” Geez. Harsh, Claud. And they decide the whole BSC will investigate on Friday night at a sleepover. In another big assumption, Claudia decides that these sisters are dead. So they all agree to have a spooky séance, hoping to restore the sister’s spiritual peace.
The séance is pretty lame, but Kristy tries to spook everyone with a tape recording of ghost noises, which is kinda cool. Then the wind blows their candles out and Kristy tries to hide the tape recorder in the insulation before anyone can catch her red-handed. That’s when she finds the missing ring! The band is broken, so it probs just fell off in the passageway many years ago.
The BSC decides this proves that Bettina’s sister is not a thief. The next day Claudia brags to her older sister that the séance was a massive success. She’s all like, “I bet this letter is two hundred years old.” And her sister is like you idiot, “When do you think they invented transparent tape?”
As it turns out, transparent tape was invented in the 1930s. Since the letter was taped to the insulation, it can’t be any older than that. So the BSC goes to the library and hunts through all of the old year books for “Bettina.” They come up with nothing and decide to try jewelry stores instead.
The jeweler confirms that the style was very popular in the 1950s, but they didn’t keep records of who they sold them to. However, he remembers Bettina and confirms that she married a local grocer. AND OMG IT TURNS OUT TO BE THE GROCER WHOSE GROCERY STORE THE BSC WENT TO FOR SLEEPOVER SNACKS.
Aw wait bummer, the grocer is dead and the store is under new ownership. The new owner thinks that his widow opened a flower shop. So the girls head to a bunch of flower shops. They begin to convince themselves that Bettina must have killed Flora, the little sister, because no one in town remembers what happened to her.
When they finally find Bettina, they think that she is threatening them with gardening shears. And then Flora walks in while they’re all screaming like lunatics. They return the ring and realize the sisters got over it like at least three decades earlier anyhow.
The episode ends with the BSC hosting a picnic to celebrate all of their little sisters. Claudia’s older sister makes cupcakes and Stacey brings a kid she babysits for because she’s an only child. They also invite Bettina and Flora and, surprise, Flora is EMILY GILMORE.
Very Special Lesson: I tried to be as snarky as possible and yet I find this episode totally heartwarming.
Growing Pains: Thank God It’s Friday
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I am reblogging this post because 4 years ago I was very dumb and did NOT realize that Kristy Swanson plays a very important guest role in this episode. She’s the one in the blue sweater who asks Mike if he wants to do drugs!! I bet you’re wondering how I realized this now? As it turns, I keep falling down the Tonya Harding/Dancing With the Stars rabbit hole and I just happened to be reading a v. long thread in which Kristy Swanson asked people to #TakeAKneeForNancy by not watching the show. This lead to a lot of MAGA people who don’t like Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the national anthem dragging Kristy for supporting “taking a knee.” These people are idiots for the following significant reasons:
1. They don’t realize that every citizen’s right to exercise the first amendment right to free speech in the form of public protest IS what makes America great.
2. They don’t realize that Nancy Kerrigan’s KNEE was injured in a vicious attack.
3. They claim to be sports fans but don’t realize that is is customary for ALL players to “take a knee” when one player is injured on the field.
HAPPY FRIDAY EVE!
If you’re a close reader, you may have already deduced that this episode takes place on a Friday. Everyone except for Mike is at home watching TV. Carol is at home because her boyfriend is grounded and apparently she has no other friends Ben is home because he is nine years old, and Jason and Maggie are tired form the workweek.
So from here on out we’re basically only paying attention to Mike. While innocently hanging out a local pizza parlor, Mike and hi s friends get invited to a college party. Thankfully, this party is a lot realistically depicted than the frat party on Full House. The guys get to the party and suddenly they are on the set of Miami Vice. Everyone is rich and everyone is doing coke in the bathroom. But like everyone is doing coke, so I am confused as to why they…
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Cobra Kai: The Best (Reboot) Around
I am so excited that Cobra Kai is finally out and available! FYI the first two episodes are free on YouTube! (Episode 1 is embedded at the bottom of the post).
Early on in the episode we learn that Daniel LaRusso is a car salesman, who uses his Karate prowess to advertise his business. That’s pretty lame, even for a car salesman.
DUDE, ED ASNER IS IN THIS! Was he in the original Karate Kid? It’s been so long that I cannot remember. He’s playing Johnny’s stepdad, so maybe we’ll see more of him.
Anyhow, Johnny isn’t doing too well. He’s an alcoholic with a record and he just lost his job as a handyman. When some teenagers total his car (one of whom we later learn is Daniel’s daughter) he has to head to LaRusso’s body shop to pick it up. (Whoops, just spoiled the hell out of that episode for ya. Sorry, I’m used to working with older material.)
Narratively, the episode is told from Johnny’s perspective. Episode two is told from Daniel’s perspective, while moving forward chronologically.
After his encounter with Daniel, Johnny is motivated to restart the Cobra Kai dojo with his first student being–get this–a bullied teen who is new in town.
William Zabka is GREAT and I’m so glad we get to see a little more depth to Johnny’s character. I think it will be interesting to see how the plot plays out, especially if they continue to switch protagonists with each episode. That said…it will take many a good review to make me consider paying for a YouTube Red subscription just to watch the full series. (Or maybe I’ll free trial it?)
May Awareness Day: Getting Mandy Moore Into the Meme Mix
By now I’m sure you’ve seen this making the rounds today (and every April 30th over the last few years).
But like a whole year before JT proclaimed the advent of the fifth month in the year of our lord, Mandy was beckoning the arrival of the only month with a name too short to need an abbreviation in one of the greatest songs ever. Here’s my deep dive into the weird way pop stars said vowels in the late nineties/early aughts from last May Day.
Expectations for Tonya Harding’s Dancing with The Stars Debut
Okay, people, we are only 9 days away from Tonya Harding’s sure to be spectacular debut on Dancing With the Stars: Athletes. While my money’s on Adam Rippon to take home the mirrorball trophy, my heart will always be #TeamTonya. So what can we expect from Tonya this season? I have some predictions:
If there’s one thing you can consistently count on from Tonya, it’s square cut, vibrantly colored nails. Sparkles may or may not be present.
Known for her performances to Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing” and the Theme from “Jurassic Park” I fully expect some badass song selections during her dances.
While it is no secret that the judges despised Tonya’s home-made and often-bedazzled costumes, I think DWTS is the moment for her style to really shine.
The DWTS competition can be tough and Tonya tends to get in her head when she’s under pressure. When Tonya gets in her head, she falls. Maybe having a partner will benefit Tonya and help her not overthink her lifts.
As one of the 25 million Americans with Asthma, I appreciate Tonya’s transparency with her inhaler use. Also, is she still a smoker? That probably didn’t help…
Tonya can’t hide it when she knows she’s done a good job. And who wants her too?? Hope we get to see our girl making a lot of this face!