Lizzie McGuire: Aaron Carter’s Coming to Town

I remember being a fan of Lizzie McGuire, but I have no memory of this episode. Maybe it’s because it was an Aaron Carter episode? I felt like he was a celebrity that was so heavily marketed to my demographic that I was just kinda not ever going to be a fan.

So Lizzie’s going to get into some super-secure music video shoot by using her school “press pass” where she plans to meet Aaron Carter and interview him for the “school webzine.” But you know, since it’s just some little piece of paper a middle school teacher printed up and laminated, her “press pass” doesn’t get them into the shoot. When the press pass doesn’t work, they decide to dress up as elves and sneak in as “extras” for the video shoot. That doesn’t work either, but Lizzie’s brother Matt gets in when he is mistaken for an Aaron Carter stand-in.

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Lizzie and her friends finally make it into the shoot when they hide behind her Dad’s car as he drives through. He has a pass and was planning to take the kids with him to the set, but they don’t know that, so they now plan to hide from him for the entire time that they are there. Ugh. This is such a Disney plot. Hiding from your parents and being “rebels” while doing exactly nothing wrong.

In the midst of running from Lizzie’s dad and the one bumbling security guard on-set, they stumble into Aaron’s dressing room. Shortly thereafter, they’re discovered by Aaron’s manager who tells them in no uncertain terms to GTFO. But Lizzie asks if just one of them can meet Aaron because it’s Christmas and that’s a time of magical wish granting. Lizzie is such a good friend that she let’s her friend Miranda meet him, so that she can sing for him and get a music career or whatever. All of this happens off-screen.

But wait! Lizzie forgot her tape recorder in Aaron’s dressing room, so she goes back and knocks on the door to see if she can retrieve it. Aaron answers the door! And has the tape recorder in hand! Her name is on the tape recorder (thanks label makers of the early 2000s) so he says “Is this yours?” and she’s like “Yeah.” And he’s like “Merry Christmas, Lizzie McGuire.” Oh and BTW there is mistletoe over his door, so he just kisses her, which Lizzie thinks is romantic but like I dunno. It’s kinda weird to be kissing strangers without asking with or without a poisonous plant hanging over your heads.

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As Lizzie rejoins her friends, the security guard shows up and is ready to take them to “detention” which is a weird room where he’s also holding both of Lizzie’s parents hostage. (Her mom showed up to get her after the security guard called her, but he didn’t know where Lizzie was and then locked her mother up when she tried to look for her because she “didn’t have a pass.” Sounds like a lawsuit to me…)

Luckily, the director shows up and wants to use them all as “stunt elves” in the music video because he was very impressed with their skills in dodging the security guard. So they head off to be in the music video which is OMG NOT EVEN A CHRISTMAS SONG. It’s just Aaron Carter’s cover of “I Want Candy” with a holiday themed set. And so much for being “stunt elves” cause they’re just chilling in the background wearing street clothes.

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Very Special Holiday Lesson: I think this show basically says that trespassing is okay if you’re a really really good friend and an even bigger fan? But I dunno I’m pretty sure most of these people would have been arrested if this was real life.

Happy Days: Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve, Very Special Readers! I will keep things short today with this sweet little episode from Happy Days‘s first season.

Howard Cunningham has some VERY serious Christmas rules. No one can be in the house except for family and no one can start trimming the tree until he is ready. He freaks out when he thinks someone has tried to start decorating without him, but it turns out that it’s just a rogue sock from a laundry basket.

In a rare appearance, we see Chuck Cunningham as the sock’s owner. But it’s like they were already writing him out:

I forgot that Howard Cunningham owned a hardware store. He and Richie are at the store’s holiday party (where an employee is so drunk he literally passes out. Woah, Happy Days!) Sadly, Howard’s car breaks down on the way home. But on the bright side, Fonzie is still at the shop and can fix it for them. Fonzie won’t let him pay for the job since it’s Christmas. As they head home, Richie realizes he forgot to give Fonzie his present (a three-in-one wrench). He heads back to give Fonzie the gift and sees him eating Christmas dinner alone. Richie doesn’t want to embarrass Fonzie, so he turns back to the car without giving him the gift.

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Richie tries to tell his dad when he gets back in the car, but Howard is SOOO excited for family time that he doesn’t tell his dad about Fonzie until the get home. Howard is still reluctant because it’s “family time,” but he realizes what an ass he sounds like as he lectures his family on why they shouldn’t invite someone in to share their Christmas.

So Howard and Richie head over to Fonzie’s to invite him over. He tries to fake them out like he’s going to visit his cousin and is going to miss his bus. The whole thing is so pathetic. Howard ties to help Fonzie with his suitcase only to discover it is empty. And Fonzie dismisses the presumable emptiness of his suitcase by saying, “I travel light.”

Trying not to hurt Fonzie’s pride, Richie tell him that he just wishes he would wait to go to his cousin’s until in the morning because he really wants them to see their great Christmas tree. To which Fonzie replies, “I got a tree.” And it’s like the saddest tree this side of Peanuts.

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They’re so full of shit.
Earlier in the episode, we saw Fonzie give gifts to all of the waitresses at Arnold’s, Richie, Potsie, and Ralph. But no one had anything in return to give to Fonzie. (I guess we can assume that Richie picked something up at the hardware store receiving Fonzie’s gift at the diner.)

They finally get him to spend Christmas with them without insulting him, but telling him that they need him to fix the Santa on their lawn. It has some kind of electrical problem this year and it’s a very important tradition. By the time he has fixed Santa (and their Christmas tree lights), Fonzie has missed the last bus. So they’re all like well, guess you have to stay here. Ever prideful, Fonzie still resists. And then Howard “Family Time” Cunningham is like hey let me drive you!

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I mean Santa is legit broken though.
And then Fonzie (who obviously really wanted to stay) is like oh man, it’s  snowing too hard. It would be wrong for me to make you drive me. And then Marian is just like finally done with all this crap and she tells Fonzie that he is staying and that’s the end of it.

happydays3But the best part is when Howard lets Fonzie take over all of the Christmas traditions. Fonzie wants to do EVERYTHING and Howard gladly passes the baton. He realizes how fortunate he is to have such a lovely family and he’s finally happy to share that with someone outside of it.

And if you’re not in tears when Howard asks Fonzie to say grace and all Fonzie says is, “Hey God,” you’re literally the grinch. I’m like sobbing right now.

Very Special Holiday Lesson: I mean this is the same lesson as Sabrina‘s episode, but this one made me cry. Brb. Crying.

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: Sabrina Nipping at Your Nose

mv5bmjizotgwmju1ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnze3mzuymje-_v1_sx640_sy720_It is too cold in New England for Sabrina and she desperately hopes for a trip to a warmer climate. Instead of using magic to zap herself to the equator, she calls into a radio contest and has her Aunt Zelda answer a “science question.” I’m assuming they do use magic at some point though because Sabrina hangs up the phone before telling the DJ what her aunt’s name is.

Meanwhile, Salem has ordered himself “The 12 Days of Christmas” from the other realm’s 89-cent store. The gifts are kinda jacked up though. Here they are in order of their appearance on the show:

Danny “Partridge” in a pear tree.

*Two dead turtles with wings stapled onto their shells. (ick.)

*Three French Women sitting under those globe hair dryer things (They’re the “hens,” apparently. I also just learned that a Bachelorette party is also called a “Hen Party.”)

*4 – 8. Who knows. They’re not featured.

*9 very large, uncoordinated ladies dancing on the second floor of the house

*11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming, indoors, all at the same time

They’re also going to bring Harvey on the trip! But unfortunately, a large snowstorm has other ideas. I guess they could just magically zap themselves down to Jamaica, but that wouldn’t really work with Harvey…

e6356575a40dc298ae55bd1be0957e9dSo Sabrina tries a spell to change the weather. Unfortunately, she ends up changing herself into a snowman instead. And then she starts melting…and melting…and by the time her aunts come home, she’s nothing but a snowman’s head.

As it turns out, the only way to turn Sabrina back into a human is for her to plead her case directly to Mother Nature (depicted as a high-power CEO). So her aunts put her in a pail and take her over to corporate headquarters. Too bad Sabrina didn’t just check the weather because it turns out that the snow was going to stop that night anyway.

Luckily, Mother Nature is feeling charitable, so she turns her back into a human and determines her punishment to be as follows: Sabrina must spend time with Willard Kraft and fill him with Christmas cheer. Mother Nature gives her a little Christmas tree lapel pin and tells her that Mr. Kraft will be “sufficiently cheered” when the star at the top of the tree lights up.

So Sabrina takes Mr. Kraft back in time through the grandfather clock aunt her aunts’ store. She hopes to show him a good Christmas memory, so he will feel a little holiday cheer. Kind of Ghost of Christmas Past-y. It turns out that Mr. Kraft doesn’t really have any happy Christmas memories, but he DOES actually feel cheered up by their tour of the past. He decides all he needs to do is lower his expectations for Christmas and then he will never be disappointed. Aw, bummer.

So Sabrina decides to invite Mr. Kraft to Jamaica instead of Harvey. Sadly, Hilda ruins everything by casting the same spell that Sabrina did earlier (except this time to make the snow come back). She’d rather be a snowman than go to Jamaica with Mr. Kraft. But Mr. Kraft is okay with not going to Jamaica. He’s just happy to not be alone on Christmas.

Also, Salem complains to the 89-cent store and they send him a baker’s dozen of donuts as restitution. So…looks like I’ll be celebrating the 13 Days of Christmas next year.

Very Special Lesson: No one should be alone on Christmas, but if you really want to be alone on Christmas then you should be a snowman.

The Jetsons: A Jetson Christmas Carol

You may have noticed there are tons of versions of A Christmas Carol floating around this time of year. But did you know there are literally hundreds? Even The Jetsons have their own take on this classic tale.

An item of note about Christmas in the future. We’ll all have a “laser tree” instead of a Christmas tree.

hqdefault2Anyway, Mr. Spacely (the Scrooge here) has poor George (presumably, the Bob Cratchet) working overtime on Christmas Eve. Interestingly enough, George is aware of A Christmas Carol and even says that Mr. Spacely is a “Scrooge,” who he wishes would be visited by some Christmas ghosts.

The ghosts show up with only 9 minutes left in the episode, so things move at a pretty tight clip. We get to see a little tiny Cosmo Spacely and little tiny George Jetson when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Spacely how he paid George only a penny for running little Spacely’s lemonade stand. Then it’s off to visit an old flame, who Cosmo told he loved more than Space Ball but less than money. (The romance didn’t last too long.)

screen2bshot2b2016-03-162bat2b12-47-472bpmSpacely wakes up at his desk for a moment and then quickly falls asleep again, only to be visited by the Ghost of Christmas present. In the present he visits the Jetsons’s house, where poor Astro is near-death, having injured himself by chasing around his gift: “a robot cat.”

In the future, Spacely learns that The Jetsons are incredibly rich, having won a significant lawsuit against Mr. Spacely. As it turns out, Mr. Spacely manufactured the sproket that killed Astro. (R.I.P. Astro).

Unlike Scrooge, he seems to have a genuine change of heart, Spacely seems more afraid of being sued than anything. On Christmas morning, he shows up at The Jetsons’s house with a vet, who is able to save Astro.

Very Special Lesson: You can make mean people be nice to you by threatening them with lawsuits. ‘Tis the season.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete: O’Christmas Pete

the_adventures_of_pete_26_pete_title_cardThis show really creeped me out as a kid. But I also LOVED it. I think it was my first encounter of something so interesting and freaky that I couldn’t look away from it. But honesty, it’s an awesome show and it is not creepy at all. In fact, the things that “creeped” me out as a kid are things I appreciate about this show more as an adult.

But I was probably a little on the younger side of the Pete & Pete demographic. I didn’t really get it. I didn’t get the band playing the theme song on the lawn, or the plate in their mom’s head, or the fact that an arm tat got a its own dedicated credit in the opening. But I did like the quirky characters and the plots were always engaging. I think I was actually okay with the fact that these two brothers have the same exact name. As an adult looking back on these shows, I can say with certainty that The Adventures of Pete & Pete holds up pretty damn well.

In the Christmas of 1996, Little Pete successfully kept Christmas alive for many days post-December 26th. Eventually, reality starts setting in and his dad has to go back to work. But more importantly, the garbage man comes to pick up the tree. And they absolutely cannot upset the garbage man.

vlcsnap-00005The garbage man is a really scary looking dude, who loves to throw dried-up Christmas trees into the truck as a metaphorical destruction of Christmas. Yeah, this guy’s a real winner. In an attempt to teach his kid about the “real world,” his dad invites the garbage man to come back to the house and take the tree out in the middle of the night. But Little Pete is ready. He’s rigged an alarm on the tree and has a nutcracker setup to shoot a tranquilizer dart at the garbage man.

When the garbage man starts “trash talking” (did the show intend this pun? I hope!) Little Pete during a physical struggle over the Christmas tree, Little Pete’s dad sees the error of his ways and throws his full support behind his son. That’s when the garbage man sets an ultimatum: The tree goes or the rest of the garbage stays.

Things get pretty smelly on the Petes’ street. But everyone is okay at first. They’re still playing Christmas Carols and mamboing with Santa around the cul-de-sac. But then again, maybe there are some creepy elements to all of this. After 12 days, the garbage man ups the ante. He hacks into their TV and tells them that he’s extended the garbage strike to the whole block until they give up their Christmas tree.

hqdefault3This pisses off all of the neighbors, who threaten Little Pete’s life if he doesn’t give up the Christmas tree. So Pete does the only reasonable thing anyone could do in this situation: He organizes a wrestling match between Santa Claus and any takers. Pete nominates Pit Stain (the school bully) from the crowd to be Santa’s first challenger. But Santa can melt even Pit Stain’s heart. He refuses to fight. As Pete says, “The Christmas Spirit lives!”

But the garbage man isn’t afraid to fight Santa. He even gets the crowd cheering for him (those lemmings…who want their trash picked up). He knocks Santa out cold as the onlookers turn into an angry, jeering, Shirley Jackson-esque mob. So the family agrees to part with the tree.

Little Pete is devastated. But there’s still time for one more Christmas miracle. Big Pete and their parents have rigged up the piles of garbage around the block with lights to look like lovely Christmas trees. It’s enough Christmas cheer to make even the garbage man feel a little Christmas spirit. He wins the tree, but the Christmas spirit wins the battle. (Yeah, that makes sense right?)

Very Special Holiday Lesson: Why aren’t the people on this block recycling more? It’s been like 2 weeks and everyone has 12 foot piles of trash on their lawn. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking of NOT recycling then FU man, you’re killing our planet. Happy Holidays.

The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Christmas Caper

First of all, thank you to those of you who voted for this episode. I would gladly review all eleven of these episodes, except that I’m pretty sure I would only be writing for myself. However, if I am wrong PLEASE let me know in the comments/fulfill my hopes and dreams. While I am sad that “Lizzie McGuire ft. Aaron Carter” did not make the cut this year, thanks for throwing me a bone with this one. Anyway, for those of you who were moved by the Christmas spirit to vote MK&A, this is for you:51vn9vjad3l

Apparently, The Olsen & Olsen Mystery Agency doesn’t close for holidays because they’re willing and ready to work on Christmas Eve. Fans of Elizabeth Olsen are in for a treat with this one, as she appears (credited as Lizzie Olsen) in a montage about “Christmas mysteries.” (i.e. The origins of “nog” in eggnog, the culprit who took a bite out of the gingerbread man, and the ever looming mystery of what causes Christmas lights to get tangled all the time.) Cue the first song: “Too Much To Do,” which is basically the Olsen’s version of The Waitresses’s “Christmas Wrapping.”

And then they get a call to solve a mystery from a company called Extremely Long Flights Airlines (or E.L.F Airlines). They’ve lost “The Spirit of Christmas,” which is an airplane, so the twins head to 1225 North Pole Drive on their bikes. (P.S. their bikes’ handlebars are sporting some very nice Christmas wreaths).

So basically, The Twins hardcore judge them for losing their only airplane. It’s not like they’re running a big operation here. But the Twins are willing to help solve the mystery. They don’t want anyone to be sad on Christmas. Also, this mystery involves a computer (oooooh).

So the Twins pull out some gigantic laptops and start making notes on why the “really big computer suddenly stopped working.” This includes looking “for creatures in the computer’s hardware.” This last thing does the trick, as Mary-Kate finds a gigantic snake. Then the computer starts working again and they girls see Santa in the plane. (Guess, he decided to modernize his operations back in 1995 and upgraded from the sleigh setup.)

When the “Really Big Computer” stops working again, the twins figure the computer has been hacked. It wouldn’t have been to hard of a job since E.L.F. Airlines has set their password to “ho-ho-ho.”

Soon enough, there is another break in the case. The E.L.F. crew prints out their naughty/nice list and discover that there is only one kid on the nice list this year: Ebenezer Scrooge. Ashely figures it’s a code name, so she plugs it into a “program”on her clunky laptop and discovers that Ebenezer Scrooge is really Roger E. Bencoseeze.

f202162d4f765f7d08caa2e0d9c96349The twins and the E.L.F. crew head to Roger E. Bencoseeze’s house to confront him. He lives in a mansion with a butler and everything. This dude turns out to be a real Scrooge. He pretty much just hates Christmas. This leads the twins to sing another insufferably pitchy song to teach this kid about the spirit of Christmas. But the song messes this kid’s icy cold heart. He fixes the E.L.F. computer and wishes them all a Merry Christmas.

Very Special Christmas Lesson: If you’re going to hack the naughty or nice list, maybe leave a few names on the nice list other than your own, just to throw off suspicious.

The Brady Bunch: The Voice of Christmas

f0a1754e462631d8d476b109fe8c03b0This is one of my FAVORITE Christmas episodes ever. I am SO glad you voted for it.

In this episode, Carol Brady comes down with laryngitis just before she is supposed to sing a solo at the church Christmas service. She’s been so busy getting ready for Christmas that she’s worn herself out. But being the great husband that he his, Mike tells her to follow the doctor’s orders and take it easy. It’s their “first family Christmas together” (awww) and he promises that he and the kids will take care of everything. Carol just needs to rest her voice and get some sleep before the service.

They try every remedy known to man, including a smelly home remedy from Alice’s grandmother, which consists of placing a towel soaked in a vinegar-solution around Carol’s neck. Nothing works.

When Mike takes the kids to finish their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, Cindy decides to ask the one person who can do something about this drug-resistant laryngitis. Santa Claus.

brady5They arrive to a very long line of children waiting to see the big man. Cindy insists that she can wait in the line by herself. Since he needs to exchange Carol’s gift (which would have been a poorly timed voice recorder), Mike let’s her wait alone. He arrives to pick her up just as an elated Cindy hops off of Santa’s lap.

Cindy runs up to Mike and let’s him know that Santa has promised to make sure Carol can sing at the Christmas service. It’s 1969 so television won’t let him say this, but Mike’s face clearly says, “Oh shit, as if I didn’t have enough to deal with right now. He tries to play it cool.

“Oh honey, how could he do that? He’s not a doctor,” he says.

“He’s better than a doctor. He’s Santa Claus,” says Mike.

Oh shit is right, Mike.

Mike goes “backstage” to the Santa break room and is like, “Dude what gives” (but like in 1969 Brady language.) Promising to give kids toys is one thing, but promising miracles is another. And the guy basically says he doesn’t want to disappoint her and just wanted to make her happy. So Mike’s like ughhhh I have to deal with THIS on Christmas morning.

But there are other things to deal with this Christmas Eve, like hiding presents. Since they’re Brady’s, they all rush around hiding presents for each other instead of just leaving them under the tree like normal people.
brady_bunch_a_lIn the middle of the night, the four eldest Brady kids meet downstairs and decide to postpone Christmas because Carol is sick. Alice finds them in the midst of their discussion and says they might as well return the presents, take down the tree, and throw away the turkey. But that might be A MAJOR BUMMER since their parents planned this whole freaking Christmas for them. And then they’re like okay, just kidding.

On Christmas morning, Carol wakes up humming “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” (Oh, of course she does). SHE CAN SING!!!! In honor of this beautiful talent that we lost this year (F.U. 2016) I’ll end with Florence Henderson singing one of my favorite Christmas hymns:

Home Improvement: Twas the Blight Before Christmas

his3-28Mark is signing The First Noel at church. He and the other kids have to wear robes with letters that spell out N-O-E-L. Mark is the N and he thinks his robe “looks geeky.” Meanwhile, Brad wants to skip-out on Christmas with his family, so he can go skiing with a friend from school. (Brad was always the shittiest kid in this family).

When it’s time to go to church and see Mark sing on Christmas Eve, Brad is too busy sulking to come along just because his mom wants “the whole stupid family” to spend Christmas together. (Literally. The shittiest.)

The family leaves Brad at home, rather than forcing him to come along and have him throw a fit all night. When Tim comes home to check on him, he finds Brad trying to sneak out of the house with his skis. He doesn’t want to miss out on the trip because there will be a lot of people there that he wants to hang out with.

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Clearly JTT is the good son in this family.

“Christmas is not about being with people you like. It’s about being with your family,” words of wisdom from Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor. But then things get real. Tim tells Brad that he’s not going to be a kid forever. One day he’ll have his own family and never make it home for Christmas, just like Tim and Jill never spend Christmas with their parents. Plus, Tim’s days are numbered since he lives dangerously on the set of Tool Time.

So finally it’s time for Mark’s big debut as the N. But the kids line up backwards, so it looks like they’re singing about some guy named Leon. Oh hey and do you recognize the kid playing the L? It’s Michelle Tanner’s friend Derek from Full House! Of course, Brad shows up mid-song and it’s a joyous occasion.

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Very Special Holiday Lesson: Don’t ditch your family on Christmas, even if there’s a cool trip involved.

A Very Special Holiday Season: Reader’s Choice!

Hi Very Special Readers!

The Very Special Holiday Season is upon us again and this year I wanted to try something a little different. I want YOU to pick the shows you’d like to read about this year! Please use the poll below to cast your votes.

Some things to note:
-You can for as for or as many or as few episodes as you would like
-You can vote as frequently as you would like*
-The 10 shows with the most votes will appear on The Very Special Blog from December 15th through December 24th

*I’m pulling results on December 10th at 12 pm CST, so if you vote after that then it won’t count. But up until that point feel free to vote incessantly for The Golden Girls [or any other show, I’m just fully expecting some of you to vote numerous times for The Golden Girls 🙂 ]

Full House: Arrest Ye Merry Gentlemen

It’s another Christmas Eve at the Tanner house. And this year Michelle has gotten the perfect gift for Danny: a party tie with built in cup holder! But when she see’s that Aunt Becky has bought the same tie for Joey as a “gag gift” and Danny thinks it’s awful, she’s totally crushed. I mean this is the stuff of early-childhood emotional scarring.

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So let me just say here, in defense of the party tie: I for one would love to have a hands-free cup holder at just about every function or event on the planet. If you’re holing a drink, you’re still forced to make idle chit-chat. But if you have a hands-free cup holder, then you can stuff your face with snacks and not have to talk to people that you don’t want to hang out with. Then when you get super thirsty from all of the snacks, you’re drink is right there in front of you! But I do have to say that this tie looks a little heavy and may create a choking hazard. So like…use at your own risk.

mr2Uncle Jesse catches Michelle trying to burn her gift in the fireplace. Oh my gosh, danger on the Full House set! But she guilts him in to taking her to the store to buy a replacement gift, so she perks up pretty quickly. But Mickey Rooney owns the store that she bought the gift from and he gives her a hard time about not having her receipt.

When he won’t let her exchange the gift, even though he recognizes her from when she made the purchase earlier, Jesse decides to conduct an “even exchange” of his own. He puts the ugly tie on the counter and takes an item of equal value. But Mickey Rooney locks them in the store and calls the cops.

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But the police aren’t really coming. He’s just a lonely old man and he’s sad on Christmas. Then Jesse decides to tell him how important family is, which is obviously the most dickish thing on the planet he could do right now. But luckily, Michelle is there to help manage the situation. She invites their would-be kidnapper over to their house for dinner. That’s really nice, but then again this dude held them against there will not twenty minutes ago and is obviously a little unbalanced.

hqdefault5Then Jesse forces Mickey Rooney to call his family because he’s a meddler. He’s just lucky that this doesn’t backfire horribly.

Oh and then cool, new gift that Michelle bought Danny? An electric toothbrush that plays “Deck the Halls.”

Well, actually. I kind of want that now.

Very Special Lesson: When it comes to gift giving, it’s the thought that counts but not really.