Family Matters: Stevil II: This Time He’s Not Alone

This is so late into the Family Matters run that little Richie is calling Urkel “Uncle Steve.” We see this during the obligatory pre-show warning that this is a “scarrrrry episode.” No, but it really is scary. I’m terrified.

I think it’s pretty obvious that this is a dream-sequence episode because Steve literally falls asleep on the couch in the first two minutes and the dream sequence music plays. HOWEVER, the power of Stevil is great and just in case Freddy Krueger laws apply, I don’t think we should feel TOO SAFE in the dream sequence.

Stevil emerges from the toilet (where Steve ground him up and flushed him away years ago) only to reveal that he’s been bobbing for rats in the sewer. BARF. But now he’s back in the Winslow house. He’s there to steal Steve’s soul.


Of course, he showed up at the Winslow house. Stevil is too smart to go looking for Steve at Steve’s house. Guys, does Steve have parents? Like maybe they moved away years ago and he’s just like lingering at the neighbors house because he didn’t want to move to a new town. Didn’t that happen in Boy Meets World? Like Topanga didn’t want to move away from Philly so she like tried to live with Corey and that was weird for obvious reasons. Okay, okay, wrong show. Let’s get back to Family Matters.

Just as Stevil is sucking Steve’s soul out of his eyes, Steve wakes up on the Winslow house because it was all (say it with me now) JUST A DREAM!

After comforting Steve and telling him to grow up, Carl Winslow heads upstairs and goes to bed fully clothed, sleeping on top of the covers. Cue the next dream sequence.

Carl heads downstairs and finds a box marked “fragile” and labeled with his name. He opens it to find his very own CARL VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY! But he thinks it’s cool and not at all scary. But it doesn’t take long for him to realize that this dummy is possessed too! He is known as “Carlsbad.”


But then the worst thing they do is have a dance-off amongst themselves.


OH WAIT. THEY’RE TRYING TO STEAL SOULS AGAIN! They chase Carl and Steve throughout the house. It’s a surprisingly tight race, considering that Carl and Steve have normal, adult-male sized legs, whereas Carlsbad and Stevil have doll legs.

In hot pursuit, Carlsbad and Stevil break down the door to Carl’s room, where he and Steve have created a barricade behind a large chest of drawers. Just as Carl thinks they’ve defeated them, Steve disappears. They’ve stolen his soul!! And actually, yeah, Jaleel White does look pretty creepy here:


Carl and Carlsbad engage in a battle to the death. Or battle to the soul? Whichever comes first, I guess. Carl wins out against the dummies, but Steve zombie still wants to eat his soul!!


Okay, but remember how this was all just a dream? It totally was, so don’t worry!! Unless, you believe the end credits where Carlsbad and Stevil are standup comedians. Ugh. Actually, something about that is even creepier than anything else in this episode.

I dunno. Maybe you guys don’t think Stevil/Carlsbad are scary. I think they’re terrifying. But the more I think about it, the more I think that may be because I watched the movie Magic with my mom when I was five. I don’t think she realized it was a horror movie. Kind of like the time my grandmother read that Leprechaun was going to be playing on TV and assumed it was a children’s movie. It’s amazing I survived my childhood. And now I write this blog! Never give up on your dreams!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: No. Dolls.

Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Pancake Madness

If you were a kid in the ’80’s or ’90’s chances are you saw a lot of very special episodes. You know, that 30 minute comedic romp through things that will totally ruin your life forever but it’s okay because we’ve all learned a valuable lesson and will never again drink/do drugs/go on a crash diet/hide our dyslexia? That emotionally driven, powerfully profound vicarious lesson that made you think, “As God as my witness, I shall NEVER give in to that seductive temptress known as peer pressure! I will overcome my insecurities with the support of my family members, quirky next door neighbor, and this laugh track!” Oh you didn’t think that? That was just me? Well, maybe that’s why I love Very Special Episodes from a very special place of my heart.

But enough about me, remember Melissa Joan Hart? Although her classic ’90’s sitcom (no, not Clarissa, the other one) about Sabrina Spellman’s adolescent transition from average girl to amazing witch was typically light hearted in nature, the show opted to deal with a heavier subject matter in this very special episode.


As far as I’m concerned, Melissa Joan Hart wins the ’90’s.

The day starts off calmly with Sabrina attempting to enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast before school. But before she can take a bite, her aunts whisk the fluffy pancakes away and warn her of their highly addictive nature. Pancakes are in fact so addictive to the Spellman family that they cannot even have a single bite without going on a bender. Sabrina, however, cannot resist the temptation of that syrupy deliciousness.


True to her aunts’ word, the addiction overtakes her quickly. In the very next scene, she goes through the trash at school looking for pancake remnants. The resident mean girl, Libby (did anyone else think she looked vaguely like Monica Lewinsky?) comes by and makes a joke about homeless people (comparing Sabrina to a “bag lady”). But this is a very special episode about addiction not about socioeconomic class relations, so let’s move along here people.

“I’m in the mood for pancakes are you holding?”–Actual Quote

At the end of the school day, Sabrina has the shakes. Witches really can’t handle their pancakes. In the middle of the night, she tries to make them from scratch without magic. She needs a fixfat sabrina! At school the next day, Sabrina is totally out of control. She finally loses the remaining shreds of her self-control and binges on stacks of buttery carbohydrates at the pancake breakfast prom fundraiser. Then she ends up looking like Violet from Willie Wonka. Now, that is one scary overdose.

But what really sets this episode apart from most sitcoms that deal with addiction is how it deals with detox and withdrawal symptoms, including a super weird dream about attending a pancake themed high school and hallucinating this terrifying syrup-person.

Sabrina's scary friend
Now, that’s enough to scare anyone straight.

At the end of the episode, Sabrina still craves pancakes but she knows that her friends and family are more important than throwing her life away for some silly old pancakes. She knows that hers will be a lifelong struggle but she’s committed to staying away from the pancake crowd. She even stages a catnip intervention with Salem during the closing credits—wait how did this become the most realistic very special episode of them all?


Very Special Lesson: Just say no (to pancakes)