March 6, 2014
It is the opening round of the tournament of “Very Special Episodes.” Dick Vitale was contractually obligated to provide commentary until he came off his meds and realized what he had done. I believe that his lawyer’s response was the first legal document to contain the phrase “….and the horse you came in on.”
So I’ll just recap the action. As Ric Flair would say: “Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it has the longest line!” …..not sure what that has to do with things, but lets get into it! WOOOOOOOOOOO!
MATCH 1: Diff’Rent Strokes (“The Bicycle Man)
Vs. The Cosby Show (“Theo’s Gift”)
THE ACTION: Quite possibly the most well known and loved of the “Very Special Episodes” sees Arnold and Dudley making friends with the local bicycle salesman, who takes one look at these two kids and literally starts to breathe heavily, and totally ignores jailbait daughter Kimberly – Mr. Drummond should’ve twigged to things right there but he’s pretty dense for a rich white fella. Chester Molester is played by Gordon Jump in what was actually a very daring role, and the one he’s most remembered for. He plies the kids with gifts, candy, naughty cartoons, and eventually wine (spiked I assume, with roofies). The hot molestation action culminates when Evil Mr. Carlson gets the boys shirtless to play “Neptune King of the Sea” while he takes photographs and rubs one out (tastefully off camera of course).
Meanwhile, on the Cosby Show, Theo fails a couple of tests and suddenly he has dyslexia. Whoop-de-damn-do. So he has to do some extra work instead of hanging with his friend Dung Beetle or Cockroach or
whatever his name was getting “Bacon Burger Dogs.” I’m not minimizing dyslexia but unless this episode featured Cliff Huxtable’s pal Danny Kaye treating Theo’s dyslexia by rubbing lotion on his chest….well, there never was a chance at winning.
THE WINNAH: DIFF’RENT STROKES
MATCH 2: Mr. Belvedere ( “Wesley’s Friend”)
(From imdb.com) Wesley is supposed to play William Howard Taft in the school’s Presidents’ Day pageant, an opening to play Abraham Lincoln comes up. The boy who was supposed to play Lincoln, Wesley’s friend Danny, has been pulled out of school because he got AIDS from a blood transfusion. Not knowing anything about the virus, Wesley believes what his friends tell him about it and makes him afraid of Danny.
Vs. Leave it to Beaver (“Beaver and Andy”)
THE ACTION: Mr. Belvedere sees Wesley’s little friend diagnosed with AIDS (I guess that’s one kid the bicycle man won’t be playing Neptune King of the Sea with!) and hilarious ignorance abounds as he’s pulled out of school and everyone fears they can catch AIDS simply by looking at him. What’s so wrong with that? Better safe than sorry! Wait…..what?……ok, Mr. B informs me that I’m an incredibly ignorant twit. Ok then. Aside from the fact that the kid the writers gave the AIDS to looks more suited for a down syndrome patient (yeah I’m going to hell) the main notoriety for this episode lies in what may be the most epic of sitcom fails ever: When asked how he’s doing, his response “Well, I got AIDS. But other than that pretty good” is legendarily bad. The screencap below aptly sums up the audience reaction to that wet fart of a line:
Seriously. The laughs were less awkward on MASH when Radar announced Henry’s plane spun into the Sea of Japan. For the longest time I thought this line was in an episode of “Growing Pains” until I realized that it lacked even the low-level subtlety of that show – then I knew it had to be Mr. Belvedere.
On the other side, proof that “Very Special” isn’t just a modern invention. I want you to wrap your minds around something: This episode of “Leave it to Beaver” sports a fricking CONTENT WARNING on YouTube. Archtype daddy and all-around stiff Ward hires his pal Andy (a “reformed” alcoholic) to paint the Cleaver house. And while they take pains to keep him away from the kids, he makes friends with Beaver. After learning that his new pal Andy likes the sauce, Beaver – slow witted, trusting soul that he is, gives the guy a bottle of his dad’s stash as a present. That’s’ right: BEAVER CAUSED AN ALKIE TO FALL OFF THE WAGON. I mean I could’ve seen Eddie Haskell doing this, but sweet loveable Beaver!?!? That’s pretty badcore shit right there. Worthy of winning many a matchup. Still…..”I got AIDS. Other than that, pretty good” is so mind-numbingly awful, Mr. Belvedere wins on strength of that line alone.
THE WINNAH: MR. BELVEDERE! (The losers: anyone who sat through that episode)
BRACKET CHAMPIONSHIP: Diff’rent Strokes vs Mr. Belvedere
One underrated benefit of the Diff’rent Strokes episode is that we get to see Dudley’s father. The man had what must’ve been the biggest set of choppers ever seen in prime time TV:
See what I mean? We also get treated to a shirtless Dudley (*grawwlll!*)
Meanwhile, what does Mr. Belvedere give us? We don’t even get a shirtless Rob Stone (and that’s a gay porn name if I ever heard one)
On the other hand, it did give us an awesome and enduring meme…..tough call. TOUGH call.
BRACKET WINNER: ARNOLD AND DUDLEY GET MOLESTED! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Next time: The Meathead Bracket!