A Very Special Episode is a web series produced by Funny or Die, in which an unseen Narrator recaps Very Special Episodes of various American sitcoms of the 80s and 90s in a humorous manner, often pointing some of the poor stylistic or writing choices of the show, as well as some of the faulty logic. Each episode ends with the narrator recapping what was to be learned from the episode, which may not always encompass the lesson the episode was trying to give out.
The series shares writer and narrator Dashiell Driscoll, as well as style, with its sister series Zack Morris is Trash. There are a total of four seasons, available on a playlist on YouTube. According to Driscoll, there are currently no plans for a fifth season.
See also Telenovelas Are Hell.
This series provides examples of:
- Accidental Aesop: The show is prone to pointing out these during the ending recap of "What did we learn today?"....And apparently you can get drunk off vanilla extract, but it's such a bummer you might as well not?There's nothing wrong with cheap tawdry and loveless for your first time. You're going to have a lot of disappointing sex in life might as well get that party started because the vast majority of bummer sex will not be with a kinda hot teacher lady in a silk robe offering you a glass of wine with a smooth jazz soundtrack.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Invoked; like its sister series Zack Morris is Trash, that's part of the point.
- The reason why Will broke down in tears at the end of the episode where he was shot was because Carlton knocked his breakfast to the floor, not because Will discovered his gun was loaded.
- Eddie and Boner totally did coke at that party; they just straight up lied to Mike about not doing it.
- Jesse rallying everyone in the airport to celebrate Christmas there despite being snowed in is recontextualized as him having a mental breakdown.Narrator: Jesse comes undone. This coat rack? It's a Christmas tree! That vending machine? Christmas tree! EVERYTHING'S A GODDAMN CHRISTMAS TREE!
- The 29 to 30 drunk driving deaths and injuries statistic at the end of The 'Growing Pains' When Matthew Perry Drove Drunk And Hit A Tree is said to have been all Sandy's fault.
- The Narrator point blank suggests that, when telling Webster they still love him in spite of him causing the apartment fire, Katherine was lying.
- Ass Shove: The Narrator warns Simon that the paint-huffing students intend to "put paintbrushes in [his] booty" in one of the 7th Heaven episodes.
- Black Comedy: After it's revealed that Sandy died moments after the others left the hospital in The 'Growing Pains' When Matthew Perry Drove Drunk And Hit A Tree, the Narrator explains how the doctors reacted: "Could there be any more internal bleeding?"
- Catchphrase: The Narrator has a couple:
- "We never see x again, who knows what happened? They probably fucking killed themselves.", shared with Zack Morris is Trash
- "So what did we learn today?"
- "Because you can't say/show X Friday Nights on ABC" whenever an episode trades in what the episode is supposed to be about for something milder and more acceptable.
- Crosses the Line Twice:
- The 'Full House' When D.J. Almost Starved Herself To Death summarizes the dangers of DJ starving herself as DJ being on a one way hungry train that will cause her to wind up with "her dead mom in Hell".
- On a similar note, not five seconds into The 'Full House' When They Got Trapped In An Airport On Christmas:Narrator: It's Christmas pic time! Everyone say "Wherrrrrrrre's mommy"!
- During the titular fire in The 'Webster' When He Torched The Apartment, Webster freaks out about his box of mementos he left in his room, as it contains the last photo he has of his dead parents. The Narrator tells him to calm down, as "they can't die twice".
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Invoked by the narrator occasionally.
- Most notably in The "Step by Step" When The Hot Teacher Seduced J.T. where the narrator is fully supportive of Teacher/Student Romance the show is presenting.Professor Flynn is not fucking around in her bang lair: she's got the candles lit, silk robes on, smooth jazz going, red wine flowing. This is a nice operation. J.T. won the goddamn lottery.
- Also invoked in The "Wayans Bros." When Marlon Ruined His Life With Marijuana, where the narrator points out the show's anti-drug message (about how Marlon is screwing up his acting career by smoking weed) flies in the face of Marlon Wayans' actual career.Marlon says this weed stuff is bad news he is done smoking [forever]... Until 603 days from now when Scary Movie comes out and his character does nothing but get high for 88 minutes. And it ends with a direct-to-camera PSA warning people not to mess with drugs unless you want to launch a horror film parody franchise that earns 900 million dollars at the box office.
- However, the definitive example can be seen in The "Growing Pains" With Hot Babes Offering Free Cocaine, where the narrator is completely against how much of a narc Mike is about the fact that there's cocaine at a party "[on a] Friday goddamn night in 1987". In fact, the Narrator is so against Mike that, when the episode ends by claiming that Eddie and Boner called Mike after he left to tell him they didn't do coke, the Narrator is under the belief that it's "a coked out lie".
- Most notably in The "Step by Step" When The Hot Teacher Seduced J.T. where the narrator is fully supportive of Teacher/Student Romance the show is presenting.
- Deadpan Snarker: The spirit and tone of the narrator.
- Double Entendre: "Kevin offers his lady a sip, but she is no longer thirsty." Thirsty is slang for horny.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: The narrator clearly has no problem with a teacher seducing a male student in Step by Step, even calling him a "pussy" for not wanting to go through with the affair.
- Driven to Suicide: Any character who doesn't reappear is said to have "Probably fucking killed themselves".
- Drugs Are Good: The narrator's mindset anyway according to the episode on Growing Pains. He even boos and calls Mike cowards for not caving into peer pressure.
- Dude, Not Funny!: The narrator has this reaction whenever the studio audience laughs at something that definitely shouldn't be laughed about, such as in The "Mr. Belvedere" When That Kid Got AIDS when the references in said episode to a kid having AIDS elicit a laugh track. Subverted in The 'Diff'rent Strokes' With the Bicycle Man Child Molester, though, when the studio audience actually can only give an uncomfortable laughter.
- Everyone Has Standards: As seen under Sincerity Mode below, the Narrator, for all of his snark, does show genuine appreciation for the writing and production values of The Golden Girls in The Episode of The Golden Girls Where Betty White Banged a Guy to Death. That particular episode of the web series focuses more on the plot of The Golden Girls itself rather than the heavy-handedness or ridiculous attempts at morals featured in other series of the time.
- Fantastically Indifferent: The 'Punky Brewster' When The Challenger Space Shuttle Exploded, the Narrator takes offense at Henry reacting to Brandon (a dog) doing a magic trick with a mild "This is amazing!"."Yo, this is not the appropriate response level when a motherfucking dog does motherfucking magic. Like... not even close!"
- Faux Horrific: How the narrator treats the episode of "Growing Pains" when a bunch of hot woman invite the characters to do cocaine with them.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Invoked by the narrator while reviewing an episode of Punky Brewster, when he mentions a kid during "Career" day dressing as a soldier.Alan brought a gun to school. When he grows up, he wants to be the future.
- God Is Good: The Step by Step episode has J.T. call out God as his teacher seduces him, but the Narrator exlains that God failed to respond because he's "already delivered J.T. one miracle today."
- Harsher in Hindsight: This comes up a few times from the Narrator in the episodes about 7th Heaven episodes, in relation to 7th Heaven lead Stephen Collins admitting he had sexually abused underage girls after the series ended.
- Lemony Narrator: The narrator is prone to colorful descriptions of the events taking place.Urkel is done playing. He prepares for an ass beating. More specifically, his.
- The Nicknamer: The Narrator often calls the characters by odd names depending on whatever vice they're facing in that episode. For example, in The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Where She Got Hooked on Pancakes, he dubs the titular character "Witchney Houston" to mock the actual singer's drug use.
- Obligatory Joke:
- When Lucille is explaining to Rose that Al had, in reality, died of a heart attack brought about from his own unhealthy lifestyle:Narrator: And despite Rose's concerns, Al probably fuckingLucille: [K]illed himself.
- Given how the drunk driving episode of Growing Pains centered around Matthew Perry's character Sandy, it was pretty clear where some of the video's humor would come from.
- For example:Narrator: (after Sandy, recouperating from a car crash in a hospital, asks for a beer) Sandy's just joking. He makes jokes when he's uncomfortable.
- How does the Narrator reveal that Sandy died from internal bleeding? By taking a page out of Chandler Bing's book:Narrator: Sandy, he... he fuckin' died, just moments ago. The doctors said "Could there be any more internal bleeding?"
- For example:
- Bordering on Ripped from the Headlines, you can make a reasonable guess as to where a chunk of the humor in "The 'Full House' When Aunt Becky's Kids Cheated Their Way Into School" comes from.Jesse: If I don't lie for [Nicky and Alex], who will?Narrator: (matter-of-factly) I got 500 grand that says Aunt Becky could be persuaded.
- When Lucille is explaining to Rose that Al had, in reality, died of a heart attack brought about from his own unhealthy lifestyle:
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In The "Mr. Belvedere" When That Kid Got AIDS episode, where the Laugh Track is one of the few times the Narrator's deadpan tone cracks.THIS! FUCKING! LAUGHTRACK!
- Running Gag:
- The main cast of 7th Heaven's propensity for "snitching" on any bad behaviour, often for very tenuous reasons.First, Eric wants a heart to heart- sorry, snitch-to-snitch, with Simon.[Simon's] dad says Matt is older and knows some things Simon doesn't. Like when you find out about something dangerous in the suburbs it's your duty to snitch to the nearest older white man then they take it up the chain of narcs until justice is served.
- The narrator commenting on inappropriate use of Laugh Track, such as in The 'Diff'rent Strokes' With the Bicycle Man Child Molester where a laugh track is playing over a pedophile setting some porn to be found by kids (amongst other moments), or in Mr. Belvedere where the Laugh Track plays repeatedly in relation to a young child having AIDS.Mr. Owens: Heya champ! How're you doing?
Danny: Well, I got AIDS, but besides that, pretty good.
Narrator: Certainly the worst laugh track use in this episode. A strong contender for worst laugh track use of all times.
- Like in sister series Zack Morris is Trash, assuming any one shot guest character which is never seen again committed suicide. Sometimes played with when the episode implies a different fate.
- "Because you can't say 'X' Friday nights on ABC." whenever a show avoids actually mentioning the topic of their Very Special Episode due to censorship.
- Briefly mentioning the B-story (if an episode has one) before saying "Who cares".
- There are numerous jokes at Stephen Collins' expense that reference Collins exposing himself to underage girls in seveal episodes that cover 7th Heaven.
- The main cast of 7th Heaven's propensity for "snitching" on any bad behaviour, often for very tenuous reasons.
- Sincerity Mode: In the The Golden Girls episode about the dead guy, he repeatedly comments and shows appreciation sincerely for Sophia's witty snark, and actually comments on how good the drama of the episode is considering it's the show's 15th episode, actually pausing to let the viewer hear the monologue of Lucille's denial of her husband's death.Narrator: Then things get very real.
Lucille: I'm talking so it can't be true. You know what I mean? If I keep talking, it isn't true. All I have to do is talk forever. Oh God!
Narrator: This was the 15th episode of The Golden Girls. The Golden Girls went hard as hell.
- Shout-Out: While reviewing Punky Brewster, the narrator refers to a kid dressed as a Ninja at school during Career day as him being Batman before he got a costume.
- Something Completely Different:
- Instead of the Narrator delivering the lesson of The 'Fresh Prince' When Will And Uncle Phil Accidentally Bought Thanksgiving Handies, we get the lesson Uncle Phil gives.note Narrator: So, what did we learn today?Uncle Phil: When you have a chronic back problem and you go for a therapeutic massage, and wind up in a house of ill-repute which is subsequently raided, and you are arrested by mistake, never tell your wife.Narrator: Huh. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
- It's been announced beforehand that the structure of Season 4 would be different from the other seasons, as it will only focus on two shows.note
- Instead of the Narrator delivering the lesson of The 'Fresh Prince' When Will And Uncle Phil Accidentally Bought Thanksgiving Handies, we get the lesson Uncle Phil gives.note
- Space Whale Aesop: During the wrap up for The 'ALF' When He Dated A Blind Woman, the Narrator concludes with one final lesson: "Lost in Translation ripped off season 1 of ALF".
- Take That!:
- falls apart because of Scary Movienote coming out "603 days" later, the Narrator finishes the wrap up by stating that "drugs are no laughing matter, just like Scary Movie 3 through 5."note After pointing out in "The 'Wayans Bros.' When Marlon Ruined His Life With Marijuana" that the moral of the episode
- It is blatantly obvious why the "'Full House' When Aunt Becky's Kids Cheated Their Way Into School" video exists.Aunt Becky: Oh, yeah, well, our kids love to reap!Narrator: They love to reap what Aunt Becky sows...
- A couple of the episodes dealing with 7th Heaven have taken shots at Stephen Collins being a self-admitted child molester.
- Too Dumb to Live: "Do not travel on Christmas Eve, you dumbass."
- Unusual Euphemism: One of the best bits of the series is hearing the Narrator come up with bizarre names for things like sex and drugs.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Whenever there is an inappropriate laugh track, the Narrator will point it out. The prime examples are the Mr. Belvedere episode about AIDS and the Diff'rent Strokes episode about the bicycle shop man who's a child molester.
- The Narrator points out that, after Will got shot, Carlton was acting too mopey and depressed given how he wasn't the one shot. He even points out how, during the climax, Carlton flipped Will's uneaten breakfast to the floor.
- Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Brought up when Webster burns down the appartment."Webster thought he couldn't get hurt playing with safety matches, because kids are morons."