Welcome my friends! Since everyone seems to be doing something special for Halloween why not add to that? I have decided that through the next couple weeks I will count down my absolute favorite Halloween sitcom episodes EVER.Â As I have noted before, sitcoms and Halloween often go great together. I don’t think there’s any show out there that hasn’t done at least one Halloween themed episode. And when done right, they can be creepy and even scary!
Before I begin a few quick notes. I will be using the format of my Analytica Episode Reviewd for these. Only sitcoms, I see a lot of lists cheat and list something like The Great Pumpkin as their #1 when every other show on their list was sitcom. That special is classic but also belongs in a different category. Also, they have to be episodes litearally set on Halloween not just an episode with scary elements that have nothing to do with Halloween. And only one episode per series.
There will be a few shows that will be left off. Since I already discussed Roseanne I will not discuss it again. I reviewed the really decent Friends Hallween episode when I did my episode guide so will spare you. And The Simpsons will not be included, how can I possibly pick just one? So I guess we can consider Roseanne an honoary #7 (for my views on that click HERE) and the Friends Halloween episode an honorary #8 (for my view on that click HERE). The Simpsons can be #9, so we almost have an unofficial Top 10, I guess.
Finally, this is just my opinion. I am sure there are better Halloween episodes out there than the six I will list, but for me these are the one’s that I love watching over and over. Feel free to disagree and let me know your favorites.
So, where do we begin today? I decided to start with a great one which has kind of been forgotten about over the years. But I still enjoy it.
#6 on my list is :
This first aired October 28,1988. Ever notice how the family friendly Miller/Boyette shows had some great scary as hell episodes? Here’s one of them.
Plot Summary:After a night of horror movies Larry has a dream where Balki is an alien
Best Line:”Yepper! I may be an alien bent on world conquest, but I am no liar”….Balki
Standout Character:Balki, it is so much fun watching Bronson Pinchot get to break out a bit
Nitpick of the Episode:I never understood why Larry would have an all night horror movie party on a work day. Even if it is Halloween. Maybe it’s just me and if this were a show about teenagers I would totally buy it, but who in the world would stay up all night watching horror movies and then try to go to work the next day? Course the fact he goes to work the next in his dream could just be the dream and this is taking place on a Friday. Am I overthinking this?
Oh and while the special effects are decent for a sitcom they aren’t perfect. You can see the wires which are carrying Balki if you look closely enough. But I’ve seen lots worsy
Syndication Edit:Larry and Balki talking about the party (and setting up the dream sequence).
Final Thoughts:This episode is just fun, and works because it doesn’t get to carried away with itself. The best part has to Bronson Pinchot, getting the chance to break out of character for once and do it in a very conving way. It’s still Balki, he’s just suddenly a bit off his nut!
Of course this is also an homage to Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. I think I saw it once and, yeah, it was scary. For some reason TV shows love to parody that movie. I guess because it’s a clever concept, what if the people you know and love are suddenly replaced by aliens? Sitcoms have been playing homage to this story going all the way back to The Dick Van Dyke Show. Of course for a sitcom it is underplayed here but all the characters are just out of character enough.
I also like that Larry doesn’t get to crazy. Very often in this series Larry would spin so out of control that it stopped being funny. Here Mark Linn Baker keeps Larry freaked out, but restrained. And the supporting cast is all here (except Sam Anderson) and there all good. I love the line where Harriett Winslow comments that her mother in law is in town, and compares her to a monster in a horror movie. I think this one line is why Family Matters spent it’s pilot episode retconing Mother Winslow from a mean witch to a sweet person. Ah, hindsight.
I should mention that this series did have at least two other scary episodes. One involving a fortue teller preditcing death for Larry. And another very late in the series run called “Fright Night” which I have never seen.
Grade-B+, decent for a Perfect Strangers episode
Honorable Mention:Here I will very briefly mention an episode that didn’t make the list. For instance, Cosby Show “Halloween” where Vanessa throws an adult Halloween party. This episode isn’t awful but it doesn’t feel realistic. I know, I am talking about The Cosby Show. But what 13 year old throws a Halloween party with minimal decorations and ALL THE LIGHTS ON! Not to mentuon the awful boring music and slow dancing? This was a case of Cosby being too family fiendly, taking the fun out of a Halloween episode which 80’s shows were fond of doing (see Alf, Silver Spoons, and Fresh Prince just to name three examples). Roseanne is the show which changed things by showing you could cut loose on Halloween. Though Perfect Strangers was decent as far as 80’s Halloween episodes go.
I’ll be back with my fifth favorite episode soon my friends!!