Welcome back my friends as I count down my all-time favorite Halloween sitcom episodes. There are some series which are almost synonymous with Halloween. But once in awhile a series you’d never expect to do an awesome Halloween episode surprises us with one. Today my #4 pick is a perfect example of that, when we were surprised in 1990 with a fantastic Halloween show from, of all shows :

Yep, Growing Pains!

 

 

 

“Happy Halloween”

(yeah, the pic sucks. Sorry)
This aired October 31, 1990. And it’s clear they really put their hearts in it! They even recorded a brand new opening with a “Monster Mash” kind of song replacing the usual theme song. That’s freaking awesome! Check it out HERE

 

 

 

Plot Synopsis:When trick or treating is cancelled because of a thunderstorm, the Seavers spend the night telling scary stories

 

 

 

Best Line:”Oh so this is one of those family deals”…Chrissy

 

 

 

Standout Character:Mike, as boring as his story was (I will get to that) I can’t fault the performance. He sells it. Kirk Cameron was also young Jason in Jason’s story and was good in that too. Kirk Cameron was just great in this episode.

 

 

 

Nitpick of Episode:I always did have one question. Follow me on this, when the episode begins it’s established that trick or treating is well under way and Chrissie is getting impatient waiting for her parents. Then the storm makes Jason and Maggie drag her back inside, where they tell stories. Now, when the episode ends the storm is over and Maggie  takes Chrissie out at last. But here is my question, what the hell time is it? I know Maggie doesn’t want to disappoint Chrissie but isn’t it a bit late for her to be out at this point? Heck Jason even says they’re out of candy! Or maybe I am just over thinking again.

 

 

 

Syndication Edit:Not sure never really seen this in syndication

 

 

 

Final Thoughts:This episode was a real treat. I am not sure what inspired it, there is a dedication at the end and the episode literally aired on Halloween night. Not only do I remember watching it in 1990, but it was recorded and I still watch it around Halloween. So let’s go through the stories presented here.

 

Jason’s story was really creepy. Much like Perfect Strangers it was sort of an Invasion of the Body snatchers take off. But where Perfect Strangers played it for laughs this story was done much more straight. It was genuinely scary the first time I saw it, with a black and white environment and smart directing to give the whole thing a real moody feel. The gag that the aliens drink coffee down their pants sounds funny, but accompanied with that creepy sound effect it isn’t funny. It’s terrifying!

 

Maggie’s story is silly and corny. The only reason I don’t say it’s awful is because the characters in the show say how stupid the story is. So since that was the intention, then kudos. Besides a little corniness is nice after the very somber tone of the previous story. It makes a nice break.

 

Ben’s story isn’t really a story, as Ben reveals how horny he is. But he’s a teenager. I do love a throwaway gag made referencing how Just The Ten of Us had vanished from the airwaves. Clever.

 

Carol tells of an odd dream that she is having, and the dream is basically about her being afraid she is going nowhere and will always be a bookworm. It’s a nice segment as it almost feels like images you may see in a dream. They also add a musical number (and a reference to the  idiotic Cop Rock which was on at the time).

 

So let’s talk about Mike’s story. The framing device is that Mike is late coming home, and he arrives at the end of the second half looking like he’s seen a ghost. He then tells the story about how he got lost, found a girl standing beside a car wreck, and tried to bring her home. Now anyone, except Mike, would know that this is a ghost and “home” is a cemetery. Which it is, and that scene where Mike finally finds the grave marker at the end is quite good, even scary. So what’s my problem then? To pad out the half hour Mike and the girl named Kara stop at a diner where all sorts of celebrity ghosts are hanging out. Mike thinks it’s a costume party. The scene is to long and the unending celebrity impersonations get old. It’s obviously just here to pad out the episode. But it doesn’t really hurt the episode either, so maybe I am just nitpicking. A good solid ghost story!

 

And that’s it really, Mike reveals his story was just a trick and Chrissy goes trick or treating. Carol spent the episode waiting for her date, when a man in a black cloak appear. When another guy then follows saying he was her date, we are left wondering who the heck she left with???

 

It’s just a gag of course and this whole episode ends with the cast wishing us a Happy Halloween. I admire this series for doing something a bit out of the box and the episode is just one big Halloween delight. Especially when it is so clear they are enjoying every second. Here is the end of the episode I mentioned.

 

 

Grade-A, No complaints here. If you can, check this one out.

 

 

 

 

Honorable Mention:Cheers

Back in 1991 this episode was advertised as a big deal. It was a Halloween special episode and the plot involved Sam supposedly murdering someone. There were special effects and a “surprise twist ending”. Well, while not a horrible episode it wasn’t quite as great as it sounded. It was clear that Sam did not intend to kill Gary (from Gary’s Old Towne Tavern) and the surprise ending was no surprise really. He was really alive, wow..shocker! Not. Also Sam’s story is basically it for the episode which makes it feel a little flatter than most which has two or three stories running through it. Though all the characters get a few good lines. It’s a decent episode, and the special effect was kind of cool, but it did not live up to the hype.

 

 

I’ll be back in a few days my friends with my #3 choice.

By richb

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