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Halloween is the season of frights, monsters, cheap movies, and a hedonistic approach to eating candy, but while I do enjoy all of that stuff immensely, I’m feeling a bit mellower this time around and am not in the mood to get fully immersed in the seasonal excesses. Maybe it’s the never ending horror show of a year we’ve been having so far, or maybe it’s because I’m already seeing scary movies on a regular basis for review purposes, but the thrill of hunting down the most obscure and blood drenched VHS horror camp isn’t doing it much for me right. Not all is doom and gloom however for those that aren’t feeling the frightful mood as I’ve compiled a list of a few Halloween themed TV specials that you can easily chillax to that will hopefully get you back into the festive mood! Oh, and obviously Treehouse of Horror episodes are great choices for a list like this, but neither the prospect of narrowing them down or filling up the entire list with them seems like a worthwhile endeavor; especially considering how well known they are at this point. Anyway, let’s get started!!
3rd Rock from the Sun – Scaredy Dick (S3 E5)
Dick Solomon, the high commander of a team of aliens in human disguises trying to learn about humanity, is now faced with a new emotion that he’ll have to find a way to deal with; IRRATIONAL FEAR! To keep his job as a university professor he’ll need to take a physical, but for some reason he becomes extremely terrified whenever he goes into the doctor’s office. Not helping matters is that this problem JUST SO HAPPENS to crop up right around Halloween and since he can’t deal with his ACTUAL fears, he starts being afraid of everything around him; including what appears to be a ghost haunting the apartment.
This show is one of the best sitcoms ever made and while SOME of the episodes don’t hold up (the family reunion episode has some VERY off-putting and creepy moments), the ingenious premise that allows the phenomenal cast to explore all the messy facets of humanity feels like the benchmark of what sitcoms SHOULD be striving for. The Halloween episode is another great example of that as Dick Solomon who is played by John Lithgow is acting like a child with how fearful he becomes of everything which is hilarious to watch but also has a degree of poignancy to it with how our internalized fears and shortcomings can bleed into other aspects of our lives. This storyline also has the benefit of focusing on Harry Solomon who is played by French Stewart (another member of the alien crew) and the way that he and John Lithgow complement each other’s vaudevillian comedy chops. I’m not all that thrilled about the subplot with Sally and Tommy played by Kristen Johnston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the two remaining crew members) where they’re house sitting for a coworker of Dick’s (Dr Mary Albright played by Jane Curtain) which is… FUNNY I guess, but it feels a bit too lightweight when compared to what Dick and Harry are up to at the apartment; especially when we get to the reveal of what’s ACTUALLY been haunting them. Last time I checked the show is no longer on Netflix, but the box sets of these are INCREDIBLY cheap at this point and I’m pretty sure you can find the whole series for a measly twenty bucks, so do yourself a favor and watch ALL of the episodes, but make sure squeeze this in on the big night!
Ed, Edd n Eddy’s Boo Haw Haw
The Ed Boys are getting ready for Halloween and all the free candy that comes with it, but once again Eddy has a plan that MIGHT just work but chances are will end in horrifying injuries and nothing else to show for it. Dressed up as Bruce Campbell, Sheamus, and The Ebola Virus (or something like that), the trio go on a wild goose chase for someplace called Spook-E-Ville which is a place Eddy’s brother supposedly visited on Halloween that gave out more candy than they could possibly imagine! That said, things might get a little bit complicated as Ed has binged watched hundreds of junky horror films and might be having a bit of trouble distinguishing his movies from reality.
Even as a grown ass man I relate to the Ed Boys probably more than any other characters in fiction; all three being various, if a touch extreme, aspects of how I see myself. Eddy’s overblown confidence to hide his insecurities (be sure to check out THE REST of the website which is the BEST WEBSITE IN THE WORLD!!), Double D’s compulsive tendencies as well as fear of all things with dirt on them, and Ed’s sense of impeccable fashion along with his love of genre films… and general stupidity. You want to get to know me better? I present to you my Id, Ego, and Superego (try to guess which one is which)! The Halloween special is certainly a high mark for the series what with its expansive storyline across all of Peach Creek (it’s a whole half hour instead of a mere fifteen minutes!) and what seems to be a nice beefy budget to bring Ed’s fantasy’s to life which are impressive to look at and imbue this with a sense of grimy camp that movies like Grindhouse spent millions of dollars trying to replicate. They manage to pull it off here on what is ostensibly a kid’s show and it is one of the most GLORIOUS things that Cartoon Network has attached their name to! Sadly, Ed Edd n Eddy haven’t gotten a proper release on home media and as far as I can tell the ONLY way you can find this special is on an out of print DVD called Cartoon Network Halloween 3 – Sweet Sweet Fear. Still, YouTube and its less strict backup Dailymotion can probably help you out on this one so check it out if you can find it!
Frasier – Halloween (S5 E3)
Roz confides in Frasier the fact that she might be pregnant and swears him to secrecy. This turns out to be much harder than expected as Niles’s Halloween party turns into an endless series of misunderstandings and half-heard conversations that lead to said party thrower convinced that Frasier himself has gotten Daphne Moon (Frasier maid’s and Niles’s secret crush) pregnant and will certainly abandon her. Like I said; an ENDLESS series of misunderstandings. How will Niles react to this horrifying news and what will Roz do when she finds out that Frasier can’t manage to keep his mouth shut about this?
Frasier has always been an interesting to me as its highbrow perception is kind of misleading when you sit down and watch the show properly. Sure, the show is ABOUT smart people and they do have some more intellectually engaging episodes throughout, but its humor is still very much in the vein of other classic sitcoms like its forbearer Cheers, and even takes inspiration from much older sources; hence the Commedia dell’arte style misunderstandings that are present in almost every episode. I know I just threw out a big word there, but it’s basically means OLD ITALIAN FARCES (I know there’s more to it than that) which is what Frasier is most of the time. They’ll have dinner parties with high society people, but will then start bickering like children and throw in a few pratfalls. This episode in particular is a really great example of just that and it’s one of the more visually striking episodes in the series due to the flamboyant costumes that everyone is wearing. Not only that, but David Hyde Pierce (my love of whom is quite well documented by the way) is an absolute riot in here with easily the best costume and has the most heavy lifting to do here as he’s the focal point for everything fall to pieces at the party while trying to do what he believes to be the right thing; though in actuality is a very selfish thing. Hey Freeze Peach peeps out there? I know you don’t ACTUALLY give a shit, but THIS is what White Knighting REALLY looks like. The only real drawback is that Roz (who’s the one actually pregnant here) is pushed to the background once we get to the party as the story switches entirely to Niles’s insecurities and desires which lead to him so easily jumping to conclusions about his brother, but this is only the beginning of a much larger arc for Roz so it’s not a huge mark against the episode which makes up for it by being completely hilarious and showcasing quite a bit of range for the persnickety Niles. Thankfully Netflix hasn’t pulled this show from its catalogue just yet, so you can queue this one up with very little hassle! Isn’t it nice when you can find official channels to watch shows you like!?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Who Got Dee Pregnant? (S6 E7)
The Paddy’s Pub crew learns that Sweet Dee is not only pregnant but that it happened during the Halloween party and that one of them is the father. Sadly none of them have a particularly good memory of that night as they were drinking heavily the whole time, but with so much at stake they are forced to try and piece together the evening with what little each of them recalls from that night. Will they be able to unravel this mystery, and can they comprehend the truth once it’s been revealed?
Speaking of well documented love for something, it’s no secret that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of my favorite shows of all time and its Halloween episode is a definite high point for the series. It’s Always Sunny is a series that always tries to do things a little bit differently and turning a rather simple tale of a Halloween Party into a Rashomon style mystery was a stroke of genius with some of the best sight gags in the series (we finally get to see how the rest of the gang conceptualizes Dee), and one of the best endings the show has ever come up with. Okay, ACTUALLY the ending falls a TINY bit flat as the twist at the end, while a REALLY great one that is ingeniously set up, kind of just gets hand waved without much of an explanation. Sure, it makes SENSE that what ended up happening that night didn’t quite go where we thought it would, but maybe just one more flashback (especially one from Dee’s perspective) would have made this episode that much more enjoyable. Even with that minor flaw though, it still manages to be another great episode from a phenomenal series that deserves its place alongside every other Halloween classic we re-watch around this time of year. Plus it’s ALSO streaming on Netflix which makes it THAT much easier to fit into your holiday rotation!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – Life’s a Masquerade (S1 E25)
The Five Teenagers with Attitude (plus Tommy) are helping Ernie set up the Youth Center for the Halloween Party, but because Rita Repulsa has nothing better to do she sends down a monster to crash it and destroy those pesky Power Rangers once and for all. Said monster takes the form of Frankenstein’s Monster because of course it does, and the Rangers must go all torches and pitchforks on it before it has a chance to destroy the city. Can they stop this fearsome creature before it’s too late, and how the heck did they get away with using THAT much of Universal’s trademark design!?
I’m not an expert of Power Rangers, let alone the original Mighty Morphin series, but I started watching it around the time the movie came out and it manages to have one of the best Halloween specials EVER MADE! Did you read that description!? POWER RANGERS VS FRANKENSTEIN! It’s the sequel to War of the Gargantuas we’ve always wanted, and it was WELL worth the wait! The first half of the episode concerning the Angel Grove Youth Center Halloween Party is really solid with some fantastic humor from Bulk and Skull who are the TRUE heroes of this series, and it even has a nice bit with Alpha who really doesn’t get to do all that much in the series but steals the show when he shows up here. That’s alone would make this a solid episode, but that’s not what sets this one apart. It’s the big blowout smack down brawl at the end with Frankenstein fighting both the Megazord AND the Dragonzord, which is not only one of action highlight of the series for me, but kicks the crap out of ANYTHING they did in that movie from earlier this year! This special is so freaking good that I can’t put into words how amazing it is in this one piece, so I’ll be doing a FULL RECAP of this episode that you all can check out very soon! Until then, you can check the episode out for yourself on Netflix which apparently has EVERY FREAKING Power Rangers thing ever made! Well except for the movies, but that’s not much of a loss now is it?
And there you have it! I certainly know what I’LL be watching this Halloween and I hope I inspired some of you to check these specials out too! Agree? Disagree? Got a few suggestions that are even better than this? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!!