Tonight, On A Very Special Episode When TV Sitcoms Sometimes Got Serious Volume 1: 1957-1985 (hardback)

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Remember when Edith Bunker was sexually assaulted on All in the Family? Or when abortion was the hot topic on Maude? Did you know that Leave it to Beaver dealt with alcoholism and that “The Bicycle Man” double episode from Diff’rent Strokes is one of the most remembered sitcom entries in the annals of American television history?

The role of the Very Special Episode was to take a departure from the regular comic stylings of the American TV sitcom and offer a standalone “serious in nature” gesture in addressing subject matter not normally found in such a medium. From racial equality on Bewitched and Happy Days to suicide on One Day At A Time and The Facts of Life and beyond, take an in depth look at a number of Very Special Episodes - from early examples to the heyday of the phenomena come the 70s and 80s, with insight from varied historians, critics and individuals who worked on some of the shows.


VOLUME 1
Date
The Ricardos Visit Cuba from I LOVE LUCY 03/12/1957
Pine Lake Lodge from MISTER ED 25/06/1961
That’s My Boy from THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW 25/09/1963
Little Bamm-Bamm from THE FLINTSTONES 03/10/1963
The Addams Family Meet A Beatnik from THE ADDAMS FAMILY 01/01/1965
The Indians are Coming from THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES 01/02/1967

DIDN’T NEED NO WELFARE STATE, EVERYBODY PULLED HIS WEIGHT

Sisters At Heart from BEWITCHED 24/12/1970
Where There’s Smoke from THE BRADY BUNCH 08/01/1971
Judging Books By Covers from ALL IN THE FAMILY 09/02/1971
Road Song from THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY 26/02/1971
Lionel Moves into the Neighbourhood from ALL IN THE FAMILY 02/03/1971
Gloria Discovers Women’s Lib from ALL IN THE FAMILY 23/03/1971
First and Last Supper, The from ALL IN THE FAMILY 06/04/1971

Edith’s Problem from ALL IN THE FAMILY 08/01/1972
Maude Meets Florida from MAUDE 26/09/1972
Gloria and the Riddle from ALL IN THE FAMILY 07/10/1972
Puerto Ricans Are Coming, The from SANFORD AND SON 10/11/1972
Maude’s Dilemma from MAUDE 14/11/1972
Bobby’s Hero from THE BRADY BUNCH 02/02/1973
Rated X from SANFORD AND SON 16/03/1973
Gloria the Victim from ALL IN THE FAMILY 17/03/1973
Walter’s Problem from MAUDE 11/09/1973
Maude’s Musical from MAUDE 13/11/1973
Edith’s Christmas Story from ALL IN THE FAMILY 22/12/1973

NOT GETTIN’ HASSLED, NOT GETTIN’ HUSTLED

Kelly’s Kids from THE BRADY BUNCH 04/01/1974
Gloria’s Boyfriend from ALL IN THE FAMILY 02/02/1974
Tax Audit, The from MAUDE 12/02/1974
George from M*A*S*H 16/02/1974
Lt. Preston of the 4th Cavalry from THE NEW DICK VAN DYKE SHOW 18/03/1974
Manuel Who Came to Dinner, The from CHICO AND THE MAN 27/10/1974
Rhoda’s Wedding from RHODA 28/10/1974
Archie the Hero from ALL IN THE FAMILY 29/09/1975
Discovery from BARNEY MILLER 30/10/1975
Maude Bares Her Soul from MAUDE 10/11/1975
Fonzie’s New Friend from HAPPY DAYS 25/11/1975
JJ’s Fiancé from GOOD TIMES 06/01/1976
Maude’s Mood from MAUDE 26/01/1976
JJ in Trouble from GOOD TIMES 03/02/1976
Interview, The from M*A*S*H 24/02/1976
Big Move, The from GOOD TIMES 22/09/1976
Quarantine from BARNEY MILLER 30/09/1976
Walter’s Crisis from MAUDE 11/10/1976
Michael the Warlord from GOOD TIMES 13/10/1976
Werewolf from BARNEY MILLER 28/10/1976
08/11/1976
AKA the Fonz from HAPPY DAYS 30/11/1976
Draft Dodger, The from ALL IN THE FAMILY 25/12/1976
Ed Talks To God from CHICO AND THE MAN 04/03/1977
Evans Get Involved, The from GOOD TIMES 21/09/1977
Once A Friend from THE JEFFERSONS 01/10/1977

Cousin Liz from ALL IN THE FAMILY 09/10/1977
Edith’s 50th Birthday from ALL IN THE FAMILY 16/10/1977
Archie’s Bitter Pill from ALL IN THE FAMILY 06/11/1977
Archie and the KKK from ALL IN THE FAMILY 27/11/1977
Barbara’s Friend from ONE DAY AT A TIME 29/11/1977
Gay Bar, The from MAUDE 03/12/1977
Cousin Maude’s Visit from ALL IN THE FAMILY 11/12/1977
Edith’s Crisis of Faith from ALL IN THE FAMILY 18/12/1977

YOU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD

Raul Runs Away from CHICO AND THE MAN 20/01/1978
Doobie or Not Doobie from WHAT’S HAPPENIN’? 28/01/1978
Richie Almost Dies from HAPPY DAYS 31/01/1978
What Goes Up from WELCOME BACK KOTTER 09/02/1978
Reporter, The from ALICE 12/02/1978
Fonzie’s Blindness from HAPPY DAYS 26/09/1978
Block Those Kicks from ALICE 22/10/1978
Men Are Such Beasts from TAXI 21/11/1978
Come Back Little Arnold from WELCOME BACK KOTTER 24/02/1979
Who Is Gordon Simms from WKRP CINCINATTI 02/04/1979
Jack Soo, A Retrospective from BARNEY MILLER 17/05/1979
Rough Housing from FACTS OF LIFE 24/08/1979
Mork in Wonderland from MORK AND MINDY 16/09/1979
Dog Story, The from DIFF’RENT STROKES 10/12/1979
Reluctant Fighter, The from TAXI 25/12/1979
A Mommy for Mindy from MORK AND MINDY 03/01/1980
Night They Raided Mind-Skis, The from MORK AND MINDY 10/01/1980
Mork Learns to See from MORK AND MINDY 17/01/1980
Why Did The Fireman… from LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY 04/02/1980
In Concert from WKRP IN CINCINATTI 11/02/1980
Dieting from FACTS OF LIFE 21/03/1980
First Store, The from THE JEFFERSONS 06/04/1980
Dope from THE FACTS OF LIFE 11/06/1980
Archie Alone from ARCHIE BUNKER’S PLACE 02/11/1980
Mork in Never-Never Land from MORK AND MINDY 20/11/1980
Fathers of the Brides from TAXI 03/12/1980
Elaine’s Strange Triangle from TAXI 10/12/1980
Who Am I? from FACTS OF LIFE 17/12/1980
Cousin Geri from FACTS OF LIFE 24/12/1980
Shoplifting from FACTS OF LIFE 31/12/1980
Breaking Point from FACTS OF LIFE 28/01/1981
Mork Meets Robin Williams from MORK AND MINDY 19/02/1981
Regrets and Reflections from MORK AND MINDY 14/03/1981
Louie Goes Too Far from TAXI 17/10/1981
Reunion from BOSOM BUDDIES 22/10/1981
Fear Strikes Back from FACTS OF LIFE 04/11/1981
First Day Blues from DIFFR’ENT STROKES 05/11/1981

EVERYBODY’S GOT A SPECIAL KIND OF STORY

Legacy from FACTS OF LIFE 06/01/1982
Runaway from FACTS OF LIFE 24/02/1982
Crime Story from DIFF’RENT STROKES 11/03/1982
Me and Mr. T from SILVER SPOONS 16/10/1982
Peacemaker, The from DIFF’RENT STROKES 30/10/1982
Perils of Punky from PUNKY BREWSTER 30/10/1982
Give Your Uncle Arthur A Kiss from FAMILY TIES 10/11/1982
Chief’s Gay Evening, The from GIMME A BREAK 13/11/1982
Bicycle Man, The from DIFFR’ENT STROKES 05/02/1983
Goodbye, Farewell and Amen from M*A*S*H 28/02/1983
Reporter, The from DIFFER’ENT STROKES 19/03/1983
What Price Glory? From FACTS OF LIFE 19/10/1983
Speed Trap from FAMILY TIES 09/11/1983
Van Drummonds, The from DIFF’RENT STROKES 19/11/1983
A Keaton Christmas Carol from FAMILY TIES 14/12/1983
Santa Goes Down Town from NIGHT COURT 11/01/1984
Where There’s Smoke from DIFF’RENT STROKES 14/01/1984
Say Uncle from FAMILY TIES 26/01/1984
Hitch Hikers, The from DIFFE’RENT STROKES 28/01/1984
A Hunting We Will Go from SILVER SPOONS 19/02/1984
Spare the Rod from SILVER SPOONS 24/04/1984
Good News, Bad News from HAPPY DAYS 19/07/1984
Land Lady, The from KATE & ALLIE 15/10/1984
It Only Hurts When I’m Gay from BROTHERS 25/10/1984
Baby of the Family from GIMME A BREAK 08/12/1984
Jill’s Decision from CHARLES IN CHARGE 23/01/1985
The Uh-Oh Feeling from WEBSTER 25/01/1985
Cheers to Arnold from DIFF’RENT STROKES 16/02/1985
Scenario from BENSON 22/02/1985
Special Friend, A from DIFF’RENT STROKES 04/03/1985
Street Smart from DIFF’RENT STROKES 23/03/1985
Fenster Hall from PUNKY BREWSTER 31/03/1985
For Every Man There’s Two Women from TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT 20/07/1985
Sam’s Missing from DIFF’RENT STROKES 27/09/1985
Bully for Arnold from DIFFR’ENT STROKES 04/10/1985
Just Say No from PUNKY BREWSTER 27/10/1985