5 Soul Crushing TV Show Reunions You Won't Believe Happened
Pop culture might seem infinitely cyclical at the moment, what with Full House, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files coming back from the prime-time netherworld (and Manimal, Veronica's Closet, and the XFL likely not far behind). But trust us, things are way better now than they used to be. Back in the day, if beloved TV characters gathered for one last hurrah, shit was guaranteed to get existentially bleaker than Kafka playing the E.T. video game on a waterbed filled with orphan tears. We're referring to reunions like ...
Zack Morris Starts Hooking To Pay For His Wedding
Aired back in 1994, the last Saved By The Bell movie/finale (there are more than one of each) finds Zack and Kelly planning to get married. Zack's dad disapproves of his decision due to plot contrivances, probably, and won't fund the wedding. Down to his last $1,200, Zack decides to take everyone to Vegas for a vacation/wedding instead of simply going down to the courthouse and putting his $1,200 toward maybe, you know, a $50 marriage license and a bottle of champagne.
Things start going downhill fast, and not just because they were driving through the mountainous border of California and Nevada. The girls' car breaks down, while the guys are arrested for theft and thrown in prison, and they're not even in Vegas yet.
Screech would have it much worse years later.
Using the last of Zack's dough to bribe the sheriff, the gang meets up in Vegas to figure out their next step. Having blown through a year's worth of grocery money (adjusted for inflation) in less time than it takes to get drunk at your ex's wedding reception, Zack decides that now is the perfect time to book hotel rooms with money he doesn't have.
The next day, the boys become golf caddies, and are promptly fired from a job in which 90 percent of the work is standing still and making up numbers. Right when you think it can't get any more ridiculous, Gilbert Gottfried shows up with a proposition.
This is only a screen cap, and you can still hear his voice.
Gilbert offers Zack a chance to be an escort. Rather than ask his single-and-oozing-sex-appeal best friend to take one for the team, Zack agrees to be a gigolo for whatever types of women are resorting to Gilbert Gottfried's help in their quest for love. He is set up with an attractive Russian woman -- who, again, Slater would have been perfectly happy to bump uglies with -- while Screech is set up with a large southern woman who gropes him and, per Wikipedia, tries to "tango him to death."
We couldn't have invented that line if we tried.
Naturally, Zack ends up with his Russian Jane and Kelly at the same restaurant at the same time, making him the sleaziest fiancee ever. Zack is forced to admit the truth to her, and instead of wrecking their relationship, as would happen in real life, it strengthens their bond as a couple. Zack's parents have a change of heart after Slater tells them that Jesus Christ, their son is hooking, and they pay for the wedding. Positive reinforcement at its finest.
The Walker, Texas Ranger Film Ended on the Worst Possible Note
Before he was an Internet punchline but after he was an '80s action movie punchline, Chuck Norris was Walker, Texas Ranger, a law enforcement officer who defeated crime with a beard made of Brillo Pads and the guy who played Theo in Die Hard. The show ended in 2001, before the 21st century could figure out a reason to censor roundhouse kicks, but CBS decided to exhume the brand as a made-for-TV movie called Trial By Fire.
The movie itself is about Korean terrorist-ninjas trying to steal a missile, while another ranger gets framed for public urination or something; you can probably fill in the gaps. The ending, however, is another matter entirely.
Not-Theo McNobodyCares has been cleared of his jaywalking charges or whatever, and strolls out of the courtroom with Walker and Walker's District Attorney / conflict of interest wife, Alex. The gang stops with some local reporters to answer questions about ... it doesn't matter. There's a cut to some shoes.
We'll get to the "black shoes, brown pants" faux pas later.
Alright, this movie's gone on long enough, the credits should be here any second now. What in the ...
"Mr. Norris! Mr. Norris! Please autograph my gun!"
A surprise bad guy yells at Not-Theo and starts firing at Alex, while Chuck Norris has to come in to deliver some high-flying, theoretically nonlethal justice.
But alas ...
"Is that ketchup on my power suit again? ... Oh."
Okay ... well, there's no way they can end the movie here.
The original draft had a teary-eyed Walker frantically trying to kick the bullet out.
What in the name of Executive Producer Dick Wolf was that? Unfortunately for Walker fans, that's all she wrote. CBS had plans for movie sequels, but those got scrapped after Trial By Fire tanked so hard. All in all, this cliffhanger failed to deliver those gripping dramatic moments Walker: Texas Ranger is renowned for, such as that one episode where Chuck Norris had the most awkward car ride in human history with that kid from The Sixth Sense.
Murder, She Wrote Inexplicably Brought Slavery Into The Mix
If you ever spent a Saturday morning at your grandmother's house, you've probably accidentally seen an episode of Murder, She Wrote. It stars Angela Lansbury as mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher, who lives in Cabot Cove -- a cozy town which the show claims is in Maine, but based on the murder rate is probably hidden somewhere in Camden, New Jersey. Jessica, being nothing if not a scrappy writer, would uncover the truth behind murders on a weekly basis instead of letting the cops take care of everything.
After the show ended in 1996, CBS gave it the television equivalent of botox by making a handful of made-for-TV movie followups. In 2001, shortly after Lansbury's thousandth birthday, CBS released "The Last Free Man". The episode begins with Phylicia Rashad talking about her ancestor, a slave whom she believes was wrongly convicted of murder. Jessica then stands up and says that she is descended from the owner of Rashad's ancestor, while everyone in attendance quietly throws back another glass of wine.
JESSICA: Did you know I was also a teapot in a past life?
The bulk of the movie is spent in a flashback to olden days, where Jessica's ancestor is played by Lansbury herself. Naturally, it turns out that old-timey Jessica was one of those cool slave owners; she ultimately helped Rashad's great-grandfather escape to freedom while tracking down the real murderer, thus alleviating white people of guilt forever.
But just in case, there's still The Help, Amistad, Cool Runnings ...
Why the writers felt the need to make Jessica play a slave owner is a mystery -- indeed, one of her best traits up to that point had been her lack of slave trading. It makes for the most awkward Angela Lansbury video since the one in which she masturbated at us.
The Gilligan's Island Gang Is Rescued, Hates Modern Life
A shining example of the castaway genre, Gilligan's Island ran for three seasons before being abruptly cancelled in 1967 after a studio executive went insane over the theme song stuck in his head. Because the cancellation was so sudden, everyone remained stuck on that island at the end of the series, all of the Professor's inventions be damned.
Ten years later, CBS (who else?) created a reunion episode/movie that begins with the castaways using magic to discover that the island is about to be hit by a tsunami. Armed with this new information, they lash their huts together and let the tsunami take them out to sea, where they are eventually rescued. Because that's how tsunamis work. After being stuck together for 15 years, the group parts ways and tries to get back into their old lives.
Well, as old as one can be in Los Angeles.
But not all is well. Starlet Ginger (who is now played by a totally different actress) gets back into the movie business, but finds that the moral collapse of society has resulted in sex-laden movies, and she can't get work unless she's willing to go nude.
"Look, do you want to be in this Muppets movie or not?"
Things aren't much better for the Professor. The university's dean wants him to solicit donations, and every single female student wants to, uh, take an anatomy class with him. After 15 years of Mary Ann / Ginger threesomes (you know it, I know it, everybody knows it), he wants nothing more than to try to get a little science done.
"Take this coconut vibrator and leave me the hell alone."
Meanwhile, Mary Ann is set to marry her fiancee of 15 years, who was so desperately in love with her that he never dated another woman. Suddenly, Mary Ann decides on the altar that she isn't in love with him anymore, at which point he marries her friend Cindy without missing a beat.
And Mary Ann's second-fiddle streak continues ...
The movie ends at Christmas, with the gang reuniting in Hawaii and going for a cruise on the Skipper's new boat. They're once again shipwrecked on the same goddamned island, nullifying any need for this movie to have existed.
The Bradys' Lives Suck Ass
The Brady Bunch was one of the first TV shows to feature a blended family, though it would be over 20 years before the franchise explored the question of whether stepsiblings should bang each other. Quasi-incestuous relationships aside, it was a family-friendly comedy that, in the early '90s, was given a reunion/sequel/reboot series called The Bradys.
Going off previous entries in this article, Alice was either hooking or in a morgue.
Or more accurately, Christopher Nolan's The Bradys, because this is as gritty a reboot as you can get for a 1970s family sitcom. In the pilot, ex-moppet Bobby is now a race car driver, which is pretty awesome! And look, his parents are even here to--
"Talk about your bumpy rides!"
Bobby gets paralyzed from the waist down in the very first episode, and from the look of it, he's sprinted through the five stages of grief and is already smiling. It only gets better! Mike, who is running for city council, is offered a bribe and then blackmailed for it. Comedy gold!
Because every Brady fan was clamoring for more Mike-at-work storylines.
A few episodes later, hot sister Marcia struggles with depression and has a breakdown in the car (replete with laugh track!) before trying to self-medicate with alcohol and showing up at a dedication ceremony, where she drunkenly heckles her dad.
"I DON'T NEED A FOOTBALL TO BREAK YOUR NOSE, OLD MAN!"
The next episode shows Marcia and her husband trying to start a catering service. Sounds like a tame plot, until Peter chokes on an appetizer and has to be given CPR.
He spends the entire third act coughing out mustache hairs.
The series only lasted six episodes, but somehow ended up with three separate theme songs, thereby scoring quite possibly the highest episode-to-theme-song ratio in television history.
When he's not writing Angela Lansbury erotica, Chris writes for his website and tweets.
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