A Look at the History of ‘Very Special Episodes’ of Television Shows

In episode six of Vulture’s Secret History of Television, host Margaret Lyons discusses the television tradition of the “very special episode,” episodes of comedies that focused on teaching a lesson rather than getting laughs. Many shows like Diff’rent StrokesSaved by the BellFamily Ties, and Blossom all had “very special episodes,” but the device eventually fell out of favor as shows got better at handling real issues in a more natural way.