Ah the Halloween special, long-honored tradition among sitcoms, when everyone—writers, directors, actors—can go hog wild and abandon the show’s official canon, tossing them into movie parody, having the cast pursue some horrific monster, or even killing them altogether.
Roseanne comes to mind as having some of the best Halloween Specials (one favorite had Roseanne and Dan competing at the annual Lanford costume party and introduced with the great line, “Well, it wouldn’t be Halloween unless the Conners overdid it”); The Simpsons Halloween specials are pretty much the only episodes I watch anymore (I suspect I’m not the only one); and who doesn’t look forward to seeing what everyone will wear on The Office? (Incidentally, this week’s episode takes the cake with Angela’s Sexy Nurse outfit—yikes!)
And now we have Sunny’s inaugural Halloween episode, “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” And it’s no schumlp. In fact, it even adds a new twist with theRashomon-esque story.
But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The episode opens with Frank, Mac, Charlie, and Dennis discussing their plans to spend the night in an eerie mansion/warehouse/swamp/insert any Scooby-Doo-inspired location here before taking a quick break to mock Sweet Dee’s recent sandwich binge only to find that she is, in fact, pregnant, and…you ready for this? One of them is the father (OoooOoo!). Even before it’s out of the gate, Sunny gets points for hinting that it’s going down the usual cheesy fantasy route most sitcoms use for their Halloween Specials before taking an abrupt turn to something truly horrific: unwanted pregnancy.
Dee leaves after dropping her bombshell and the remaining four attempt to recount the events of last Halloween, the night of Dee’s conception. Unfortunately, since it’s The Gang, everyone’s too drunk to recall every detail, but the basic story they work out, with help from Artemis and the McPoyles and through many conflicting recollections (that’s where the Rashomon part comes in) is that Mac, Charlie, and even Dennis were all in a position to sleep with Dee that night. Mac because he and Dee were in the men’s restroom right about the time Charlie heard some serious banging going down in there; Charlie because his Phantom of the Opera costume inspired one partygoer to “Get all sex up in his sex”; and Dennis because he banged the hot chick dressed as a peacock…without knowing that she had previously swapped costumes with Dee.
I’m going to leave the description at that because the episode is best enjoyed knowing only the bare minimum of details—suffice it to say, I’ve been hyping up this episode ever since I read the title, and it totally delivers. Likewise, I’d just be repeating myself, since some of the best jokes are the inconsistencies in each story, such as Frank’s “I wasn’t Spiderman, I was Manspider” costume, the gradual devolution of Dee’s costume from an angel to an angel/bird hybrid and that gag’s great payoff, and even the McPoyle’s morally superior attitude toward The Gang’s drinking.
And, of course, I can’t possibly reveal the answer to who actually did get Sweet Dee pregnant, but, like every episode of Sunny, its implications keep me looking forward to future episodes. Kudos to Sunny for a masterful take on the usual Halloween Special format: It enjoys all the usual flights of fancy and still manages to keep it within the show’s canon. Happy Halloween, indeed.