Sitcoms have been around pretty much as long as TV has been a thing, but in the 80s, they seemed to be especially common. Not only that, but we also saw the rise of "very special episodes," which almost always meant it was going to deal with something incredibly serious that would probably ruin your fun time. Here are 8 times shows caught us totally off guard with something serious.
Best remembered as the sitcom starring a girl robot who has to hide her identity, Small Wonder took a turn for the dark with the episode "The Girl on the Milk Carton." The family's young boy finds his new friend Chrissy's picture on a milk carton, revealing she's a freaking missing child who was kidnapped away from her mother by her father! This is played for jokes for the entire episode.
Wesley's friend Danny has to pull out of the school play. Why, you might ask? Because he contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. This is played for laughs. Really.
In the two-part episode "The Bicycle Man," the Drummond family go to Mr. Horton's bike shop, where he takes something of a... liking to Arnold and Dudley. They spend more time at the store, until Mr. Horton gives them freaking glasses of wine and pornography magazines, and then tries to get them to strip naked for photos! It's respectable that they tried to tackle a serious issue like pedophelia, but the episode just ends up being a real WTF moment.