WHICH DOOBIE DO YOU BE? Last night, as Michael McDonald and the Roots serenaded hundreds of thousands on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (seriously: great concert -- especially the Boyz II Men surprise appearance -- and great coverage on Channel 6), my thoughts went to one particular place—somewhere in this crowd, Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs is trying to record this show. Based on my Twitter feed, I was not alone in summoning up this particular memory.
Yes, we've talked about the two-parter "Doobie or Not Doobie" before, and we can do that again, but I want to summon up a more basic question: why is it that two- and three-parters of classic (and not-so-classic) sitcoms seem to stick with us more than ordinary episodes? Because I can tell you every detail of the Brady Bunch trips to Arizona and Hawaii, the Diff'rent Strokes "Dudley Almost Gets Molested" Very Special Episodes, or the Happy Days demolition derby episodes centered around the dreaded Malachi Crunch far more vividly than I can the traditional runs of the shows. (Seriously: I don't think I have any other specific memories of What's Happening!! other than the episode in which Dwayne's NFL gambling run is based on his helmet color preferences.)
So what is it about sitcom two-parters? How large was the market for bootlegging Doobie Brothers concerts in the late 1970s? And how great is the irony that these episodes can now be viewed in their entirety on YouTube?