There’s an infamous episode of SAVED BY THE BELL that has been the subject of mockery for over a decade. You all know the episode, and its most iconic moment. To this day, many people associate the song “I’m So Excited” with this clip:
Of all the things Elizabeth Berkley could have gotten addicted to, they chose caffeine pills: the poor man’s cocaine.
But there’s another moment that aired on television screens only three years later that I feel is worthy of equal ridicule, featuring a character also named Jesse. It’s from an episode of FULL HOUSE, and it is, quite frankly, the stupidest fucking thing to ever air in sitcom history:
Now, folks, I’m not critiquing FULL HOUSE as a whole. It’s a show that some love, some hate, some love to hate, and some staunchly defend. I think it was an enjoyable show for the youth of the 1990’s and feels horribly dated today. But Michelle “breaking the dinosaur,” followed by John Stamos delivering cringe-worthy bad jokes, and the ultimate reveal of Jesse getting punished with “community service” has to take the cake for most insipid and incredulous writing of the entire era of ’90’s sitcoms, and believe me, that was quite the era of insipidness.
Look, I accept that this was show was made for children. Some of you might say “Well, what about Steve Urkel on FAMILY MATTERS? He destroyed stuff all the time!” Yet FAMILY MATTERS generally kept its serious “life lesson” moments separate from its Urkel slapstick moments. When the Winslow family learned a lesson, the show was being serious. When Urkel was doing something crazy, we understood we had entered a Buster Keaton film.
What’s so crazy about Michelle breaking the dinosaur is that it tries to play the moment straight. As if this were a real world situation. “Follow the rules or else this might happen…though if it does happen, there won’t be any serious consequences.” And yes, other crazy things happened on FULL HOUSE, from Stephanie driving Joey’s car through the kitchen to Michelle getting amnesia in the series finale. But Michelle breaking the dinosaur…as far as absurd storytelling in sitcoms go, this just hits a perfect 10. It’s so spectacularly bizarre on any type of story logic that you can’t help but watch it with amazement.
I honestly have nothing more to say about this moment. I hope it becomes an Internet meme as popular as the caffeine pills. Or if every time a politician caused a national blunder, they would respond with “I broke the dinosaur.”