Of all the foibles of the great American sitcom, few, if any, have proven as cringe-inducingly awesome as the “very special episode,” in which our favorite lovable characters are suddenly bitch-smacked by some dramatic crisis — usually, if it was the '80s and Nancy Reagan happened to have a free half-hour on her schedule, involving drugs. The crack pop-culture historians at Cinefamily promise a wide variety of melodramatic thrills with their three-hour program TV Tuesday: A Very Special Episode. The programmers are keeping secret exactly which series and episodes are on the bill to preserve the suspense, but they promise “death scenes, abrupt four-minute stretches played uncomfortably straight (with no laugh track), cast members getting backhanded across the room by drunken guest stars, prostitution, Fellini-esque surreal dream sequences and more!” To say we can't wait would be an understatement.

Tue., Feb. 23, 8 p.m., 2010

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