'Full House,' 'Saved By the Bell,' and other shows that went Hawaiian
We get it, Matthew Weiner: You really love the ’80s and ’90s. Last season, it became clear that Mad Men‘s showrunner has a penchant for the alumni of shows like The Secret World of Alex Mack and Clarissa Explains It All. And today, we learned that Weiner plans to kick off season 6 with a storyline familiar to anyone who once worshiped at the altars of TGIF and Nick at Nite: the Hawaiian vacation.
So what should Don and Megan Draper expect to do and see as they soak up the sun in Maui? Judging from the family sitcoms that have already covered this territory, they’ll be greeted by cursed tikis, jewel thieves, new (and quickly forgotten) love interests, and evil land developers, among other things. Oh, and Don: Watch for falling coconuts.
The Brady Bunch (1972)
Mike and Carol’s blended brood pioneered the “let’s all go to Hawaii!” plot during the Nixon administration. Their trip provided a template for the shows that would follow in their stead: multi-episode arcs, leis, exotic island magic, surfing mishaps, and bikinis galore.
Lesson for Don & Megan: If you find an ancient tiki in the sand, for the love of Oahu, toss it into the ocean!
Sanford & Son (1976)
The three-parter in which Fred and Lamont headed to Hawaii wasn’t just a vacation episode — it was a full-fledged parody of the original Hawaii Five-O, including an elaborate, accidental jewel heist and a ludicrous car chase.
Lesson for Don & Megan: There’s a good chance you two will run into Don Ho; he guested during Sanford‘s Hawaii arc, as well as The Brady Bunch‘s.
The Jeffersons (1980)
The couple moved on down to the islands for four episodes in season 7 — and George actually enjoyed himself, even after discovering Tom and Helen staying at his hotel. In fact, Mr. Jefferson enjoyed The Aloha State so much that he briefly considered moving there permanently.
Lesson for Don & Megan: Evil real estate developers are everywhere; if you don’t want to worry about trying to stop one, just don’t leave the resort.
Growing Pains (1987)
Despite a bumpy start with a shipwrecked houseboat, Mike Seaver found love in a hopeful place — with Kelly Hu! — when his clan took a tropical vacay.
Lesson for Don & Megan: Work/life balance can be tough, especially when you’re on vacation. To see how it can be done, use Maggie Seaver as a role model. Actually, just use Maggie Seaver as a role model generally.
Full House (1989)
When the house got too full, the Tanners fled to the islands. Stephanie learned about the legend of the Menehunes, mythical Hawaiian creatures; Danny drove everyone nuts with his “clipboard of fun”; Joey fell in love with a beautiful native Hawaiian and got hit on the head with a coconut; Michelle said “you got it, dude!” 50 or 60 times.
Lesson for Don & Megan: If you’re going to jump off a cliff, you must yell “Have mercyyyy!” as you fall. That’s just the rule.
Saved by the Bell (1992)
Did somebody say evil real estate developers? The kids from Bayside were tasked with stopping the wicked Mr. Worthington from destroying a beautiful piece of land when they spent summer vacation at Kelly’s grandfather’s hotel.
Lesson for Don & Megan: You can’t escape the people you most want to escape, even in Hawaii. (Aloha, Mr. Belding!) What’s the over/under on whether Pete Campbell shows up in Maui?
Step by Step (1993)
Like Danny Tanner, Carol tries too hard to overschedule her family. Like the Brady kids, the Foster-Lamberts get immersed in the mythology of the islands as they search for lost treasure. And like basically every other character on this list, Dana and J.T. briefly find their soulmates; those love interests are never mentioned again.
Lesson for Don & Megan: Enter the sandcastle-building contest — you could win a free helicopter tour! Although you probably can’t smoke in there.
My Wife and Kids (2002)
Romance! Beach footage! Exorbitant hotel charges! It’s all par for the course, though this vacation does feature a hot lady underwear model.
Lesson for Don & Megan: If you’re going to go to Hawaii, just go to Hawaii — don’t fly through New York, Chicago, and Denver on the way.
Modern Family (2010)
After a long hiatus, ModFam brought back the ABC tradition of sending its sitcom casts on a tropical jaunt — though just to make things interesting, the Dunphy-Pritchett-Delgados spent the whole first episode of their Hawaii arc in the airport.
Lesson for Don & Megan: This is how a man orders a meal when he’s on vacation: “Instead of salad, I want fries, and instead of fruit, I want chili fries.”