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October 9, 2015

Six Comedies That Traveled to Hawaii

by Rich Keller, posted May 12th 2010 1:15PM
The Brady's go to Hawaii -- One of a half-dozen sitcom familes that have traveled to the Aloha StateThis week, the Dunphys of ABC's 'Modern Family' spend some time in the islands of Hawaii. Though visiting the Aloha State during a show's first season is unprecedented in the world of television comedy, it certainly isn't the first sitcom that has spent some time there. Over the last four decades there have been a half-dozen comedies that have visited Hawaii's beaches.

1. 'The Brady Bunch' -- The standard-bearer for all future visits to Hawaii. This three-part 'Hawaii Bound' episode, which began the show's fourth season, had everything: luscious scenery, a cursed tiki, creepy caves, straight hair going curly, Don Ho, Vincent Price and Marsha Brady in a bikini. Even today, almost four decades since the episodes premiered, folks will stop everything when they air.

2. 'Sanford & Son
' -- It wasn't a cursed tiki that was the cause of Fred Sanford's troubles in this three-part episode ('The Hawaiian Connection') that aired as the show's sixth season premiere. Instead, it was a bunch of smuggled jewels that Fred, unbeknownst to him, was carrying in his luggage. A parody of 'Hawaii Five-O' -- still airing on CBS at this time -- these episodes featured more action than a standard 'Sanford & Son' episode, including a comical car chase. Guest stars abounded on this three-parter, with appearances by Don Ho, 'Mission Impossible's' Greg Morris, Pat Paulsen and Sheldon Leonard in a stereotypical mobster role.

3. 'The Jeffersons' -- Not to be outdone by either the Bradys or the Sanfords, the Jeffersons did Hawaii in a four-parter ('The Jeffersons go to Hawaii') that encompassed the beginning of the show's seventh season. After being told he needs to lower his blood pressure, George Jefferson takes wife Louise to join friends Tom and Helen on the islands. George loves it so much he decides to leave that big apartment in the sky and open up a business on the Big Island. However, all is not leis and poi as George and Tom get shipwrecked and wash up on another part of the island.

4. 'Growing Pains' -- While other '80s sitcom families were spending their vacations in Europe, the Seavers bucked the trend and flew towards the Pacific. Beginning the show's third season, this two-part episode ('Aloha') featured a broken down boat, a decision by Maggie to focus on either work or family and an island love interest for heartthrob Mike Seaver. One main difference about this Hawaii trip and the others already mentioned: Mike's love interest returns for a one episode stint later in the series.

5. 'Saved by the Bell' -- Aired between the show's fourth and fifth seasons, 'Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style' was a two-hour movie that sent the original gang to stay at the hotel of Kelly's grandfather (played by Dean Jones). All was not well, though, as real estate developers were out to buy the hotel and put up a mega-resort. It was up to the diabolical Zack and his good-looking cohorts to dissuade the developers. Because, as we know, all teenagers on television are smart and all adults are stupid.

6. 'My Wife and Kids' -- After a lengthy dry spell where comedies continued to go to Europe or, if you were a show on ABC, travel to Disney World, 'My Wife and Kids' broke the trend with a three-part episode ('The Kyles go to Hawaii') that started the third season. No surfing wipeouts, stolen jewels or greedy real estate developers this round. Instead, just a bunch of wacky family antics that included underwear models, unexplained hotel charges (from the kids, of course) and a dash for a flight home that was earlier than expected.

Because I missed it...

7. Full House -- For some reason, the 'Full House' Hawaii-based episode ('Tanner's Island') that started the third season totally fell off my radar. Not sure why, because it was a memorable episode that featured Danny at his most compulsive with the "Clipboard of Fun." There was also a deserted island, a boat adrift at sea, and Jesse singing a rollickin version of Elvis Presley's 'Rock-a-Hula.'

Finally, honorable mention...

'Jon and Kate Plus 8' -- Renewal of their vows? Hilarious, in a sad and ironic sort of way.

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Brett Alan

Charles In Charge did a Hawaii episode in the last season, when they were sending various characters off to various locations that amounted to possible backdoor pilots. Not much in the way of scenery or anything; they could have said the hotel was anywhere.

May 13 2010 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mama's Family also went to Hawaii.

May 12 2010 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich Keller

I just added an entry for 'Full House' onto the article.

May 12 2010 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My vast embarrassing knowledge of sitcomery forces me to mention that Growing Pains also went to Europe, not so much bucking the trend.

I also expected Full House.

May 12 2010 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich Keller

Apologies, but I completely forgot about 'Full House' going to Hawaii.

May 12 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Rich Keller's comment

Hello, Full House is the first one I thought of! Danny's "Clipboard of Fun"?!

May 12 2010 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent Schmidt

Full House was also the first show that came to mind.

May 12 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what? full house didn't make the cut? lol

May 12 2010 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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