Term, in American TV programming for an episode of a currently running series that is more than ordinarily long, in two or more parts, and/or relies more than usual on drama: that is, a major character dies, gives birth, graduates, marries, is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or simply resolves a long-dangling plot thread. This usually calls for the character to carry the whole show, overact, and/or preach a sermon about How Meaningful it All Is. Other kinds of Very Special Episode are those tied in with current events (such as September 11) or holidays, where, no matter how ludicrous it may be for the characters otherwise, everyone stops their usual squabbles for the equivalent of a group hug.

To many people Very Special Episodes are one warning sign that the writers are beginning to run out of steam, and the show will soon be in need of euthanasia.

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