The message episode—it's a hallmark of any children-having sitcom. Ninety-nine percent of the time, kids are used by sitcoms because they tell the sauciest jokes and get into the most innocent of predicaments. They get to beam at the camera and act adorable, like tap-dancing chipmunks. The other one percent of the time, kids appear on sitcoms so that young viewers can have lessons inflicted upon their malleable souls. These lessons take the form of "very special episodes," with scary situations brought on by "very special" one-off characters. For instance, there's the cult leader, the kid with the pack of cigarettes, the guy selling guns, and, a big favorite, the traveling pedophile.
All of these colorful characters show up so that the young characters can be tested by the fires of hell real life. (That wasn't implying that sitcoms subscribe to some kind of conservative Christian ideology—nope, not even a little bit.) These tests are supposed to be serious, but are usually anything but. Celebrate with us now, as we look at the most ridiculous message episodes in TV history.