Sunday, April 22, 2012

Favorite Episodes: Wings

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

After watching all of Frasier and all of Cheers, I figured that I'd work my way through Wings, as it takes place in the same universe. There are actually only a couple of episodes that feature the Cheers characters, but the show didn't even need them. Sure, it got off to a short start, but it had a long life. The storylines tended to be a little more ridiculous than your average 90s sitcom, but it's fairly easy to attribute that to the fact that the show takes place on the island of Nantucket - primarily in an airport and focusing on those who work there. Joe, Helen, Brian, Fay, and Roy lasted the entire eight seasons, but there were several major changes in other characters - Lowell left and Budd replaced him, Alex came and went, Casey showed up, and then there was Antonio, the greatest of the additions. I never really remember the show regularly showing up in reruns, though the internet believes that several channels have aired it over the years. I don't even remember how or when I first heard of the series, though it's certainly worth watching.

The series is available on Netflix streaming with only three episodes missing (update 1/4/18: Wings is no longer on Netflix); I did include YouTube clips of my favorite episode below.

Season 1: "Legacy" (S01E01) Yep, chose the pilot. In my defense, it was a six-episode first season that didn't even debut until April 19th, so there weren't a ton of choices. But, the pilot is pretty funny, and is something that is remembered throughout the series, particularly in the final few episodes. There's a lot to build up in the episode, but we are able to learn Joe and Brian's backgrounds pretty easily, plus there's a wild goose chase that brings the brothers all over the place!

Season 2: "Sports & Leisure" (S02E04) Roy just isn't on the same page as the rest of the group, so when he ruins a fishing trip, the gang plans a game night without him. They give in and invite him to play Trivial Pursuit, and he goes... only he's not thrilled that his partner is Lowell. He spends the evening angering and insulting everyone anyway. It may seem like a strange episode to peg as a favorite, but I thought it was funny, especially the un-invite/re-invite part... it's like their middle schoolers! 

Season 3: "Das Plane" (S03E17)  I think that the Carlton Blanchard character is the funniest non-regular character on this show, so between him and the wacky hijinks, it's a real winner. Joe auctioned off a fly-anywhere plane ticket by mistake, and Carlton wants to go across the country to see his brother. Lowell, Antonio, and Brian also come, and they wind up flying a very non-direct route because of one mishap after another!

Season 4: "It's so Nice to have a Mather around the House" (S04E07)  For some reason, I must have seen an episode of Wings as a child that referenced Brian sinking Lowell's houseboat, because seeing this episode really put some pieces together for me. Lowell ends up moving in with Joe and Brian, who love his cooking and cleaning... right up until they start catching grief from an under-appreciated Lowell. It works out in the end, though, and they continue to live together for a while.

Season 5: "Come Fly with Me" (S05E10) 
I like this episode because it includes all of the characters in two believable storylines. Antonio, Roy, and Fay spend an entire night trying to win radio trivia contests, figuring that, together, they could win. Of course, Roy manages to blow it, but it's still fun. Meanwhile, Joe, Brian, Lowell, and Helen go to Boston for a night of fun. They wind up at a great party, but soon realize that it's mainly hookers trying to reel in customers. The funniest part is when a guy starts bargaining with Helen and she doesn't know what's going on at first!

Season 6: "Nuptials Off" (S06E23)  This episode is my very favorite... I just can't believe how hilarious it is! Five weeks before Helen and Joe are supposed to be married, she realizes that she never got divorced from Antonio (she set the paperwork under the cash register and forgot all about it). There's not enough time for a regular divorce and Helen doesn't want to disappoint Joe with messing up even more wedding stuff, so she and Roy plan to fly with Brian to Mexico. She sends Joe fly-fishing in Maine, But, Antonio wants an annulment because he's trying to get back into the Catholic religion for the sake of his new godson. The priest believes that he can counsel the couple instead, right up until he overhears Helen talking about marriage to Joe and sex with Brian. Things are further complicates by a broken plane and a sick Lowell... Lowell manages to fix the plane, but then it seems that Joe's trip is delayed, so Casey is stuck stalling him so the rest of the gang can get off the ground. Lowell does tell Joe about the group going to Mexico, but he's hopped up on cold medicine so Joe doesn't believe him.

Season 7: "Burnin' Down the House" (S07E01)  This is a weaker season, in my eyes. There are a handful of episodes that have a decent amount of laughs, but nothing really stands out as truly excellent when it comes to overall quality. Still, the season opener offers some ridiculous jokes, which are actually made worse later on in the series. Joe and Helen come back from their honeymoon to find that Brian and Casey have burned down Helen's house - where they were planning to live. So, Joe decides that enough is enough and that Brian can't do anything right - booting him out of the business. Don't worry, though, things fall back into place for the brothers the next episode - though the two couples wind up living together for quite a while. 

Season 8: "Single and Hating It" (S08E04)  A traveling matchmaker hosts a mixer on Nantucket, so Brian, Antonio, Fay, Roy, and Casey all attend. Joe and Helen are supposed to celebrate their first wedding anniversary but stop off to give Brian his wallet. A bad storm comes though and they're stuck at the event, pretending to also be single. Between Antonio constantly being turned down and Brian focusing solely on the bartender, there are plenty of laughs. Of course, Helen and Joe put the episode over the edge with a pretend proposal, if you can believe it!
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