The Hawaiian vacation is every American’s dream. Well, almost. I’d rather see Alaska, but then again I’ve lived by the ocean all my life so, frankly, it’s not that big a deal. Sure seems to be a big deal to TV characters, however. Or, at the very least, TV writers. They have been sending their show to Hawaii almost since the beginning of TV. Or at least since the beginning of the days when TV shows had a big enough budget to send cast and crew to Hawaii. Only problem seems to be that Hawaii always turns out to be not such a paradise.
The Brady Bunch
The Hawaiian vacation to end all Hawaiian vacations in TV history–not really, of course, since TV characters have continued to vacation in Hawaii since then–took place in a three part trip taken by “The Brady Bunch.” Who can forget the Brady vacation to Hawaii? It had everything you could ever ask for. A surfing accident that nearly killed Greg. (Not really even close.) The Brady girls in bikinis doing the hula. Even a cameo by Mr. Hawaiian Music himself, Don Ho. But what of paradise lost? A tiny tiki statue brought bad medicine that results in a near-miss from a spider, a mirror and Vincent Prince. No Hawaii vacation on a TV show can ever hope to top the Brady visit.
The Adventures of Hiram Holliday
Hiram Holliday’s long hours as a proofreader working for a newspaper equipped him with tremendous knowledge he could put to use to save the world from, well, just about everyone. The trip Hiram took to Hawaii was not so much a vacation as it was an attempt to find a missing consonant no longer used in language. What Hiram’s Hawaiian holiday actually turns out to be is yet another saving of the world from danger. Trouble in paradise in this case involves a plot to freeze Pearl Harbor and thus freeze the U.S. Navy presence there in place.
The next to the last episode of all time for “Green Acres” were about Oliver and Lisa heading off to Hawaii for honeymoon number five. Crazy kids. What makes the Hawaiian vacation episodes of “Green Acres” memorable is that “Hawaiian Honeymoon” seems to have been at attempt at creating what is called a “backdoor pilot” which is an episode set on one show that has almost nothing to do with that show because it is secretly a pilot for a future show. Trouble in paradise? The plot has the honeymoon suite booked by Oliver and Lisa also having been booked by the hotel owner’s hippie daughter for her friends. Hilarity ensues but not enough for a show about a Hawaiian hotel managed by a hippie daughter of the owner to become a reality.
Sanford and Son
Hawaiian vacations often seem to coincide with conventions. In the case of “Sanford and Son” the convention is being held by the Junkmen of America. What a strange sight it is, indeed, to see the eternally poor junkyard owner Fred Sanford flying off of to Hawaii. With his son in tow, yet. But then nothing ever goes perfectly in Hawaii when it comes to TV show characters. Turns out that the Junkmen of America are not the only guys in town. Diamond thieves are looking to smuggle their rocks off the island and Fred Sanford is the perfect mule. The plan goes awry when the mule loses his pack and the beauty of Hawaii becomes the background for an extended chase sequence before the thieves are finally caught by Five-O.
Most Hawaiian vacation episodes tend to be two or three part affairs. That was not nearly enough for “The Jeffersons.” Okay, it was nearly enough. But over the course of four episodes in Hawaii, the plot touches on George Jefferson’s bad heart, the fact that George can’t seem to get away from his neighbors the Willises, George’s consideration of moving to the islands permanently, George and his neighbor capsizing in a small sailboat and George joining with natives to battle a greedy real estate developer. The only thing missing from this Hawaiian vacation is Scooby-Doo.