EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

7 April Fool's Day lessons we learned from TV

It seems that one of the requirements of late-1990s/early-2000s children’s television is the April Fool’s Day episode; many popular kids’ shows dedicated entire episodes to practical jokes. This was great as it gave characters a chance to cut loose and have some fun—while also inspiring a whole generation of jokesters.

But as much as these episodes made us laugh, they also taught us very important lessons about the dos and don’ts of pranking. Let’s go over them now:

It’s about being funny and making people laugh.
SpongeBob SquarePants, “Fools in April”
This can best be seen in the difference in SpongeBob and Squidward’s attitudes to pranking. While SpongeBob’s jokes were lighthearted and funny, Squidward went out of his way to cause SpongeBob pain. Basically, if you have to apologize, you’re doing it wrong.


Don’t mess with people’s feelings.
As Told by Ginger, “April Fools”
Ginger learned this the hard way when she forged a love letter to Dodie. Sure, her friends were just pranking her back, but all that emotional turmoil could have been avoided just as easily if they’d stuck to faking kidnappings and pretending to move away. (Sometimes friendship is weird.)


Know when to stop.
Hey Arnold!, “April Fool’s Day”
Helga’s intense crush on Arnold manifested itself by making him the frequent target of all her pranks. It was enough to make the usually easygoing object of her affection look for payback.


Make sure you aren’t the “fool.”
Wild Thornberrys, “April Fool’s Day”
One of the best parts of April Fool’s Day is trying to top the jokes from the year before. Just don’t pull an Eliza and get caught in your own prank.


Don’t get anyone arrested.
Kenan and Kel, “The April Fools”
Kenan and Kel’s main problem was that neither of them actually knew how to play a good prank. So as a result of their wild ideas (and lack of foresight), they and everyone they knew ended up behind bars. (Bonus lesson: Don’t indulge in pranks when you have a college recruiter coming to visit.)


Music can make things more fun.
Victorious, “April Fool’s Blank”
The high point of an otherwise wacky episode proves that sometimes a dance party can give things a much-needed perspective.

A few more lessons about pranks in general:

Prank wars never end well.
Boy Meets World, “The War”
If there’s one lesson you must learn, it’s this. While the episode started out all fun and games, by the time it ended, things got a little too real, as the gang decided they didn’t want to be friends any more.

Good pranks take planning and effort.
Even Stevens
If Louis Stevens’ commitment to hijinks and shenanigans has taught us anything, it’s that pulling a good practical joke requires dedication and preparation.



Try to prank at least one person.
iCarly, “iGet Pranky”
Sam and Freddie were right to be shocked when Carly revealed she’d never pranked anyone. It’s an experience that everyone should try at least once. And who knows? You might just take to it like Spencer.

What do you think of the list? Are there any episodes you think should have been mentioned? Let us know!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like