Great Job, Internet!: The history and importance of bottle episodes in TV shows, explained

There is a point where the financial needs of television collide with the artistic desire to tell interesting stories, and some episodes will be relegated to just one room or a pre-existing set in order to cut costs. This should be a recipe for tedious dialogue and awkward attempts at making excuses for being stuck in one place. (In the words of Community‘s Abed, “I hate bottle episodes. They’re wall-to-wall facial expression and emotional nuance. I might as well sit in the corner with a bucket on my head.”) However, often times these episodes get to the very heart of the characters and allow nuanced epiphanies of the relationships that draw people back every week.

These are called “bottle episodes” and in a new installment of its “Secret History of Television,” Vulture examines the history of the phrase (thanks, Star Trek!), some contemporary examples, and what is accomplished …

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