Halloween is almost here, and I say this with all the enthusiasm of someone who will be spending the holiday double fisting Kit-Kats and red wine. Look, I know technically Halloween falls on a Thursday this year, so it is socially acceptable to black out like you would on any other thirsty Thursday, but by god I just can’t do it. In fact, the only celebrating I intend to do is with my dog as we sit on the couch and re-watch our favorite Halloween episodes to ever air on TV whilst dressed in costume as Dobby the house elf and his prized sock (I’ll let you figure out who is who in that scenario). So, for those of you who are looking to go all out on the couch this year, here are the best TV shows to watch to get you in the Halloween spirit (without really being in the Halloween spirit).
Friends: “The One With The Halloween Party” (Season 8, Episode 6)
Tbh I was never a huge fan of Friends. I know, I know. Let’s tie me to the stake now because apparently that is an unforgivable sin. Sighs. That said, I do love a good Halloween episode, even if it’s a Friends episode. Monica and Chandler decide to host a Halloween party where Ross tragically shows up dressed as a spud…nik. No one gets his costume and he is appropriately shamed throughout. If anything, you should watch the episode for costume inspo (it’s seriously gold) and also for the hilarity of Joey showing up dressed like Chandler.
Parks & Rec: “Greg Pikitis” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Parks & Rec had quite a few Halloween episodes, but my favorite has always been the first one, which aired during the second season. Leslie Knope stands off against her sworn enemy, Greg Pikitis, a junior high delinquent who pranks the Parks Department every Halloween. This is also the episode where we meet Burt Macklin, FBI agent, for the first time, when Leslie asks Andy to interrogate Greg over his whereabouts and “maybe waterboard” him. To this day I wish you knew how much I regret not naming my dog “Pikitis” so that whenever she secretly sabotages me by chewing a hole in the crotch of my favorite leggings I could venomously whisper “Pikitis” under my breath. Also, Ann throws a Halloween party and it’s trash because Ann is trash. Watching Ann miserably fail at being fun is in itself worth a re-watch.
One Tree Hill: “An Attempt To Tip The Scales” (Season 3, Episode 4)
Were you even truly living in the early ’00s if you weren’t tuning in every week to watch the utter madness that was One Tree Hill? The show was about two half brothers who share the same scumbag dad and a love of basketball, but one of them is rich and one of them is a bastard. This is like, the least dramatic plot line of the entire show, and to illustrate this point, let me recommend to you the Halloween episode of season three. Haley comes back from her world (??) music tour and tries to reconnect with her husband, Nathan. She is a sophomore in high school. Lucas, also a sophomore in high school, tries to be exclusive with his f*ck buddy Brooke (baby Sophia Bush), and he believes his worthiness and willingness to commit must be proven via a killer Halloween costume. He chooses Tommy Lee. I think that says enough about how their relationship inevitably turns out.
Peyton, not being dramatic at all, decides to dress as an angel of death, and her father only gives a half-hearted shrug in protest to this alarming outfit choice. The episode culminates at a Halloween party at underage nightclub TRIC, where Fall Out Boy casually performs. Watching this episode live on air, my only question was, where I can I replicate the angel of death outfit to properly alarm my mother? Watching the episode as an adult has me asking quite a few more questions, like why is there so much leather during this underage party? Is it too late to call a hotline about Peyton’s obvious issues with depression? And what blackmail did The CW have on Fall Out Boy to get them to continually perform on this godforsaken show? THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP ME UP AT NIGHT.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: “Halloween” (Season 2, Episode 6)
For those of you who are like, Buffy The Vampire Slayer? What’s that? SHAME ON YOU, YOUTHS. To educate you poor, misguided children, Buffy is iconic and, as far as I’m concerned, should be mandatory viewing in all schools, sort of like how that Romeo & Juliet movie from the 1960s was. The show follows Buffy, high school cool girl and avid scrunchie wearer, who eviscerates people with snarky one-liners by day and slays vampires by night. If anyone has a problem with that plot description, they can take it up with me and the pointy end of my stake, mmkay?
Any one episode will have enough monsters and vampires to feel like a Halloween special, but the Halloween episode from season two is truly something else. In an effort to seduce the vampire she has a crush on, Buffy dresses up like a girl from his youth: an early 1800s noblewoman. I took a similar tactic to impress the guy in Kappa Sig I dated by dressing up like a cheerleader one Halloween, complete with underwear that said “haze me” on the butt. To each their own I guess, Buffy! Things go amiss for Buffy and her friends when the owner of the Halloween store enchants everyone’s costume so that you transform into the thing or person you’ve dressed up as. Mayhem ensues. The episode is complete with treacherous wigs and even more treacherous English accents, and is an absolute must-watch.
The Office: “Costume Contest” (Season 7, Episode 6)
Like Parks & Rec, The Office has a LOT of Halloween episodes to choose from, but I think we can all agree that the one from season seven was the best. Pam raises the stakes of the annual costume contest by awarding the winner a Scranton book of coupons that could amount to $15,00o in savings. This leads the employees of Dunder Mifflin to think that the book is literally worth $15K and so everyone goes all out for the costume contest. Angela shows up in a naughty nurse outfit (lol I can’t wait to hear how she rationalizes that one to Jesus), Jim actually wears a costume, and Gabe is doing the most as Lady Gaga.
Stranger Things: “Trick or Treat, Freak” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Guys, is there literally anything in this world that’s cuter than watching 13-year-old nerds coordinate their group Halloween outfits?! I don’t f*cking think so. Stranger Things is fun to rewatch because it feels appropriately spooky and nostalgic, which is what Halloween is all about. Plus, at one point during the episode Nancy gets drunk at a costume party and yells at Steve. I’m sorry, but if drunkenly sobbing in a bathroom after fighting with your boyfriend isn’t a Halloween mood THEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
Gossip Girl: “The Witches of Bushwick” (Season 4, Eipside 9)
First of all, I forgot this episode of Gossip Girl even existed, let alone that it’s aptly titled “The Witches of Bushwick.” As a person who used to call Bushwick her
penance for past sins home, I can honestly say that there are, in fact, witches in this area of Brooklyn. Not to name names but there was a very suspicious incident at a vegan cafe wherein I mistakenly asked for creamer in my coffee and later became mysteriously ill. I’m just saying, it’s suspicious is all. The episode takes place at Chuck’s Saints and Sinners masquerade party at the Empire Hotel and it is PEAK Gossip Girl in terms of fashion and fighting. It’s a very Serena-heavy episode in the sense that Jenny and friends try to overthrow her while Nate and Dan both try and woo her. Also, Chuck and Blair are there and are perfect.
New Girl: “Keaton” (Season 3, Episode 6)
New Girl has always been the gift that keeps on giving for me, especially since I’ve always self-identified as having the spirit of a crotchety, 90-year-old man, in the same way that Nick Miller does. This is one of my all-time favorite episodes because we find out that Nick has been sending Schmidt fake messages from actor Michael Keaton FOR YEARS. Schmidt for some reason believes with his whole heart that the actor who plays Batman has been sending him supportive letters and emails for his entire life when in fact it’s been his mom and then roommate Nick writing the sage advice. I almost peed myself watching this episode—it’s that good.
These are the best Halloween episodes to re-watch in preparation for (or during) Halloween. If you don’t spend the next 3-6 hours watching this powerhouse lineup of television, I’ll be personally offended. Smell ya later!
Images: Giphy (5); Tenor (1); weheartit (1)
Stranger Things is one of my favorite shows ever. I am just so invested in all of it, and I’m super mad we waited two years for only eight episodes that I watched in one day, and now I have to wait another year to see more. Ugh. But in addition to being a love letter to ’80s sci-fi and horror movies, Stranger Things season 3 really does such a great job writing female characters. Especially considering the show’s creators are men. Normally, women in movies and TV are depicted as love interests, almost exclusively. It’s so bad that we have things like the Bechdel test to determine whether women were accurately represented in fiction as more than just objects of desire for men. A movie passes the Bechdel test if it has at least two women who talk to each other about something other than men. That’s it. And amazingly, tons of movies fail this test.
FYI? There are literally zero (0) movies that would fail if the test was graded on two men talking to each other about something other than women. Men in fiction are allowed to have interesting, complex lives, whereas women are often seen as motivators for men and nothing more. It. Is. Gross.
On that note, there are even fewer movies/shows that depict women in science, so Stranger Things is super important. Not only because it’s badass, and the writing is great, but because it’s one of the best shows that not only shows strong women, but especially strong girls, and in a male-dominated genre. And with that, here is a ranking of the 10 best feminist moments from Stranger Things season 3. It honestly was hard to just pick 10. In case you did not understand the title, THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
You realizing that you need to go finish the season before reading this:
10. Nancy’s Mom Being Supportive
You would hope that parents are always supportive, but as we’ve seen in the past, Mrs. Wheeler consistently drops the ball. She’s completely out of touch with what’s going on in her kids’ lives. Her interests include leading Billy on, ignoring her family, and purchasing neon swimwear. But in Stranger Things season 3, Mrs. Wheeler actually did something that was pretty cool.
When Nancy got fired from the paper for investigating a story she believed in, she confessed to her mom that her boyfriend didn’t believe in her/was angry at her, and that she’s been bullied extensively by the men in the office. Instead of being angry at Nancy for getting fired, Mrs. Wheeler stepped up and told Nancy that those men are “sh*theads, and that if she believed in the story, she just needs to do it herself. Go to a bigger newspaper, and all those men can shove it when she’s a success. It was a great moment between them and let us know that although Mrs. Wheeler seems super out of touch, even she knows that a girl’s got to stand up for herself in this male-dominated world.
9. Joyce Figuring Out Everything
Joyce is so hilarious, but even though she’s quirky and her approach is a little off, she was really the first to know (except for maybe Will) that something was seriously wrong in the universe. I loved when she was yelling at Alexei (RIP, you cherry slurpee king) about “WHY MAGNETS ARE FALLING OFF THE GODDAMN FRIDGE!” Joyce kept getting cut down by Hopper, who didn’t take her concerns seriously because he was too busy trying to get into her pants. (I’m not giving Hop an RIP because I’m convinced he lived. We never saw the body and there was that whole American thing in the Russian prison.)
But Joyce didn’t allow Hop’s agenda to distract her from her goal, and not only was she totally right, it was thanks to her that they were able to help stop the Russians and save the kids. Oh and NBD, she was the one who turned the keys to stop the Mind Flayer and close the door. Even though it meant killing someone she loved (I mean, theoretically, because I won’t accept this). She’s tough as nails.
8. Everyone Yelling At Mike
Mike is a total douchebag, I’m just going to say it. But he’s a super typical 14-year-old boy. And 18-year-old boy. And 30-year-old boy…seriously, at what age do men stop acting like this?? Mike, being male, insisted that he knew what was best for Eleven and what her limits were. I think his worry came from a good place—he didn’t want her to get hurt. But the entire group, guys and girls included, piled on him for not trusting Eleven to know her own strength. I loved that they all stuck up for her and put Mike in his place.
7. Nancy Standing Up To Old, White, Male America
Nancy’s internship really sucked. Yes, it was her job to get coffee, but the men in the office treated her like garbage and made fun of her suggestions any time she tried to help. When she discovered that there was something seriously wrong with the rats in Hawkins, they laughed in her face and called her “Nancy Drew.” They even forbade her from doing further research. But Nancy didn’t let them dissuade her, even when her boyfriend Jonathan essentially told her to back off and take it. (Which, I understand his reasoning, but also, no, f*ck off.)
She stood up to all of them and did what she knew was right, even when it resulted in her firing. And then she continued to pursue the story, which ultimately helped save the world from the Mind Flayer. I repeat: SAVE THE WORLD FROM THE MIND FLAYER. They didn’t show it, but I really hope she does pitch her story to a big Indiana newspaper and those Hawkins jackasses eat their words.
6. Eleven Dumping Mike
Eleven and Mike go through teenage romance problems, including Mike being a little bitch and lying to her. After Max’s guidance on how womankind should expect to be treated, Eleven confirms Mike’s lies, and in a scene that is nothing short of iconic, she dumps his ass—by loudly shrieking “I DUMP YOUR ASS,” which is really the only acceptable thing to say to a man who treats you as less than. It doesn’t matter that he essentially rescued her, and that they’ve saved the world together several times, even Eleven knows that lying is unacceptable in a relationship. We could all learn a lesson from her (and Max) about how to deal with f*ckboys.
5. Max Teaching Eleven The Importance Of Female Friendship
When Eleven realizes Mike is lying to her—and very poorly, I might add—she’s devastated. She turns to Max for advice, who immediately launches into action. We didn’t get to see these two interact very much last season, so it was super cool to watch them bond. Max teaches El that men ain’t sh*t, and that she’s dumped Lucas five times already for bad behavior. You go, girl. She also shows El how important it is to have female friends and to do things together that don’t involve men.
4. Robin Cracking The Code
This season, we were introduced to Robin, aka Maya Hawke, aka the child of Uma Therman and Ethan Hawke. In addition to shaming Steve Harrington for being 1) a douche, and 2) friends with A LOT of children, Robin showed up both Dustin and Steve by cracking the Russians’ code without their help. Hey, she speaks four languages! It was really cool to see her take over and get credit for such a big win, although it got her involved in a lot of unnecessary danger when she could have just been scooping ice cream all summer with no knowledge of any of this sh*t.
3. Everything About Erica
Erica is hands down my favorite character. She is so sassy and hilarious, and just happens to be a genius. It was awesome to see her run sh*t this season by being absolutely essential to the Scoops Troop’s plan. She was the only one small enough to get into the vent! In addition, though, we saw a very cool side to her: that she may very well be secretly a nerd. Her intelligence and bravery helped save the group more than once, and she was awesome at navigating the labyrinth of tunnels in the lab. Remember: you can’t spell America without Erica.
2. Robin Coming Out
EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS. You never see a hot teenage girl with a potential male lead love interest without it turning into something by the end. And it almost, almost went that way. We were led to believe that Robin had a secret crush on Steve. After their adventure together, Steve tells her he was starting to have feelings for her. An American dream story. And given that Steve didn’t have a love interest this season, it was pretty obvious it was going to be her. BUT THEN. Robin clarifies that she watched Steve in their classes because the girl she liked watched Steve, and she couldn’t figure it out because he was stupid and always dropping bagel crumbs all over the place.
It was iconic. You almost never see LGTBQ characters on TV without it being a gimmick or part of the story. It’s never like, “hey, this is a complete complex person who happens to also be gay.” She and Steve had become platonic friends who she trusted to share this with. Their friendship continued afterwards, which was so cool to see, when she helped him get a job at the video store. More of this, please.
1. Eleven Carrying The Team
Every f*cking time, Eleven saves all of their asses from everything—monsters, bullies, Billy, and more monsters. This show would be lost without Eleven, which is a really interesting plot twist, btw, that she’s now lost her powers. I’m excited to see what they do with this next season. But no matter how bleak it looks, or what a rough spot they’re in, Eleven comes through and rescues all the boys, every single time. She’s a badass, and we rarely see such a strong female character who doesn’t expect a man to save her. Although I will mention that this last time, Billy did throw himself in front of her to the Mind Flayer, but as that was essential to his character arc, I’ll forgive it. And really, it was Joyce that turned off the machine and stopped the attack.
Honorable Mention: Suzie
This was such a small thing but ESSENTIAL to saving the world and stopping the Mind Flayer. Suzie—Dustin’s girlfriend from camp who we all believed was fictional—does actually exist! She is the only one out of this group of science nerds, particularly an actual adult male scientist, that knows Planck’s Constant by heart, which is the password needed to save the day. Good job, Suzie. I appreciated how she also took time to bitch Dustin out for not calling her until he needed something, and shamed him because he should know the number himself. I did not, however, appreciate the way-too-awkwardly-long musical number. There is a time and a place, people.
LMK in the comments what your favorite moments were from this season. I’m gonna go watch it again about 20 more times.
Images: Courtesy of Netflix; Giphy (9)