Every holiday movie has the same plot: girl unexpectedly meets boy, boy falls in love with girl, something tragic happens, boy and girl profess their feelings, they kiss passionately against the backdrop of a professionally decorated Christmas tree with fake snow falling around them. Yawn.
Although I usually put up with that cookie-cutter plot every year, I decided to try something a bit different (and way more entertaining) this December: re-watching the holiday episodes from my favorite TV shows.
Given that basically every holiday party is canceled, in-person shopping is hardly a thing, and the gyms are closed (although let’s face it, I wouldn’t be going even if they were open), I had all the time in the world to cuddle up with a weighted blanket and a (spiked) hot drink and laugh, cry, and feel all sorts of emotion while watching classic shows like Parks and Recreation, Gilmore Girls, and 30 Rock.
As my wonderful gift to you, I’ve listed the best holiday episodes from all our favorite shows so that you too can fill your time this December with something other than watching people’s annoying Instagram Stories and cringey attempts at creating Reels. Enjoy!
‘New Girl’ – “LAXmas” Season 4 Episode 11
There is literally nothing more relatable in these COVID-19 times than having your holiday plans ruined, your vacation canceled, and you therefore not being able to post that thirst trap bikini pic in December. Call me a masochist, but that’s why I loved re-watching this episode of New Girl. I got to commiserate, emphasize, and shout “HA! You got screwed too!” at the TV when Jess, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt’s holiday flights were canceled.
’30 Rock’ – “Ludachristmas” Season 2 Episode 9
It’s as if Tina Fey knew we needed something to prove that there are families out there more dysfunctional than our own when they created this episode. In the most hilarious way, we see the picture-perfect Lemon family break down after an outing with Jack and his mother, and the TGS crew have their party plans hijacked by Kenneth. Plus, I promise this is the exact Rockefeller-related holiday content you need to get that sad excuse for a tree they put up this year out of your mind.
‘The O.C.’ – “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” Season 1 Episode 13
Confession time: I completely forgot about The O.C. until I Googled “shows like Gossip Girl” this summer… and then promptly re-binged it with no regrets. And one of the most entertaining, dramatic, and heartwarming episodes happens to be a holiday one, where Seth introduces Ryan to the wonders of Chrismukkah and struggles in a love triangle between himself, Anna, and Summer. I have to admit, seeing a love triangle that didn’t involve me, my fridge, and Netflix was actually pretty refreshing.
‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ – “Christmas Chaos” Season 16 Episode 9
Being invited to the Kardashians’ annual Holiday Party is on my bucket list, Amazon wishlist, and in my letter to Santa every year. Is there anywhere else I can add it at this point? But while my invite is still lost in the mail, the next best thing is to watch the party unfold on TV. And I promise you, this is one of the most iconic holiday episodes ever. It’s the one where Kim is literally quoted saying, “This is so inappropriate. It is so so much money for one night.” Do I need to say more?
‘The Office’ – “A Benihana Christmas” Season 3 Episode 10 & 11
We’ve all been that psycho b*tch, but in this episode Michael takes crazy to a whole new level. How? By Photoshopping his face onto his girlfriend’s ex-husband’s body in one of their old family photos, and sending it out as his Christmas card. And, no spoilers, but this episode includes some major Pam vs. Angela drama and a classic Jim prank on Dwight that will make you forget about TikTok for, like, 20 minutes.
‘Gilmore Girls’ – “Women of Questionable Morals” Season 5 Episode 11
Some things are just the f*cking worst until someone comes along and makes it special for you (like Valentine’s Day, for a totally random example). And that’s the case for Lorelai and her feelings toward snow in this episode, until Luke surprises her with a romantic snow-related gift that made even a Grinch like me say, “AWWWW!”. Beyond the snow drama, this episode also features the cutest little stray dog that brings Emily and Richard together in a true holiday miracle kind of way.
‘Friends’ – “The One with Phoebe’s Dad” Season 2, Episode 9
You know that friend who waits until the last possible moment to buy their presents? Well, be prepared to watch Joey and Chandler do that exact thing… and be forced to buy their gifts at a place I only go into when I really need to pee during a road trip. And, as if that’s not enough comedy, what screams tradition more than some classic Ross and Rachel drama? Be prepared to get your fill of it this episode.
‘Gossip Girl’ – “Roman Holiday” Season 1 Episode 11
I’ve watched this episode about 14 times, so at this point let’s just say it’s a holiday tradition. I swear, no matter how many times you see Blair come up with a conniving plan to break up her Dad and his boyfriend, the story is guaranteed to transport you from your burrito-stained sweats and unmade bed to the Upper East side within moments. It’s the exact escape you didn’t even know you needed.
‘New Girl’ – “The 23rd” Season 1 Episode 9
Picture this: Schmidt shirtless, wearing just a Santa hat and Santa shorts. If that’s not enough to convince you to re-watch this episode, keep in mind that the theme is how dealing with new relationships around the holidays is stressful AF (relatable, right?). Like any New Girl episode, this one will have you laughing at the lovable, entertaining, and slightly inappropriate trouble the crew gets themselves into at Schmidt’s office party.
‘Fuller House’ – “Oh My Santa” Season 4 Episode 1
Even though the holidays may suck more than usual this year, just know that for the first and probably only time in your life, your holiday season is going better than Lori Loughlin’s. And speaking of which, this episode of Fuller House is sure to bring a smile to your face, despite how cheesy the plot is. The most relatable part? Tommy throwing a tantrum in the mall. Been there, done that (and over much less, if I may add).
‘Parks and Recreation’ – “Citizen Knope” Season 4 Episode 10
Are you one of those people who re-gifts an old box of chocolate or nauseating-smelling candle to your co-workers every year? If you said “yes”, you seriously need to take notes during this episode. While Leslie is off work for two weeks, Ann rallies the Parks department to create a special holiday gift for Leslie. As cheesy as the gift is, it’s actually pretty sweet (pun intended) and will probably make you feel as warm and fuzzy inside as the spiked eggnog you’re sipping.
‘Ally McBeal’ – “Silver Bells” Season 1 Episode 11
There’s something about watching Ally McBeal that brings back all sorts of early ‘00s nostalgia. And this episode gives us just that against the backdrop of a hectic office during the holidays (TBT to offices), and plots about Ally being her usual badass self and the romantic troubles the couples in the office are facing. I won’t reveal if there are any holiday miracles at the end of the episode, but I can safely say you’ll be feeling emotions far from the disappointment Kyle Richards felt when she realized bangs just weren’t her thing.
‘Modern Family’ – “Undeck the Halls” Season 1 Episode 10
If you want to escape the stressful bullsh*t of your family’s holiday Zoom call by finding another family going through equally dramatic times, look no further. In a mix of both hilarious and feel-good storylines, you’ll get to emphasize with the Dunphy kids as their parents cancel Christmas until someone fesses up to ruining their sofa. Plus, you get to see what happens when Cam and Mitchell say something we’ve all thought at least once in our lives: “this mall Santa is just not jolly enough”.
Cougar Town – “Cry To Me” Season 2 Episode 14
If you’re the kind of person who gets pissed when people leave their holiday decor up way past December, this episode will make you feel more seen than ever. Now bear with me, because this episode is actually more about Valentine’s Day than Christmas, but it still delivers an accurate depiction of how crazy people get around any holiday.
‘Brooklyn 99’ – “The Pontiac Bandit Returns” Season 2 Episode 10
Amy’s weird-yet-adorable admiration for Captain Holt is somehow one of the most entertaining things to watch (because who TF actually likes their boss?). And as odd as their relationship is, this episode delivers just the right amount of it, showing us Amy working hard (but hardly working on her actual work) to get around Holt’s “no gift” policy. And, to quote the queen of the holidays, Dorinda Medley, we see Jake “make it nice” with his nemesis/best friend Doug Judy in order to gather intel for Rosa.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (12)
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)
To be honest, I don’t know what April is even known for. April showers? April Fool’s Day? Dating Andy on Parks and Rec? (Lol jk.) No thank you to all of that. April is the perfect month to stay in your bed and watch Netflix—don’t go outside, don’t get rained on, and definitely don’t get pranked. This has been a PSA. While you’re avoiding the outside world, check out these new TV shows and movies coming to Netflix in April.
April 1st: ‘Obsessed’
Nope, this movie wasn’t a 2000s fever dream. Beyoncé and Idris Elba really did star in a C-list thriller together. It’s pretty much Fatal Attraction, but with Beyoncé and a 19% on Rotton Tomatoes. Basically, Idris Elba is tempted to cheat on Beyoncé with another woman who turns out to be a psycho stalker. I straight-up don’t understand why anyone would even consider cheating on Beyoncé *ahem* but whatevs.
April 1st: ‘P.S. I Love You’
I watched P.S. I Love You for the first time when I was 12, and I cried through the whole movie. Like, start to finish. Probably even through the credits. And for half an hour after it was done. Mopey preteen feelings aside, this movie follows Hillary Swank as she attempts to navigate life without her husband after his untimely death. He sends her letters from beyond the grave to comfort and guide her, which is super impressive considering I can barely remember to check my email during the weekend.
April 1st: ‘Spy Kids’
Some nostalgia for ya. If you’re not scarred from those weird thumb guys from childhood (or was that just me?), you should totally give this a rewatch. No one is too old to watch people playing with a bunch of cool spy sh*t, and that’s a fact.
April 1st: ‘The Fifth Element’
Not to be confused with The Sixth Sense, The Fifth Element is a Bruce Willis movie about saving the earth from aliens, and all that jazz. I honestly haven’t seen it (because I definitely thought it was the same movie as The Sixth Sense), but if you want to, it’ll be on Netflix! Lmk how it is!
April 1st: ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2′
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2 are both on Netflix now! You know what that means—time to call all your girls, have a sleepover, decide who’s most similar to each character, and comfort your friend when she gets upset that everyone thinks she’s Tibby. Sorry Tibby, but you kinda suck. If that doesn’t sound like your kind of night (can’t imagine why), def still watch these movies. At the very least, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will give you hope that you’ll finally find a pair of jeans that fit.
April 2nd: Kevin Hart: ‘Irresponsible’
Kevin Hart’s fourth comedy special is coming to Netflix on April 2nd. The special is named Irresponsible, which I can only assume is a reference to his decision to cheat on his wife while she was pregnant. This special is a good watch for comedy fans and people who want to hear what he has to say for himself after cheating on his wife. Filmed in London during Hart’s latest stand-up tour, Irresponsible covers topics ranging from his son’s cell phone usage to Hart cheating on his wife. Did I mention he cheated on his wife? Moving on…
April 3: ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, Season 2
It’s back, baby! On April 3rd, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina returns for its second season, proving that every day can be Halloween if you have a Netflix account. My friend once described this show as “like Riverdale, but less weirdly sexual and with more demons,” which seems pretty accurate. Season 2 promises to be darker than ever, which I can confirm after seeing the trailer because Sabrina is now a platinum blonde. We’ve all gone through this phase.
April 5th: ‘Unicorn Store’
If you need more Brie Larson in your life after watching Captain Marvel (same), her directorial debut Unicorn Store comes to Netflix on April 5th. Aimless after getting kicked out of school, Larson’s character Kit moves back in with her parents and takes a sh*tty office temp job. When she meets a man who promises to sell her what she wants most, Kit goes full horse girl and quits her job to buy a unicorn. The trailer is full of relatable lines like “I don’t know how to be a grown-up” and “my parents think that I’m insane.”
April 5th: ‘Legacies’, Season 1
The first season of Legacies, the
87th second spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, comes to Netflix on the 5th if you’re into that kind of thing. And by “that kind of thing” I mean supernatural teen TV dramas. I’m trash and I’ll watch 90% of what the CW makes, so this one is a yes from me. It’s about a boarding school for supernatural teens—I could’ve sworn I’ve seen a show or five about that, but I can’t think of any right now, so maybe not.
April 5th: ‘Our Planet’
Planet Earth, but make it Netflix. This is the kind of content you watch stoned on your couch at 3am when you want to be reminded of the earth’s natural beauty. Throughout the course of its eight episode run, Our Planet also promises to showcase the impact of climate change on all aspects of natural life. Sad! But like, actually. Maybe watch this with that one friend who says sh*t like “If global warming is real, then why is it snowing?” BECAUSE IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO SNOW IN JUNE, BECKY.
April 10th: ‘New Girl’, Season 7
If you missed the seventh and final season of New Girl while it was airing, never fear! It arrives on Netflix on April 10th. You might be excited about this, but my friend has a real-life shrine to Nick Miller on her desk at work, so I can guarantee that you are less excited than her. I’ve seen the season already, and while some of the previous seasons are better, it’s definitely worth watching just to see how all the characters end up. Or to get new material for your Nick Miller shrine.
April 12th: ‘The Perfect Date’
Noah Centineo returns to Netflix and your thirsty Twitter feed, probably, with The Perfect Date. If you need more convincing than “Noah Centineo,” it also has a plot and stuff. In an attempt to make money, Noah Centineo creates an app that basically lets him pimp himself out to high school girls who need dates. That’s cool and all, but in the trailer, he keeps saying he needs enough money to “get into Yale,” which, sorry bb, is not how it works (unless you’re Olivia Jade). Regardless, I will be watching this one for SURE.
April 19th: ‘Someone Great’
Someone Great stars Gina Rodriguez as a New York journalist who gets a job in San Fransisco. Confirming what we all knew to be true (MEN. ARE. TRASH.), her boyfriend of nine years (9!!) then breaks up with her so he doesn’t have to try long distance or move. Yeah, long distance never works, but still. Not a cute look for him. The rest of the movie follows Rodriguez’s final night out with her girls. Three cheers for female friendship! The trailer is set to “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, so you KNOW it’s going down.
April 24th: ‘Bonding’
This seven-episode series is about a recently reunited pair of high school best friends named Tiff and Pete. Wholesome, right? Welllllllllll. It turns out Tiff is a dominatrix, and Pete gets swept into her world after agreeing to be her assistant. There are a lot of very cool latex ~lewks~ in this series if you’re looking for Halloween (or general life) inspo. Bonus, the episodes range from 12 to 18 minutes, so you could prob binge it in like, an hour (don’t check my math on that).
Images: Nicole Honeywill / Unsplash; Giphy (6)