The Buzz: The 6 Best New Years Episodes
With 2017 knocking on the doorstep, it’s time to usher in a new year. If you’re celebrating the new year home this year, there’s other television to watch besides Ryan Seacrest waiting for the ball to drop. Check out our list of the 6 best New Years-themed episodes below.
Friends: The One with the Routine: Let’s start with an obvious one. Friends has notoriously good holiday-themed episodes, but none quite as good as this. There doesn’t need to be much more explanation than the video above, showing Ross and Monica pulling out an old middle school dance routine so they can be on TV for a New Year’s celebration. Their dance was cheesy back when the episode aired in 1999, and it’s aged like milk. But in a good way.
That ‘70s Show: That ‘70s Finale: Reflecting the eight years of smart writing the show boasted, That 70s Show ended as the gang counted down to the New Years in Eric’s basement, ushering in the ‘80s. Like all sitcom finales, it’s bittersweet, but also serves as a heartwarming reminder of how far stars like Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Topher Grace and Laura Prepon have gone since the show ended. The show’s last season may have been rocky with Kutcher and Grace leaving the cast to progress with their careers, but the finale was a reminder of the quality of the first seven seasons. There’s a reason this show can hang with some of the sitcom greats.
Louis: New Year’s Eve: Louie might be not a conventionally uplifting show, but Louis C. K. has never been a conventional comedian. His show has always challenged viewers by expertly balancing comedy with tense social situations. Louis plays an exaggerated version of himself as he navigates through bizarre, uncomfortable situations. This episode is one of the series’ finest examples. Louis runs into an ex-girlfriend Liz (played by Parker Posey), in her first reappearance since the two went on a surreal series of dates. As soon as they reunite, Liz gets a bloody nose and faints on public transportation, and needs to be taken to the hospital. It’s uncomfortable viewing, but beautifully aligns with the unique world of Louie. Maybe don’t show it to family unfamiliar with the show, though.
Mad Men: The Good News: This episode is probably about as uplifting as Louie, but it’s still an excellent hour of television. Now in its fourth season, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) flies out to California to visit his widow Anna, only to learn that she has cancer. California had always been Don’s last resort at happiness, as he is immensely unsatisfied with his life in New York, and longs to leave his wife and family to return to his old life. Don’s morals are questionable at best throughout the whole series, but his struggle to find happiness is hard not to sympathize with. This episode sees yet another pillar in Don’s life fall, and, as usual, Hamm’s performance is exquisite. Again, maybe not show this one to the family.
30 Rock: Klaus and Greta: There’s never really a good reason to not be watching 30 Rock. You can simultaneously pay super close attention to the witty one-liners, or turn it on in the background auto-pilot through an episode, but still get the same amount of enjoyment. In this particular episode, Jack (Alec Baldwin) breaks into an old lover’s house to delete a drunken voice message he left, while Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) gets a visit from her bizarre nephew. Oh, and James Franco is there, playing a version of himself in love with a Japanse body pillow. Because, of course he is. It’s 30 Rock.
The Office: Ultimatum: No list would be complete without an appearance of Michael Scott’s chaotic personality. Deep in the show’s seventh season, Michael (Steve Carrell) waits for an answer from Holly, his romantic interest who will choose between him and an off-screen lover by New Year’s. Sad Michael Scott is the best Michael Scott. In typical style, he takes out his aggression on his co-workers, who are all trying to stick with New Years resolutions themselves. As soon as one resolution is broken (Pam drinks caffeine in the form of a single can of soda), an entire chain of resolution-breaking ensues. More importantly, this episode marks the beginning of Michael’s farewell arc to the series, as Carrell left the show to pursue film opportunities. It’s a testament to the show’s quality that, deep in its seventh season, the cast and crew are still creative enough to write one of its best arcs.