When it comes to holiday television specials, Christmas usually has the monopoly but Valentine’s Day has inspired quite a few memorable stories over the years. To get into the holiday spirit, we’ve collected some of the best Valentine’s Day specials
The Simpsons: ‘I Love Lisa,’ ‘I’m With Cupid’ & ‘Love, Springfieldian Style’
The Simpsons might be better known for their Halloween specials, and the show may have technically started as a Christmas special, but they have had their fair share of Valentine’s Day-themed episodes over the years (who are we kidding, by years, we mean decades). Yes, I know most people expected me to put “I Love Lisa” on this list, and leave it at that, but the scene where Ralph gets his heart broken is just too painful. Too painful. It hits too close to home to the dopey, fat kid in all of us.
In the episode, “I’m with Cupid,” after Apu gets into a fight with Manjula, he tries to get back into her good graces with a bunch of lavish Valentine’s Day gifts. Eventually, all of the other wives of Springfield get jealous. In the end, however, everyone gets a happy ending. Did I mention Elton John cameos? Because Elton John cameos!
Valentine’s Day later got the “Treehouse of Horror” treatment in “Love, Springfieldian Style.” While trapped in a Tunnel of Love ride, the family kills the time by telling three classic love stories, from parodies of Bonnie & Clyde to Lady and the Tramp. On a related note, why is Bart’s story always the last in these things?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’
In a plot that seems inspired by “The Twilight Zone,” after Valentine’s Day goes wrong for him, Xander asks resident witch, Amy, for a love spell to get revenge. Unfortunately, it backfires and forces all the local girls and women, living and undead, under his unwilling “spell,” except its intended target, Cordelia. Things get even worse when the spell forces the girls to want Xander dead. Who would have thought invoking Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, would have horribly backfired? Should have stuck with Venus! Or maybe St. Valentine himself! Fortunately, the episode has a semi-happy ending when it turns out that Cordelia was actually touched by the whole thing.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: ‘The Equalizer’
For a character who’s been around since the 1960’s, Sabrina has had quite a few Valentine’s Day themed stories during her run. In fact, her 90’s sitcom had at least six different Valentine’s Day episodes. In “The Equalizer,” Sabrina’s recurring nemesis, Roland the Troll, on the rebound from his girlfriend, Thumbelina, traps Sabrina in various fairy tales, like Sleeping Beauty and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I think there’s also a subplot about the aunts trying to get dates. Come to think of it, that was actually a subplot in a lot of episodes.
Charmed: ‘Animal Pragmatism’
I’m not sure what witches have to do with Valentine’s Day, but I’m not going to question it. I saw Suspiria. Anyway, some novices witches get thirstier than the Weather Girls at Christmas. So if they can’t get a man, they decide to make a man! Transforming three animals into men for Valentine’s Day dates, it backfires horribly and the Charmed sisters have to save the day!
Peanuts: ‘Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown’
Infamously, when this special first aired, children from all over America sent Charlie Brown valentines out of pity. I’m not entirely sure where they sent their letters to, but it started a trend that we hope doesn’t end anytime soon: pity Valentine’s Day cards. If anything else, we all love the ending scene where Schroder tells off some of the kids who ignored Charlie in the first place. You can guess which clip I showed up above.
Cathy: ‘Cathy’s Valentine’
Popular comic strip characters getting animated specials was kind of a trend in the 1980’s. Cathy managed to get three, the last one being a triumphant Valentine’s Day special, which would, of course, be Cathy’s favorite holiday. If all else, it is worth it to hear Kathleen Wilhoite’s distinctive voice.
The Muppets: ‘The Muppets Valentine Show’
You’d probably have to be a true fan of the Muppets to have heard of this, but it is very important to the franchise. This was the original pilot for The Muppet Show! Mia Farrow guest starred amid other various Muppets, although some of them didn’t really make it after the franchise took off. It was later followed up by The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence. Yes, a special with that title actually exists.
Spongebob Squarepants: ‘Valentines Day’
Under the sea, Valentine’s Day seems to be a day about celebrating friendship more than romance. After making presents for everyone within a twenty-foot radius, Spongebob teams up with Sandy to plan an extra-special Valentine’s Day gift for Patrick. When the present gets delayed, and Patrick mistakenly believes he is the only one of Spongebob’s friends who didn’t get anything special. Like most people in that situation, he wants revenge! Sure, everything gets resolved at the last second but Patrick’s meme-inspiring rampage would prove the test of time!