10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…rerun! In anticipation for New Year's Eve festivities you can either watch yet another Ryan Seacrest-hosted event with uncomfortable D-list celebrity banter, freezing strangers wishing a "Happy New Year" to other strangers, and pre-recorded performances from pop stars, or you can watch something good. (That said, if this year the clock strikes midnight and the zombie apocalypse unfolds on live television and you're watching one of these old TV episodes instead, we sincerely apologize for making you miss it.)
While Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to get more themed episodes on TV shows, the ever-so-dramatic and expectations-heavy New Year's Eve hasn't been left out in the cold entirely. In fact, we found ten great NYE episodes to countdown to this -- and every -- year.
10. (tie) The Honeymooners - "New Year's Eve Party (1953) and Alice- "What're You Doing for New Year's Eve?" (1978)
Both of these classic episodes deal with the dreaded prospect of having to work on New Year's Eve (or, in Flo's case on Alice, working and being dateless), but as the sitcom fates would have it, both Flo and The Honeymooners' Ralph managed to have a swingin' New Years, work be damned. More notably, the Alice episode actually aired on New Year's Eve.
9. Frasier - "Rdwrer" (2000)
More of a road trip/race-against-the-clock episode than an actual New Year's celebration, this episode of Frasier plays as a hilarious time capsule of how much we all wanted to do significant things for the new millennium and how it wound up being a bust anyway. Frasier recalls how his New Year's plans went belly-up and spent the majority of it in the Winnebago with his father as they desperately tried to ring in the New Year, Pacific Standard Time.
8. South Park - "Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus (1999)
South Park, on the other hand really dove into the Y2K frenzy and the apocalyptic mania that accompanied it. In true South Park fashion, the episode featured a sing-along to "Auld Lang Syne" and a Rod Stewart NYE concert in Vegas... as well as Cartman's bleeding anus and the appearance of God on Earth. Happy New Year, everyone!
7. That '70's Show - "That '70s Finale" (2006)
Even though this episode aired nowhere near New Year's Eve (it debuted in May), it was still a fitting finale to the series as it bid adieu to the very decade in the title. Set on the last day of 1979, the finds the gang deciding where (and with who) the 1980s will take them before they adjourn to smoke in their very 1970's basement Circle one last time. Overall, this was more of an emotional, rather than rockin', New Year's Eve, but still worked well as a series finale and a reflection on those big milestone years.
6. How I Met Your Mother - "The Limo" (2005)
An episode that pretty much encapsulated why New Year's Eve, especially in New York City, is always an overhyped mess. When Ted tries to make it the best New Years ever by renting a limo (driven by Ranjit!) as transportation to party-hop, everything hits the brakes quite literally as they spend most of the time in traffic or separated from each other. While Barney desperately tries to keep the party going with his "Get Psyched" mix, the most thrilling thing that happens to them is learning the hard way that their new friend Moby is actually a gun-toting Not Moby. Oh, and Ted and Robin kiss at midnight, but that's all ancient history now.
5. The O.C. - "The Countdown" (2003)
It's all about the New Year's Eve kiss, isn't it? In a smooch that can only rival Harry and Sally's midnight smooch, Ryan raced to find Marissa to tell her that he loved her and plant one on her before the year ended. I mean, there was a slow motion run towards her and everything. Cheesy? Sure, but so is everything about New Year's. But really, it just set our expectations too high for a romantic kiss that perfect for every NYE from here on out.
4. Maude - "Nostalgia Party" (1974)
New Year's Eve is just as much about looking forward as it is about reflecting back. So when Maude's terrible idea to have a scavenger hunt-themed NYE party (seriously, who wants to work on a holiday?) she instead has the seriously clever idea to change it to a nostalgia theme and have her guests dress up in outfits from their favorite era. Honestly, every party should do this. Who needs to worry about dressing up or dressing down for a party, when all you have to do is dress like a flapper?
3. My So-Called Life - "Resolutions" (1995)
Ah, the dreaded New Year's resolutions! Angela and her pals come up with varying resolutions for themselves to keep for the new year, while poor Rickie deals with a real issue (not, say, doing Jordan Cantolano's homework): his homelessness. A tearjerker of an episode, probably best to watch a few days before, or long after, New Year's depression kicks in.
2. Friends - "The One With the Routine" (1999)
If you've ever blurted "Happy No Year!" during New Year's Eve, then you probably have this episode to thank. While Joey finally seals the deal with his hot dancer roommate Janine, Ross and Monica desperately try to show the world their famous dance routine when they wind up on the taping for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. This episode not only features one of the best Geller sibling moments ever, but it works as both a NYE episode and a Christmas episode (Chandler, Rachel and Phoebe spend their time trying to find the Christmas presents Monica bought them), so you can watch it pretty much through all of December.
1. Louie - "New Year's Eve" (2012)
Everything about this episode of Louie is not only a perfect encapsulation of the series itself (melancholy, hilarious, weird, wonderful, sad, hopeful), but also the entire holiday season (melancholy, hilarious, weird, wonderful, sad, hopeful.) Featuring one of the funniest segments about the horrors of being a parent around Christmas (Louie desperately struggles to fix a doll in time for his daughter on Christmas morning to dreadful results), "New Year's Eve" finds Louie dealing with the depression of being alone around the holidays. Even worse, he watches his ex-girlfriend Liz (Parker Posey) die right before his very eyes at the strike of midnight. Louie almost takes up his sister's (hey, Amy Poehler!) offer to spend New Year's with her and her family, he instead takes a leap of faith and takes an unexpected trip to China. A perfect end to a perfect season and the most perfect New Year's episode of any show to date.
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