Hey Plotaholics! Shane here.
My absolute FAVORITE thing about Halloween pop culture is the many TV shows that are not usually creepy, but that decide to go a bit creepy in the name of the general spooky-fun quality of the season.
In that vein, I present to you, the definitive cord-cutter’s guide to your Halloween night 2019.
1. Bob’s Burgers, “The Hauntening” (S6:E3), Hulu
Bob’s Burgers consistently hits it out of the park on Halloween. So you could do much worse than watching every one of them tonight. This is the quintessential Halloween-themed episode of the show, though. The premise is simple: Louise, the youngest daughter, worries that she can no longer be scared, so the family stages a haunted house that they hope can scare her, thus granting her biggest Halloween wish.
Honorary Mentions: “Full Bars” (S2:E2), “Fort Night” (S4:E2), and “Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street” (S9: E4)
2. The Office, “Spooked” (S8: E5), Netflix
This is an unpopular opinion among many fans of The Office, but James Spader’s run as Robert California–Dunder Mifflin’s CEO–is absolutely underrated. He is eccentric and intelligent, but maybe equally as incompetent at running a business as Michael Scott. However, he has such a clear insight into what makes people tick on a base level. This insight is the source of most of his comedy (that and his eccentricities). Nowhere is all of this on better display than in “Spooked.” California spends the episode gathering information on the fears of his many employees only to weave all of those fears into a horror story that takes the shape of an extended monologue in the episodes final act.
Also, here is a mash-up of all of the best costumes from The Office via the show’s official YouTube channel:
Honorable Mentions: “Halloween” (S2:E5), “Costume Party” (S7:E6) “Here Comes Trebel” (S9: E5)
3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” (S6: E7), Hulu
Always Sunny doesn’t really do Halloween. Even in this episode, the Halloween stuff is relegated to flashback. But this is a classic whodunit, and the twists and turns offered in the gang’s journey to the truth of whose baby Dee is carrying offers a satisfying and very funny story with a Halloween backdrop.
Honorable Mention: “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre” (S8: E3)
4. South Park, “A Nightmare on Facetime” (S16: E12), Hulu
The boys are trick-or-treating as The Avengers, but when Randy buys an old Blockbuster video, he needs Stan to work on Halloween. Sure, it’s funny that he trick-or-treats via an iPad attached to a skateboard, but the real comedy (and brilliance) of the episode comes from Randy’s slow decent into madness in the empty video rental store. Randy’s storyline is a straight-up parody of The Shining, and it is excellent.
Honorable Mentions: “Pinkeye” (S1: E7), “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery,” (S3: E10), “Sons a Witches” (S21: E6)
5. Parks and Recreation, “Greg Pikitis” (S2: E7), Netflix/ Hulu/ Amazon Prime
That dang old Greg Pikitis! Every year, Leslie Knope tries to outsmart him, but the kid is a prank genius. Come for the Pikitis mystery. Stay for Tom Haverford’s ability to crank up a party as T-Paine.
Honorable Mentions: “Meet n Greet” (S4:E5), “Halloween Surprise” (S5:E5)
6. Nailed It, “Cake-O-Phobia” (S3:E2), Netflix
If you haven’t seen Nailed It, then what is wrong with you? This show takes amateur bakers and challenges them to perform impossible tasks in impossibly short periods of time. This episode is scary in more ways than just that super creepy clown cake. You should see how bad the amateur cakes look. Eeek!
7. King of the Hill, “Hilloween” (S2: E4), Hulu
Hank Hill and company are beginning the work of putting together their annual haunted house. The mean Christian woman in town is trying to cancel Halloween. She aims to hold a Christian alternative to a haunted house, like a Judgment House or something similar. Bobby gets caught up in all of it, culminating in a great scene of Hank going to get his son back. It’s a most excellent critique of the different brands of Christianity, as well as a solid take-down of those awful haunted house alternatives. This is the only straight-up Halloween-themed episode from King of the Hill‘s long run.
8. New Girl, “Keaton” (S3:E6), Netflix
Schmidt has fallen into a funk because he lost Cece (because he was dumb and cheated on her, and after she specifically asked him not to). Nick reveals that, at different times over the history of their friendship, he has assumed the role of Michael Keaton (the Batman!) and written letters to Schmidt–a tradition started by Schmidt’s mother. Jess needs to get Schmidt out of the loft so Cece can come to the Halloween party! Enter “Michael Keaton!”
9. The Facts of Life, “Seven Little Indians” (S8: E12), Crackle
Every 1980s horror cliche is present and accounted for in this classic murder-mystery episode of The Facts of Life. The main characters begin to drop dead one-by-one. There is a killer among us! Oh! And George Clooney is there, too! I won’t spoil the ending, but surely you can just guess.
10. How I Met Your Mother, “Slutty Pumpkin” (S1: E6), Hulu
Early in Ted’s seemingly unending journey to be with a woman he met in the series premier through telling his young children a long and emotionally-manipulative story about how he met their birth mother and then she died, we have a charming story about Ted falling in love with a girl at the rooftop Halloween party who is dressed as a slutty pumpkin. He returns each year, in the same then-topical costume, in hopes she will return. This is a fun episode, and it happens long before the show ruined all of its good will.
Honorable Mention: “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns,” (S7: E8)
So there you have it! A well-rounded Halloween night viewing experience. Also, don’t forget that The Plotaholics-Favorite Creepshow airs its season finale today on Shudder!
What are you watching tonight?
Happy Halloween, Plotaholics!
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