I’ve been a fan of holiday episodes of television episodes since I was a kid, and Halloween episodes are no exception. But, I’m also not really that into horror. So if I’m going to find myself watching TV waiting for trick-or-treaters to come to door, I won’t be watching “Scream.” If you, like me, find yourself wanting to embrace Halloween festivities, but also not wanting to really be scared out of your wits or traumatize any children coming who happen to notice what's on your living room TV while you hand them candy, I’ve got exactly where you should start.
Last week I mentioned my love for “Bob’s Burgers” and the Belcher family shenanigans fit right into the idea of what Halloween is, so unsurprisingly Halloween episodes of this show do not disappoint. All are worth a watch, but my all time favorite is the very first Halloween episode “Full Bars” in which the kids decide to go past their boundaries to a nice neighborhood where people are giving out full sized chocolate bars. This episode contains my favorite aspect of this show, namely the Belcher kids coming together to defend each other. You can watch it on Hulu right now, and you definitely should.
If you are a twenty or early thirty something, the next thing I’m going to mention is likely an episode you remember. The extremely iconic “Boy Meets World” episode “And Then There Was Shawn.” As spoof on the teen slasher flicks that were extremely popular at the time, this episode does lots of classic, dare I say, cliche sitcom things but also reminds you why those things ever worked in the first place. It’s a character exploration, it’s still pretty funny, and its enjoyable even though its during one of the cliche Cory and Topanga break ups.
Two episodes simply named “Halloween” come next. First, The Office’s “Halloween”. It’s classic Michael Scott at his best or worst depending on how you look at it. The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” “Halloween” is as scary as this list gets but it’s a perfectly fine example of some of the things that show did best, namely showing our characters biggest fears and insecurities by having totally bonkers supernatural stuff happen. It’s humorous at times and full of teen angst in others.
For me no kind of Halloween themed television recommendation would be complete without pointing towards “Brooklyn 99’s” series of Halloween heists. Every season of this show features an episode focused on an office competition to steal or acquire something and earn the title of “Amazing Detective/Human/Genius” and the stakes get higher and wilder with each season.
That group of episodes are exactly the ones I would use to try to convince someone to try
“Brooklyn 99” as it’s all about what this show does best: Ignore police work and just be a really great ensemble workplace comedy.
So there you go. No need to be scared this Halloween. Have some laughs instead. Here I’m saving you from scaring children via your watching habits as they show up at your house asking for candy. You’re welcome. And Happy Halloween.
Strange Perspective is a weekly look into all things pop culture by Claremore Progress Columnist Rachel Strange.