Arts in Review

Vapid viewing for Valentine’s Day

Most importantly, though, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with television. The following is a comprehensive round-up of Valentine’s Day specials.

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By Karen Aney (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: February 8, 2012

Ah, Valentine’s Day. People argue about the saint it was named for, but it definitely has something to do with love. Or execution. Either way, Chaucer was all over it—courtly love style, of course—so we celebrate it by buying overpriced flowers and trying not to argue with our significant others for an entire 24 hours. Most importantly, though, we celebrate it with television. The following is a comprehensive round-up of Valentine’s Day specials.

Saved By the Bell, “The Zack Tapes”

If you grew up in the ‘90s and didn’t watch this show, you did it wrong. For those of you that did it right, you probably remember this one. The gang learns about subliminal advertising, and Zack uses it to try to make the girls fall in love with him. There’s cardboard hearts around everyone’s neck and a sweetheart dance – it’ll leave you wondering why your high school never did this, and wishing UFV’s student body wasn’t too mature to do this.

Happy Days, “Be My Valentine”

Yes, it’s an old show. You may have never seen it. But if you’re going to watch just one episode, make it this one: the entire episode is a musical. Think Glee, except with bad lighting and camera work. It’s good for a laugh, if nothing else. And speaking of Glee

Glee, “Silly Love Songs”

It starts off with Puck singing Queen and ends with Rachel showing how little talent Katie Perry actually has. It is typical Glee: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel awkward when you realize you’re a legal adult watching a show that makes 11-year-old girls scream. If you’re trying to talk your boyfriend into watching it with you, mention that it has a girl fight with someone who had a spread in Maxim.

Grey’s Anatomy, “Valentine’s Day Massacre”

If you’re not interested in the sickly sweet stuff, this one’s for you. A roof collapses, an arm gets attached to an abdomen, people bleed everywhere and some shuffle right off this mortal coil. That being said, there’s a romantic storyline for everyone: the recently jilted, the lesbians identifying with tension, the working professionals and those who dye their hair blonde because their boyfriend assumed they wanted to raise the illegitimate baby of their illegitimate offspring alongside them. What? Just go with it.

30 Rock, “Anna Howard Shaw Day”

Oh, Liz Lemon. She schedules a dental surgery to avoid dealing with V-Day, only to forget that she doesn’t have anyone to take her home afterwards. More importantly, she reminds the feminist in all of us that February 14 is really about Anna Howard Shaw, the celebrated suffragette. Girl power. Lemon-style.

The Office, “Valentine’s Day”

Probably the most creatively titled of all the episodes mentioned, this one’s worth the watch. Why? The creepy grin on Dwight’s face when he gets the Dwight bobblehead from his secret lover. How clandestine. And creepy. Elsewhere in the office, Michael spills the beans on his hook-up with Jan, Ryan realizes he’s got a lot to learn about when to hook up with a girl and Roy’s clueless male shtick pushes Pam just a little bit closer to Jim. Oh, and Phyllis, the Aunt Jemima of the office, gets a giant teddy bear that will make everyone long for a time when it was okay to want giant stuffed teddy bears for presents.

Community, “Communication Studies”

Troy and Pierce dress like women, Troy calls Pierce a slut as he mopeds off on a fro-yo date, and it’s funny enough that you almost forget that there’s no touching Troy-Abed moment during the credits. Courtney Love gets made fun of—twice—and the creepy Human Being mascot is dressed as Cupid. Just close your eyes for that part, it’s over pretty quickly.

Modern Family, “My Funky Valentine”

Claire and Phil—that is, Clive and Juliana—rendezvous at a hotel so that Claire can get her dress caught in an escalator with her father watching. Well, they don’t rendezvous at the hotel for that, really, but that’s what happens. Also, we learn a valuable lesson: Claire tells Phil he won’t be getting any sleep that night, so he should probably have a nap at the office – and Phil responds “I always do,” in that seductively creepy way he has. So what can we learn from that? If you want a pretty sweet life, like the Dunphees, nap at work.

Friends, “The One with the Candy Hearts”

Why isn’t television this good anymore? In one episode, Chandler has an “oh. My. GAWD.” blind date, Joey watches a girl eat like a squirrel, Ross makes things awkward for the token lesbians, and Phoebe, Rachel, and Monica almost burn the apartment down while trying to cleanse themselves of a picture of chest-hair-sweater guy. Watch this for inspiration if you’re single, ladies, because those firemen were hot. Be more like the girls on Friends, and date a fireman this Valentine’s day!

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