Type keyword(s) to search

Quick Hits

Ten Classic Valentine's Day TV Episodes (And Where You Can Watch Them)

Your romantic binge-watch starts here.
  • Photos: NBC, FOX
    Photos: NBC, FOX

    Love is in the air! With Valentine’s Day upon us, there’s no better time to settle in for a romantic binge-watch. For years, popular TV shows have embraced the holiday as an opportunity to bring major characters together — even for just one night. Whether you’re watching alone or with a partner, celebrate television’s annual love-fest with these ten classic Valentine’s Day episodes:

    The Simpsons: “I Love Lisa”

    “I Love Lisa” (Season 4, Episode 15) may well be the first-ever TV episode to tag-team Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. When Ralph Wiggum fails to receive any notes from his classmates, Lisa gives him a Valentine’s Day card to cheer him up, but he misinterprets the gesture and begins relentlessly pursuing her. Finally at wit’s end, Lisa blows him off on national television, prompting Ralph to channel his hurt feelings into his performance as George Washington in the school’s President’s Day play. And if that isn’t enough holiday fun, the episode begins and ends with “Monster Mash,” because there’s never a wrong time of year to play the Halloween classic. Streaming on Disney+

    Friends: “The One with the Candy Hearts”

    Never one to miss a holiday, Friends celebrated its first Valentine’s Day episode in early 1995 in “The One with the Candy Hearts” (Season 1, Episode 14). The episode reunites Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Janice (Maggie Wheeler), who find themselves on an awkward double date with Joey (Matt LeBlanc). After waking up in bed together, Chandler does what he does best — break up with Janice — but this time, she handles it well, as she knows it’s only a matter of time before they get back together. Sadly, she’s correct. Streaming on HBO Max

    Arrested Development: “Marta Complex”

    Marta (Patricia Velasquez) gets the Bluth men all riled up in “Marta Complex” (Season 1, Episode 12). Arrested Development’s unconventional take on a Valentine’s Day episode begins as Lucille (Jessica Walter) throws Tobias (David Cross) and Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) an anniversary party, where Michael (Jason Bateman) gives an impassioned speech that makes Marta fall in love with him. Things only become more complicated when Buster (Tony Hale) becomes infatuated with Marta, igniting an unsettling love triangle (or is it a love square) within the Bluth family. Streaming on Netflix and Hulu

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Stop Will! In the Name of Love”

    Feeling a double date double-header? Between “The One with the Candy Hearts” and “Stop Will! In the Name of Love” (Season 4, Episode 18), HBO Max has you covered. In The Fresh Prince’s Valentine’s Day episode, Ashley (Tatyana Ali) asks Will (Will Smith) to chaperone her on a date, thinking he’ll be less overprotective than her father, but when date night arrives, Will proves to be even more of a fun-sucker than Phil. As things go off the rails, both Will and Ashley’s dates leave, leaving Ashely with no choice but to vent her frustrations via a modified version of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Streaming on HBO Max

    Parks and Recreation: “Galentine’s Day”

    In 2010, Parks and Rec coined a term that has since entered the official holiday lexicon: “Galentine’s Day” (Season 2, Episode 16), described by Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) as “the best day of the year.” Every February 13th, Leslie and her friends gather for breakfast and a gift exchange, though no one’s gift quite compares to the personalized 5,000 word essay Leslie gives to each of her pals. Ladies celebrating ladies — what could be better? Streaming on Peacock

    The O.C.: “The Heartbreak”

    For fans of Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson), “The Heartbreak” (Season 1, Episode 19) is must-see TV, as the two lose their virginities to one another on Valentine’s Day. The moment serves as the, um, climax of an episode that also sees Marissa (Mischa Barton) admit that her breakup with Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) was a mistake, though their reunion is complicated by the arrival of Theresa Diaz (Navi Rawat), and old friend of Ryan’s from Chino working the Valentine’s singles benefit dance. Streaming on HBO Max

    Full House: “Dateless in San Francisco”

    Danny (Bob Saget) goes all-out for his first Valentine's Day with Claire Mahan. (Photo: HBO Max)

    Full House had multiple Valentine’s Day episodes, but “Dateless in San Francisco” (Season 8, Episode 17) serves as a particularly delightful way to remember late star Bob Saget. As he prepares for his first Valentine’s Day with Claire Mahan (Andrea Abbate), Danny (Saget) turns to Jesse (John Stamos) for help planning an elaborate date. Of course, Jesse’s excitement over Danny’s plans concerns Becky (Lori Loughlin), who worries that her husband has lost his romantic spark — until he proves her wrong with a hot air balloon ride. Even Michelle (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) is feeling the love this V-Day: the youngest Tanner tries dating her longtime friend Teddy (Tahj Mowry), but things quickly fizzle and they go back to being friends. Streaming on HBO Max

    The Office: “Valentine’s Day”

    Everyone should be more like Bob Vance (Bobby Ray Shafer), who wows the Dunder Mifflin office when he lavishes Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) with gifts on Valentine’s Day. Though things are looking up for Phyllis — and Angela (Angela Kinsey), who receives a key to Dwight’s (Rainn Wilson) home — Pam once finds herself frustrated with Roy (David Denman) after he promises to give her “the best sex of her life,” and nothing else, for the holiday. “Valentine’s Day” (Season 2, Episode 16) also features the iconic moment when Ryan (B.J. Novak) realizes he hooked up with Kelly (Mindy Kaling) on February 13th, raising her expectations right before the big day. Streaming on Peacock

    Cheers: “Sam Time Next Year”

    Sometimes you want to spend Valentine’s Day where everyone knows your name. In this beloved holiday episode (Season 9, Episode 18), Sam (Ted Danson) eagerly prepares for his “only on Valentine’s Day” date with Lauren Hudson (Barbara Feldon), but when he slips and throws out his back, he tries to hide his injury for fear that it will prevent him from sealing the deal. Meanwhile, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) put the lessons they’ve learned in therapy into action at the bar, and Cliff (John Ratzenberger) cheers up Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) by giving her a Valentine meant for his mother. Streaming on Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount+

    30 Rock: “Anna Howard Shaw Day”

    “Anna Howard Shaw Day” (Season 4, Episode 13) isn’t 30 Rock’s first V-Day episode — that honor falls to Season 1’s “Up All Night” — but it is the show’s best. In order to avoid feeling lonely on the holiday, Liz (Tina Fey) schedules a root canal, but with the anesthesia still kicking, she hallucinates a reunion with her former boyfriends, including Jon Hamm’s Drew Baird and Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters). For his part, Jack (Alec Baldwin)’s Valentine’s Day is far more romantic: during a talk show appearance, he hits it off with conservative host Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks), and the two have a one-night stand that leads to a very complicated marriage. Streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Peacock

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Valentine's Day, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Cheers, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, Full House, The O.C., The Office (US), Parks and Recreation, The Simpsons