As we all know, today is the day of flowers, and love, and compressed chalk that passes itself off as candy. Really, going out tonight as you normally do is probably a bad idea; it’s like going out on New Year’s, but with the amateur hour factor applied to terrible dates. So, why not stay in, and see what genre TV has to say about love? Hint: Nothing good!
This being a power ranking, we’re taking it from worst to best; I personally sat down this week with all of the genre shows with Valentine’s Day episodes I could find. It “helps” that Valentine’s Day falls squarely during sweeps, so there are more of these than you might at first think. Also, I’m pretty sure the CW mandated that any genre show they aired have at least one Valentine’s Day episode. So, let’s roll.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sub Rosa
This dog made it to the third round of our Worst Star Trek Episode Ever bracket for a reason. It features Crusher boning her grandmother’s dead boyfriend. We’ll wait for you to finish barfing before we move on.
ALF, I’ve Got A New Attitude
You know why Willie Tanner smokes crack? Because he had to start in episodes like this. The episode centers around Alf being, as usual, a mooching douche, this time claiming that as a space alien he has the ability to speak to the dead. The Tanners, as usual, fall for this, while the audience can only look on, wondering if drugs in the ’80s were mandatory or something.
The only way I can sum up the plot of this episode is “Clark gets infected with rocks and makes all the women around him turn into stereotypes.” You know, eventually, television producers are going to figure out that an episode centering around a dude forcing a woman to do his bidding is actually kind of creepy, even if it’s unintentional. Bonus demerit points for essentially being a ripoff of a far better episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Bonus bonus demerit points for recycling this idea from another episode called Crimson, which can be summed up as “Lois gets lipstick that makes her stupid.”
Charmed, Animal Pragmatism
Charmed was itself a fairly cute show, and this unfolds like a fairly typical episode of Bewitched But Dramatic. Until you get to the central conceit, which is that a few of Phoebe’s friends, looking for dudes to bone, start turning animals into humans, which since every guy in the Charmed universe is kind of a jackass at best does kind of make sense.
But it’s not until you’re done watching the episode that you just realized you watched what amounts to the closest thing network television will get to airing bestiality on television. For that, we must rank it lowly.
The Pretender, Gigolo Jarod
The Pretender’s basic conceit was the main character was so intelligent he could flawlessly impersonate anybody from a physicist to a fireman. Amazingly, the show took a season or two to take this where almost anybody else would have gone immediately; our hero impersonating a manwhore. He also gets to fix somebody’s marriage by spying on her husband. And, yes, it’s still better than bestiality, ghost-humping, and ALF.
Forever Knight, Be My Valentine
Few people remember this show, which did the whole tortured vampire thing before Angel came along, largely because it was Canadian and it mostly aired after midnight in the US to fill air in the wee hours. But, although it’s aged about as well as a Canadian TV series from the mid-’90s can be expected to, this admittedly has more than a little goofy charm as it features a vampire hunting down a Valentine’s Day serial killer.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Crush
Honestly, this episode is one of the weakest episodes of a strong season, and it more or less turns Spike, formerly a highly-entertaining smartass, into the kind of weird psycho stalker way too many TV shows equate with “in love.” It also laid the groundwork for the terrible arc in season six where Spike and Buffy start sleeping together. That said, it is at least intentionally entertaining.
Supernatural, My Bloody Valentine
This was actually a pleasant surprise. Famine comes to town, and essentially drives everyone’s desires into overdrive. Sam thirsts constantly for demon blood, Dean indulges his appetite for sulking, and Castiel hilariously pounds the burgers. It’s funny, which helps, but also manages to dodge some of the goofier problems episodes like this face by making it more about desires than about “love.”
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
Xander gets dumped by Cordelia, and plans to make her fall in love with him… except the spell backfires, and now everybody from Willow to the lunch lady wants a piece of Xander. This episode works not least because it turns the idea of “All The Girls Want You” on its head; Xander finds himself terrified and freaked out by the increasingly violent protestations of love. It’s also smartly clear that there’s a difference between love and obsession, a theme the show will linger on in the second season.
Any we missed? Let us know in the comments.