Valentine’s Day is here, and for many that means settling in with chocolate, a loved one, and a classic romantic comedy. For those who feel that they’ve exhausted every rom-com movie in their repertoire but are still looking to scratch that itch, there are several stellar Valentine’s Day-themed sitcom episodes to choose from. From Lisa Simpson’s school ground dilemma in “The Simpsons” to Leslie Knope’s joyful Galentine’s Day celebration on “Parks and Recreation,” here are 10 beloved Valentine’s Day sitcom episodes to check out next Tuesday and beyond.
THE GOLDEN GIRLS, “Valentine’s Day”
When Rose (Betty White), Dorothy (Bea Arthur), and Blanche’s (Rue McClanahan) dates all bail on them on Valentine’s Day, the trio decide to stay in with Sophia (Estelle Getty) and reflect on their past Valentine’s misadventures. A car breakdown, some proposal advice, a salacious drug store visit, and one nude resort later, the girls are in slightly better spirits and receive a pleasant surprise. Although “remember when…” episodes of sitcoms often fall flat, “Valentine’s Day” managed to become one of the most memorable episodes of “The Golden Girls.” Available on Hulu.
THE SIMPSONS, “I Love Lisa”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of “I Love Lisa” and the episode still remains a gold standard in the Valentine’s sitcom sphere. When Lisa (Yeardley Smith) sees that her friend Ralph (Nancy Cartwright) didn’t get any Valentine’s Day cards, she writes him one in an act of pity. Ralph, however, interprets her gesture as a crush and begins to pursue her romantically. In a fit of irritation, Lisa publicly lashes out at Ralph, resulting in his impassioned performance as George Washington in the school’s President’s Day pageant. Available on Disney+.
THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, “Stop Will! In the Name of Love”
When Ashley (Tatyana Ali) needs a chaperone for her Valentine’s Day date, she asks her older cousin Will (Will Smith) to make his mini golf plans into a double date to avoid the overprotective clutches of her father. While the plan initially seems like a good idea, things take a turn for the worse when Will proves to be just as overbearing as his uncle, accidentally sabotaging both dates in the process. It’s a classic “Fresh Prince” setup that allows Will to show just how much he has come to care for his extended family. Available on Hulu and HBO Max.
FRIENDS, “The One with the Candy Hearts”
While there are some memorable Valentine’s Day moments among the group in later seasons of “Friends,” nothing beats season 1′s “The One with the Candy Hearts.” While Ross (David Schwimmer) goes on his first date since his divorce, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) begs Chandler (Matthew Perry) to go on a double date with him — only for Chandler to find out he has been set up with his ex-girlfriend. Meanwhile, the girls dismiss the holiday altogether and burn memorabilia from past relationships. Things take a turn when they nearly set the apartment on fire and a trio of handsome firefighters show up. Available on HBO Max.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, “The Marta Complex”
“The Marta Complex” is all about realizations for the Bluth family. During a Valentine’s Day party and celebration of Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and Tobias’s (David Cross) complicated 14-year marriage, Lindsay concludes that she wants a divorce. Michael (Jason Bateman), meanwhile, grapples with feelings for his brother’s girlfriend, Marta (Patricia Velasquez), who has finally recognized that she’s dating the wrong brother. The episode’s highlight comes when family matriarch Lucille (Jessica Walter) realizes that she actually enjoys being alone in a memorable, boozy montage set to “Rose’s Turn.” Available on Netflix and Hulu.
THE OFFICE, “Valentine’s Day”
Although “The Office” released several Valentine’s Day-themed episodes during its eight-year run, the first one remains the most memorable. Valentine’s Day comes to Dunder Mifflin and some employees are having better days than others, but the true drama takes place in New York, where Michael (Steve Carell) accidentally reveals the nature of his relationship with Jan (Melora Hardin) during a corporate meeting. The episode takes place pre-Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), so it also features a significant amount of essential rom-com longing. Available on Peacock.
MODERN FAMILY, “My Funky Valentine”
In an effort to spice up their usual Valentine’s plans, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) decide to role-play as strangers in a hotel bar. The evening is going well, only for Claire to get her coat stuck in an escalator. Unable to take the coat off because she’s wearing nothing underneath, the duo are seemingly stuck until maintenance arrives. The night gets even weirder when they run into Claire’s father, Jay (Ed O’Neill), and stepmother, Gloria (Sofia Vergara), who are having their own bumpy Valentine’s celebration. Available on Hulu and Peacock.
PARKS AND RECREATION, “Galentine’s Day”
“Parks and Recreation” started a movement with “Galentine’s Day,” Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) Feb. 13 celebration of female friendship and what she refers to as “the best day of the year.” Each year, Leslie invites all of the women in her life to leave their partners at home and have brunch with her. Each brunch is capped by Leslie’s mother telling the story of her long-lost love. When Leslie’s boyfriend insists that they need to reunite the older couple, Leslie learns a few unsavory things about both her and her mother’s taste in men. Available on Peacock.
BOB’S BURGERS, “The Gene and Courtney Show”
Like “The Office,” “Bob’s Burgers” has released multiple Valentine’s Day episodes in its more than decade on-air, chronicling the various romantic endeavors of the Belcher family. In “The Gene and Courtney Show,” Gene (Eugene Mirman) does the morning announcements with his ex-girlfriend to school-wide acclaim. But, as Valentine’s Day approaches, the duo realize that they still have feelings for each other and their work begins to suffer. Meanwhile, the rest of the family struggles to pull off the school’s Donations 4 Carnations fundraiser after Tina (Dan Mintz) volunteers to run it. Available on Hulu.
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, “The Gang Tends Bar”
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has made its name for its sardonic, unlovable characters and its take on Valentine’s Day is no exception. Paddy’s Pub is actually packed for once, thanks to all of the lonely hearts, so Dennis (Glenn Howerton) implores the gang to actually tend bar and make an effort for their customers (a first in the show’s decade-plus on air). Although they initially attempt to do their work, an abandoned crate and a tapeworm provide tempting distractions. Any short-term success for the bar is quickly, predictably quashed by the gang’s self-sabotaging antics. Available on Hulu.
Lillian Brown can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.