Top 20 New Year's Eve TV Episodes Ever
by Kim Potts, posted Dec 30th 2010 9:30AM
As we prepare to bid adieu to 2010, here's a look at some of the best TV episodes that have helped viewers celebrate New Year's Eve through the years, from a fantastic limo ride on 'How I Met Your Mother' to the brother/sister NYE boogie that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase dancing fools ...
20. 'How I Met Your Mother'
Original airdate: Dec. 19, 2005
Auld lang syne: A fake Moby, a limo ride with the gang, Barney's "Get Psyched Mix" party CD and a Robin/Ted kiss added up to a memorable NYE for the 'HIMYM' gang in season one. Oh, and regarding that CD ... TV Squad had the scoop on Barney's complete lineup, which included Poison, KISS, Van Halen, Twisted Sister and, of course, Bon Jovi's 'You Give Love a Bad name.'
19. 'Barney Miller'
'Happy New Year'
Original airdate: Jan. 8, 1976
Auld lang syne: Fish tries to stop a suicide jumper who's demanding peace in the Middle East and Yemana makes a resolution that he's no longer going to make the office coffee and subject himself to his co-workers' complaints about his inferior java. Barney's wife brings a festive air to the 12th precinct with a goody basket and some party hats, but it's a pregnant shoplifter who really livens up the last evening of 1975, as Wojo delivers her baby in Barney's office.
18. 'The Osbournes'
'My Big Fat Jewish Wedding'
Original airdate: Feb. 11, 2003
Auld lang syne: On their first wedding night, as wife Sharon reminded him, Ozzy Osbourne passed out drunk in a hallway. So, as the couple plan a big vow renewal bash at The Beverly Hills Hotel on New Year's Eve, all Sharon asks is that Ozzy doesn't give a repeat performance. And that son Jack shaves his unibrow. And that the groom take care of a little manscaping of his own. Ozzy wasn't thrilled with such a public event, but the ceremony went off without a hitch, as the whole family took part in the celebration, along with celebs like Marilyn Manson and Justin Timberlake. As for Mr. Osbourne, who'd promised to remain sober this time around, and the wedding night ... well, he didn't pass out in the hallway this time. He passed out on a couch instead.
17. 'Everybody Hates Chris'
'Everybody Hates New Year's Eve'
Original airdate: Dec. 12, 2008
Auld lang syne: Chris has made a resolution to spend the last night of 1986 in Times Square, Tonya and Drew have made a bet to see who can stay up the latest and Rochelle is planning her annual black eyed peas and greens dinner (for good luck), but, as was often the case, it was dad Julius who stole the show, as he became a citywide hero with his unique method of stopping a man who was about to jump off a bridge.
16. 'Laverne & Shirley'
'New Year's Eve 1960'
Original airdate: Dec. 27, 1977
Auld lang syne: Shirley's unfortunate attempt to fashion a balloon animal poodle was just the beginning of the pals' sad New Year's Eve, as Laverne's plan to hook up with her long-time crush for the big night took a nasty turn and Shirley ended up with a bad cold. Good thing Lenny and Squiggy saved the night (and Laverne from drinking a whole pail of milk and Pepsi), with their human ball drop, using nothing but "rope greased with cold cream and pure guts" to mimic the famous Times Square ball drop.
15. 'Mad Men'
'The Good News'
Original airdate: Aug. 8, 2010
Auld lang syne: Don had just gotten heartbreaking news about his old friend Anna, and Lane had just gotten dumped by his wife, and that meant a little boys night out on the town -- on New Year's Eve -- for the fellas, and a little celebrating and debauchery, Don Draper-style. Which, yes, of course, meant hookers were involved.
14. 'Family Guy'
Original airdate: Dec. 26, 1999
Auld lang syne: New Year's Eve plans were trumped by Peter's doomsday premonitions, which turned out to be true. The end of the world led the Griffiths first to a Twinkie factory and then to found New Quahog, with Peter as the town's permanent mayor, Quagmire and Cleveland fused into one human being and Stewie mutated into an octopus. Things grow even more out of control, in no small part due to Peter's leadership, but all's well that ends well, as Bobby Ewing (guest voice Patrick Duffy) shows up and reveals the whole episode has been one bad dream.
Original airdate: Dec. 30, 1974
Auld lang syne: It's a great NYE episode that also suggests a great NYE party theme. When Maude's plans to throw a scavenger hunt bash don't work, she throws a nostalgia party instead, inviting her guests to come dressed in garb that represents their favorite year. Seriously, it will a) make you want to host your own nostalgia fest, b) make you remember just how brilliant both Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan were and c) make you miss them both.
12. 'My So-Called Life'
Original airdate: Jan. 5, 1995
Auld lang syne: Angela and her friends have made resolutions for the new year, and while hers -- to stop doing Jordan Catalano's homework for him -- proves to be a little easier than she thought it would be, Rickie's -- to find a place where he belongs -- proves a bit more challenging in this tearjerker of an episode.
11. '3rd Rock From the Sun'
'Happy New Dick'
Original airdate: Dec. 15, 1998
Auld lang syne: Don stands up to Sally when she tries to weasel more Christmas gifts out of him and Harry and Tommy are busily planning a blowout bash for Happy Doug's Bar, but it's Dick who's having the toughest time at the holidays, as the thought of a New Year's celebration depresses him because he thinks he hasn't accomplished anything in the year that's about to end. We'd argue that the thought of Mary's NYE fondue party -- "PhDs and melted cheese," as Nina puts it -- isn't helping, either, but a sweet snow dance with Mary right before midnight puts a last-minute happy spin on 1998 for Dick.
10. 'Designing Women'
'New Year's Daze'
Original airdate: Jan. 1, 1987
Auld lang syne: Charlene's bummed out when her New Year's Eve date stands her up, but that's not the worst news: He's also an escaped convict named Shadow, and he's the focus of a NYE manhunt. The scenario causes Charlene to resolve to be less trusting in the new year, but when Shadow shows up with an even bigger surprise for her, she and her pals decide she's fine just the way she is.
Original airdate: Jan. 6, 2000
Auld lang syne: "Rdwrer" refers to the custom licensed plates -- it stands for "Road Warrior" -- for Martin's RV, which he, Niles and Frasier (oh, and Eddie, of course) are steering towards Sun Valley so the Crane brothers can attend a snooty New Year's Eve wine party. Papa Crane's fascination with 'Austin Powers,' the greasiest of greasy spoons and Frasier's attempt to mix with the locals make it a colorful trip for the fam, but when a sleepy Niles wanders into the wrong camper and thinks he's been kidnapped, things take a turn for the hilarious and the comedy of errors ends with the Cranes ringing in the new year in the RV.
'What're You Doing New Year's Eve?'
Original airdate: Dec. 31, 1978
Auld lang syne: New Year's Eve wasn't going so well for Mel Diner waitress Florence Jean Castleberry, as her blind date (arranged by Alice) got back together with his wife, prompting her to volunteer to spend a lonely night ringing in the new year at the diner. But gum-smackin' party girl Flo found out just how many admirers she had when oodles of her friends showed up to wish her a Happy New Year and give her a NYE smooch.
7. 'The O.C.'
Original airdate: Dec. 17, 2003
Auld lang syne: You can still hear that Finn Quayle/William Orbit song, right? It was one of the show's most memorable, and most beloved, moments, when, with 'Dice' as the soundtrack, Ryan raced off to find Marissa and tell her he loved her before the year ended. It was the only way to make up for the fact that when she had earlier told him she loved him, his response was "Thank you."
6. 'That '70s Show'
'That '70s Finale'
Original airdate: May 18, 2006
Auld lang syne: The series finale finds Kelso and Eric Forman returning as the gang plans a big celebration of the last NYE of the '70s. Full of flashbacks of Red's foot-in-butt threats, Kelso's water tower falls and Donna and Eric's romance, the sweet series ender finds Red and Kitty deciding to stay in Wisconsin instead of moving to Florida (after a particularly thoughtful gesture by Hyde) and the boys trying to kill off their remaining brain cells with a final Circle gathering in the Forman basement before heading upstairs to countdown to the '80s.
5. 'Mad About You'
'New Year's Eve'
Original airdate: Dec. 17, 1995
Auld lang syne: In a season that featured a lot of very serious moments in Paul and Jamie's marriage, this episode was one of the lighter and ultimately happier ones, though it started off with the couple spending New Year's Eve apart for the first time in their marriage, thanks to work commitments. But strange occurrences -- like stopping time -- bring them together in the end to ring in the new year with a kiss.
Original airdate: May 1, 1997
Auld lang syne: It's neither New Year's Eve nor is it the millennium in this nonetheless classic NYE-themed installment of 'Seinfeld,' which revolves around Kramer's war with Newman over who's going to host the best Y2K party. Kramer's got balloons, chairs and "quite a bit of ice," but Newman has secured Christopher Cross as his fete's entertainment, and, much to the K-Man's chagrin, Newman also refuses to invite Jerry to the party. Kramer gets Newman to agree to "the Newmennium" (or the "Kramennium," Cosmo insists) as a joint party by threatening that Newman's crush won't attend his solo party (leaving him caught "between the moon and New York City" when he's looking for someone to kiss on NYE), but Jerry gets the last laugh on his mailman nemesis when he points out the major flaw in Newman's party plan.
3. 'The Honeymooners'
'New Year's Eve Party'
Original airdate: Dec. 26, 1953
Auld lang syne: Poor, scheming Ralph. He tries to pick a fight with Alice so she'll be too angry to want to go out on New Year's Eve, but when big band leaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey invite the Kramdens and Nortons to their fancy NYE performance, Ralph changes his tune. Then, Ralph has to get the night off work, but the only way he can get a pass is to fake a major illness in front of his boss. So, with plans set and illness faked, the couples head off to the Statler Hotel to usher in 1954, and who do they run into? Yep, Ralph's boss, Mr. Marshall, who immediately fires him. But when Mrs. Boss points out that her hubby lied to his mother-in-law so he could attend the Dorsey show, Marshall relents and reinstates Ralph as a bus driver, leaving all three couples free to party their way to a new year.
2. 'The Lucy Show'
'Chris's New Year's Eve Party'
Original airdate: Dec. 31, 1962
Auld lang syne: She'd already played Harpo Marx in a great episode of 'I Love Lucy,' and to liven up daughter Chris' flop of a New Year's Eve party on 'The Lucy Show,' Lucille Ball imitated another fellow comedy icon, Charlie Chaplin, in a classic TV comedy scene.
'The One With the Routine'
Original airdate: Dec. 16, 1999
Auld lang syne: When we think of TV and New Year's Eve, first we think Dick Clark. And then we think of this 'Friends' installment, in which the Gellar sibs -- Monica and Ross -- provide the ultimate proof of their endearing geekiness: The Routine, a dorky dance number they'd choreographed all the way back in junior high ("It got us honorable mention in the brother/sister dance category," boasts Ross), with hopes of one day getting on the Dick Clark NYE TV special. They finally make the big show, thanks to Joey's dancer roommate/girlfriend, and the result is not only our favorite NYE TV episode, but one of the funniest moments of the series whole 10-year run.
Best quote of the episode: "Ross we better stick to the routine," says Monica. "We don't want to look stupid."