The 31 Best Halloween Sitcom Specials: ‘Futurama,’ ‘BoJack,’ and more – IndieWire
Oct 27, 2022 5:45 pm
(Clockwise from bottom-left): “Frasier,” “Futurama,” “You’re the Worst,” “The Simpsons,” and “That ’70s Show”
Courtesy Everett Collection
What’s better than seeing your favorite sitcom characters shed their hum-drum outfits and status quo subplots for the theatrical costumes and hair-raising horror that only comes with Halloween? From “Freaks and Geeks” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to “Parks and Recreation” and “Bob’s Burgers,” the best TV comedies celebrate October 31 with seasonal half-hours that inspire as much festive fun as they do nail-biting fear.
The most memorable Halloween sitcom episodes go beyond tossing pumpkins at the set dressing and instead dig deep to figure out what the annual celebration of things that go bump in the night might really mean to their characters. Stand-out shows find ways to bring specificity to their Halloween renderings, carefully considering everything from the narratively powerful meaning (or dramatically ironic coding!) behind characters’ costumes to the range of All Hallows’ Eve settings that can fit a story best.
A costume party can be an opportunity for uninhibited characters to finally fall in love, or it could be the high-stakes night that finally breaks a couple up. (Hello, “New Girl.”) Visiting the local haunted house might be a fun chance to prove the gang can get through anything if they just stick together, or it could end up as the last straw to bring their emotional hayride to a halt. (Nice to see you, “You’re the Worst.”) Heck, even handing out candy to trick-or-treaters could lead to an epiphany about maturity and motherhood. (Wow, it’s Rachel Greene in “Friends”!)
These situations are made even more harrowing when sitcom writers dare to introduce serial killers, supernatural presences, murder mysteries, and other bonafide horror elements into the mix. In some cases, characters are lucky enough to operate under anthology rules, as is the situation with “The Simpsons” and its ever-growing “Treehouse of Horror” legacy. But other protagonists aren’t so fortunate: left to languish in chapters that demand their utmost cunning to ensure survival.
Given the wide range of sitcoms throughout TV history, it was impossible to narrow down to even the top 31 best genre Halloween episodes. So, instead, here are 31 of the best Halloween sitcom specials that we’ll be cuing up this spooky season — listed alphabetically.
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This Article is related to: Lists, Television and tagged Bob’s Burgers, Bojack Horseman, Frasier, Friends, Halloween, Happy Endings, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, The Simpsons
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