By Joe Strange
Yesterday I brought you a Watch List of Cabin in the Woods, but I understand, some people don’t want full on spooky scary times and would just prefer to have a chuckle at the horrors of this time of year, to that end, I present to you my favourite comedy Halloween specials.
5) Slutty Pumpkin – How I Met Your Mother Season 1
Ah, How I Met Your Mother. Before the entire season set at a wedding, before being left at the alter, and a few will they won’t theys that no one asked for, you were a good show, full of promise and intrigue.
Back in Season 1, when Ted still had over classically over romanticised ideas of love, there was the Slutty Pumpkin. The episode was a classic season 1 affair; setting up characteristics of the main characters; Ted’s hopelessly romantic nature and Robin’s polar opposite and having the other characters bring those to light to further development. It was a good Halloween episode full of costumes, jokes and all the things that we do on Halloween that makes no sense. Paying $200 for a costume to win a $50 giftcard? Only on Halloween.
4) Halloween – Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 1
Brooklyn Nine Nine may not have been on our screens for very long, but if this special is anything to go by, it’s got a lot of promise. In lieu of the spooky haunted precinct episode (Which would be a very fun episode, I’m thinking maybe a bottle episode too.) This episode explores Santiago’s dislike of Halloween coupled with Boyle’s love of the holiday. It’s one of the first chances we get to see these two characters play off one another for a long amount of time too.
Also in this episode Peralta challenges Captain Holt, insisting that he can steal the captain’s medal of valour before the day’s end. Aside from being a mini heist episode (yet another thing that got heists before GTA) it’s revisited in the second season in the aptly named Halloween 2.
3) The One with the Halloween Party – Friends Season 8
Ah Friends. In researching this list I thought there’d be a lot more in the choices of Halloween episodes of a series that ran for 10 years, but it turns out that the costume party episode is the only one. It’s all gold, from the line Joey says at the cold open about how pretending to be someone else is stupid, considering the character’s an actor, to the excellent costume choices; the velveteen rabbit, Chandler and Space Doody are all brilliant.
As far as plot progression goes, it’s pretty standard for a friends episode, but with regards to fun, it’s pretty top stuff.
2) Treehouse of Horrors V – The Simpsons Season 6
Really I could have populated my entire list with the first few Treehouse of Horror episodes. As a kid growing up in the nineties most of my education on film and pop culture was from the Simpsons, and nothing is more true than my education in horror movies and tropes through the treehouse of horror episodes.
This episode stands out because, honestly, it’s the Shinning feature. Being too young by half to handle the Shining, the shinning, which sees the Simpsons occupy Mr Burns’ mountain top mansion (grounds kept by grounds keeper Willie of course) for the winter and then sees Homer losing his mind and Bart finding out he has the ‘shin’ (You wanna get sued?) is a brilliant condensation of the Kubrick classic.
And on top of that we have a time travel short and a Soylent Green spoof. Perfect.
1) Epidemiology – Community Season 2
Community is the modern day king of references and nods to pop culture and media, and nothing is more true than in this Zombie Survival episode.
The study group attends a Halloween party (complete with the usual affair of costume shenanigans) which is catered by the school, of course, the Dean, in an attempt to cut costs, uses what he thinks are military rations but turn out to be something more sinister which turns those who eat it into a horde of brainless zombies. It’s up to the survivors to get to the air conditioning unit to cool the school and cure the epidemic.
Somehow with a combination of a devil may care attitude to memory wiping, brass balls and an ABBA soundtrack, Community made a zombie survival episode set inside a community college brilliant, but also canon.