Donna Martin graduates, a slap bet is born, and I choo-choo-choose Glee

Let’s talk last week’s Madonna-themed episode of Glee.  In all honesty, that was one of the most enjoyable hours of television I’ve watched in a while.  I’ve been listening to the soundtrack all week.  As Sue Sylvester would say, “Madonna.  Simply saying the word aloud makes me feel powerful – even in voice-over.”  I can’t argue with Sue on that one – though at least one person more eloquent than me has written some beautiful and thoughtful words on Madonna and Glee.  I couldn’t say it better, so I’m not even going to try.

However, I will use this Glee intro as the overly-complicated setup for a completely different  topic.  (I’m like a Simpsons episode in blog form.)  Well, not completely different – just another one of those tangential leaps that my brain seems to enjoy.  Anyway… today’s topic:  awesome episodes of TV.  I’m talking about amazing episodes of great (or not-so-great) television shows.  I’m fairly confident that Glee’s Madonna-themed episode just vaulted into a spot on my list of all-time fantastic episodes – an episode that I will be thrilled to watch over and over again, even though I have already watched it so many times that I could stage a reenactment using sock puppets.

Given that Glee’s Madonna episode is joining this elite crowd, I should probably introduce it to the other members of my personal Episode Hall of Fame.  I’ve put together the following non-exhaustive list.  It’s mostly sitcoms, with a Saturday morning confection and a soapy nighttime guilty pleasure thrown in for good measure.  (I may do a later post on those dramas that have had a similar effect on me – however, “thrilled to watch over and over again” might not be an accurate description, considering most of those episodes reduce me to a blubbering mess.)

  • Friends, The One with the Embryos – You may remember this one as the episode in which Ross hosts a trivia contest – Rachel and Monica versus Chandler and Joey.  Every time I subscribe to a magazine, I have to resist the urge to request that it be addressed to Ms. Chanandler Bong.
  • How I Met Your Mother, Slap Bet (aka Robin Sparkles) – I will never stop singing “Let’s Go to the Mall.”  This episode was brilliant, and the writers still call back to this episode seasons later.  If you are not watching How I Met Your Mother, be warned that I may sit you down and make you watch this episode on DVD.  Consider me a series dealer, trying to get you hooked with a little taste of awesome.
  • Beverly Hills 90210, Something in the Air – They should have just named this episode “Donna Martin Graduates.”
  • Futurama, Jurassic Bark – I can’t even describe this episode.  In fact, every time I attempt to type up my thoughts on it, I can feel the tears forming at the corner of my eyes.  As a dog lover, I apparently cannot even think of this episode without having an emotional reaction.
  • Scrubs, My Screw Up – The first time I watched this episode, I definitely wasn’t expecting the Sixth Sense-ish twist.  However, knowing the twist doesn’t diminish this episode for me at all.  As usual, Scrubs manages to handle a weighty subject like the death of a loved one with humor and grace.  It gets me every time.
  • The Simpsons, I Love Lisa – Ralph Wiggum is my favorite Simpsons character, hands down.  Always beware the power of a Valentine indicating that you choo-choo-choose the recipient.
  • Saved by the Bell, Jessie’s Song – I mean, come on.  This episode is responsible for my (now-forgotten) fear of caffeine pills and for my inability to say “I’m so excited” without “I’m… so… scared!” tacked on to the end of it.  That’s an impact… and perhaps something of a disease.

I’m sure as soon as I publish this list, I’ll think of some gems I left out.  It’s a risk I’ll have to take, since my DVR has thoughtfully recorded enough of Glee so that I can skip the commercials.  That show is required same-night viewing for me.

What episodes make your hall of fame?

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