It’s almost time for St. Patrick’s Day, and you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up seven of our favorite “lucky” St. Paddy’s Day moments to get you ready for the annual Irish celebration.
Admittedly, St. Patrick’s Day is no Christmas when it comes to themed episodes, but we still found a pot of gold at the end of the TV rainbow — and a whole lot of classic TV memories. So, grab a green beer or a Shamrock Shake and toast to the luck o’ the Irish along with us.
1. Cheers, “Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey” (1993)
Cheers fans surely recall the gang’s an ongoing battle with rival bar Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern, thus giving us the long-running sitcom’s classic “Bar Wars” episodes. In this final bar war, a St. Paddy’s Day prankfest included everything from a nude sing-along to beer price gouging. Sure, Woody (Woody Harrelson) had to take one for the team (he got caught in the crossfire when Gary walled up the Cheers bar), but in the end, the Cheers gang finally got vengeance over their longtime rival — and Gary’s got bulldozed.
Cheers writer/producer Ken Levine later wrote about this episode on his blog, explaining that it was high time to let the Cheers gang “win” the bar war in the show’s final season: “Ultimately, we decided to not only let Cheers win but to demolish Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern once and for all. We’re nothing if not vengeful,” Levine said.
2. The Simpsons, “Homer V. the 18th Amendment” (1997)
Homer Simpson was a hometown hero in this Season 8 Simpsons episode that featured Bart getting drunk at Springfield’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. (Don’t judge — it was an accident, thanks to a beer-spewing Duff float!) After the entire town saw the drunken tyke on TV, a lobby to resurrect an old prohibition law took place. But have no fear, the Beer Baron, aka Homer is here. Turns out the Springfield no-drinking law was repealed 199 years earlier, so… a round of Duffs for everyone! And Homer toasted the town with this doozy: “To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!”
3. Bonanza, “Hoss and the Leprechauns” (1963)
It’s been more than 50 years, but leave it to Bonanza brother Hoss (Dan Blocker) to come up with this fish story: The middle Cartwright son came home with a strongbox full of gold, which he said he got from a leprechaun. No one believed him until an Irish professor showed up and said there was actually multiple leprechauns roaming around town. Hilarious hijinks ensued (this episode is worth watching just to see a pre-Little House on the Prairie Michael Landon get flipped by the little green guys) before the truth came out. Two words: circus act.
4. Bewitched, “The Leprechaun” (1966)
Poor Darrin (Dick York). He’s had to deal with elves, warlocks, and poltergeists ever since tying the knot with Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery). But all that comes with the territory when you marry a witch, right? What Darrin didn’t bank on was having to deal with leprechauns, but that’s exactly what happened in this Season 2 episode — and in a surprise twist the green guy in question was actually a friend of his family’s, not his witchy wife’s! Leprechaun Brian O’Brien (Henry Jones) really just wanted his last pot of gold back, but he ended up cutting a pretty sweet advertising deal with McMann and Tate, too.
Fun fact: Darrin #2 (Dick Sargent) had his own leprechaun action four years later in the episode “If the Shoe Pinches,” but that time Endora (Agnes Moorehead) deliberately zapped up the mystical little fella to mess with her son-in-law.
5. All in the Family, “Too Good Edith” (1979)
We shed a few tears in our green beer when the All in the Family series finale aired — and not just because the show was ending. When Edith (Jean Stapleton) was diagnosed with potentially fatal phlebitis, her doctor told her to stay off of her feet. That meant no corned beef and cabbage cooking for Archie’s (Carroll O’Connor) big St. Patrick’s Day party.
Of course, devoted wife Edith disobeyed her doc and dove right into the party prep, and when Archie found out she was sick he was furious that she didn’t tell him about it. TV’s biggest loudmouth’s final line of the series (before the spinoff, Archie Bunker’s Place) was a poignant one, to his wife: “I’ve been blowing my own horn for a lot of years,” Archie told Edith. “I’m gonna tell you something: I ain’t nothing without you.” Can someone give us a big ol’ green hanky?
6. 30 Rock, “St. Patrick’s Day” (2012)
This 30 Rock episode marked the return of Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters), Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) inconsiderate ex who showed up just in time to spoil her St. Patrick’s Day plans to mock Irish revelers with her new man Criss (James Mardsen). But the bigger fail came when Jenna and Tracy (Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan) hosted the network’s St. Patrick’s Day parade after fighting over who should get top billing. The highlight? Jenna passed out on camera and Tracy dropped an impromptu F-bomb. A disgusted Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) summed things up like this: “Passing out. Cursing. On St. Patrick’s Day? Is anything sacred?“
7. How I Met Your Mother, “No Tomorrow” (2008)
Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) knows how to suit up, so his snazzy green suit was a highlight of this episode, which originally aired after the painful 2007-2008 Writers’ Guild strike. Of course, even more surprising than the fact that Barney had a bright green suit in his closet was the fact that Ted (Josh Radnor) decided to let loose and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by living like there’s no tomorrow. And live it up he did — with hot chicks, champagne and caviar (ordered on someone else’s tab), and… OK, a morning-after black eye which served as a reminder that tomorrow eventually does come.