A Valentine's Day episode is a goldmine for a TV show. Either it's an excuse for dramas and soaps to amp up the romance (and sex) by getting couples together, tearing them apart, or throwing a formal dance into the high-school works; or it's a treasure trove of sitcom misunderstandings, bad dates, and worse behavior.
We could barely narrow down the episodes with the title "Valentine's Day Massacre," much less pick our all-time favorite Valentine's eps -- it wasn't easy, but we picked these six as the best. Scary, funny, cringey, cute: There's something for everyone, so settle in with a box of chocolates and watch your favorite, then vote in our poll below!
Arrested Development, "The Marta Complex"
Michael is falling for Gob's girlfriend, Marta -- but agrees to help Gob track down the guy Gob says Marta is cheating on him with, a mysterious man named "hermano" (who is, of course, Michael himsef, but he finds that out after he's made a huge mistake). We're also introduced to Tobias Funke's never-nudity, and Buster tries to move in with Lucille 2, only to find that Carl Weathers has already moved in on her with a stew recipe.
Buffy, "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"
One of the many episodes that should have cured the Scoobs of their temptation to mess with magic permanently, "BB&B" sees Cordelia dump Xander because her friends have busted on her -- and Xander attempt to retaliate with a love spell he gets Amy to cast. Unfortunately, it makes him catnip to every lady in Sunnydale except Cordelia -- including Buffy. And her mom. And Buffy gets turned into a rat. Yiiikes. The ep has a happy ending, with the spell reversed and Xander and Cordy reunited, and it gave viewers a break from the intensity of the Angelus storyline (while also introducing the term "big bad").
ER, "Be Still My Heart"
The reason many people still can't hear Lo Fidelity Allstars's "Battleflag" without feeling anxious, "Be Still My Heart" is better known as "the Carter-and-Lucy-get-stabbed episode." Paranoid patient Paul (David Krumholtz) ambushes Carter during the ER's Valentine's party, stabbing him in the back. The party's loud music means nobody else hears a thing, and when Carter hits the floor, he's horrified to see Lucy on the floor across from him, her throat slit, gasping for air. A truly chilling sequence over a decade later.
Mad Men, "For Those Who Think Young"
It's the very opposite of romantic. The cynicism of "Mad Men" about relationships is on its usual bleak display as Don Draper suffers a mechanical failure in the bedroom with wife Betty; Pete Campbell's wife still can't conceive, and he's happy to spread rumors at work that his fling, Peggy, spent three months at a fat farm; Joan and Roger broke up, and she's now dating the odious Dr. Greg -- but the second-season premiere of "Mad Men" is still a lot of fun, knowing what we know now about where these storylines go. Sal is married, to a lady! Joan and Peggy still hate each other! Don's doctor orders him to cut down on the boozing and smokes! Peggy's hair is dreadful! Good times.
The Simpsons, "I Love Lisa"
In which "I choo-choo-choose you" entered the American pop-culture lexicon, thanks to Ralph Wiggum's intense and unrequited feelings for Lisa. Our favorite moment: Bart rewinding the videotape to watch Ralph's heart physically breaking -- in slow motion.
The X-Files, "The Rain King"
The sixth season of "The X-Files" seemed to spend a lot of time on stories that pointed up the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully, and "The Rain King" is a perfect example. Valentine's Day in drought-beleaguered Kroner, KS sees Daryl (Clayton Rohner of "Just One of the Guys") dump Sheila (Victoria Jackson, in her one non-annoying performance) for putting their engagement in the newspaper -- then wrecking his truck when heart-shaped hail runs him off the road. It turns out the local weatherman's unsung love for Sheila has been causing all sorts of weird weather events ever since high school. And their reunion approacheth…
It's a lighter-weight premise than most episodes, but Gillian Anderson makes the most of her snarkily skeptical lines, Sheila's lipsticky play for Mulder is brilliant, and the nerd gets the girl. Aw.