Valentine's Day 2013: 5 Lessons TV Taught Us About the Holiday


With January behind us, you may have noticed the most gruesome holiday of the year is upon us.  I am referring, of course, to Valentine’s Day. 

Now, while I wouldn’t describe myself as militantly anti-Valentine’s Day — if someone gives me chocolate, I will eat it — I have found myself at a bit of a loss lately as to how to actually celebrate it, especially when the chocolate isn’t forthcoming. As with most dilemmas in my life, I turned to TV to find the answer. Here is the Valentine’s Day wisdom I gleaned:

1. There Is No Such Thing as a Good Valentine’s Day: “Valentine’s Day,” The Office

This second season of The Office’s Valentine’s Day episode is the most conventional celebration on our list and probably the best justification for why you should consider options four through one. Predictably, most characters end up disappointed. All Phyllis, the character with the most romantic Valentines, even gets is a bunch of flowers and a Kevin-sized teddy bear. What do you even do with that? And that’s the good Valentine’s Day. The other characters mostly mope around waiting for Valentines that will never arrive. Who needs that?

2. Don’t Mix Alcohol and Fire: “The One with the Candy Hearts,” Friends

This episode contains some very specific instructions for an alternative Valentine’s Day celebration — a bad boyfriend-cleansing ritual. If you would like to host a boyfriend bonfire of your own, here’s what you need: Oregano, sacramental wine, and the semen of a righteous man. Alternatively, you can use sage, fresca, and skip the righteous man bit, because, as Rachel points out, if you had one of those, you wouldn’t need the ritual.  Note: Adding grappa is a bad idea. 

3. Make Time to Celebrate Platonic Love: “Galentine’s Day,” Parks and Recreation

If you’re the sort of person who’s just looking for more ways to spread Valentine’s Day cheer, I suggest you give Leslie Knope’s Galentine’s Day a try. Galentine’s Day is a day devoted to celebrating your favorite girlfriends. It lacks the hardened bitterness of some of our other options. 

Since it’s traditionally held on February 13, it leaves you free to spend actual Valentine’s Day with that special someone … I assume you must have a special someone, as the aforementioned lack of bitterness isn’t a deal-breaker for you. To celebrate, invite your girlfriends out to a Galentine’s Day breakfast. Everyone gets a gift bag, which compensates for this holiday’s lack of vitriol. 

4. Anesthesia Is a Powerful Aphrodisiac: “Anna Howard Shaw Day,” 30 Rock

Anna Howard Shaw Day is the brainchild Liz Lemon, who prefers to celebrate the February 14 birthday of suffragette, Anna Howard Shaw, in place of Valentine’s Day, “a sham invented my card companies to exploit gender stereotypes.” Anna Howard Shaw Day is the perfect alternative for you, if you prefer your bitterness under a cloak of indignant feminism.  On a practical note, to celebrate Anna Howard Shaw day, you should schedule a root canal and make out with a plant you’ve named “Bon Jovi.”  

5. Screw It. Let’s Just Have a Festivus For the Rest of Us: “The Strike,” Seinfeld

Technically, Festivus is a holiday meant to replace Christmas; however its indiscriminate belligerence merits it a spot on this list. To celebrate a festivus for the rest of us, you need an aluminum pole, around which you gather your family and friends for the airing of grievances. Festivus is over when a guest of your choice pins you, the hostess, during the feats of strength.  For bonus points, label mundane occurrences, “festivus miracles.” 

As for me, I’ll be spending it with my one true love. I’m referring of course to my TV set, duh.