This week I decided to go with my favorite weather-themed TV episodes. Some are shows I’ve recommended before and some aren’t, but check these out if you’re in the mood for some tempest-themed TV!
“Daria! The Musical” – Daria
Not only is this episode of Daria about a hurricane, it’s also a musical episode, so it’s naturally one of my favorites of this series. Daria, Jane, Brittany, and Kevin get stuck on the roof of Lawndale High right when a hurricane is headed toward the town.
Daria is usually fairly grounded in realism, so there’s some question about whether this episode is supposed to be a stand-alone “special episode,” or if it fits into the canon of the show. It was originally supposed to air somewhere in the middle of season three, but then got bumped up to be the season premiere. I’m not sure what prompted the change, but it does make sense as far as the timeline goes. I’ve never wanted to consider it a holiday from the show’s canon, especially because everyone pretty much accepted the Guy Fawkes Day episode, which is also one of my favorite but probably even more fantastical.
So if you want to get your grungy, angsty, 90’s nostalgia on, check out this gem from Daria. It’s available on Amazon Prime and DVD.
“Two Cathedrals” – The West Wing
Spoiler Warning: this recommendation includes major spoilers for the second season of The West Wing.
There’s a lot to love about The West Wing, but one of my favorite things about it is its incredibly rich characters and their complicated relationships with each other. It allows for fully fleshed out characters through and through, and I can’t think of one character on this show, no matter how secondary, that didn’t feel real to me.
Mrs. Landingham is an amazing character, and since she’s featured in “Two Cathedrals,” it’s one of my favorites. This one takes place right after her death, when there’s a lot of pressure on President Bartlet to announce whether or not he’s going to run after the MS coverup is exposed. The staffers are worried he’s too upset about Mrs. Landingham’s funeral to focus on the re-election and, you know, other presidential stuff.
The best part of this episode is that it flashes back to when President Bartlet is in school and meets Mrs. Landingham, who works for his father. She’s smart, sassy, and pushes the President to do the right thing and stand up to his father. Her influence bleeds over into the present, when President Bartlet has a vision of her in the Oval Office during a tropical storm. She encourages him to run for re-election. It’s emotional. I cry every time.
So, okay, this episode is about Mrs. Landingham’s memory and her funeral more than it’s about the weather. Sue me. It’s a great episode, and if you’re in the mood for a West Wing Greatest Hits marathon, add this one to your list. It’s available on Netflix and DVD.
“Take a Break from Your Values” – Orange is the New Black
This recommendation includes major spoilers for season two of Orange is the New Black.
I’ve told you all before how much I love Orange is the New Black. I think it’s new and innovative storytelling about women and that the diversity of the cast and the honesty and relatable plot lines make for exciting television. So I had to include the hurricane episode in season two.
Piper is dealing with the newsletter, but she takes a backseat in this episode to Soso’s issues with a hunger strike and a lot of drama in the prison about an impending hurricane headed for Litchfield. Vee is losing control over her followers as she continues to freeze out Poussey, making Taystee question her motives. Piper finds out she might be moving to Virginia, we see Sister Ingalls’ past in flashback form, and Red and Big Boo have a falling out. The Golden Girls try to stab Vee but they get the wrong inmate, and that’s what you missed on Glee!
I think I love this episode so much because there’s so much going on that no one character has too much screen time. Plus, Larry gets slapped in the face and Big Boo outlines the gay agenda for Pennsatucky, and it is fabulous. The episode falls near the end of season two, and action is really ramping up for the season finale, which everyone who watches the show will surely remember as being insanely awesome and dramatic. If you haven’t watched this show yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. It’s well worth the Netflix subscription.
Orange is the New Black is available exclusively on Netflix.