While you’re waiting for the ball to drop, why not revisit what New Year’s is like in TV land?
Claire Danes’ series protagonist Angela Chase begins the show by wondering if she’s too introspective—to which we say, holy moly, Angela, yes, every single episode, and that’s why we love you! Meanwhile, the rest of the cast gives us their New Year’s resolutions. The main one is Rickie’s need to find a new place to live, having been kicked out of his uncle’s place. Rayanne wants to stop drinking and Danielle wants to browbeat her mom into letting her wear makeup . . . which is honestly much-needed balance.
It’s the year 2000, and Y2K has everyone in Arlen going nuts. Dale, predictably, is panicking about the end of civilization, albeit partly because a gerbil has destroyed his supplies. Peggy, worried that she’ll lose years’ worth of her mediocre newspaper column, devotes herself to printing out everything from her computer. Even Hank goes a bit loopy, buying Peggy a grandfather clock for Christmas, as it won’t lose the date like a computer with Y2K issues will. Cool heads eventually prevail, though, and the Hill family end up looking forward to the new year.
Chez Henri is off the menu for the New Year’s party thanks to a crème brûlée accident, so naturally the Crane clan must set off for Idaho in Martin’s Winnebago. Niles ends up getting in a different RV at a rest stop and—naturally—jumps to the conclusion that he’s being kidnapped. What is perhaps the world’s first farce on wheels ensues.
Mr. Bean’s friends have an awful time at Mr. Bean’s New Year’s Eve party, as they are served Twiglets dipped in Marmite and champagne that’s really vinegar and sugar—look, there’s a thin band of Mr. Bean logic to it. His friends conspire to push the clock forward, tricking Mr. Bean into an early night. Later, he buys too much stuff at the New Year’s sales, causing the legendary bit where he sits in an armchair atop his Mini Cooper and drives with a set of ropes and brooms. Later, he decorates his apartment with the help of fireworks. It’s actually one of the best episodes of Mr. Bean ever.
In what may be the greatest pilot in the history of TV shows, delivery boy Philip J. Fry is accidently frozen in a pod on December 31st, 1999, only to wake up a thousand years in the future. It’s a moment revisited over and over in the series. Throwaway jokes such as the alien ships destroying New York are shown in a later episode and, if you look closely, you can see the shadow of Nibbler ready to push Fry into the pod. That’s how well planned this series is.
The friends are invited to a taping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and the main plot involves Joey trying to figure out if his roommate Janine is into him. There’s also a subplot where Rachel, Chandler, and Phoebe try to figure out where Monica’s present stash is hidden.
But the reason everyone remembers this episode is thanks to Monica and Ross recreating a childhood dance they dub “the routine.” It’s probably one of the most memorable dances in TV history.