How can you mend a broken heart? By listening to Al Green songs? Joining that yoga class in your neighborhood? Going to therapy? Taking a trip alone to get reacquainted with you? Yes, sure, all of those things are taking a step in the right direction towards getting over your recently kaput relationship, but you know what else helps? Why, the solver of all problems: television.
Of course, there’s a fine line between watching a few episodes of TV to help you cope with your split and binge-watching every episode of House on Netflix not because it helps, but because it’s there. That’s where we come in. We’ve narrowed down the 13 best episodes to watch if you’re going through a break-up to give you the good laugh/cry/catharsis you need right now. After you’ve cycled through these it’s time to get out of your pajamas and get back out there into the scene. The dating world needs you!
New Girl – “Big News”
This is a fairly recent episode to make the cut, but if you’re currently going through a break-up with someone who happens to be both your roommate and best friend, this should certainly prove to be pretty helpful. Nick and Jess realized it’s better to be honest about the emotions they’re going through rather than lie and say they’re “okay.” Oh, and then you should watch Dirty Dancing on an endless loop and cry it out. Available to watch on Hulu, iTunes, Google Play, and On Demand.
Sex and the City – “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice”
SATC had more than it’s fair share of break-up episodes (“La Douleur Exquise!” and “Change of a Dress” certainly come to mind) but none stuck (sorry) with viewers more than the infamous Post-it episode. After reconciling with the wiener that was Berger, Carrie woke up to find she’d been dumped via a small, yellow sticky note with the words: “I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me.” Carrie went through the entire spectrum of an infuriating break-up in the start-to-finish hilarious episode. No tear-soaked stuff to be found here, just a reminder that your ex was a whiny jerk anyway and that a little pot never hurt anyone. Available to watch on HBO Go and Google Play.
Friends – “The One With the Jellyfish”
Look, if you really want to have a really good wallowing, heaving break-up cry, particularly if you’ve been cheated on, then by all means watch “The One With the Morning After.” But if you need a little bit of levity and the phrase “We were on a break!” has become part of your lexicon, then watch “The One With the Jellyfish” instead. Ross lies about reading a 18-page letter (“Front and back!”) Rachel wrote taking full responsibility for their split, which is totally something an asshole ex would have done too. It all culminates in a yelling match about bad grammar and erectile dysfunction and serves as a helpful reminder that getting back together is rarely a good idea. Available to watch on Google Play.
How I Met Your Mother - “Where Were We?”
Watching a recently-dumped Marshall sitting out in the rain holding Lily’s engagement ring in the Season 1 finale is far too painful to watch. Besides, the Season 2 premiere is better for coping with a split, anyway. Marshall spends his summer wallowing in despair, but his friends do everything in their power to cheer him up (read: take him to a strip club). Even if break-ups make you obsessively check your exes credit card bills like Marshall did, your close friends will get you out of your rut and making crappy pancakes again in no time. Available to watch on Netflix, Google Play, iTunes.
Roseanne – “Fights and Stuff”
Dan and Roseanne don’t technically break up (they did, however, spend a few heartbroken days apart) but their fight after Dan goes back to his bad habits post-heart attack should resonate with anyone who has gone through a table-flipping, TV-breaking, no-holds-barred screaming match. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “The Prom”
Been dumped by your vampire boyfriend who is just trying to do the right thing? We’ve all been there. Okay, maybe not, but Buffy sure has. While you may not relate to every aspect of the Buffy break-up, if you’ve said/heard things like “We need to talk” and “I can’t believe you’re breaking up with me” then this mythical romance should feel pretty damn human. Available to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes.
Gilmore Girls – “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?”
For anyone who has endured the hell of an on-again, off-again relationship, watching Rory and Dean’s first split (at a 24-hour dance marathon, no less) because Dean realizes that Rory has feelings for someone else should strike a nerve. Available to watch on iTunes, Google Play.
Freaks and Geeks – “We’ve Got Spirit”
Oh man, poor Nick Andopolis. Was there any more lovesick kid to ever appear on TV? While his “Lady L” serenade from “Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers” will simultaneously make you cringe and feel grateful you never embarrassed yourself that badly, it’s his split from Lindsay in “We’ve Got Spirit” that really does it. When Lindsay confides to her mom that she wants to break up with Nick, Mrs. Weir accidentally lets it slip to him. In order to save face, Nick breaks up with Lindsay before she has the chance to do it to him, but both parties know exactly what’s going on. Those “amicable” splits are sometimes the worst ones. Available to watch on Netflix, YouTube.
The O.C. – “The Dawn Patrol”
If you’ve ever tried to win someone back during a break-up only to have it backfire, then Summer’s declaration of love in a room filled with romantic decorations to Seth in “The Dawn Patrol” will be worthy of a good, let-it-all-out cry. On the other hand, you’ll feel better knowing that whatever you’re going through, at least Adam Brody didn’t tell you “I don’t love you” straight to your face. Available to watch on iTunes, Amazon Prime.
The Wonder Years - “Heartbreak”
Has the only person you’ve loved told you they’ve met someone else and then shattered your heart into a million pieces? When you see “the one” with that new person does the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” play in the background? Take comfort in knowing that a 15-year-old can bounce back from this sort of thing, so can you. Available to watch on Netflix.
My So-Called Life - “Pressure”
Pretty much essential viewing for any high schooler enduring their first break-up, or anyone who grew up watching My So-Called Life and can still relate to the saga of Angela and Jordan. Yes, this is the episode when he tries to get her to have sex, only to have them part ways at the end of the episode. Seriously, whether you’re 14 or 34, Angela’s voiceover will ring true: “Sometimes someone says something really small and it just fits right into this empty place in your heart.” Oof. This show. Available to watch on Hulu, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime.
Mad Men – “The Better Half”
Alright, you’ll want to proceed with caution for this one, considering it’s chock full of awkward (Joan and Roger) and/or inappropriate (Betty and Don) encounters with exes. In fact, just go right ahead and skip to the 39-minute mark of this episode to when Peggy accidentally stabs her boyfriend Abe in the gut and he, in turn, breaks up with her for other non-stabbing related reasons in the ambulance. It’s a moment that will make you laugh at and with bizarre breakups, but mostly it will let you vicariously let you accidentally stab the person who dumped you. Available to watch on Netflix, iTunes.
Glee – “The Break-Up”
Most people broke up with Glee quite a long time ago (and rightly so), but a list of TV episodes dealing with break-ups would probably look incomplete without an episode literally titled “The Break-Up.” It’s certainly even sadder now to watch Cory Monteith, which makes this a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency kind of episode. If you’re in a place where walking through the streets singing Coldplay’s “The Scientist” feels like the only thing that makes sense. Instead, don’t do that, give yourself one time to watch this, and get it out of your system for good. Available to watch on Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Google Play.