Let’s face it: so many things happen in the summer that don’t happen in any other season.
Beach trips, family vacations, camp, and in lots of cases no work or school — sounds like a recipe for fun stuff to happen. On many beloved TV series, from The Simpsons to Beverly Hills, 90210, the writers have shared this sentiment and placed one, two, or even more episodes in a steamy summer locale.
Remember these? In no particular order, here are 11 of our favourite TV episodes that take place in the summer.
1. The Simpsons — Summer of 4 Ft. 2
Many die-hard Simpsons fans will balk at the idea of a Lisa-themed episode, but Summer of 4 Ft. 2 is the usual exception to that rule. Besides being a ton of fun (who doesn’t want to play Mystery Date with Homer and Marge?), it’s the first time we see Lisa outside of the restraints of her normal nerdy self. Out of Springfield, Lisa can be whoever she wants to be, and it’s beyond heartwarming to see her make new friends at the beach while Bart is stuck with Milhouse.
See you in the car, indeed. — CJ
2. Saved By the Bell — The Malibu Sands episodes
The kids from Saved By the Bell had it pretty easy (except for Screech), and they all landed summer jobs at the Malibu Sands beach club. A multi-episode arc wouldn’t be complete without Zack finding a girl to hook up with, and sure enough, he does — Stacey Carosi (a very young Leah Remini). Initially, Stacey is horrified at Zack and his attitude, but sure enough, he eventually wins her over and she becomes his summer fling. As for the other teens in the gang, Slater gets together with an actual princess, Kelly wins a beauty pageant and Screech does a bunch of unexplainable, weird stuff. (Jessie and Lisa are just kinda there.) — CJ
3. Beverly Hills, 90210 — The Summer Seasons (2 and 3)
The teens on Beverly Hills, 90210 also lived in California, so they’re already in perpetual summer. They up it a notch by heading down to the beach for the season. Money-conscious Brandon (Jason Priestley) gets a job at the club while the rest of his pals enjoy the summer playing volleyball, trying to go on dates and otherwise doing what adults playing teenagers do. There is lots of drama, and we see the dynamic Brenda-Dylan coupledom approach its sad end. We also see David Silver (Brian Austin Green) dance that dance.
(Fun fact: The Malibu Sands Beach Club from Saved By the Bell and the Beverly Hills Beach Club in 90210 were the same building. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the 1994 earthquake and has been rebuilt.) — CJ
4. The O.C. Season 1 Episode 27 “The Ties That Bind”
This was the first season finale for The O.C, which reminded us how far the characters have come. Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke) and Caleb Nichol (Alan Dale) walk down the aisle as Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie) and Theresa Diaz (Navi Rawat) face a difficult decision regarding their pregnancy. Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) moves into Caleb and Julie’s new house and Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) struggles to find himself when things around him seem to fall apart.
The perfect conclusion to The O.C.’s first season, it’s staggering to see the Cohens say goodbye to Ryan, who became a second son to them, and for Seth to come to the realization that his life is about to return to the pre-Ryan era. He decides to leave on his sailboat abandoning his girlfriend, Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) and his parents. — KT
5. Laguna Beach Season 1 Episode 11 “Dunzo”
Before heading away to college, the seniors have one last reunion together at the beach. Stephen Colletti and Kristin Cavallari say their goodbyes before he leaves for college. Kristin tells everyone that she and Stephen went to Tiffany & Co to look for rings, leaving the group confused. Stephen picks LC (Lauren Conrad) up from the airport in San Francisco before they start their adventure in a new place together. — KT
6. The Hills Season 1 Episode 10 “Timing Is Everything”
When Lauren Conrad gets offered an internship in Paris, her summer plans with Jason Wahler are put into question. The end scene shows Lauren packing her hot pink luggage into her car and headed somewhere. Viewers question if she will she spend the summer in Paris with Teen Vogue or at a Malibu beach house with Jason.
Whitney Port shows up to the airport instead, taking Lauren’s spot in Paris with Teen Vogue. Lauren “came just in time for the sunset” as she cuddles up with Jason. Audrina Patridge and Heidi Montag decide to spend the summer partying. And Lauren will always be known as “the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” — KT
7. Malcolm in the Middle Season 2 Episode 1 “Traffic Jam”
As the family drives home from the water park, they get stuck in a major traffic jam. Each family member tries to deal with the stress, heat and boredom in their own way but Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) roams around on his own. Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) can’t deal with not being in control, Hal (Bryan Cranston) grapples with mortality, Reese (Justin Berfield) is obsessed with a nearby ice cream truck, and Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) attempts to entertain a love interest. — KT
8. The Office Season 3 Episode 23 “Beach Games”
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) takes his employees from Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company to the beach to find out which employee would be his most capable replacement, just in case he receives the promotion he wants in New York. He plans a day of Survivor–like competitions while the office workers visit Lake Scranton. Pam Beesly (Jenna Fisher) is not asked to join the competitions and is forced to watch Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones) have fun.
Michael doesn’t let Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) join the rest of the employees at the beach and forces him to stay in the office while everyone is having fun. — KT
9. Friends Season 4 Episode 1 “The One with the Jellyfish”
Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) are at the beach when Monica is stung by a jellyfish. Chandler has to pee on Monica’s leg to relieve her of the pain. Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) ends up breaking up with his girlfriend Bonnie and shares a room with former girlfriend Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston). Ross takes full responsibility for everything that went wrong between him and Rachel but they get into another fight because he doesn’t believe he was the one who did anything wrong. Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) learns that her real mother regrets giving her up as a baby. When the friends return to the city, Chandler, Monica and Joey confess what really happened at the beach. — KT
10. Sex and the City Season 2 Episode 17 “Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women”
The girls are invited to a beach party in the Hamptons but are weary about all the 20-something girls when they decide to go. Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) lies about her age and ends up getting a sexually transmitted infection from a younger man named Greg. Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) fires her assistant Nina, only to find she is hosting the A-list party in the Hamptons while using Samantha’s entire contact list. Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) weekend gets ruined when she finds Mr. Big (Chris Noth) at the party, back from Paris, with his new 20-something girlfriend, Natasha. — KT
11. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Season 3 Episode 1 “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”
Will Smith (Will Smith) returns home from his summer vacation in Philadelphia with his mom. He brings back a new style and attitude, which rubs off on his cousin Ashley Banks (Tatyana Ali), who starts to pick up Will’s habits. Uncle Phil (James Avery) kicks Will out after he disrupts a catered event hosted at the Banks’ house. In the end of the episode, Will’s cousins Ashley, Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), and Hilary (Karyn Parsons) attempt to take Will’s side but Uncle Phil decides the best way to handle the situation is to ground everyone, except for Will, until the clothes and hair he’s wearing are taken off. — KT