Go to the Prom With Some of TV's Best School Dance Episodes

With many schools having to cancel or post-pone the prom, these TV episodes will make you feel the nostalgia.

By TV Scoop Team 15 May, 2020 8:57 PMTags
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For many students, the end of the school year is generally marked by the big dance, the prom. But as schools around the country pivoted to distance learning in the wake of the coronavirus, the prom didn't happen in the traditional sense. If you're missing the big dance, or just want to experience the nostalgia of the prom and days gone by, these TV episodes are a perfect antidote.

The prom TV episode is the hallmark of a young adult/family show. It's almost always full of some kind of drama or milestone, even for comedies throwing their hat in the ring with a prom-centric installment.

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Below, take a walk down memory with some of the best prom episodes of a few of our all-time favorite shows.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "The Prom"

Where to begin with this memorable episode? How about the Buffy and Angel breakup? Buffy saving the day and her classmates once again? The real magic moment was when the Buffy's classmates created an award for her and named her Class Protector for everything she did for them over the years. She got her umbrella trophy and the win she desperately needed. 

One Tree Hill - "Prom Night at Hater High" and "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love"

Oh, senior prom at Tree Hill High. First, everyone got into a massive fight over a drunken party experience from two years earlier when Nathan and Brooke hooked up, and then Peyton got kidnapped and forced to dance with her stalker in a creepy basement prom, and she and Brooke almost got murdered before finally making it to prom, covered in blood, after taking the guy down. Talk about a night to remember! 

Friends - "The One With the Prom Video"

If you're a fan of Ross and Rachel, this is a truly iconic episode. An old home movie reveals that on prom night, when Rachel's date didn't arrive, Ross was ready to take her himself, only for Rachel's date to show up after all. For some reason Rachel cannot get over this and this is what finally brings the two of them together. Come for that couple if you're into it, but if not, come for the fantastically 80s prom outfits. 

Dawson's Creek - "The Anti-Prom"

"The Anti-Prom" truly has everything that defined Dawson's Creek. Dawson and Pacey were fighting over Joey and Dawson was being extra obnoxious about it. Jack just wanted to bring the boy he liked to prom, but the dumb prom committee wouldn't let him, so the gang pulled it together to host their own anti-prom. Dawson took Joey as his date, but by the end of the night, Joey was dancing with Pacey and clearly having a better time. The episode after this one also birthed the greatest crying meme of all time, so if you watch this one, you might as well stick around for another.

Boy Meets World - "Prom-ises, Prom-ises"

Cory and Topanga think for sure they're going to have sex on prom night, but of course their plans go awry and the whole thing becomes a sort of slapstick farce as Cory gets a hotel room, but forgets to bring Topanga to the hotel room, and then his parents show up to have a sexy night in the same hotel, and Cory and Topanga end up having no sex at all. But at least they get crowned prom king and queen!  

Grey's Anatomy - "Losing My Religion"

You wanna cry? 'Cause this is gonna make you cry. Back in season two of Grey's Anatomy, the interns were tasked with putting on a prom in the hospital to make Richard's dying niece (Tessa Thompson!) happy, and everybody got all dressed up and ready to pretend they were at a real prom with their respective partners. But then Mer and Derek (who were not each other's partners) hooked up in an exam room while Izzie, who had recently cut Denny's LVAD wire, discovered that the love of her life had died before he even got to see her dress. And yes, Snow Patrol is playing as all of this happens. It's a quintessential Grey's episode, and sad as hell. 

Veronica Mars - "Look Who's Stalking"

Naturally, Veronica Mars had an alterna-prom in Logan's penthouse after the traditional high school dance was canceled. The episode is memorable for one very specific scene with Logan (Jason Dohring) professing his feelings for Veronica (Kristen Bell) once again. "I thought our story was epic, you know, you and me," he told her. "Epic how?" Veronica asked.

"Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic," Logan said.

And now we're crying.

Glee - "Tina in the Sky With Diamonds"

In season two, we got "Prom Queen" with covers of "Rolling in the Deep" and "Dancing Queen" (duh!). Karofsky was elected prom king and Kurt prom queen. Drama ensued, you know how it was. The senior prom followed in "Prom-asaurus," complete with an anti-prom, a moment for Finn and Rachel and Quinn standing (she was in a wheelchair at this point) in a surprising twist. In season five's "Tina in the Sky With Diamonds," a Beatles tribute episode, Tina is crowned prom queen and is Carrie-d with a slushie.