Musical Television Moments

On yesterday’s Extra Hot Great Podcast mini-episode they talked about perfect musical television moments. I’ve never watched American Horror Story or Scrubs so I can’t speak to their choices from either of those shows. I loved Everwood and love the song Cathedrals by Jump Little Children, but I have no real recollection of the scene they are talking about. Having seen Arrested Development, I obviously remember Gob’s repeated use of The Final Countdown in his magic act, which is great, but still not something I would probably pick as one of my top moments.

Thus it got me thinking what are my top musical moments from television? As stipulated by the rules in the podcast this can include either music played in the episode or music sung by the characters, but it can’t be a song used in a show like Glee or Smash. I’m sure there are many more moments I could list. I mean I love television, and I love music, so really if I tried I could probably go on forever. These are the ones that sprung immediately to mind when I was thinking about it though.

My Body is a Cage by Peter Gabriel on House

In episode 16 of season 7 of House they use Peter Gabriel’s haunting cover of the song My Body is a Cage to great effect. By this point in House’s run I was no longer enjoying the show at all for the most part and was only watching out of habit or the feeling like I had already invested so much time I needed to watch until the very end. I know that makes no sense, but whatever. This song pretty much encapsulates the entire show though, so it stands out to me as the perfect use of music in a tv show.

Africa by Toto on Chuck

Season 2, Episode 13 of Chuck introduces us to the most wonderful musical creation in all of television history, Jeffster! Their performance of Toto’s Africa is amazing and wonderful and all of the best things about Chuck. It was the first of a number of Jeffster! performances throughout the rest of the series. Some of those are wonderful as well including the epic sequence set to them singing Mr. Roboto, but this was the first and thus the best. Not only is Africa a great song, but this scene is also the best because of the delight that comes from the surprise of it being the first time we ever see them. I didn’t really want to pick two songs from the same show, but an honorable mention also goes the perfect use of The Head and the Heart’s Rivers and Roads during the final scene of the series.

Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper on Parks and Recreation

Another delightful little sequence with the characters on the show singing a song that I love occurs in Season 5, Episode 16 of Parks and Recreation where April and Ann sing Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. There’s not much to say about it other than that it’s a great moment, and I love it.

Dancing on My Own by Robyn on Girls

I already wrote extensively about the use of Dancing on My Own in episode 3 of season 1 of Girls, so I won’t really say much else here other than to say that of course I had to include it and my love for this scene has not diminished since my initial post about it.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole on ER

Episode 22 of Season 8 of ER brought us the death of Mark Greene set to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I love this song. I know people make fun of it and find it twee or whatever their problem with it is, but even before I knew what it was and only knew it as the background to some dot com site for pets or kids or something during the dot com boom I loved it. It was a beautiful song to send off a beloved character.

Coming to America and more by Neil Diamond on The Big Bang Theory

Amy and Howard singing Neil Diamond’s Coming to America in Season 7, Episode 3 of The Big Bang Theory is my most recent musical television delight. I love me some Neil Diamond. He was the first concert I ever went to. My sister and I had an interpretive dance we made up to this song that I’m pretty sure wasn’t too far off from the one in this scene, so I can not tell you how much these scene delighted me when I saw it.

Breathe Me by Sia on Six Feet Under

The closing scene of the series finale of Six Feet Under is by far the best one currently in existence. It will take a lot for another show to usurp its place in that regard. Part of what makes it so wonderful is the perfect choice of music in Sia’s Breathe Me. The combination of the song and the footage of all the characters we’ve grown to love over the course of series aging and dying is extremely powerful. Well done Six Feet Under.

What are some of your favorite musical moments on television?

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