It used to be that musical episodes of TV shows would be accompanied by the sight of a shark’s fin and Fonzie climbing into water-skis. But, nowadays, it’s so fashionable to have a musical episode that it doesn’t even matter what kind of show it is. Here are the greatest hits.
‘Mad Men’ – My Old Kentucky Home
An episode where virtually every character gets a song or dance, including (controversially) Roger singing in blackface. We get the delights of seeing Joan play the accordion (you think Christina Hendricks is sexy now…) and a stoned rendition of a barbershop classic. Better than the Bert Cooper zombie tap dance.
‘Oz’ – Variety
Only Johnny Cash should be able to pull off music in prison. But this offbeat episode of the HBO drama punctuated with song and dance numbers works surprisingly well. ‘Oz’ was always experimental, so it doesn’t surprise us that much — and then there’s the fact that ‘West Side Story’s’ Rita Moreno is part of the cast.
‘The Simpsons’ – All Singing All Dancing
As the recent Simpsons at the Bowl concert showed, music is as much a part of Fox’s animated mainstay as Homer’s “Doh!” (a deer, a female deer…). So, this clip show replayed the best songs from the series and had everyone sing throughout the whole episode… about singing for no reason.
‘Quantum Leap’ – Memphis Melody
After cameos from every other mid-twentieth century American icon imaginable, the time-travel drama was bound to get around to Elvis Presley eventually. Featuring awesome renditions of The King’s very best recordings at Sun Records, and some quintessential pop music history thrown in to boot, it’s more than all right… mama.
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ – Once More, With Feeling
It’s rare that musical episodes are ever considered amongst the best series (unless it’s Glee). But this Joss Whedon-directed, -written and -composed installment of the teen horror show has that distinction, even amongst diehard fans. It set a trend for musical episodes that will remain undead for years to come.