Tuesday, January 16, 2007

tv's musical episod35

It's only two days away. Scrubs: The Musical.

Of course you've seen the music videos of Guy Love and Everything Comes Down to Poo. And you probably remember the musical number, Waiting for My Real Life to Begin, from Season 2 (My Philosophy) and the duet, A Surgeon and a Doc Above It All, from Season 1 (My Way or the Highway).

But did you know that Bill Lawrence, the creator of "Scrubs," is already partly responsible for a musical episode? He co-created the animated series "Clone High" which has a musical ep called Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts (Act 1, Act 2, Act 3).

"Scrubs" and "Clone High" are just two series that normally use dialogue but occassionally tell their tales with song. Here's a list of 35 such musical eps in chronological order.
  • 1956 Feb 20: Lucy Goes to Scotland ("I Love Lucy")
  • 1978 Feb 14: Be My Valentine ("Happy Days")
  • 1981 May 26: American Musical ("Happy Days")
  • 1985 Oct 15: The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice ("Moonlighting")
  • 1988 Nov 4: What's Happening to Me? ("It's Garry Shandling's Show")
  • 1993 May 24: Old Tree ("Northern Exposure")
  • 1993 Nov 27: The Garfield Musical ("Garfield and Friends")
  • 1994 Feb 26: Bobby, the Musical ("Bobby's World")
  • 1996 Apr 21: Zanzibar ("Rocko's Modern Life")
  • 1997 Feb 7: Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious ("The Simpsons")
  • 1997 Oct 15: Brain Salad Surgery ("Chicago Hope")
  • 1997 Dec 12: Boatshow ("Space Ghost: Coast to Coast")
  • 1998 Feb 8: The Bitter Suite ("Xena: Warrior Princess")
  • 1998 Feb 27: Per Chance to Dance ("The Gregory Hines Show")
  • 1999 Feb 6: Doggyland ("The Secret Files of the SpyDogs")
  • 1999 Feb 17: Daria! ("Daria")
  • 1999 Apr 9: Bridgadoom ("Lexx")
  • 1999 Aug 17: Sixth Grade Rebellion Mayhem! ("I Was a Sixth Grade Alien")
  • 1999: The Gay Road to Morocco ("Queer Duck")
  • 2000 Jan 22: Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire ("Xena: Warrior Princess")
  • 2000 Feb 25: Rogers and Hughleystein's Two Jacks and a Beanstalk ("The Hughleys")
  • 2000 May 22: The Musical, Almost ("Ally McBeal")
  • 2001 Nov 6: Once More, with Feeling ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer")
  • 2002 Jan 25: Influenza: The Musical ("Even Stevens")
  • 2002 Apr 30: That '70s Musical ("That '70s Show")
  • 2002 Jul 4: Babes Behind Bars ("One Life to Live")
  • 2002 Dec 15: Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts ("Clone High")
  • 2003 Jul 8: Choices ("Toad Patrol")
  • 2003 Aug 15: The Pie Who Loved Me ("Evil Con Carne")
  • 2003 Nov 16: The President Wore Pearls ("The Simpsons")
  • 2003 Dec 21: musical special ("Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps", BBC3)
  • 2004 Jun 20: School's Out! The Musical ("The Fairly OddParents")
  • 2004 Jul 1: It's a Beautiful Day to Be French ("Yvon of the Yukon", YTV)
  • 2005 Feb 14: Red Socks ("7th Heaven")
  • 2006 Feb 26: My Fair Laddy ("The Simpsons")
  • 2007 Jan 18: My Musical ("Scrubs")
Didn't see your favorite show listed? Could be a number of reasons. If I just totally missed one — which is very likely — please leave a comment and I'll update the list. But first read what follows.

Maybe you're looking for a one-time special or TV movie, like High School Musical (2006). Not a series. Not on the list.

Or maybe you thought you'd see an ep of "Cop Rock." I put all musical series in their own category, such as these live-action, scripted (non-variety) series:
  • "That's Life" (ABC, 1968)
  • "The Singing Detective" (BBC1, 1986)
  • "Rags to Riches" (NBC, 1987)
  • "Hull High" (NBC, 1990)
  • "Cop Rock" (ABC, 1990)
  • "Blackpool" (BBC1, 2004)
And if you want, you can add two more shows to this list of musical series. A 10-episode run of "The Jackie Gleason Show" in 1966 — the most famous ep is "The Adoption" — that retell older "Honeymooners" stories in song. You might also include the four-episode serial, "The Gunfighters" (1966), which is part of the "Doctor Who" series.

Trying to find All Singing, All Dancing from "The Simpsons" (1998 Jan 4)? I didn't include any clipshows like that or Drew's Dance Party from "The Drew Carey Show" (1998 Nov 18) or a number of other series.

I also eliminated eps that centered around a stage musical that the characters were presenting. The musical was part of the storyline and not a replacement for dialogue. That means these eps (and probably many others) came off the list:
  • 1966 Oct 3: The Producer ("Gilligan's Island"): Hamlet
  • 1989 Feb 22: Little Shop 'Til You Drop ("Head of the Class"): Little Shop of Horrors
  • 1990 Feb 14: From Hair to Eternity ("Head of the Class"): Hair
  • 1992 Oct 1: A Streetcar Named Marge ("The Simpsons"): Oh! Streetcar
  • 1999 Sep 11: You Oughta Be in Musicals ("Pepper Ann"): Detention: The Musical
    2000 Nov 22: Helen Keller! The Musical ("South Park")
Not only did I eliminate stage musicals, I eliminated all singing performances. Didn't matter if it was a concert, audition or a fake TV show. Again, these musical acts (and many others) were part of the story and not replacing dialogue:
  • 1961 Feb 13: Mayberry on Record ("The Andy Griffith Show")
  • 1963 Dec 18: The Alan Brady Show Presents ("The Dick Van Dyke Show")
  • 1965 Dec 9: Don't Bug The Mosquitoes ("Gilligan's Island")
  • 1982 Feb 27: The Love Boat Follies ("The Love Boat")
  • 1984 Oct 27: The Heart of Rock 'N' Roll, Part 1 ("Fame")
  • 1985 Jan 26: The Heart of Rock 'N' Roll, Part 2 ("Fame")
  • 1999 Dec 1: Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics ("South Park")
  • 2001 Sep 26: Drew Carey's Back-to-School Rock 'n' Roll Comedy Hour ("The Drew Carey Show")
  • 2002 Feb 10: Variety ("Oz")
  • 2002 Feb 14: cabaret act ("As the World Turns")
  • 2004 Apr 2: Oh Boyz ("Kim Possible")
  • 2004 Jul 30: The Road To Audition ("That's So Raven")
  • 2005 May 8: A Star Is Torn ("The Simpsons")
  • 2006 Jun 18: Episode 12 ("Suzumiya Haruhi")
  • 2006 Nov 4: Battle of the Band ("Kappa Mikey")
Still haven't found your favorite episode? I also required that the ep have more than one or two musical interludes. "Ally McBeal," "Drew Carey," "South Park" and "The Family Guy" are famous for using this gimmick once an episode for multiple eps. Here's a very incomplete list of other shows that used this schtick very rarely:
  • 1989 Nov 7: Sweet Dreams ("Roseanne")
  • 2000 May 18: Two Weddings and a Funeral ("Popular")
  • 2001 May 16: Mrs. Finnerty, You Have a Lovely Daughter ("Grounded for Life")
  • 2002 Oct 28: Little Rock of Horror; Dream a Little Dream ("The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy")
  • 2003 Feb 19: Fan February episode ("One Life to Live"): Starr Over Broadway
  • 2003 Jun 27: Chicago spoof ("Passions"): I Ain’t Sorry/Cell Block Tango
  • 2006 Jan 27: Bollywood spoof ("Passions")
Since I've seen very few of any of these shows, I relied on second- and third-hand accounts. If you see an error, please leave a comment!

Sources: ep descriptions at tv.com; show & ep descriptions at wikipedia; multiple newspaper articles using ProQuest Newspapers search; many fan pages; a variety of blogs/groups/chatrooms; dvd descriptions & reviews.

Update (17 Jan 2007, 14:14PST): Added
  • 1993 May 24: Old Tree ("Northern Exposure")
based on reader comment and subsequent research.
Update (17 Jan 2007, 15:05PST): Added
  • 1985 Oct 15: The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice ("Moonlighting")
based on reader comment and subsequent research.


Anonymous said...

Did "Oz" have a musical episode?

Anonymous said...

There was the episode of Northern Exposure where all Shelly could do was sing -- and she and Holling sang at the end of the episode. But other than the 2 of them, everyone else talked.

dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

"Oz" did have an episode with music. That ep was called 'Variety' and featured prisoners singing in a variety show. (You can find some clips at YouTube.)

That episode of "Oz" is in the list where music was part of the show rather than replacing dialogue.

dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

Thanks for the tip on "Northern Exposure." I totally missed the 'Old Tree' episode from May 24, 1993.

Sounds like Shelly sang at least three songs. I'm adding the show to the list!

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia concerning the show Moonlighting:

Both Shepherd and Willis sang musical numbers over the course of the show. In "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice", Shepherd performed both "Blue Moon" in Maddie's dream sequence and The Soft Winds' "I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out!" in David's, while in "Atomic Shakespeare", Willis sings The Young Rascals' "Good Lovin'". Willis also frequently broke into shorter snippets of Motown songs. Both "Good Lovin'" and "I Told Ya I Love Ya..." appeared on the show's soundtrack album.
The episode "Big Man on Mulberry Street" centers around a big production dance number set to that Billy Joel song. The sequence was directed by veteran musical director Stanley Donen.

dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

Thanks for the "Moonlighting" note and reference!

I just added 'The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice' to the list.

I didn't included 'Big Man on Mulberry Street' since it was only a single interlude.

Anonymous said...

Several of the episodes/songs listed have clips on YouTube now. I have the links if people want them. Let me know in comments.

dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

If you don't mind sharing the links, I'll update the post and include them. Just send an e-mail to me or post them in the comments.

Richard Maurer said...

Here are two more musical TV episodes that are conspiciously absent from your list

"That 70's Show" (4.24 - That 70's Musical)

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (6.7 - Once More, With Feeling).