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TV's Best Musical Episodes, Ever!

11:33 PM Posted by DarknessFalls

With Glee now a world-wide hit, musicals are experiencing a surge in popularity. However, Glee was most certainly not the first major TV show to feature the cast singing and dancing, in fact many very famous shows have musical episodes of their own.

Of course, musical episodes are exceptionally hit-or-miss (the recent Grey's Anatomy musical is a prime example of a big fat miss). Not all actors can sing or dance and explaining why the entire cast of a long-running show are suddenly performing intricately choreographed dance routines can be a struggle. It's fair to say that bad musical episodes are truly cringeworthy but good ones are something special indeed. Let's look at five of the best:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Once More With Feeling

A show where the lead character spends most of her time killing monsters and saving her friends from villainous kidnappers doesn't seem like the likeliest candidate for a musical episode, but Buffy's is the best one.

In it, a snappily-dressed demon is accidentally summoned and under his influence all of Sunnydale begins dancing and revealing their innermost thoughts through song. The episode was series creator Joss Whedon's first attempt at writing a musical and he took six months to write the script and score.

Alyson Hannigan (Willow) was so nervous about singing in the episode that a voice double was almost hired to sing her part. In the end, she found her confidence and sang, but vowed never to do it again.

Best bit: Anya singing about the evil of bunny rabbits.

Scrubs - My Musical

With its silly humour and frequently surreal stories, Scrubs is a far more logical choice for a musical episode than Buffy. Their episode, entitled My Musical, was an ambitious affair, aiming to be at least a bit medically accurate yet still keeping with the Scubs modus operandi of funny episodes with a strong message.

When some of the Scrubs' writers were handed medical journals dealing with musical hallucinations brought on by brain aneurisms they knew they had the perfect way to write their own musical. Following the findings of the journals, the plot follows a woman who has a massive aneurism, she perceives herself and everyone around her as singing, when in fact they are not. Along the way she learns an important lesson, in traditional Scrubs style.

It should come as little surprise that this particular musical was such a success; the Scrubs team took no chances and brought in the Avenue Q writing team of Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez as well as Broadway orchestrator Doug Besterman to ensure that they kept fans happy.

Best bit: Turk and JD's song, Guy Love.

Xena: Warrior Princess - The Bitter Suite

To those who look back on 1990s television with fondness, Xena: Warrior Princess is very much a guilty pleasure. It was camp, cheesy historical fantasy that never took itself too seriously and heavily featured a scantily clad woman beating up baddies; what's not to like?

In The Bitter Suite, Xena and her will-they-won't-they sidekick Gabrielle are transported to a magical land after Xena tries to kill Gabrielle because Gabrielle's daughter murdered Xena's son (told you it was cheesy). They travel through the aforementioned magical kingdom, facing the issues that drove them apart and finally coming to the realization that they are, in fact, super best friends.

Despite the truly monumental cheese factor, The Bitter Suite was nominated for two Emmys, possibly because several of the characters singing voices were overdubbed with those of Broadway stars.

Best bit: Hate Is The Star, the episode's campiest song (which sounds suspiciously like Kill The Beast from Beauty and the Beast).

Rugrats - Music

Technically, adults aren't really supposed to watch Nickelodeon but on days like sick days and rainy Sundays it's nice to regress and enjoy a few episodes of Spongebob, Real Monsters, or Rugrats. For heart-warming animated cuteness, Rugrats' musical episode can't be beat.

The shortest episode on this list, Music sees Angelica and the babies perform classics including Toyland and Pack Up Your Troubles against elaborate imagined backdrops. It's a kids' show so the plot doesn't really go much deeper than that, but the nostalgia value more than makes up for it.

Although the plot's a little bit thin on the ground, Music will transport you back to the sofa at your parent's house, enjoying a bit of Nick before dinner some time in the 1990s.

Best bit: Angelica's rendition of Toyland.

South Park - Elementary School Musical

South Park isn't high-brow viewing, but sometimes parodies and fart jokes are just what the doctor ordered, especially when they poke fun at High School Musical.

Elementary School Musical sees singing and dancing suddenly become cool thanks to a new kid, Bridon Gueermo. The boys resist the new fad, refuse to watch High School Musical, and are made outcasts as a result. Meanwhile, Bridon is trying to convince his family to let him quit singing and take up basketball in a direct reversal of High School Musical's plot. Eventually the boys relent, watch High School Musical, and learn to sing just in time for the fad to end.

While not as clever as the Scrubs musical episode, not as cheesy as the Xena one, and nowhere near as good as Buffy's effort, the South Park musical episode is a funny, albeit juvenile, musical.

Best bit: The unashamed send up of the HSM franchise, Do What You Wanna Do.

This post was provided by Show-and-stay.co.uk; for london theatre bookings and tickets to see musicals in London.

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