Secret Pleasures #13: Musical TV Episodes

19 Dec

If you’re a fan of TV and music why wouldn’t you like to combine the two.  In fact, Glee is so popular because it is combining television and the music industry together thereby making a huge profit from both song sales and television sales.  However, this post is not specifically about Glee.  While I admit I watch Glee I’m not a crazy, dedicated fan.  Instead, I prefer the rare musical episode in a non-musical television series.  For example, “Once More With Feeling” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or “My Musical” from Scrubs.

A musical episode requires a lot of creativity on the part of the writers.  Seriously, how do you make it normal for everyone to burst out in song?  In Buffy it was a demon while in Scrubs it was a brain aneurysm.  The songs are also written specifically for the characters.  By doing this the audience can relate to a character they “know” rather than a musical artist who they read about in magazines – it’s a deeper connection.  The songs also reveal the true feelings of a character; they are the feelings that you understand as an omniscient outsider but other characters within the diegesis don’t know yet.

Musical television episodes also give actors a chance to showcase other talents.  Most of the cast of Buffy actually have really good voices.

Besides music, dancing is a huge part of musicals.  Scrubs was exciting in its theatrical group dancing while Buffy showed off some crazy choreography.

Finally, music is catchy and television is addictive.  The result is an episode you can watch over and over again.  I think I’ve probably watched the Buffy musical episode at least 5 times this year – it really is that good.

My secret pleasure: The combination of four great things: music, television, dancing, and creativity.


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