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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I miss Oz. He'd get it. He wouldn't say anything, but he'd get it."
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March 29 2011

Musical TV Episodes: The Gimmick That Won't Die. Salon.com pays homage to Joss' visionary musical television excursion and ponders whether his followers have lived up to his "audacious" and "unrivaled" achievement.

Considering it won an Emmy, shame they didn't mention the Chicago Hope "Brain Salad" episode in the "medical musicals". Or Xena's Emmy-nominated musical episodes. Apparently nobody on the interwebs thinks anything happened before Y2K. ;)
The medical musical has a robust history on television. It first appeared back in 2007,

Yeah.. No.

My take? If your show can't take a musical number or two, I'm probably not going to watch it.
I'm looking forward to "Spartacus: Blood and Singing" then.
If there's ever a case for drug trip induced fantasy, one with slaves in is ripe for it.
Ally McBeal also went the musical episode roue, which at least had Jane Krakowski in full Broadway mode.
And naturally, no one talks about Cop Rock. Guys, it existed. It didn't work, and civilization survived. Just like when New Coke and Crystal Pepsi were unleashed
It really depends on the show. And frankly I don't think anyone's going to come up with a musical conceit that works better than OMWF, deconstructing the musical genre itself as it did while simultaneously advancing the plot.

On the other hand... House did a dream episode? That I might have to see.
gossi: If your show can't take a musical number or two, I'm probably not going to watch it.

You're right! I now think The Event should have a musical episode: it would make even less sense than the regular episodes which will automatically elevate it to awesome spectacle. Although since Simon already thinks it's awesome, we may have to find a new word for way more awesomer than awesome!
There is one movie called "Sudden Death" where there's this deadly virus or something that kills everyone, but right before they die they also break into song and dance. (Doug Jones of Buffy monster fame is apparently in it.)
Gamer is worth watching for a certain scene close towards the end. It was fantastic.
Jaymii, I tried repeatedly to convince them (read: tweeted and FB'd it a lot) that the Spartacus prequel should have been Dominus Batiatus' Sing-Along Ludus. I even made a t-shirt and wore it at Comic-Con last year. Alas, they went with Gods of the Arena.
Doesn't the Salon writer know the phrase "jump the shark" has Jumped the Shark? There's always room for a good musical episode. Musicals have been around for many years, on stage & the big screen.

Even Mad Men had an episode in which actors got to perform, even if it wasn't a full blown musical. John Slattery (as Roger Sterling) did a cringe-inducing blackface number. One of the account execs did a bit of a capella with his dope dealing college friend. And our own Christina Hendricks sang a Cole Porter tune & accompanied herself on the accordion.

(Too bad Xena got only a brief mention.)
There's a difference between a show having characters sing or perform in the way that normal people in the real world might have the opportunity to (Mad Men) and just shoehorning in a nonsensical musical episode into an otherwise normal drama.
If we're going to talk about movies with unexpected musical sequences, Magnolia's characters singing Aimee Mann's "Wise Up" in the middle must be given its due. (Bonus credit because Joss gives a nod to it in OMWF and because Mann is the only musical guest who ever had a line in the show or interacted at any level with what was going on in the The Bronze.)
Roseanne did a musical/dream episode in its second series back in 1989.
Musical epsiodes can be good; the one from Big Brother Jake is the most truly memorable epsiode of that inoffensive but unmemorable sitcom.

Sorry, I hated Chicago Hope's musical. An hour of lip-synching in my opinion Isn't a musical. (Yes, I know, Patinkin, Arkin, and I'd assume the kid did their own singing; nobody else did, not even ELizondo, who should have.)

The Xena episodes are often used (by Joss himself, in fact) as examples of how repeating an idea isn't always good strategy.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2011-04-02 20:42 ]

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