Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Name Game and Other Unexpected Musical Moments In TV

'American Horror Story: Asylum' took everything that was great about the first series and improved it in every way. With each dark twist and messed up revelation, I fell more and more in love with this show but as soon as I watched 'The Name Game', I realised that this could be one of my favourite series ever. 

The episode was full of standout moments, including the deaths of not one but two major characters but one scene in particular elevated 'The Name Game' to classic status. Yes, of course I'm talking about Sister Jude's transformation from broken mental patient to sassy pop singer. Thank you electroshock therapy! 'The Name Game' was originally written and recorded by US singer Shirley Ellis in 1964 but Jessica Lange makes the novelty hit her own in a bizarre version that fits the tone of the show perfectly. Check it out below. I guarantee you'll press play more than once.

"Judy udy bo budy, banana fanna fo fudy, fee fy mo mudy...Judy!"

How fricking cool is Jessica Lange!? It was such a shock to see the actors actually smiling and dancing in that dank hell pit for a change and the whole scene brought some levity to an otherwise seriously dark episode. Another highlight of the series for me was when the possessed Sister Mary Eunice cracked out the raunchy dance moves to Lesley Gore's 60s hit 'You Don't Know Me'. Check out some clips of this scene below. Girl got some moves!

"I'm young and I love to be young. I'm free and I love to be free."

But they're not the only shows I love that have switched into full-on musical mode in the blink of an eye. Mad Men and Fringe did it well but there are three programmes in particular that stand out as perfect examples of this new trend that has recently become more prevalent in US TV.

First up is a scene from series one of 'Pushing Daisies' that showcases Kristen Chenoweth's insanely powerful voice. How could the shows creators cast the Broadway star and not let her belt out a musical classic? 'Hopelessly Devoted To You' was not only the perfect choice for Chenoweth's voice but the lyrics of the song perfectly summed up her character's state of mind at that point of the series. The performance is both heartbreaking and beautiful all at once.  I love Olive!

"But there's nowhere to hide since you pushed my love aside."

TV shows were cracking out the musical moves long before 'Pushing Daisies' however. Joss Whedon is enjoying more success right now than he ever has before yet one of his defining moments for me was his work on the musical episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. Titled 'Once More With Feeling', the mini musical was not only written and directed by the series creator but he even wrote the music! Godammit he's good! From the moment that Buffy opens her mouth to sing, I instantly fell in love with the whole project but if I had to pick one standout song from the episode, then it would have to be the 'Under Your Spell/Standing Reprise'. Like all the best musical numbers, the lyrics help develop the story but its the emotion behind the delivery that is truly gut wrenching for fans of the show who saw their beloved characters become desperately lost and alone. Other highlights include 'Going Through The Motions' and 'Rest In Peace'. Watch the clip below and then go out and buy the soundtrack NOW!

"You know I've been through hell. Willow, don't you see? There'll be nothing left of me. You made me believe..."

Finally, I wanted to lighten the tone with one of the most unexpected but hilarious musical interludes you could imagine. In the fifth episode of '30 Rock' titled 'Jack-Tor', Jenna Maroney performs a song called 'Muffin Top' which you just have to see to believe. Annoyingly, I can't currently find the clip to share with you guys but I have a live performance of the song performed by the actress who plays Maroney, Jane Krakowski. She begins with a song called 'I See Myself In You' but 'Muffin Top' soon rears its head. The whole thing is a must see for any fans of the show. Check it out now!

"My muffin top is all that whole-grain low fat."

So what do you think? Are you as obsessed with Jessica Lange's rendition of 'The Name Game' as I am? And do you like it when a show randomly throws in a musical number or do you find the whole experience a bit too jarring? And finally, have you got any other favourite musical moments from non musical shows that I may have missed out? Let me know what you think by commenting, liking and sharing below.

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