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Buffy’s “Once More, With Feeling” was the musical episode to end all episodes – or was it? From Scrubs to Grey’s Anatomy and How I Met Your Mother, which episodes have we crowned the best and which were unfortunate flops?

On the special Buffy edition of Vampire Hype, our hosts bonded over their love for the Buffy musical spectacular “Once More, With Feeling.” While this is the most well known of TV musical episodes, it isn’t anywhere near the only one. Which other episodes have performed as well as the Buffy-fest, and which have fallen flat?

The Best

Buffy: Once More, With Feeling

Any list would be incomplete without the Big One. “Once More With Feeling” showed just how great musical episodes could be, even in such a bizarre context. If someone had pitched us the idea of singing and dancing vampires, and a quasi-metal song about bunnies, it wouldn’t have gone far. But with the master of Joss Whedon behind it, it resulted in an achievement that has set the musical standard.

He was helped out by a musically talented cast. Anthony Stewart Head (Giles), James Marsters (Spike) and Amber Benson (Tara) did much of the heavy lifting vocally, but the rest of the cast more than met the challenge. The songs were well written and entertaining, while managing to be gently mocking of their specific genre. Whedon, you’ve done it again.

Best moment: All of it, but special mention to ensemble number “Walk Through the Fire.”

Scrubs: My Musical

No show exists where music seemed more appropriate than this wacky off-the-wall comedy. This was also a prime opportunity to showcase the musical skills of a supremely talented cast (in a completely silly way). It seems like every member of the cast was either a self-confessed musical theatre nerd (ahem, Zach Braff), or had grown up doing Broadway or Off-Broadway productions.

Scrubs has never been a show to take itself too seriously, and this episode was no exception. With songs titled “Everything Comes Down to Poo” and “For the Last Time, I’m Dominican,” “My Musical” was basically an all-out giggle fest. All of the songs were essentially parodies of well-known musical theatre numbers from Beauty and the Beast and Les Mis, amongst others. Can you guess which song parodied which?

Best moment: “Guy Love,” possibly the best song ever written. Ever.

Community: Regional Holiday Music

Community‘s parody of Glee was a joy to behold. Whether you’re a Glee fan or not, there is no doubt that it does sometimes fall into certain TV tropes, and “Regional Holiday Music” exploited them all. From the incessant discussion of Regionals, the nonsensical mashups, the crazy show choir director wearing equally crazy sweater vests, this was Glee all over.

The songs themselves were ridiculous, with the quirky and skewed humour that we associate with Community. The strength of the songs was in the lyrics, written by the regular writing team, and in the unabashedly enthusiastic performances from the cast. They were parodies, but they were also hilarious in their own right. Plus who can forget the beauty of Britta’s “awkward song” to wrap everything up.

Best moment: Troy and Abed performing “Baby Boomer Santa,” #dreamteam.

How I Met Your Mother: “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit” from Girls Vs Suits

Any chance for musical theatre dynamo and all-around perfect human being Neil Patrick Harris to show off his musical skills is okay by us. This number was ridiculous and hilarious, and a long time coming. We know from “Once More, With Feeling” that Alyson Hannigan is not keen on singing, but Jason Segel and Cobie Smulders have got some pipes. So, can we have a full musical episode now, pretty please?

Those were the best musical episodes and moments, now what were the worst? Head to the next page to find out.

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  • http://twitter.com/Dillon_Mays Dillon Mays

    Don’t forget the Even Stevens musical episode.

    • isenhobbitz

      “We went to the mooooooon in 1969…it was then we made the landing that was luuuuuunaaaar!!!!!”

      • potterjay

        Whenever ‘What year did humans first walk on the moon?’ comes up as a trivia question, that song still pops into my head- must have only seen the episode once too!

        • http://twitter.com/MusicandHouse J

          HAHA Same Here! I also always remember the “6th Period” song. I’m pretty sure when anybody remembers Even Stevens now, the first thing they think of is the musical episode..

    • http://hypable.com Selina

      Oh my god hahahaha YES! This is why I remember the year of the moon landing.

      • http://twitter.com/Dillon_Mays Dillon Mays

        Exactly. I watched all the episodes a few days ago and remembered.

    • Phantomfluteplayer

      Sixth period, sixth period, sixth periiooood. – Yeah, This came out in junior high for me, so for a month or so after the episode aired, every time I was heading to my sixth period class, I would get that song stuck in my head.

  • http://hypable.com Selina

    Great article! How I Met Your Mother actually gets my vote for this one. As Vampire Hype podcast listeners know, I wasn’t actually crazy about Buffy’s Once More With Feeling, for reasons I won’t go into here. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/isak.kohaly Isak Kohaly

    I don’t agree on everything. Grey’s Anatomy had good moments and AHS doesn’t belong in this list in my opinion (a single musical number doesn’t make for a musical episode). Also, for Community I would have included the Season 2 Christmas episode instead (not a musical episode strictly speaking but same thing) and amongst the absolute worst Seventh Heaven MUST be mentioned.

    • Abosuba

      Absolutely agreed! I LOVED the performance in AHS, it was a total surprise and I couldn’t stop grinning! It was not just an amazing performance, but a total contrast to the atmosphere of the episode!

    • isenhobbitz

      Agreed. Community’s season two christmas episode was WAY better and the songs were much more catchy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/isak.kohaly Isak Kohaly

        Exactly my point. I don’t remember a single song of the season 3 episode but I remember every single number from season 2′s episode. It was a work of sheer genius.

  • http://twitter.com/akacj7 Caroline J.

    Fringe as one of the worst? with respect, n-n-n-n-n-n-no. the songs themselves were very poignant and directly related to the character’s emotional states. the singing corpses were weird, yes, but the reprise of Candy Man at the end? broke my heart!! to be fair, i understand your critique only in that if they were going to commit to having a musical episode, they should have had music throughout the entire episode, not just once or twice near the end, which is probably what left the numbers feeling “oddly placed” and “extraneous.”

    awesome list though! ive never watched buffy EXCEPT for Once More With Feeling. lol.

  • http://twitter.com/MusicandHouse J

    I LOVE House, but that musical number was a disaster. That whole episode was ridiculous and I would NEVER rewatch it if it weren’t for the heartbreakingly beautiful breakup at the end.

  • http://twitter.com/atalyce Alyce

    When i watched Grey’s Anatomy’s musical episode my main reaction was, “…..eh…no. This is not a good idea. Please stop.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rachel-Whelen/514317641 Rachel Whelen

    I agree with all of these except for the House one. I loved it, it was so unexpected and Hugh Laurie singing is so delightful.

    • Raquel Pinto

      I also disagree with House being considered the worst. It is precisely because it was unexpected and strange that it was so cool!


    WHAT?! No Xena?! Xena was the first show EVER to have a musical episode! They had two that were amazing!

    • stupid_shiny_vanquish_owner

      Yesss! I totally agree…Those Xena musicals were awesome!

    • CM

      THIS. The bitter suite episode of xena is brilliant!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/willbueche Will Bueche

      Xena and Herc both (same producers). They started the trend, and did it in a big way.

    • http://twitter.com/leanansidhe220 Katy

      Seriously??? The one I saw in Season 3 was absolutely AWFUL. It was the one where they were in the fantasy world and Callisto had the freakiest ever musical number. Don’t get me wrong, though, I LOVE Lucy Lawless’s voice.

      Which was the second one?

      • mljac3

        The second one came a few seasons later and involved a talent contest where the prize was a magical lyre. That episodes was titled ‘Lyre, Lyre, Hearts On Fire’ and its personally my favourite of the two.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erikd1 Erik Davison

    Doctor Who should visit a musical planet sometime in the future

  • Bumble

    “They got the mustard out!!!!”

    • AliceHermione

      Best 17 second song ever

  • grapes9h5

    WOW you put Fringe in the worst category… shamefull…

  • sajinokami

    Disagree with you on the House one. Enjoyed Hugh Laurie’s singing and his character. It’s a dream, so the general oddness made sense to me. Not to crazy about Lisa though.

  • CliveRogan

    Which part of American Horror Story isn’t nonsensical? The whole series is continuous stream of disjointed and illogical stuff happening. That song was a bit insane, and definitely jarring, but that was kind of the point. I personally loved it, it was as horrific as all the murder and rape in its own way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manderkinz Amanda Kendall

    I kinda liked the Grey’s episode

  • daff

    OH NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T!! THE NAME GAME FROM AMERICAN HORROR STORY WAS THE BEST THING EVER!!! In case you missed it Jude had just gone through electro shock treatment and one of the side effects if euphoria, it is meant to be a little trip inside her mind after she played the song on the duke box . Personally i think this was the best moment in the series because it really dived into her mind and how she see’s things theirs more to insanity than dark twisted gory-ness.

  • Glaciusx

    Good on you for putting Buffy first! You know, I’ve always wondered what Tara’s theory was.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mufflednoise Abby Reyes

    I miss Scrubs so much. Time to re-watch that episode, good stuff!

  • MARK

    Any one else a big fan of Daria! (the not-so-creatively-titled Daria episode)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.jasco Mike Jasco

    Brown Betty Does NOT deserve to be in the worst. That Episode was phenomenal.

  • macattack

    The Malcolm in the Middle episode “Opera” was pretty good too.

  • jack

    the liked the that 70′s show musical episode a lot

  • http://twitter.com/Deviija Devi Sage

    I’m surprised Xena’s emotion-driven and all unique scored musical ‘The Bitter Suite’ wasn’t listed in the best category. :(

    • kluu

      All unique…? Half the songs they sang were old hits and some lip synced to them, even. It had some great moments but overall was sadly, not very good.

  • Nonononononononononono

    I’m sorry, but I just simply DO NOT agree with you on “The Name Game.” The fact that something so whimsical could be thrown into the midst of something so dark and horrifying made the number even more creepy and disturbing. I feel like it was the first thing since that damned record in the recreation room that played obnoxious cheerful music to show such a stark contrast to what was actually happening in Briarcliff.

  • Just Sayin’

    The musical episodes are some of my favorites. I’m am extremely surprised the HIMYM hasn’t done a full musical episode yet. Especially with the number of people in the cast that are musically inclined. NPH has hosted the Tony’s multiple times. And Jason Segal does musical numbers in many of his movies.

  • miapiv

    NOWAY. That AHS Name Game was MAGIC.

  • Jen

    How could you forget the absolute worst musical episode of all time… Seventh Heaven. NOthing even comes close to THAT badness.

  • zhang_emma

    Neil Patrick Harris should totally just sing for every episode of How I Met Your Mother. He is just so amazing, he needs to be on a musical TV show after HIMYM.

  • James Bond

    I don’t get why they do musicals, they are so annoying and it makes the actors all look stupid.

    • Amanda

      Agree with you completly the best part about a musical is when you buy the dvd and toss it in your fire place and it crackles and burns

      • Jeremy Roberts

        Dear Amanda, when you think the best part of a musical is when you destroy it in the fireplace, then I am sorry to inform you you must be a very sad and pitiful woman.
        Graciously yours,

    • Jeremy Roberts

      Just don’t watch it, Mr. Bond. Go back to behaving like the world’s worst secret agent and leave people who enjoy such things in peace.
      PS The actors make look stupid in SOME musical episodes, but at least they weren’t in Die Another Day.

      PPS I know you’re not the real James Bond, but I enjoy making fun of your username none the less.

  • https://www.youtube.com/TheBabarSuhail Babar Suhail

    I actually liked Grey’s “Song Beneath the Song”.

  • Lauren

    No That 70s Show? The moment when Red busts out into song is amazing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tara.jovic Tara Jović

    What about Malcolm in the Middle when Dewey is writing an opera? That’s one of my favorite.

  • S@m

    TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL Season 2 Episode 10: 2 Girls, 1 Tongue.
    LEXX Season 2 Episode 18: Brigadoom
    Nuff Said…

  • Amanda

    First for the musical lovers. -_- you guys are a rare breed of demented nerds. The xena musical( though i love lucy lawless and the show for its time was great) was a flop and made me want to vomit endlessly until i fell unconscious and died of dehydration. It makes the cast look absolutely stupid and personally i lose alot of respect for the.producer. Musicals should be banned from shows and every copy ever made should be burned along side the cast of glee. End of story. -_-

  • george

    Just go with the full on musical show like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long blog. Or, there’s lots of great tunes in Eli Stone.

  • Gabby

    I freaking LOVED the Greys episode!!

  • L’Espion

    What? you didn’t mention Xena – Bitter Suite, a musical episode that predates all of those you have mentioned.

  • Jeremy Roberts

    I am really sorry to announce you sir, but your list is an utter and complete failure. The only time I saw myself in agreement with what you said was about Greys and Buffy (though I haven’t seen Scrubs’, House’s or Community’s). Brown Betty had a clever way of putting songs into the story and American Horror Story used it to had to the eerie and strange quality of its arc. Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit is not a musical episode but a musical number, therefore shouldn’t count, nor would technically AHS and House (from the looks of it) when you think about it, as a musical episode must feature more than a single song or use that song as a mean to advance the story in my book. And, by the way, why no Batman the Brave and the Bold?

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