Raise your hand if you thought Glee would be a twee High School Musical cash-in. Yep, me too. Raise your hand if you watched it anyway. So did I. Now finally, how happy were you when they threw in their first filthy joke? Who would have thought that what the viewing population was crying out for was an all-singing-all-dancing feel-good teen show with blow job gags?
But it got me thinking about all the great musical moments in television over the years that prove that, maybe, someone should really have thought of doing Glee a long time ago.
So here’s my count down of my top 10 musical moments on TV. The only criteria is that the music must have featured within the action, not just on the soundtrack.
10. Skins – Wild World
Skins series one ended in a classic cliffhanger, with everything coming to a head in the last five minutes and Tony getting hit by a truck for good measure. Then, as you’re preparing for the credits to roll, the actors instead turn to camera and start singing along to Cat Steven’s Wild World – including Tony, bleeding on the curb. A classic example of Skins doing what it does best: steering clear of convention.
9. Six Feet Under – Claire hates office work
In series five of Six Feet Under, artist Claire found herself trapped in a creatively-sapping admin job that, worst of all, required her to wear tights. She dealt with it by climbing onto her desk and lamenting panty hose via song: ‘You Ride Up My Thighs’ to the tune of ‘You Light Up My Life’. It’s a fantasy sequence, of course. But who hasn’t wished they could liven up the office with some song and dance?
8. Scrubs – Guy Love
Scrubs has always loved a good musical interlude so it was inevitable that they would do a musical episode. And it was surprisingly good, with showstoppers including the poo song (explaining why doctors always ask for a stool sample), but the highlight was JD and Turk putting their enduring bromance to music.
7. Gavin and Stacey – American Boy
James Cordon and Ruth Jones obviously love a singsong, and they put some sort of musical moment into every episode, but the most impressive has to be Smithy and sister Rudy performing the rap from American Boy, complete with dance moves and harmonising.
6. Friends – Copacabana
As series two draws to a close, Rachel realises that there isn’t a single thing she can do to make Barry’s wedding even more humiliating for her. So she gets on stage and sings Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. There’s something gloriously triumphant about it.
5. Glee – Push It
This was the moment that you realised that Glee was not what you thought it was. The goodie-two-shoes of the glee club decides that sex sells, so she gets the club to perform Salt ‘n Pepper’s Push It at the school assembly. Jaw-droppingly inappropriate and absolutely hilarious. Altogether now: “Holla!”
4. Buffy – It Got the Mustard Out!
Once More With Feeling was the Buffy episode that began the fad for musical episodes in TV, and Glee has even acknowledged its debt to Joss Whedon by handing him the director reins for an upcoming episode. The best bit about Buffy’s extravaganza was the everyday things being put into song – like a man celebrating the good work of his dry cleaners, and a woman arguing with a traffic warden (“This isn’t right, it isn’t fair/There was no parking anywhere”).
3. The Simpsons – See My Vest
Far and away the greatest of The Simpsons’ songs, as Monty Burns indulges his love of all things fur: “Like my loafers/Former gofers/Either that, or skin my chauffeurs.” All to the cheerful tune of Be My Guest. Even Bart is left nodding his head and humming along afterwards.
2. This Life – ‘Love is in the Air’
What a way to end a series. The gang are all at Miles’ wedding reception, and in great TV fashion it’s all going horribly wrong. Rachel has revealed Milly’s affair, Egg is sobbing in a toilet and as Love is in the Air reaches its chorus Milly storms across the dance floor and punches the scheming Rachel in the face. In the words of late-arrival Warren: “Outstanding”.
1. Queer As Folk – It’s Raining Men
What began as a series about gay men having a laugh gradually became an affecting tale of unrequited love between best friends. Vince and Stuart loved each other, bickered, tried to stay apart for their own good, but in the end they couldn’t resist. So instead they made a run for the podium and danced joyously to It’s Raining Men. Who wasn’t grinning for a full 24 hours after seeing that?