"Gotta Dance!" — Imagining Musical Episodes for "Girls," "Modern Family" and More
By Benjamin Solomon
Playbill.com offers a list of TV shows that should feature musical episodes in their upcoming seasons.
There is no shortage of Broadway stars on television these days. Even the most unlikely of shows (for example, "Homeland") feature song and dance men and women moonlighting as detectives, serial killers and high school teachers. Thankfully, for Broadway fans, the temptation to create a musical episode of these TV shows seems stronger than ever.
Over the last decade it has become popular for long-running televisions shows to find a silly reason for their stars to "Glee"-out a bit. A brain aneurism on "Chicago Hope" made cast members break into song, while electroshock therapy on "American Horror Story: Asylum" transformed Jessica Lange into Shirley Ellis. Though the concept can be traced all the way back to a dream sequence on "I Love Lucy,' most credit the '90s CW drama "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for popularizing the trend with an episode that saw the residents of Sunnydale breaking out into musical numbers at the behest of an evil demon.
And it's a trend that's not disappearing anytime soon. ABC's "The Neighbors" and USA's "Psych" recently joined the party. Even "The Good Wife" released a music video!
Click through to see a selection of TV shows that should feature a musical episode.
"House of Cards," Netflix
Why this show: Kevin Spacey is not afraid of a few showtunes; don't forget the actor directed and starred in the musical biopic "Beyond the Sea."
Why this show: Besides the excellent episode "The Musical Man," which featured Cam directing Manny and Luke's school musical, it's kind of a shocker that the ABC comedy hasn't had a full musical episode, given it stars two Broadway vets: Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sofia Vergara. (Remember when she played Mama Morton in Chicago?
Possible plot: After the family travels to New York to see a Broadway show, Mitch trips, falls and gets a concussion which causes him to imagine his life if he was a big Broadway star and not married to Cam.
Odds: High. Despite not actually being dancers, Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet would jump at the chance to make fools of themselves in a kickline.
Why this show: Because in its six season, "Castle" seems ready to pull a ratings stunt like a musical episode (the show has yet to be renewed for season seven). And because star Nathan Fillion was awesome in Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog."
Possible plot: "Castle'"s newest book is being turned into a musical. But when the actors start turning up dead (cue Neil Patrick Harris reunion!), Castle and Beckett must find the murderer before opening night.
Why this show: In the animated world of this spy comedy, nothing is off-limits. So we don't see why its outlandish characters couldn't randomly break into song — the show has already moved from being a James Bond spoof into a "Miami Vice" spoof!
Possible plot: Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) became country singer Charlene in season four,
Odds: Low. We're guessing musicals aren't Dick Wolf's bag, no matter how good Esparza is.
Why this show? "Homeland" features some of Broadway most revered talents (Tracy Letts, F. Murray Abraham), but mostly we'd just love to find a reason for Mandy Patinkin's Saul to break into song.
Possible plot: Is it too easy for jazz-loving Carrie (Claire Danes) to have another psychotic break where it seems like she is living in a big-band musical fantasy led by Saul (Patinkin)?
Odds: Low. This show seems a little too serious for musical-comedy distraction.
Why this show? It was only a matter of time until Lena Dunham's show about 20-somethings trying to make it in the Big Apple featured a character on Broadway, especially since the show stars Broadway vets Adam Driver and Andrew Rannells (plus, the occasional Patti Lupone cameo).
Possible plot: Marnie's new plan to overcome her YouTube shame is to become a legit Broadway performer. So she enlists Hannah (Dunham) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) to write her an edgy Fringe Festival musical that she produces with money Jessa (Jemima Kirke) has made by selling drugs.
Odds: High. The choreographed dance sequence in season three's "Beach House" was one of the show's best moments so far.
Why this show? Because creator Shonda Rhimes already found a reason to do it on "Grey's Anatomy,"
Why this show? Now that Amy Poehler has a Golden Globe, she can do whatever she wants. And co-creators Greg Daniels and Mike Shur already have experience parodying the theatre world from their time writing for "The Office."
Odds: High. This could be the best thing to happen to fictional community theatre since "Waiting for Guffman."
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Fox
Why this show? Star Andy Samberg has already spent a good portion of his career working with musical comedy act The Lonely Island. It can't be too long before there is some sort of crossover episode.
Possible plot: To infiltrate a drug cartel, Jake (Samberg) has to pose as a famous rapper. So he enlists his old high school friends (The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) to produce some outrageous music videos. Things go awry when the videos go viral.
Odds: High. The more random it sounds, the more likely we figure Samberg will do it.
"True Blood," HBO
Why this show? Now that Stephen Moyer has proven his Broadway chops playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music
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