The musical episode is a long-revered TV tradition, as a thin plot device forces characters to break into song at strange — yet appropriately dramatic — moments, to the delight of fans. These episodes are pure genre-bending fun, so if you enjoyed the bombastic musical crossover between The Flash and #Supergirl, you'll be happy to learn that there are plenty more where that came from.
1. "Once More With Feeling" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
First up is possibly the best of all the musical crossovers: "Once More With Feeling" from #BuffyTheVampireSlayer Season 6.
Recently resurrected and currently struggling with depression, Buffy finds herself singing about her feelings of disillusionment while fighting off her nightly quota of vamps and demons. This soon spreads to the rest of Sunnydale, and it turns out that a "dancing demon" is indeed behind it — and not a bunny, as Anya theorized.
"Once More With Feeling" is nothing short of iconic; featuring show-stopping tunes and a story that carried with it all the emotional baggage of the season, this episode set a high bar for all musical episodes that came after it.
2. "My Musical" — Scrubs
Following up their spine-tingling number "Waiting For My Real Life To Begin" in Season 2, #Scrubs produced a full musical episode in Season 6.M
When a patient is admitted to the hospital and claims everyone is singing, the audience sees the world through her eyes, treating us to songs like "Everything Comes Down To Poo" and the bromance anthem "Guy Love".
Riffing off Broadway musicals by featuring the actors singing their lines, "My Musical" was a bold and excellent addition to the show, proving that it really doesn't matter if the actors can sing or not — musical episodes are always fun.
3. "Fan Fiction" — Supernatural
Never a stranger to making fun of itself, the apparently eternal Supernatural pulled out all the stops in its 200th episode, featuring a stage musical of its own story, as put on by its in-universe fans.
While investigating the murder of a teacher, Sam and Dean find themselves protecting the production of a musical adaptation of their lives. This episode is stuffed full of in-jokes and references, with songs entitled "The Road So Far" (the title for each finale recap), "I'll Just Wait Here Then" (one of Castiel's most-quoted lines), and "A Single Man Tear" (that's pretty self-explanatory). The highlight has to be when the other Winchester boy — poor illegitimate Adam — appears on stage, and the stage manager points out to Dean that his brother is still trapped in hell, something that was brushed under the rug after that particular episode. Oops.
The 200th episode really is a love letter for the fans, proving just how much influence the fanbase has had on the show over the years. It's one of #Supernatural's best — and if you think this is fourth-wall breaking, just wait til you see "The French Mistake".
4. "Regional Holiday Music" — Community
Arguably, the previous season's "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" was #Community's first musical episode, but Season 3's followup was such an excellent pisstake of Glee that it really takes the cake.
When Greendale's Glee club all die in a suspicious bus crash, Mr Rad (SNL guest star Taran Killam) ropes the study group into performing in the Christmas pageant. The group is reluctant at first, but are soon hypnotized by song — or, in the case of Jeff, by Annie's boobs. (No, not the monkey.)
Probably the best thing about "Regional Holiday Music", despite the fact that all the songs are strategically designed to exploit each character, is the fact that we finally get to hear Donald Glover rap. Personally though, I'll always prefer the previous season's Christmas episode. You just can't beat a remote control pterodactyl.
5. "The Nightman Cometh" — It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
This is another episode to use an in-story stage musical as an excuse to get the actors to sing, and it's just as out-of-tune and horrifically inappropriate as you would expect.
In a ploy to propose to his current paramour — the Waitress — Charlie writes a rock opera and recruits the gang into performing it. Thus ensues much hilarity, and the result is a musical that begins with thoroughly disturbing number and just goes downhill from there. The songs are actually surprisingly catchy — but you wouldn't want to get caught singing them in public.
It's Always Sunny is famous for trying anything and everything, so it's no surprise that they'd eventually tackle the musical episode trope — which proved so successful that Charlie's production was even performed on a real stage in real life. I guess the power of "strong, musky love" really can achieve anything.
Tell us in the comments: Which is your favorite musical episode?