Don’t you just love it when favorite TV characters burst into song? We’re not talking the expected, like the musical bits on Fox’s Glee, but instead the non-musical television shows that give us a song (and sometimes a dance!) out of the blue. Check out these unexpected musical moments on non-musical TV shows.
Mad Men – “Waterloo”
The spring finale of Matthew Weiner’s AMC drama tied up a slew of loose storylines, but the 7th season episode, titled “Waterloo,” also featured an unusual sendoff for a beloved character. When ad agency boss Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) passed away, he came back via Don Draper’s hallucination-and he was singing with a troupe of dancing secretaries. The musical number was “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” a song written in 1927 and later recorded by Bing Crosby and Sam Cooke. In an interview posted on AMC’s website, Morse (who’s a Tony award winning Broadway veteran) dished on working with a choreographer and recording the piece with a large orchestra: “It was just a lovely way, a sweet way, for dear Matt to send me off,” he said.
See Morse singing “The Best Things in Life Are Free” here.
Grey’s Anatomy – “Song Beneath The Song”
ABC’s medical drama is known for its eclectic Indie soundtrack, but the docs don’t usually so the singing. Until the 7th season’s musical episode “Song Beneath the Song,” that is. This Grey’s Anatomy music event featured the cast singing songs that were previously featured on the show (example: Meredith, McSteamy, and more belting out The Fray’s “How To Save a Life”). Grey’s star Patrick Dempsey was noticeably quiet during the musical numbers (maybe McDreamy can’t carry a tune?), and he later referred to the quirky episode as “Glee, M.D.”
How I Met Your Mother – “Girls vs. Suits”
The long running sitcom How I Met Your Mother marked its 100th episode with a musical extravaganza, culminating with Neil Patrick Harris’ Emmy Award winning performance of the song “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit.” The over-the-top musical production featured 65 dancers and a 50-piece orchestra, and the HIMYM star has even gone on record as saying it’s one of his favorite scenes from the entire series. “It might sound glib, but I think standing on top of a taxi cab in front of 60 people wearing well-tailored suits, spinning around like a rock star definitely takes the cake,” Harris told New York Post.
American Horror Story – “The Name Game”
Jessica Lange was naming names when she burst into song during the second season of the FX anthology American Horror Story. In an unusually light moment, her character, Sister Jude, hallucinated after electroshock and began singing the campy 1964 song “The Name Game.” Showrunner Ryan Murphy told Entertainment Weekly his idea was to “do a musical number that was something very ’60s crossed with Jacob’s Ladder.” “It was very fun to do,” he said. “We spent almost a whole day doing it. [Jessica] had a ball. I think after the darkness of the season I think she quite enjoyed looking like Dusty Springfield.”
You can see Lange’s quirky AHS performance here.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Once More, With Feeling”
And who knew vampires could sing? The Season 6 Buffy episode “Once More, With Feeling” was a full-on musical, with all of the characters singing their lines. (A highlight: The group song “Walk Through the Fire.”) The episode was so popular that it was later shown in movie theaters as a subtitled sing-a-long. Producer Joss Whedon told the A.V. Club he created the musical episode because, well, he could: “I was raised on a steady diet of Sondheim,” he said. “I’m absolutely a musicals boy. A lot of people didn’t know that, because I love horror movies …I made a musical because I was six years into a show, and I knew that nobody was going to stop me. “
You can see the Buffy gang singing “Walk Through the Fire” here.