5. Monica on Friends “The One Where Monica Sings” (2003)
Alright so technically Monica doesn’t have to sing, but I’m still keeping this on my list, for several reasons. The first being Paul Rudd as Phoebe’s boyfriend, Mike, who works at the piano bar where Monica chooses to perform a little ditty. He’s hilarious and as I think NTO has mentioned a time or two before, terribly underrated. Also, hello, “Delta Dawn!” This is the kind of song that would be sooo fun to sing in a karaoke bar. The lyrics are simple, it’s southern, it’s twangy, it frequently finds itself in on my iTunes “25 most played.” However, even I–who have no shame and have sung Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” more than a dozen times in public–reserve that song for the shower or other private moments in which I find a microphone like object in my hand. Monica, however, goes right for it. A bold choice that is well received by an audience of generic New Yorkers. Oh that’s right, this is a sitcom, something zany’s about to happen. . .sure enough, the crowd isn’t moved so much by her rousing rendition of the Tanya Tucker classic, but by the spotlight’s ability to make her shirt transparent. Whatever though, I totally laughed, because it’s funny. SHE DOESN’T KNOW!
4. Peter on The Brady Bunch “Dough Re Mi” (1972)
This is like, one of the most classic episodes in television history. I don’t even think it’s necessary for me to explain the premise, but, alas, I will. Greg, being his groovy self, decides that the world has waited long enough for the Brady Bunch (I wonder if that’s what they called their “band”) to drop a record, so he books some time at a studio (where did he get that kind of money?) and dragged his musically gifted mess of siblings down to lay down some tracks. Things get ugly though, when Peter, a victim of abrupt puberty, cannot sing his part, due to the EXTREME fluctuations in his changing voice. Luckily, Greg comes up with the nifty idea to incorporate Peter’s “issue” into the song, which is a SMASH hit. Sadly, when I located this clip online, I was able to sing nearly every word. I don’t have many life regrets, but I will NEVER forgive myself for selling my “It’s a Sunshine Day: The Best of the Brady Bunch” CD for $2 at a garage sale in the mid-90’s, NEVER.
3. Rayanne on My So-Called Life “On the Wagon” (1994)
I have really mixed feelings about this episode, and this incident in particular. First of all, the band, The Frozen Embryos, has up until this episode been made up of some randoms and Jordan Catalano and Tino. Am I right? Well, when Tino quits the band, they get desperate for a new singer. Now, the obvious solution to such a problem, would be for Jordan to sing. We all heard him serenade Angela with his less-than-deep ode to his car “Red” earlier in the series. He has a nice voice, and can sing AND play his instrument. Furthermore, if he can write his own songs, both music and lyrics, then surely he could handle a cover. No? Enter Rayanne, who recently sober, is desperate for a new attention grabbing ploy. And let’s face it, every teenage girl with a substance abuse problem, should probably be in a garage, excuse me, loft, band. Somehow, she finds herself the lead singer of the band, wherein she sings FOR THE FIRST TIME at some open mic, battle of the bands, I-wish-I-was-dead-instead-of-sitting-through-this gig and fails miserably. She does sort of redeem herself (and my self esteem) in the final scene. If only she would have fallen off the wagon BEFORE her stint in The Frozen Embryos.
2. Violet Bickerstaff on Saved by the Bell “The Glee Club” (1990)
Does anyone know how reruns work? Like, who decides what episodes will air when, in what order and how often? I watched SBTB every day after school on TBS for probably about a decade, and THIS episode is one of those that I always hoped for, but rarely aired. The gang, in an attempt to win a group trip to Hawaii, joins the Bayside Glee club, which will compete for such a prize with other local schools. Unfortunately, no one in the gang, or otherwise, SCOTT WOLF, can sing, except Jessie, who has caught Lisa’s cold (“Saawwrry,” Lisa says, in a clip that is featured in the opening credits for years to come, possibly because she is wearing the fiercest get-up ever worn). After discovering that Violet Bickerstaff, ahem, TORI SPELLING can sing, Zack and Mr. Tuttle make a plan to feature her, and downplay everyone else. It’s a foolproof plan really, the judges are never going to notice those innocuous “bum bum” noises they’re making, it totally sounds like harmony! However, their plans are foiled when a lovesick Screech simply ruins dinner at the Bickerstaff’s house, and Mr./Mrs. Bickerstaff FORBID Violet to see “Samuel” anymore, which means, no more glee club. She arrives last minute for the performance, but not before the club tries to pull a Milli Vanilli with a tape deck and cassette of the L.A. glee club (really?? the L.A. glee club?)
1. Clare Arnold on Beverly Hills, 90210 “The Long Goodbye” (1997)
When given this week’s topic, I had a moment of “I can’t think of any sing—oh Clare Arnold!” As surprised as I was with myself for coming up with a somewhat longish list of “must sing” incidents, I was more surprised to discover that this episode is, in fact, my FAVORITE BH, 90210 episode of all time. Though, not so much the talent show side-story, in which Clare sings, but for the fact that Brandon and Kelly get back together after she shows him that she’s been wearing the engagement ring he once gave her on a necklace (“I couldn’t bear anyone else having it”) and he thinks she went to the airport to see Dylan, and they hug, and make out, and confess their love. Aaaannyway, back to Clare, who despite having seemingly atrocious vocal stylings, signs up for the annual Greek life talent show at CU, to pay homage to her late mother through song. Unfortunately, boyfriend Steve Sanders (a talent in his own right) must find the right way to tell Clare that she’s horrible. It gets emotional when she reveals how important it is to her to sing this song, a favorite of her mother’s (who apparently sang it wonderfully, obviously) in front of a room full of peers who will shun her ever after. But wait, Clare is privy to the secret of a gorgeous voice: “sing from the heart.” Jesus. Did someone really write that down? Who approved this script? Clare can’t sing, BUT, perhaps if she really tries FROM THE HEART, truly and deeply from within, she will invoke the spirit of her dead mother, and sing beautifully while simultaneously coming to terms with her death. It’s TV GOLD!