The 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother, which airs Monday night, will feature at least one musical number. The series thus joins a select group of TV shows, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to 7th Heaven, that have turned out a tuner.
A series like Glee is built around a high-school choir, so viewers expect to see singing and dancing. Animated programs, with their talking dogs and boys that come back from the dead, can mount their own tuneful versions of The Music Manor 101 Dalmatians without viewers batting an eye. (They also don't have to pay for back-up dancers and extra rehearsal time.) But when a show like How I Met YourMother decides to belt out a number, its writers and directors have to explain why familiar, unmusical characters are suddenly bursting into song.
Some shows settle for preposterous pretexts: In That's So Raven, the title character convinces her classmates that a scout for the TV talent show Undercover Superstar is visiting their school, which in turn leads to several impromptu production numbers. In the episode "The Bitter Suite," the characters of Xena: Warrior Princess are magically transported to the all-singing, all-dancing land of Illusia. Some series, however, have put a bit more thought into making their musical performances feel more organic. Click here for a video slide show on television's best musical episodes and how they were justified.
TODAY IN SLATE
Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison
In much of America, beating your children is perfectly legal.
Ken Burns on Why Teddy Roosevelt Would Never Get Elected in 2014
Cops Briefly Detain Django Unchained Actress Because They Thought She Was a Prostitute
Minimalist Cocktail Posters Make Mixing Drinks a Cinch
How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us
A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels.
Rainbow Parties and Sex Bracelets
Where teenage sex rumors come from—and why they’re bad for parents and kids.
You Had to Be There
What we can learn from things that used to be funny.