The 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother and how to slip a musical into your TV show.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
Jan. 8 2010 7:19 AM

How I Serenaded Your Mother

The fine art of the musical episode.

Click to launch the slideshow "How I Serenaded Your Mother".

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.

Advertisement

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.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.