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Top 10 Best Worst Musical Numbers in Sitcoms
While a well-done musical number is a welcome addition to any sitcom, sometimes the most subpar and stinky serenades are even more entertaining. Here are some of the best of the worst musical numbers from my favorite sitcoms.
1. “Hot Nights in Paris,” Just Shoot Me!
When Elliot (Enrico Colantoni) asks Maya (Laura San Giacomo) to move in with him, she’s hesitant to leave her comfort zone but agrees to a trial period. While unpacking her things at his apartment, Elliot finds Maya’s guitar and urges her to play something for him. She’s reluctant to perform in front of anyone, but Elliot tries to make her more comfortable by telling her, “You’re safe, and remember, you’re home.” Maya relents and plays a spectacularly bad song she wrote as a teenager, and Elliot can’t stop himself from bursting into laughter, prompting Maya to run back to her own place.
2. “Hurricane Judith,” Dream On
When Martin (Brian Benben) helps the rock star he’s dating (Shannon Kenny) quit heroin, she has trouble coming up with songs for her new album, so Martin shows her some of his poetry for inspiration. She decides to turn one of his poems, “Hurricane Judith,” into her new single, and when her band calls it quits, Martin steps in as her backup.
The song starts at 21:20 in this video: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7xk8u0
3. “Dayman,” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
In the season four finale of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang puts on a rock opera written by Charlie (Charlie Day) as a way to impress the love of his life, known only as “the waitress” (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). The result is one of the most hilariously memorable episodes of the whole series, including one of the most memorable bad sitcom musical numbers of all time.
4. “Old Man River,” Newhart
Michael (Peter Scolari) organizes a 48-hour telethon to save the TV station from bankruptcy, and he volunteers Dick (Bob Newhart) to host, but when the crew doesn’t get their paychecks, they abandon the program early on, leaving Dick to go it alone. Desperate for any kind of entertainment to keep the viewers tuning in, Michael asks Stephanie (Julia Duffy) to perform a song she sang once in boarding school, “Old Man River.” Her cheerful, perky rendition is in stark contrast to the melancholy lyrics, but it manages to move sleep-deprived Dick to tears.
5. “Makin’ Whoopee,” NewsRadio
After Mr. James (Stephen Root) fires Matthew (Andy Dick) on a consultant’s advice, he promises to hire him back if someone from WNYX wins a charity talent contest. Beth (Vicki Lewis) and Bill (Phil Hartman) collaborate on a performance of “Makin’ Whoopee,” but Bill can’t let Beth have the spotlight.
6. “What a Feeling,” Spin City
When Caitlin (Heather Locklear), makes Stuart (Alan Ruck) and Carter (Michael Boatman) do her busy work for the mayor’s senate campaign, Stuart searches the internet for something he can use to blackmail her and discovers a video of her abysmal Star Search audition, where she performed “What a Feeling” from Flashdance, complete with leg warmers and inept dance moves.
The clip is from 17:33–19:45 in this video: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5vfvk5
7. “Spinning Wheel,” The Larry Sanders Show
Dissatisfied with just being Larry’s (Garry Shandling) sidekick, Hank (Jeffrey Tambor) decides to put on a one-man show, and Artie (Rip Torn) lets him use the studio to rehearse. With his limited budget, the production value suffers, so Hank is forced to sing both the lyrics and the horns for his opening number, “Spinning Wheel.”
7. “Meow Mix,” Malcolm in the Middle
Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) wants to play guitar, but his family is convinced he doesn’t have any musical talent. To prove them wrong, he writes a song and performs it for them. However, Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) points out a strong similarity between Malcolm’s melody and a popular cat food jingle.
8. “Buttons and Bows,” Frasier
After encouraging his friends to “take a leap” for the leap year, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) decides to perform a Verdi aria on the upcoming PBS telethon instead of his usual “Buttons and Bows.” However, he struggles to learn the piece, and at the last minute, he changes his mind and reverts back to “Buttons and Bows.” Unfortunately, he can’t seem to remember the lyrics.
9. “The Pee-pee Song,” Spin City
After a series of hilarious circumstances, Mike (Michael J. Fox) fails a routine drug test, so he enlists James (Alexander Chaplin) to provide a sample. However, James has trouble getting started, so he asks Mike to sing him a song his mother used to sing to help him use the potty as a child; Mike reluctantly agrees.
10. “One for My Baby,” The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) is organizing the entertainment for this year’s Teddy Awards, and she struggles to find acts to perform, so she asks Mr. Grant (Ed Asner) if she could provide the entertainment herself. Mr. Grant asks for a sample of her talents, and she sings a cringey rendition of “One for My Baby.”
Honorable Mention: “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Mr. Grant decides to buy a bar on a whim, but he struggles to keep the place afloat. In desperation, he leads the customers in a sing-a-long of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Mary makes an awkward attempt to join in, but ultimately Rhoda (Valerie Harper) ends up singing alone.