In an age when Family Guy bursts into song nearly every episode and Glee wins Golden Globes, we decided to take a look at some of the best fictional bands and songs from TV shows. Now, it’s important to note that we’re not talking spontaneous musical numbers (ex. the Monorail song from The Simpsons) but rather fictional music acts and their songs. We’d love to hear about any we missed in the comments section.
Robin Sparkles – “Let’s Go To The Mall” / “Sandcastles in the Sand” (How I Met Your Mother)
On the best episode of How I Met Your Mother, “Slap Bet,” Ted’s suspicions that Robin might have once been married end up completely wrong when instead he and the rest of the gang discover she was a Canadian teen pop-star in the 1990s with a big hit, “Let’s Go To The Mall.” A cheesy, 80′s-style music video (explains Robin, the 80s didn’t reach Canada until the mid-90′s), the song and Robin’s old life never fail to amuse. Her big, emotional follow-up single, “Sandcastles in the Sand,” featured even funnier visuals (Alan Thicke in an armchair on the beach?), and was equally as funny. Both songs were perfect examples of how HIMYM separated itself from the average sitcom, en route to becoming a hit.
DriveSHAFT – “You All Everybody” (Lost)
Though most only know the chorus, “You All Everybody” is a kind of Easter egg for Lost fans. The song that made Charlie a rock star, “You All Everybody” was the fictional hit of his band, DriveSHAFT, that would not only play a big role in his life, but also pop up every once and while in the flashbacks of other Losties. The success of DriveSHAFT led Charlie and his brother towards drugs and ultimately, a rock and roll burnout that led Charlie to Australia to get his brother to do a reunion record, which of course led him to Oceanic 815.
Chemical Toilet – “Nightman” / Electric Dream Machine – “Dayman” (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
If there’s a defining episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it’s the episode “Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person,” in which the guys start a band to try and get girls. First comes Chemical Toilet, where Frank and Mac join in with Charlie on his song, “Nightman,” where, more or less, a man comes in and rapes him. When they kick him out of the band, Charlie starts a new band with Dennis, the glammed out Electric Dream Machine, which introduces us to “Dayman,” the fighter of the Nightman. The song literally helped make the show a hit and ultimately stands as the measuring stick as to whether or not you will actually get Sunny.
The Be Sharps – “Baby on Board” (The Simpsons)
The Simpsons have had so many songs featured on their show that they actually have multiple albums compiling them, but following the guidelines of this list, the best one has to be the big hit from “Homer’s Barber Shop Quartet,” The Be Sharpes. Mostly a send up of The Beatles (George Harrison even pops up in the episode), the Be Sharpes hit it big with their single “Baby On Board,” winning a Grammy before the toils of fame send them back to their former lives. It’s a classic Simpsons episode that undoubtedly had some sort of influence on the other fictional songs on this list.
Mouse Rat – “The Pit” (Parks and Recreation)
When Parks and Rec got to its Season 1 finale, “Rock Show,” it was much maligned for being to similar to it’s sister show, The Office. “Rock Show” finally broke it out of its mold however, as the folks in Pawnee go to see Andy’s band, Mouse Rat (though there were other names) play their first show after Andy got his cast off. Andy takes the opportunity to introduce a new song, “The Pit,” a Dave Matthews/Matchbox 20 tinged song which features lyrics like “The pit/I fell in the pit/you fell in the pit/we all fell in the pit.” It’s nicely juxtaposed with Andy’s break up with his girlfriend Ann, and will, unfortunately, get stuck in your head pretty easily.
The Hunted – “That One Night” (The Office, US)
Following the horrible Writers Strike, The Office returned with the best episode of their season, “Dinner Party.” It’s about as cringe-inducing as anything you’ll see on TV, and includes the song “That One Night,” a song written by Jan’s former assistant, Hunter and performed by his band, The Hunted. As Michael, Pam, Jim, Andy, and Angela watch on, Jan plays the song, a thinly veiled recollection of Jan taking Hunter’s virginity. She tries in vain to get Jim to dance with her, and as the episode goes on, it becomes a point of contention between Jan and Michael. Jim steals the CD when the party breaks up, and it soundtracks a sweet montage at the end that features the various couples together after a disastrous evening.
David Brent – “Free Love on the Free Love Freeway” / “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (The Office, UK)
The songwriting horror on the original UK Office didn’t come from a minor character, but instead from the boss himself, David Brent. The first song he debuted, “Free Love on the Free Love Freeway” is a ballad that is about exactly what it sounds like, and was debuted in an uncomfortable meeting. Really it couldn’t have come at a worse time or been a worse song. The second song, a cover of “If you Don’t Know Me By Now,” was recorded and self released by Brent after he is laid off at Wernham-Hogg in the show’s finale/Christmas special. The single does predictably bad, but the video he makes to accompany it is downright hysterical.
The Beets – “Killer Tofu” / “Where’s My Sock?” / “I Need More Allowance” (Doug)
Anyone around the age 0f 20-25 will probably know The Beets, the uber-famous band from the animated show Doug. One part Beatles, one part grunge, The Beets didn’t have a ton of lyrics, but the one’s they had were awesome. Consider, “I need more allowance/Yodelahehooo!/Why? Because I do!” Doug and best friend Skeeter got into a bit of trouble going to see the Beets in a different city, but it was all worth it when they got to watch the show from back stage. The Beets remain probably the best band from a kids show, ever.
Flight of the Conchords – “Who Likes to Rock the Party?” / “Coco’s Song” (Flight of the Conchords)
Separating the Flight of the Conchords of reality from the Flight of the Conchords from the show is a little tricky, but the few songs we heard from the fictional group made it no surprise their fortunes weren’t as good as the real group. The first song is a call and response featuring the lyrics “Who likes to rock the party?/I like to rock the party,” but their seriousness makes it hilarious. Brett’s song for Coco is equally hilarious, with him listing on and on all the things he’d do for her. It ended up getting turned into “If That’s What You’re Into,” but it’s original version is just as funny.
Vaughn’s Band – “Getting Rid of Britta” (Community)
Vaughn on Community was instantly one of the more ridiculous characters on the show, and when combined with Chevy Chase’s Pierce, he got even more so. The two teamed up for their anti-Britta song, which, likely due to network censorship, refers to her frequently as a “G-D-B.” When Vaughn kicks Pierce out of the band, he changes to words to be about him instead. This leaves Pierce to watch himself slip from cool guy in a band back to old guy at community college, the epitome of the show’s theme.