Musical Episode

Phineas: So what do you say? We'll do all the same things, but we'll break into spontaneous singing and choreography with no discernible music source!
Ferb: Hmmm.... What assurance would we have that everyone else would also break into song and do the same thing?
Phineas: I don't know. I think they probably will.
Phineas and Ferb, "Rollercoaster: The Musical!"

Once in a while, a show will shake things up and do Something Completely Different. One way of doing that is by turning the show into The Musical for an episode.

A Musical Episode is structured around the cast breaking into song (and possibly dance) throughout the episode. It might use an in-universe justification, such as a Battle of the Bands, some sort of weirdness, or a new character causing all this cheery singing. Alternately, it can play like a Broadway show where it's just taken for granted that some events will be dramatized through song and dance.

Opinions on a Musical Episode can differ wildly. Many will enjoy the up-beat, unexpected change of pace, while many will dislike it for that very reason. Also, like any premise, the songs and choreography have to be good, or else you're doomed from the start. But if they are good, such episodes tend to be very memorable because songs tend to stick in people's heads.


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  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo's 48th episode had them defeat a foe by singing him into submission. Even by Bo-BoBo's standards, it's amazingly crazy.
  • The English dub of Duel Masters randomly has Shobu and Kokujo be forced to come up with an inspirational song before they can duel.
  • Jewelpet Sunshine had the characters performing West Side Story in one episode.
  • Kanamemo's fourth episode would be an amusing little story about the Fuhshin News employees attempting to get to the pool on its own, but the anime takes it a step further and adds song and dance numbers to the mix. No explanation is given for the singing.
    • If it helps, Kana is as confused as the rest of us.
  • One episode of Kure Nai depicts the characters' attempts to rehearse a musical for a local festival, which eventually leads them to come up with their own material from scratch. It turns out that it is a ploy by Benika to keep Murasaki entertained - which by and far succeeds.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water had a Character Song episode at the end of its infamous Island/Africa arc.
  • One Piece: The TV Special Dance Carnival could be considered a dance episode (Dance special?). It starts on the aptly called Mirrorball Island. While trying to escape the Marines, Jango hypnotizes everyone to dance 'till they drop. Including the Straw Hats. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Pokémon:
    • Though not really an episode of the show nor even canonical to it, the stage show Pokémon Live! would seem to fit in this trope.
    • "Gotta Dance!", the short before the sixth movie.
  • Episode 17 of Space Dandy. Baberly Hills High School ranks students based on musical ability, so naturally this resulted.
    Meow: The glee [Dandy] must be feeling right now...
  • Valvrave the Liberator delivered a rather cheesy musical moment in the end of episode 5, in hopes to get more supporters from both factions.

  • Nodwick had one of these, courtesy of Arthax and a "Scroll of Thespia".
  • The Doctor Who Magazine strip "Planet Bollywood" has the Eleventh Doctor and Amy land on a planet where everyone breaks into song and dance routines.
  • The ninth issue of Tomorrow Stories featured a Greyshirt musical, as in a literal stage production; Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset later established that the man himself took the title role at one showing. Critics are astounded at Greyshirt's singing and dancing, claiming that he could've been another Gene Kelly.
  • The story Deadbeats! from Hack/Slash Trailers: Part 2. It involves zombies invading Broadway.

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    Live Action TV 
  • "Once More, With Feeling" from the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - a fan favourite and Crowning Moment of Awesome. The episode bizarrely sends up the musical genre (and its respective subgenres) as a whole, musical and dance genres from rock to ballet, and (in typical Joss Whedon fashion) the series itself with wicked glee, yet also manages to fit plot and Character Development in as well and come up with a plausible (for Buffy) explanation for why everyone's singing.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess had two, actually. The funny one that parodied the "battle of the bands" type trope, and the (in some ways) more serious "Bitter Suite" episode.
  • That's So Raven did one in which Raven lets it slip that the new janitor is a talent scout is visiting her school, and thus everyone is breaking into song to impress the scout. The kids eventually found out he was actually an undercover health inspector.
  • SwitchedAtBirth Had "Dance me to the end of love." Which had several characters dancing in elaborate imagine spots.
  • Even Stevens did an episode titled "Influenza: The Musical" in which Ren has a fever induced dream in which the whole school would randomly burst into song, and Ren herself had to sing a song in the climax.
  • Scrubs did a musical episode ("My Musical") with the musicians of Avenue Q, on the premise that a patient had an aneurysm that was making her hear singing when people talked. All the musical sequences were from her point of view, and after she goes into surgery, the music stops.
    • The patient in question is played by Stephanie D'Abruzzo, who was the original Kate Monster in said show.
  • 7th Heaven had a Valentine's Day episode that was also a musical, called Red Socks.
  • X-Play, a video game review show, did a surprisingly not horrible musical episode.
  • Eli Stone has musical numbers in most of its episodes.
  • Malcolm in the Middle had an episode in which Dewey turns his parents fight into an opera. The episode is appropriately entitled "Dewey's Opera".
  • Lexx had its musical episode in Brigadoom. In it the crew of Lexx encounters a mysterious theater floating in space and ends up performing Kai's backstory on stage. Of particular interest is the use of theater-grade special effects, so that a fleet of spaceships is represented by people waving miniatures on poles instead of the show's usual computer-generated effects.
    • Actually, as the behind-the-scenes DVD material shows, some of the show's VFX were produced cheaply by manipulating miniatures on poles in front of a green screen, so the play version might be more of a self-referential parody.
  • Tracy Beaker did one.
  • That '70s Show's 100th episode was a musical called, quite predictably, That '70s Musical, only instead of singing songs written specially for the show, the characters sang some of the most famous seventies' songs, as well as The Turtles' "Happy Together" from the sixties. The singing scenes take place in Fez's imagination.
  • Grey's Anatomy had one. Similarly to the Scrubs example, it was from the point of view of a patient; though the patient was one of the doctors in the main cast. She is played by Sara Ramirez, an actress/singer who was in Monty Python's Spamalot. The episode wasn't very well received by fans.
  • The Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps episode 'When Janet Met Jonny'.
  • Once in a while, in The '70s, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood would invite an opera singer friend of Mr. Rogers named John Reardon, and the episode, entirely set in the Land of Make-Believe and featuring a lofty plot line, would resemble a musical or light opera, with all of the characters singing their lines.
  • The Kamen Rider Faiz Hyper Battle Video, where the characters suddenly break out into song and dance for no apparent reason as part of Smart Brain's latest plot. They lampshade the fact that they're singing, and in the end Takumi ends up defeating the Orphenocs with a sonic blast from a radio which was causing the whole thing. And then Takumi wakes up.
  • Chicago Hope had the fourth-season episode "Brain Salad Surgery". Dr. Aaron Shutt suffered a brain aneurysm that caused him to hallucinate the rest of the hospital staff singing and dancing.
  • On the heels of the success of Glee, FOX had a musical week including Fringe. Which turned out to be a Noir Episode as well— a double case of Something Completely Different. And it was justified in that the noir musical was simply the fictional story within a Framing Device.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had its musical episode where Charlie actually wrote and then directed a musical, not that his friends would let it be that simple
  • Good Times had two. One doubled as a Christmas Episode while the plot of the other was a talent show to raise money for a daycare center in their building.
  • Every episode of Glee. Justified because it IS show choir.
  • Ally McBeal had one at the end of season 3. Randy Newman wrote part of the music for this.
  • Oz has one of sorts. Series 5, episode 3 'Variety' has a central theme about variety shows and each of the narrator segments, usually occupied by Hill's musings about the theme is instead one of the characters singing in various different musical styles.
  • The second season of Community had "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" which, since it was also their homage to the Rankin Bass stop motion Christmas specials, had several short songs, and the third season Christmas Episode episode "Regional Holiday Music" was a blatant Glee parody.
  • Every episode of The Fresh Beat Band. Justified because it is about a band.
  • Every episode of The Wiggles. Justified for the same reason.
  • Sanctuary had a musical episode. Justified because the reason they were singing was to communicate with Will's girlfriend, who had been infected with a musical parasite.
    • But that doesn't cover all the singing such as Magnus spoken word piece.
  • The "Land of the Luvvies" episode in The Legend Of Dick And Dom features a much-feared tribe of Luvvies who spread song and dance through the neighbourhood.
  • Little Howard's Big Question has an episode called "Can We Sing For A Whole Episode?".
  • Every episode of Cop Rock; justified what with it being, you know, a musical.
  • Smash; see above, plus it's set in the world of musical theatre.
  • Todd and the Book of Pure Evil has a metal musical episode every season and straddles the line between playing it straight and justifying it. "The Phantom of Crowley High" had one inexplicable love song alongside an actual musical in the school. "2 Girls, 1 Tongue" justifies the singing as a side-effect of one of the Book's spells, but the cast does an unplanned number after the spell ends. Both feature a girl who hates musicals.
  • Mega64! (Also the 2011 commentary for "Summer Semester".)
  • Raising Hope. The episode about Burt turning out to be Jewish.
  • "Psych 'The Musical". Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Somewhat justified in that the entire episode is a pitch Shawn is giving to a playwright for a musical, so everything's in his cloudcuckoolander head.
  • Many episodes of Sesame Street featuring a number of original songs. One notable example is "Music Magic" from 2010, where the story is told mostly through song as a result of a magic spell gone wrong by Elmo.
  • The Supernatural episode "Fan Fiction" is an episode about a musical — specifically, a all-girl high school musical based on the Supernatural novels, an in-universe text written about the show's protagonists by an author who turned out to be the next prophet. The songs, sung by teenage girls playing the TV show characters in the musical, include Castiel's "I'll Just Wait Here", Dean's "Manly Tear", and a Broadway-esque rendition of "Carry On, Wayward Son".
  • Cold Case had "Creatures Of The Night" (a murder during a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show), "Triple Threat" (about a young Russian ballerina who defected and became a pop singer) and "Wilkommen" (about a guy who got cast on a production of ''Cabaret)..

  • Episode three of the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama Doctor Who and the Pirates. As the story is being told through the framing device of the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn telling the story to one of Evelyn's students, it already contains a bit of storytelling silliness (Evelyn doesn't remember all the pirates' names, so she makes up obviously fake ones for the less-important characters), but when the Doctor takes his turn at telling the story, he decides, for Large Ham reasons, to deliver it in the form of a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. You could say that he's the very model of a Gallifreyan buccaneer.
  • Also in the Big Finish Universe, we have The Scorchies. All together now- Jo is making a thing! It's got lights that flash and go bing! Oh, what a lovely thing to sing about, Jo, making a thing!

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    Western Animation 
  • Except for possibly a few sentences, the entire episode "See Me Feel Me Gnomey" of The Powerpuff Girls is completely in song.
  • American Dad! has Hot Water, a parody of Little Shop of Horrors featuring Cee Lo Green as a sentient hot tub.
    • The episodes "Minstrel_Krampus" and "Rubberneckers" also qualifies.
  • In one episode of Animalia a core spore blows and all the animals start singing everything they say.
  • Arthur did a music video episode: just a revue of musical numbers performed by the cast. It goes on about how wonderful libraries are. The songs range from the slightly embarrassing pseudo-rap "Library Card" to Brain's Crowning Moment of Awesome...
  • The Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" is notable for having somewhat of an in-story justification: the story is about a villain with a hypnotic voice controlling the world through music. Probably the show's most audacious use of Refuge in Audacity.
    • Although that doesn't explain Black Canary (and later, Green Arrow), breaking out into song on their own. Maybe they're just musical theatre fans. "Was the singing really necessary?"
  • The 2006 revival of Biker Mice from Mars has this happen in the final episode "Turf Wars", including some Villain Songs for the Nomad Rats, Hairball, Dr. Catorkian, and an evil Harley.
  • Deconstructed in Bob's Burgers with "Hamburger Dinner Theater" where Linda naively believes singing can make any situation better, even when they get robbed.
  • Bugs Bunny had a few based on classical music, including "Rabbit of Seville" and "What's Opera, Doc?".
  • In the CatDog episode "It's a Wonderful Half Life", Cat and Dog have a shared dream depicted as a black-and-white Inkblot Cartoon Style musical.
  • Clone High had "Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Parts".
  • Codename: Kids Next Door did two musical episodes: "F.O.O.D.F.I.T.E." (A heavy metal opera) and "L.O.V.E." (A West Side Story-ish musical).
  • Cow and Chicken has one episode devoted to the school staging Cow's bizarre allegorical musical, "The Ugliest Weenie".
  • In one episode of Curious George called "Sock Opera Monkey", George does a puppet show of the opera Hansel and Gretel to a recording of the music. In another, "Go West, Young Monkey", although he doesn't sing, several other characters do. (Most of this is a dream sequence.)
  • Danny Phantom includes an episode told mostly in rhymes, like a Dr. Seuss story.
  • Daria, of all shows, had a musical episode aptly named "Daria!" And yes, Daria sings too.
    • To be more accurate, she doesn't sing as such. More does the Rex Harrison talking/singing thing. Although her Dad and Trent have a killer heroic Duet...
      • She mainly talks in pitch instead of singing, but she does sing a few lines. Probably because she's just unmotivated, even in a musical. Perfectly in-character.
  • Dexter's Laboratory had its oft-quoted even to this day LABretto episode, which presents itself as an origin story chronicling Dexter's rise from birth to building his secret lab.
    "Don't be silly, I love you very much!"
    "I see she'll ruin everything she sees in front of her."
    "I'll have to move my studies so they'll be much safer!"

    "Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, what does this button do?"
    "Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, what does this button do?"
    (pushes Dexter's belly button. Dexter cries.)
    "Now I know that this button does: it make my brother cry."
    • Another episode involved Dee Dee getting a song stuck in her head, where most of the lines were sung to the tune of it.
  • "School's Out: The Musical", an episode of The Fairly Oddparents. The holiday specials also feature musical numbers.
  • Family Guy has done several episodes which are more or less shameless pandering to old-style movie musicals (often focusing primarily on Brian and Stewie and titled "The Road to <Insert Place Here>", which is itself an homage to the Hope/Crosby "Road" movie musicals; one of these, "The Road to Rhode Island", even included a song based on the Road theme itself). A lot of the episodes have one or more musical numbers in them without quite rising to the level of "Musical Episode". And then there's "The King Is Dead", an episode about a musical ("Peter Griffin Presents a Peter Griffin Production of Peter Griffin's The King and I, a Peter Griffin Joint"). It's... not much like the actual musical.
  • Freaky Stories chose to tell the Urban Legend of "the Hook" as a Musical Episode.
  • The last third of Futurama's "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" is an opera. As sung by the cast.
    • There were also musical numbers in other episodes, such as "Hell Is Other Robots".
  • Hey Arnold! had "What's Opera, Arnold?," an All Just a Dream rendition of Carmen with the kids from the show.
  • Kappa Mikey had "The Karaoke Episode", which involved a magic karaoke machine that forced everyone to sing instead of talk.
  • Kim Possible's "Rappin' Drakken" comes close to being a musical episode.
  • The Magic School Bus has "The Family Holiday Special", a Christmas Episode which features several Christmas Carols with lyrics re-worked about the episode's theme of recycling.
  • Metalocalypse has songs in every episode, but season 3's "Rehabklok" was more of a cohesive musical.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey has a rather unique variation known as "Animal School Musical". The episode is justified in-universe as the result of a magic wish gone wrong and the characters are literally forced to sing whenever the universe finds it appropriate.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Season 3 finale, Magical Mystery Cure, manages to cram seven songs into 22 minutes. It's also a Wham Episode that sees Twilight Sparkle becoming an alicorn princess.
    • The Season 4 episode, Pinkie Pride, is also a musical episode. With good reason, as "Weird Al" Yankovic guest-stars as rival party planner Cheese Sandwich.
    • The Season 5 episode, Crusaders of the Lost Mark, features six songs, among some major Character Development.
    • The Season 6 episode, A Hearth's Warming Tail, unlike the above three, does not have a musical guest star and is not a Wham Episode; however, it does fit the Christmas Episode feel.
  • Pepper Ann had one. Pepper Ann was auditioning for a musical at school, fell off the stage, and blacked out; when she came to her life was a musical. It turned out to be a dream when she came to for real.
  • Phineas and Ferb has one or more songs per episode, not joking, but there's a number of full-fledged examples:
    • "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together" has four songs, one of which was nominated for an Emmy.
    • The Christmas Episode would also qualify.
    • The "Wizard of Odd", a Whole Plot Reference to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which has the added bonus of having its Musical Episode status lampshaded at every possible opportunity.
    • "Rollercoaster: The Musical" is a full musical episode based off the plot of the first episode, where most of the catch-phrases and running gags get their own songs.
    • The movie "Across The Second Dimension" would probably also qualify, with eight songs, not counting the deleted one ("Mysterious Force").
  • The Popeye cartoon "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" has almost all the music and words played to the tune of the song.
    • A number of other Popeye shorts (mainly in the Fleischer Studios era) are this as well.
  • Reboot's recap of the third season in the last few minutes of the last episode (of the third season) does this.
  • Rocko's Modern Life had the Earth Day episode "Zanzibar", which was lampshaded throughout ("How did you all know the words?" "We practiced every Tuesday. Didn't you see the flyers?")
    "R-E-C-Y-C-L-E recycle!
    C-O-N-S-E-R-V-E conserve!
    Rocko: I told you it was catchy!
    Don't you P-O-L-L-U-T-E
    pollute the rivers sky or sea
    or else your gonna get what you deserve"
  • Ruby Gloom did an hour-long episode called "Hair(less): The Musical".
  • Rugrats had an episode where the rest of the babies try to teach Dil to appreciate music. To do so, they sing their own renditions (complete with reworked lyrics) of classic songs such as "Bicycle Built For Two," "You Make Me Love You," and "Pack Up Your Troubles."
    • There was also the laundromat-set West Side Story parody "Wash/Dry Story".
  • The direct-to-video feature Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire is essentially a musical as the Scooby gang and the feature's incidental characters break out singing throughout.
  • South Park has done many musical episodes, too, including The Movie.
    • Perhaps most notably, "Elementary School Musical" in which a new kid appears who is forced by his father to treat the world like a musical. Most of the school joins in.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast had "Boatshow".
  • 'Spongebob Squarepants: The movie "Atlantis Squarepantis".
    • Several specials certainly qualify also. "Hello, Bikini Bottom", "The Sponge who could Fly", and "Spongebob's Last Stand" most notably.
  • Squidbillies: "America: Why I Love Her".
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Octopede Sailors had more songs than any other episode and could be considered this.
  • The Emperor's New School: The Musical speaks for itself, really. Bonus for being a parody of High School Musical.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has All Hands on Deck.
  • The second half of the hour long "Return of Doctor Blowhole" The Penguins of Madagascar special is a musical episode. An incident involving a power cell, a device used to turn people evil and an MP3 player creates a machine that forces everyone to sing in it's field of effect. Cue the villain taking it over and the rest of the cast trying to stop it...all in song!
  • The Simpsons has done countless musical episodes, including "The President Wore Pearls", "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious, "My Fair Laddy," "Yokel Chords", "Treehouse of Horror XX: There's No Business Like Moe Business." and "Elemental School Musical".
    • In addition, the show often parodies The Musical, especially All Musicals Are Adaptations. See the former article for more information.
    • There's also the Clip Show "All Singing, All Dancing," which highlights musical numbers throughout the first eight seasons. Almost all the framing sequences are entirely in song.
  • "Bad Rap" from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
  • 2 episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures had 2 music video episodes. One was Tiny Toon Music Television and the other was Toon TV, as the characters do their cover of oldies songs from the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's.
  • Total Drama World Tour is a musical season. Chris would require the contestants to sing during certain challenges, mainly to mess with them.
    • The episode "The Princess Pride" in Total Drama Action.
  • VeggieTales had "Lyle The Kindly Viking".
  • "I Have Heard the Robots Singing" from Transformers Rescue Bots, the first musical episode in the history of the Transformers franchise.
  • Johnny Bravo:
    • "The Sensitive Male!" has Johnny being subjected to a parody of Schoolhouse Rock as Jack Sheldon tries to teach him how to be more sensitive towards women.
    • "Traffic Troubles" has Johnny getting sent to "Musical Comedy Traffic School" for jaywalking.
  • Wander over Yonder has "My Fair Hatey", an episode in which Wander helps Lord Hater prepare to ask Lord Dominator out on a date, while Commander Peepers teams up with Sylvia to put Dominator out of commission once and for all.