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Band Episode

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This can only end so well...
"Anyway, it all happened during that magical summer of 1985. A maturing Joe Piscopo left Saturday Night Live to conquer Hollywood. People Express introduced a generation of hicks to plane travel. And I was in a barbershop quartet."
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Our main character for whatever reason decides to form a musical group with their friends or family members. Initially riding on the highs of their success, the fame gets to their head and causes problems. Eventually the band breaks up and the characters return to their normal lives.

In some instances of this trope, one character will end up becoming a solo artist, whether by their own decision or at the insistence of their manager.

Not to be confused with Banned Episode or Musical Episode, the latter of which has the characters singing songs, with or without a band. If the band in question is made up of exclusively family members, then it's a Band of Relatives.

Inevitably, every band here is a Fake Band.


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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 7 episode 46, Smart S. wants Careful S. to form a band for an upcoming talent show, giving Doctor H. the idea to teach all the Supermen how to play musical instruments so they can compete. Big M. and Little M. compete in the talent show as well since the prize is a Chinese instrument made with rare materials.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The 2003 Approximation", Raj and Howard form the filk band Footprints on the Moon to bring some live music to the comic book shop. The episode depicts them writing their first song (called "Thor and Dr. Jones"), getting feedback (mainly from Raj's girlfriend), nearly breaking up due to infighting, and getting back together before performing their first gig. Most listeners end up complaining that the song wasn't good for dancing. Footprints on the Moon does appear four more times in the series, mostly as background for Sheldon and Amy's "Fun with Flags" show.
  • Desperate Housewives: Over a couple of episodes in Season 5, Dave makes a point of recruiting Mike and Tom to play in a band on Wisteria Lane in order to get closer to Mike. It ultimately leads to the clearest example of a single episode focused on it in "City on Fire", when the club catches fire.
  • Game On: "Fame" has Matt become the vocalist of a student band called "Proactive", which has moved in in the flat above his. This proves to be an issue for several issues: one, he's agoraphobic and two, he clashes with the rest of the band. He eventually goes to their first gig, only to freak out and collapse on the floor. Although it is successful, he decides not to go ahead with the role.
  • Good Luck Charlie:
    • In "Battle of the Bands", PJ and Emmett sign up for the titular contest, and Teddy starts her own band with Skyler. Teddy's ex-boyfriend Spencer also competes, but he is alone (which the people running the contest allow, saying it attracts more people). During rehearsals, Skyler takes an interest in PJ and he takes an interest in her as well, which leads Skyler to not want to practice with Teddy anymore, as she doesn't want to compete against her new boyfriend, saying it will affect their relationship. Teddy, Skyler, PJ and Emmett all join forces, which results in their band winning first prize.
    • In "The Bob Duncan Experience", after PJ accidentally breaks the one and only record made by Bob's titular high-school band, he gets the band back together. However, the band have trouble rehearsing when Amy keeps butting in.
  • One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch sees Sabrina, Valerie, and Harvey forming a music group to participate in a Battle of the Bands sponsored by the school. Unfortunately, they're not very good, so Sabrina whips up some magical "talent soda" that grants incredible musical ability. The inevitable Acquired Situational Narcissism arises, followed by the trio getting humiliated when the soda goes flat and loses its power. In The Stinger, Sabrina realizes one of the bottles is missing and wonders where it is...cue the guys of the Backstreet Boys finding and drinking it, which is apparently how they became a success.
  • In the Small Wonder third-season episode "The Electric Potatoheads", Jamie and Vicki form a rock 'n' roll band with Reggie and Harriet to impress Ida Mae's visiting friend, a music agent.
  • Two separate episodes of That's So Raven dealt with this trope as B-Plots. Corey, William, and Larry have a small band that often requires a new member, kicking off the story. In the first, Corey insists on bringing a beautiful girl on as a singer, even though she can't carry a tune to save her life; they solve the problem by having Mrs. Baxter stand backstage and sing while the girl lip-syncs. In the second, Corey auditions new talent, only for the school bully to demand a tryout and intimidate all the other kids into quitting; thankfully, the bully turns out to have a hidden talent for music, so it all works out.
  • Ultraman 80: The episode "Operation Silent Tokyo" has Takeshi (80's human form, posing as a schoolteacher) starting a Garage Band with his class at his students' request. But this being Ultraman, their band practice is interrupted by the monster Noiseler, who is attracted to noise and starts targeting Takeshi's band.

    Video Games 
  • Persona 4 Golden: An arc midway through the game surrounds the Investigation Team learning to play instruments to promote a sale at the Junes department store. At the end, the cutscene of the concert is fully animated, and features Rise singing a song from Persona 4: The Animation.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In "Battle of the Band", Jimmy, Carl, and Sheen form a band called the "Llama Lords of Science" to compete in the school talent show using instruments that are powered by thought. Initially in it for the fun, the early success of the band goes to their heads and they decide they want to go in their own separate creative directions, leading to infighting. Hugh's repeated advice of "Good luck tonight and remember, have fun with it!" snaps them out of it, but not before they threw out their instruments in frustration, forcing them to improvise with Carl blowing a giant snot bubble to the audience's disgust. They end up placing last while Cindy and Libby get first prize, but the good news is they are friends again.
  • Alphablocks: One episode involves B, D, and N deciding to form a band when they realise that B and N both play guitars and D plays the drum. They need a singer, and eventually A is chosen, which spells out BAND.
  • Amphibia: In "Battle of the Bands", Anne, Sasha, and Marcy compete in the battle of the bands by forming their own band. Anne is lead singer and plays bass, Marcy plays drums, and Sasha plays electric guitar. However, Sasha gets rather bossy and dumps the band to form a solo act. However, she returns at the end of the episode.
  • Angela Anaconda: In "I Wanna Mold Your Band", Angela pitched the idea to her friends that they form a band to perform at the Mr Tasty Twirl's Ring My Bell contest, which everyone is opposed to because the last time she did (when they were babies), she wanted to name the band after her and decide on the first song. However, Angela convinces them to do it in various ways.
  • In the Arthur episode "Arthur & the Crunch Cereal Contest" Arthur forms a band to help him perform a new jingle for Crunch Cereal. After the group realizes that Arthur has nothing for them to play or work with they all decide to leave. Arthur later tries to come up with a song, but he soon hears one from D.W. and decides to use it and submit it.
  • BB3B: "Chart Attack" has the twins, Chubba, and several of the local kids form a band (Aliens On Toast) in response to what they think are the babies turning their parents' brains to mush. Although they get a cold reception from the parents, they're able to record a demo disc, send it to the local radio station, and become smash hits as a result.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • In "Itty Bitty Ditty Committee", Gene forms the titular band with her sisters and some classmates. Unfortunately, Gene its ousted from his own band after the other kids prove to be better trained musically and think Gene's lack of talent is a liability.
    • "Purple Rain-union" combines this with Putting the Band Back Together, as Linda reforms her high school band the Ta-Tas for her class reunion.
  • Casper's Scare School: In the season 1 episode "Bands on the Run", Casper and Jimmy try to form, a band for a talent show, but Casper inadvertently keeps scaring off any potential members. Eventually, Ra and Manta join them and they end up winning the contest.
  • Dennis the Menace:
    • In "The Backyard Band", Dennis, Gina, Tommy, and Jay form a music band and are scheduled to perform in a talent show. At first, Mr. Wilson takes offense by their poor playing, but is really offended when a snobbish upperclassman insults them, believing his son, Timmy, is much better. Mr. Wilson helps the gang to practice and the results are greatly improved, but the judge gives first place to his nephews. The gang get second place, though and give their trophy to Mr. Wilson for being a great help to them.
    • In "Strike Up the Band", Dennis forms his own band with him on trumpet, Margaret on cymbals, Gina on accordion, and Joey on drums. However, because they all play different songs at the same time, their music is absolutely atrocious. Not wanting to hurt Dennis' feelings (and so she can get some peace and quiet), Alice tells Dennis and his friends to share their music with the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Henry and Mr. Wilson get jobs as police officers and pursue a purse snatcher at a department store. The purse snatcher evades them, but when he hears Dennis' band playing, he surrenders to Henry and Mr. Wilson so he can go to jail and not have to listen to it.
  • Nickelodeon's Doug has an episode where Doug starts a band, playing the banjo. His friends decide to join one by one, culminating in most of the band being drums.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Don't Make Me Over", the Griffins form a family musical group headlined by a post-extreme makeover Meg. Eventually the fame goes to her head and on the advice of Dr. Diddy, she becomes a solo act and a sex symbol, culminating in a scheduled performance on Saturday Night Live. After she loses her virginity to Jimmy Fallon on live TV, she ultimately decides to quit, but not before Peter beats Fallon up, albeit because he hates Fallon's acting.
    • In "Into Harmony's Way", Peter and Quagmire form a folk duo called "Griffin and Quagmire". Though they experience initial success, Peter's antics irritate Quagmire to the point where he angrily quits during a live performance on Conan O'Brien's show. Peter ultimately returns to Quahog to apologize and reunite with his family before going to his tour bus and presumably blowing his brains out. with a gun.
    • In "The Boys in the Band", Stewie and Brian form a children's folk duo called "Red Shirt, Blue Shirt". Soon after their initial success, Stewie's old flame Olivia butts in and takes over management of the band, ultimately replacing Stewie with herself. After Brian realizes how manipulative and destructive she is to their relationship, he quits, leaving her to run the duo with Vinny replacing Brian.
  • In the episode "Shlock Star" from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, four minor imaginary friends (Fluffer Nutter, Yogi Boo Boo, Bloppy Pants, and Billy the Squid) form a band named Pizza Party, which Bloo tries to join, but is refused due to being less than helpful. Out of revenge for being refused and for letting Mac become the band's manager, he forms his own band named Taco Fiesta together with Wilt, Eduardo, and Coco, but they soon become their own band without Bloo. Eventually, Bloo decides to play solo at the upcomming concert held at Foster's, but seeing how much he struggles, the bands Pizza Party and Taco Fiesta merge under the name Blue Sabbath Experience and provide the music, while Bloo does the special effects.
  • Gravity Falls: Downplayed in "Scary-oke", where Mabel creates the band Love Patrol Alpha (made up of her, Dipper, and Grunkle Stan) to perform karaoke at a party, without Dipper or Stan's consent or agreement. They end up having to perform in order to create a three-part harmony that will defeat the zombies Dipper raised from the dead. After an epic performance, the band never comes up again.
  • Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny B Badd" was a parody of this sort of trope, but also a pastiche of family groups like The Osmonds and The Jacksons of the 1970s. Unlike other examples of the trope, there wasn't egotism etc. but it was Lighter and Softer with more of a nod towards parody and humor.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: In "Battle of the Bands", Milo, Melissa, Zack, and Mort (who had already filled in for the band at their school dance in a previous episode) enter a band competition, mostly for fun and for practice. Zack learns his former band is also part of the contest and becomes competitive towards them, pushing his bandmates to the point where he attempts to play all their instruments himself. Once he realizes he's lost sight of why they joined the completion in the first place, he asks for their forgiveness, they perform, and end up winning the contest.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The episode "Flop Starz" is about the titular brothers making a band "Phineas and the Ferb-Tones" just because the idea of going through the life cycle of a band sounded fun. It's noted for the catchy song "Gitchy Gitchy Goo".
    • Phineas, Ferb, Buford, and Baljeet form "The Baljeatles" to join the Summer Rocks concert.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Mime for Change" both downplays and justifies this trope. The Monster of the Week is Mr. Mime, a once happy-go-lucky clown that has turned into a malevolent mime capable of sapping the color, sound, and joy out of anything he touches due to a freak accident involving a bleach spill on the road. Because of this the majority of the episode is silent and in greyscale as he saps the color from everyone in the world save for Bubbles. Bubbles, who started the episode being made fun of by Buttercup for singing about colors, realizes the only solution is through The Power of Rock. So the episode ends with her on drums, Blossom on guitar, and Buttercup on bass jamming out to once again save the city of Townsville.
  • Regular Show:
    • Mordecai and Rigby order a bunch of custom shirts for their fake band "Mordecai and the Rigbys", only to form the band for real when Margaret sees the shirt and believes that it's a real band they're actually in, with Mordecai, not wanting to embarrass himself, hastily lying and saying that is the case, leading to Margaret signing them up for open mic night. During practice, they quickly realize they suck having never played guitar before and accidentally summon their future rockstar selves who teach them how to play. When they go up to play however, they realize they've been tricked into lip-syncing and break up the band, erasing their future selves.
    • The sequel episode, "Return of Mordecai and the Rigbys", has them reforming (having actually learned guitar prior this time) with the addition of the rest of the Park crew so they can win a new AC unit to beat the heat. However, Benson, who was a professional drummer, ends up being too much of a perfectionist which leads to in-fighting. After smashing each other's instruments, they all make up and go-on to perform an Acapella version of the song they've been working on throughout the episode. Then they manifest real instruments and win the contest. Then it's revealed that they passed out from heat stroke right before their set and were taken to the hospital while dreaming about winning the contest.
  • Rugrats (1991): In "Famous Babies", Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Dil decide to form their own band after listening to Didi and Betty play music from their favorite band on casette tapes. Tommy plays with a toy guitar, Lil plays with a jack-in the box, Phil plays with a bucket and shovel, Dil plays with his rattle, and Chuckie is left with an empty toilet paper roll, which Tommy suggests he sing into like a microphone. When Angelica overhears the babies playing, she decides to be their band manager. When she first has the babies perform for the other children in the playground, the babies do nothing, so she puts sand in Chuckie's pants to liven things up. This works, as when Chuckie starts shouting "I got sand in my pants!" while trying to shake the sand out, the other children start paying Angelica in cookies to see the babies perform. However, when Angelica decides to stage a concert in the monkey bars, Tommy, Phil, and Lil all want to sing their own songs. When they try to do so at the same time, this annoys the other children and causes them to leave.
  • Sabrina: The Animated Series: In the episode "Witchy Grrrls", Sabrina forms a bubblegum pop band with her aunts and Chloe to perform at the school talent show. However, when they perform, it's apparent that they sound awful. After losing the talent show, Sabrina casts a spell to make them into successful and famous musicians.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire: The gang disguise themselves as a heavy metal band in order to investigate a rock festival that is being haunted by a creature that is kidnapping the other contestants, including their friends, the Hex Girls. However, by the end of the film the gang ends up getting declared the winners by default and perform the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! theme song in the finale. note 
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" focuses on Homer's experience as a member of the Grammy winning barbershop quartet, The Be Sharps, with Barney, Apu, and Seymour. Initially riding on the success of their song "Baby on Board", the band experiences creative differences, most notably Barney dating a Japanese conceptual artist. After their second album Bigger than Jesus flops, they go their separate ways. They reunite at the end of the episode to perform a concert on the roof of Moe's tavern, with guest star George Harrison snarkily commenting "it's been done".
    • "New Kids On The Blecch" has Bart accepting an offer to form a boy band (called Party Posse) by a music producer called L.T Smash with Nelson, Ralph and Milhouse. They release a single which has Lisa concerned that the band is being used to send subliminal messages (which turns out to be true). They are eventually forcefully broken up when they are about to be satirised in MAD magazine.
  • South Park:
    • "Something You Can Do With Your Finger" has Cartman, in a bid to get $10 million, form a band called Fingerbang. They make it as far as one compliment and an autograph before they decide that Celebrity Is Overrated and they break up.
    • "Christian Rock Hard" has the four boys create a band called Moop, but they kick out Cartman because he wants to make Christian rock. Cartman forms his own Christian band, Faith +1, with Token and Butters, and competes with Moop to get to a platinum record. Cartman's band becomes much more successful as Moop gets caught up in a music piracy protest, but he gets a myrrh record, not a platinum record, and thus loses the bet on a technicality.
    • "Guitar Queer-O" has a virtual band, Stan and Kyle as a Guitar Hero duo. After they're recruited by an agent because they're getting close to a million points, the agent urges Stan to replace Kyle with a better player. He does, but also develops a Heroin Hero problem that derails their big performance. Stan reconciles with Kyle and the two begin playing together again, but stop after they score a million points and the only reward is the game yelling "Congratulations! You... are... fags."
    • The B-plot of "Band in China" has Stan make a new metal band, Crimson Dawn, to vent his frustrations with his annoying dad and Kyle being stuck in an ICE camp. Kenny, Butters, and Jimmy play as well. However, when they try to make a biopic about their band, it keeps getting censored to appeal to China. He briefly brings back Fingerbang to play it safer before abandoning the whole plan.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Band Geeks", Squidward rallies the other citizens of Bikini Bottom to form their own band to upstage his arch-rival Squilliam. Despite many, many setbacks during practice, they ultimately succeed at achieving Squidward's dream. And it is glorious.
    • In "Krabby Road", Plankton, having escaped from prison, forms a rock band with SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward as part of his plan to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula.
  • Steven Universe: In “Steven and the Stevens”, Steven uses a time travel device to form a band with three duplicates of himself from the past to perform at the annual talent show (it makes sense in context). The original Steven proves to be so much of a control freak, leading to the other three Stevens kicking him out of the band and replacing him with Amethyst. This leads to an all out brawl, involving more time travel and even more Steven duplicates, until the original decides to prevent himself from finding the time travel device in the first place. When he realizes how much chaos he caused, he has a Heel Realization and destroys the device, destroying all the duplicate Stevens and himself. The surviving Steven (the one from just before all of this happens) goes on to perform at the talent show with the Crystal Gems instead, singing a song warning of the perils of time travel.
  • The Sunny Day episode "Band Together" revolves around Sunny, Rox, Blair, and Doodle forming a rock band, Sunny and the Sun Rays, for Timmy's talent show. Lacey, who is doing a juggling act with K.C., is jealous of Sunny's act and fears she will beat her, and thanks to her meddling, Doodle's drumkit goes missing and Doodle gets locked up in Junior's magic box. Sunny solves the problems by creating an extra drumkit from Cindy's cooking essentials, and with Junior's help, they were able to free Doodle during his magic act before their turn. In the end the girls get second, but Lacey still does not win any awards because Junior is awarded the first prize instead.