Playlist of the Month: TV Tunes Scene Stealers

It’s the final day of Back To TV Week, and we’re ending it by really going back to TV with some of the most iconic scenes on the small screen over the years. We know that music can make or break any soundtrack either in TV and movies or even in real life. But when it’s in entertainment, the choice of song can elevate a scene a million times more and evoke emotion that would have never been brought out otherwise. This month’s playlist features a lot – A LOT – of our favorite scenes from TV shows with the perfect background music, mainly because we’re TV nerds and there are just so many to choose from. Here are our top picks – did any of yours make the list?

Sia – Breathe Me

{Six Feet Under}

You’ve probably heard this countless times already, but Six Feet Under has the best series finale in the history of television, and this final montage is why. I swear I binged the whole show just to get to this scene, and it was worth it. If you don’t know, Six Feet Under centers on a family who runs a funeral home, and each episode focuses on at least one death. In this final scene from the series finale, each of the main characters’ lives are flashed before our eyes, showing us highlights from when the final episode ends in present day to years later when each of them are old and grey, leading up to their deaths. The beautiful montage of life and death is perfectly set to Sia’s emotional Breathe Me, and the scene may leave you in mourning, but equally satisfied with the reality of mortality.

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

{Grey’s Anatomy}

Remember 80 seasons ago when Katherine Heigl was still on Grey’s? And she fell in love with a patient? And then he died? And she had ghost sex with him? Ok, well the death scene was emotionally draining, even for stone cold Cristina Yang, and Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars pulled the tears out even further. It was also this episode that Chasing Cars became the unofficial theme song for Grey’s, and used in several more episodes after that including the infamous musical episode. And in a full circle sort of scene, a cover of Chasing Cars by The Wind and the Wave was played in the background as Meredith watches Derek being taken out of his coma and takes his final breath. WOOF.

Tony Lucca – Devil Town

{Friday Night Lights}

Tony Lucca, of Mickey Mouse Club and The Voice fame, is the voice behind this haunting song, which, like Chasing Cars for Grey’s, became the unofficial theme song for FNL. It was used both in the beginning of season one (as seen in this clip) as the Panthers prepared for their first game without Street, and at the end of season one after they win state. It was used yet again in the series finale when the school board decides to keep the Dillon Panthers and merge the East Dillon Lions into their team, just before the Lions have their own run at the state champs. Yet again, all full circle, and yet again all the goosebumps and tears.

Chris Brown – Forever

{The Office}

As a self-professed Jam shipper, the Niagara episode in which Jim and Pam finally tie the knot was v important to me. And this scene was everything I could’ve asked for and more. It perfectly encapsulates why I loved the show in the first place – comedy, camaraderie, romance and tears all in one. First of all, the idea to have a flash mob was conceived by Michael, who saw a (real) viral video on YouTube of a wedding party dancing to Chris Brown’s Forever. He rallied the entire Scranton crew to participate which was even more delightful, but the newlyweds let it go and didn’t let it ruin their big day. Why? Well Jim was his usual romantic self and devised a plan to marry Pam secretly on the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls. Cue the tears.

Jim: I bought those tickets the day I saw that YouTube video. I knew we’d need a backup plan. The boat was actually Plan C, the church was Plan B, and Plan A was marrying her a long, long time ago. Pretty much the day I met her.

Aaliyah – Try Again

{The Mindy Project}

Do you remember where you were when you first saw Danny Castellano bust out impressive moves during a Secret Santa dance to Mindy Lahiri to Aaliyah’s classic tune Try Again? Because I do. Fact: Chris Messina truly knows how to dance, and the person who choreographed this scene actually worked with Aaliyah for the Try Again music video. The authenticity + one of the first memorable Danny x Mindy moments makes for an unforgettable scene. And let us not forget when he went all out Diamond Dan for a private strip tease to Lenny Kravitz’s American Woman. Oh also, during S3, episode 15, when Danny’s mom aka Carla Tortelli accidentally tells him Mindy is pregnant, and he looks for her all over New York to the tune of Beyonce’s XO. It was perfect in every way, especially with the heartbeat in the backbeat of the track, encapsulating the life *growing inside of her*.

Imogen Heap – Hallelujah

{The OC}

If you are an older millenial like us, you know this scene already. You know how iconic this is. Especially since Jeff Buckley’s version was used in the season one finale when it seemed like the gang was all parting ways. But in this scene, Marissa was the one who parted ways for good. RIP.

Nina Simone – I Shall Be Released

{Scandal}

Shondaland does music right, and on Scandal, they perfect the use of soul & R&B songs usually from the 1970s and 80s. In what is maybe Scandal’s best episode, titled The Lawn Chair, the Ferguson-inspired storyline features Courtney B. Vance refusing to remove himself from sitting over his son’s body, which was left on the street after a police officer shot him to death. As if the episode wasn’t emotional enough, Nina Simone’s I Shall Be Released pushes it over the edge, and if you’re not in tears by the final shot, you have no soul. {click here for the video}

U2 – With Or Without You

{Friends}

Nothing made us sadder during the run of Friends than when Ross and Rachel were on a break – and that still holds today, even though our feelings about some of the Friends characters are in flux (do I love Ross? or do I absolutely hate Ross? I’m basically Rachel). With Or Without You has passed into cliche sad song territory – think Everybody Hurts – and yet when you’re in the middle of heartbreak it’s like “Bono was right, I CAN’T live with or without you.”

Our Friends honorable mention goes to Groovy Kind Of Love at Monica and Chandler’s wedding. It felt like a left-field choice for them, which led to 12-year-old me developing a head canon that it was “their song” and they used to dance around to it in the kitchen or whatever.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

{E.R.}

Sometimes I still get sad when I remember that Mark Greene died on E.R., but at least the show gave him a beautiful sendoff. Not so much the brain cancer (although it was E.R., at least they didn’t have him get stabbed by a madman), but the gorgeous scene where he slips into the next world … which is also an E.R..

Fun (?) fact, this episode aired when we were in high school. My mom had cancer at the time and this scene had me weeping because of little Rachel and whoever the baby was. Watching it as an adult, I can safely say that it would have had that effect no matter what my life circumstances were because of the damn ukulele and because this rendition wasn’t yet ubiquitous in commercials and stuff.

I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke

{Mad Men}

 

Mad Men did a great job evoking the 1960s with music – props to their clearances/legal department, and a big shoutout to the genius who thought of Megan singing Zou Bisou. But viewers had to wait for the end of the series for the most iconic musical moment of all, where it’s implied that a blissed-out Don Draper created one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time, I Want To Buy The World A Cokie. It also signifies the shift, both culturally and in the ad world, from the 1960s to the 1970s.

We still miss this show a lot, just so you know.

Hard Times Come Again No More – Brett Dennen

{Parenthood}

Where my music history nerds at? You’ll remember that this one was written by the hot pop composer of the 1850s, Stephen Foster, but it was given new life in the 2010s when this cover played in the season 2 finale of Parenthood, an emotional roller coaster following Amber’s accident, Kristina’s pregnancy and Julia’s adoption disappointment.

My other Parenthood choices, if you’re cool with crying all over yourself, are that final scene with Forever Young and when Amber and Sarah sing the Circle Game, a song Joni Mitchell wrote so that people would cry more (and then Amber calls Sarah her hero, and then later we found out that it was really Mae Whitman calling Lauren Graham her hero, and we’re really fine, I swear).

Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass

{Lost}

Optimistic and life-affirming and bleak and cheerful and disturbing and confusing: this scene was Lost in three minutes. I’ll never hear this song the same way again.

Motown Philly – Boyz II Men

{Full House}

Was the best musical moment of Full House when the Beach Boys would inexplicably show up, invite the Tanners on stage, and the crowd would react with glee for this random nerdy family as though it meant something to them? Or possibly when Jesse crooned Forever to Becky at their wedding? Or is it when the girls ruined their Ace of Base cover and we all learned a thing or two about how important it is to practice? Maybe that Lollypops and Gummybears song from the telethon episode?

Friends, it is none of these. The best musical moment is when Stephanie did a pretty good dance to Motown Philly. No arguments. It is.

Bonus Tracks:

La Vie En Rose by Cristin Milioti/Tracy McConnell-Mosby (Edith Piaf cover) on How I Met Your Mother – we continue to be upset over the unfair treatment of fictional character Tracy Mosby.

Make It Home by Juliana Hatfield on My So-Called Life – I don’t care if it never made sense that a ghost/angel was suddenly around for one episode, this was important and we all know it.

Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk – This is a Pacey/Joey blog 100%, let’s be clear. This was a Dawson/Joey song, but this melodramatic fan video recasts it as Pacey/Joey… just like the whole show should have been. It’s important to note that I ran the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack into the ground in junior high.

The Final Goodbye: Television’s Best Series Finales

It seems like just yesterday we were introduced to Chemistry teach Mr. Walter White and his ex-student Jesse Pinkman, who became entrepreneurs with their booming meth business. And for some of you, it was like yesterday if you’re of the late-to-the-party-binge-watching ilk. And this weekend, it all comes crashing down to an anxiety-ridden end. Will Jesse die? What will happen to Skyler, Walt Jr. Flynn & Holly? Will Todd kill any more people? Who will Walt use the Ricin on?  Will anyone in ABQ ever have an A1 day?

While we anticipate Sunday’s series finale, I decided to take a look at some of my personal favorite series finales. To be clear, I only considered shows I’ve seen from beginning to end, so don’t complain that The Sopranos finale isn’t on here because I’ve never seen it. Buuut I would like to hear what your favorite series finales are! And then at approx 10:16pm on Sunday, we can all add Breaking Bad to that list and cry together knowing there will never be a new episode of one of the greatest TV shows ever again.

(In chronological order) ((Also, spoiler alert??))

Friends (1994-2004)

Besides being one of the most legendary sitcoms in TV history, Friends also has a special place in my heart as well. It was the first show that I ever became obsessed with – to the point where I wore out the VHS tapes I used to tape every episode on. I went through the seasons multiple times, reference it daily, held day long marathons called ‘Friends-travaganzas’ and it even had some influence on this very blog (In high school, Molly & I made a bet on who we thought the father of Rachel’s baby was going to be, and the winner had to buy the loser our cafeteria’s famous cookies. We both lost.)

That being said, as a fan of a series for 10 years, you want the last episode to wrap up everything in a nice package with a perfect bow. You want the best for the people/characters you’ve spent the past 10 years laughing with. And the finale did just that. Monica and Chandler finally got the family they desperately wanted, Phoebe was also able to find a family she never really hard growing up with her husband Mike, and after their epic on-again, off-again relationship, Rachel got off the plane and promised that ‘this was it’ with Ross and they could build upon their own family too (My only qualm is that Joey still didn’t end up with anyone, even if it was because of the awful spin-off).

Co-creator David Crane has said that he and Marta Kaufmann were inspired to write about their own lives, living in NYC in their 20s. They pitched the show as such: “It’s about searching for love and commitment and security, and the fear of love and commitment and security. It’s about friendship – because when you’re young and single in the city, your friends are your family.” And in the end, all the characters achieved and surpassed that. The finale was like a graduation for the gang, even though they spent pretty much the past 10 years relying on each other, the end of the series signified that their friends weren’t the ‘ultimate family’ anymore. It was time to go make their own.

Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

I binge-watched Six Feet Under last year, and even though I found it too dark for my taste at times, overall it lived up to its hype. Not only that, but the finale was everything that people said it would be. Seriously, just watch SFU for the finale alone. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything, but the last montage ^AS SEEN ABOVE, SO DON’T WATCH IT IF YOU PLAN ON WATCHING IT IN THE FUTURE^^ is the best, most genius, satisfying ending I’ve ever seen. I honestly can’t even talk about it because it is that good.

Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)

Much like Six Feet Under, I was a little late to the Friday Night Lights game – and I’m assuming most of its fans are. Right after the series finale aired in May, the entire show was available on Netflix Instant – a moment I had been waiting for for years! I spent the summer (ok, like a month and a half) of 2011 bonding with Netflix, the Taylors and Tim Riggins abs. It was one of those instances where all I could think about was the Panthers. I would be at work just dreaming about what would happen next, and rushing home to watch the next episode.

But when it came down to the final season, I had mixed feelings. I wanted to know what happened to the gang, but absolutely did not want it to end. The problem was that I watched it so fast that five years of drama in Dillon was condensed into just a few weeks – but it was there. The bond I had with the team was there. It literally took me almost as long to watch the final five episodes, particularly the finale, than it did to watch the whole thing. But when it did, it was perfect. Stories were tied up, characters found their happy endings, and Mr. and Mrs. Coach were still the perfect role models they were from the pilot. Clear eyes. Full Hearts…

30 Rock (2006-2013)

There’s a reason why 30 Rock has won 16 Emmy Awards – it’s just that good. It’s a rare breed of show that has been able to be intelligent, biting, sentimental and most importantly funny throughout the seven seasons on air. The combination of the final three episodes was incredibly fulfilling for all 30 Rock fans, as the show highlighted everything we loved about it in the first place. Liz dealing with the ragtag group of writers, Jenna vying for attention, and Kenneth, well Kenneth ends up exactly where he was meant to be all along.

The Office (2005-2013)

Add The Office right next to Friends, because this show is one of my all-time favorites. Now I admit that the show kind of lagged towards the end of its run, but I maintain that it was still funnier than most shows on TV at the time. In my opinion, NBC landed the jackpot with smart comedies like 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Community, and of course, The Office. Executive Producer Greg Daniels proved that he could not only adopt the UK version, but alter it to fancy American audiences and make it last twice as long as its namesake.

For me, The Office blended that perfect mix of comedy with heart, that only few shows have been able to master. The perfect example of this is in the boss himself, Michael Scott. He may have done asinine things like almost commit suicide in order to show the risks of depression and suicide, or hold a funeral for a bird in order to cope with the death of a former co-worker or organize the ‘Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure’. When you whittle it down, he does all these things because he cares. He cares about his employees, the people who became his friends, and ultimately his family.

The entire Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch may have been filled with shenanigans, feuds, intertwining relationships but as seen in the series finale, they all went through the documentary together – as a family. Not to be a broken record, but the show came full circle – from Angela and Dwight, to Michael’s surprise appearance and That’s What She Said moment, to Jim and Pam finally getting to courage to do what they wanted- get out of the rut they were in in Scranton. In honestly couldn’t have ended any better (and if we’re speaking honestly here, I’d say it’s my number one finale in this whole list). It was so good in fact, that I still haven’t been able to get myself to watch an entire episode of The Office since – I couldn’t even make it through the first 10 seconds of this video without crying…. I might have a problem.

BONUS:

ER (1994-2009)

Alright, I admit, I’ve probably only seen 10 out of the 15 seasons of ER, give or take a few episodes throughout the last five. But come on, 15 seasons is one hell of a commitment. The cast changes, writers and executive producers come and go, but through the heart of it all, it was always about these doctors, and their relationships with their patients and each other.

Clearly the heyday of ER was towards the beginning, when Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Juliana Margulies and some guy named George Clooney started off as regular folk on a medical TV drama. It was really nothing like TV had seen before, and became a critically acclaimed hit, essentially paving the way for Shondaland and Grey’s to leave its own mark on TV. And while it may have stumbled towards the end, the finale was purposefully (and wonderfully) mirrored the pilot, a full circle maneuver that I personally enjoy in any series.

For me, the most poignant part of the finale was seeing Rachel Greene, daughter of the hospital’s late Dr. Mark Greene, come back to County General in hopes to follow in the footsteps of her revered father. In the early seasons, viewers saw Rachel as a kid wandering around the ER aimlessly, but now she had a purpose. The end scene (as seen above), may not be too flashy, but it’s a reminder that even if we don’t get to see what happens in this hospital for another 15 years, it will keep on going without us.

Whatareyoudoinghere: Unexpected Guest Stars of Six Feet Under

Welcome back to another installment of Whatareyoudoinghere! Today we will explore the wonderful/dreary world of Six Feet Under. I patiently waited for this series to come on Netflix instant, and since it still wasn’t available by the time summer came around last year (when I do most of my TV marathoning), I illegally streamed it online (judge all you want). Over all, I’d say it was worth all the hype and awards it received, especially since it had one of – if not the best – series finales I’ve ever seen. Anyways, here’s a list of some of the people I didn’t expect to see when I watched SFU for the first time.

Rainn Wilson

Just before he was Dwight K. Schrute, Rainn played a loner type mortician’s apprentice for the funeral home, and had a thing with Frances Conroy’s character. He actually had a lengthy story line, and ended up in 13 episodes. Still a weirdo.

Jenna Fischer

Speaking of The Office, Jenna Fischer had a two episode arc in season 5, when she went out with Rico, the family funeral home’s mortician. Rico didn’t get the hint that she wasn’t that into him… maybe he shouldn’t have invited her to his best friend’s wedding after one date.

Adam Scott

I realize the image above might be jarring if this is your first time learning about Adam’s appearance on SFU. It was to me when I first saw it and I still can’t get over it. Adam clearly played a love interest for Michael C. Hall. Yeah, Dexter and Ben Wyatt mackin’ it. And jury’s still out if I find this hot or not… (UPDATE: I watched their scenes again, and the verdict is I am uncomfy.)

Bobby Cannavale

Per usual, Bobby played a tough guy who Keith meets while they’re body guards for pop star Celeste (who is featured below). I loved the interaction Keith had with Bobby’s Javier, especially because it’s a good reminder that Keith isn’t your “typical” gay man, and Javier, a typical Alpha male, doesn’t care that he’s gay at all.

Michelle Trachtenberg

Spoiler alert: Harriet the Spy grows up to be a pop star! Here is Celeste, the stereotypical rich, bitchy, superstar. She believes she can get anything she wants… even sex with a gay man. Oops.

Justin Theroux

Contrary what you may think from this picture, Mr. Jennifer Aniston was not a band geek living in central Mississippi. He plays Brenda’s (Rachel Griffiths) charming neighbor, but his presence poses a problem for both of them since she’s a recovering sex addict… so I mean… good luck Brenda.

Ellen DeGeneres

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 4.18.30 PM

Saved the best for last! Celeste has an appearance on Ellen’s show, and Keith gets into a bit of trouble for using her bathroom while Celeste is taping. But in his defense, he did do his job when Ellen tried to go into Celeste’s dressing room after she said no visitors allowed.