Playlist of the Month: Best Original Songs by Fictional Artists

Music has always been an important factor in movies and TV shows throughout the years, providing just a little something extra to create the exact emotions in a certain scene. And then there are the movies and TV shows that take music to a whole other level by creating made up bands and artists within the storyline. And sometimes they actually end up being really good. We’re not talking fake bands that cover songs, we’re talking the fictional artists with original music who could easily release their own songs and be chart toppers. Here are just a few of our favorites (and by few, we legit mean few. It was surprisingly hard to narrow down a list!)

Check the full playlist on Spotify!

Molly’s Picks

Join The Professionals from Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

Fictional Artist: The Stains

By all means, this should be one of those classic 80s films that’s played on a regular loop on TBS. Somehow – maybe because the universe isn’t just nor kind, maybe because TBS used their full rights-buying budget on The Breakfast Club and Coach Carter – it isn’t. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains follows the rise of a girls’ punk band in the early 80s, and I am shamelessly including it on this list in the hopes that more people will see it.

Killer Tofu from Doug

Fictional Artist: The Beets

Millenials, can you feel me right now?

Obviously The Beets were supposed to lampoon The Beatles, but it also seems like they’re ripping on the early-mid 90s British rock bands that were popular at the time. I’m looking at you, Oasis.

That Thing You Do! From That Thing You Do!

Fictional Artist: The Wonders (Or, The Oneders)

Cheesy? Sure. But I loved this movie, and this is a perfectly formulated throwback rock/pop tune. That Thing You Do! came out when I was about 10, that age when music and bands take on a whole new life for you. This, La Bamba, and Selena were my Movies About Music trifecta circa 1997.

Big Bottom from This Is Spinal Tap

Fictional Artist: Spinal Tap

SO MUCH BASS. We couldn’t have a playlist of fictional bands without including Spinal Tap. Comedy fans and music lovers alike have elevated This Is Spinal Tap to cult classic status, and for good reason: they go to 11. I love how the different styles on the soundtrack trace the trajectory of the band – for instance,  America (so Simon and Garfunkel!), Listen To The Flower People (one of Spinal Tap’s early efforts), and the oddly classy Lick My Love Pump.

It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp from Hustle And Flow

Fictional Artists: DJay and Shug

In addition to being a great movie about the small-time hip hop scene, Hustle And Flow may mark the very last time that a movie, set in the present day at the time of release, featured a cassette tape as a prominent plot device.

Honorable Mentions: The Commitments (who only didn’t make the list because we’re focusing on original songs, and theirs were all covers); The nuns from Sister Act (whatever, I do what I want); Goodbye Lil Sebastian (Right, Parks fans?); Scotty Doesn’t Know from Eurotrip (see Sister Act); Forever (actually not good, and actually a Beach Boys cover, proving that not every record can be Pet Sounds); anything from Once (I couldn’t decide if it counted, since I wasn’t sure if I could divorce it from The Swell Season). This was a surprisingly hard list for me to narrow down, everyone.

Traci’s Picks

Male Prima Donna from The Office

Fictional Artists: Subtle Sexuality

Even if you were a fan of The Office, you still might not be familiar of the outstanding musical talent within the walls of Dunder Mifflin. Kelly Kapoor & Erin Hannon formed pop duo Subtle Sexuality during their out of office hours (read: a series of websisodes), and released to the viewing public in 2009. And it’s full of outlandish costumes and a lot of autotune and it’s wonderfully ridiculous. True story: This song used to be ringtone. If you liked this song, check out Subtle Sexuality’s second single, The Girl Next Door.

Every Minute, Every Hour from 2ge+her Again

Fictional Artists: 2ge+her

Guys, I’m not ashamed to say I was a total teenybopper when I was a teen. I totally drank the boy band kool-aid, even the fake boy band kool-aid that is 2ge+her. Like not even in an ironic way. I genuinely liked their music. And that was the brilliant part of the whole parody phenomenon – is that the songs were actually catchy. I mean, if I say U+Me = Us, I’m assuming most of you would be able to sing a little of it, because it was a memorable pop hit. Case in point: this song from the 2ge+her Again soundtrack, which incidentally was co-written by my boy Howie Dorough from the Backstreet Boys. It’s also one of the rare songs that doesn’t follow the parody formula (i.e. it’s not like Rub One Out or Say It, Don’t Spray It).

Pop! Goes My Heart from Music and Lyrics

Fictional Artists:  PoP!

What do you mean you’ve never seen this movie? For shame. It has Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, and Jason Street from Friday Night Lights, what more could you ask for? Probably a better plot and script, that’s what. I mean I didn’t think it was that bad of a movie, but cinephiles might disagree. Basically Hugh Grant plays a washed up former 80s pop star from a band called PoP! (which was inspired by Wham!). And his band mate is played by Scott Porter, who actually sings and dances IRL. Their hit song is Pop! Goes My Heart and this music video is awesomely 80s.

Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet from Nashville

Fictional Artists: Juliette Barnes

TBH, I only started watching Nashville because of Connie Britton. I’ve continued watching it because the soap opera-ness of it gets you hooked. But one of the best parts of the show (thankfully) is the music. Because the show centers on country music stars in Nashville, most of the songs are original tunes that are written by the same songwriters who write for the real country music stars in Nashville. It was really hard for me to pick just one from the show, so Don’t Put Dirt… is just one of my faves. But then there’s also Boys and Buses, A Life That’s Good, He Ain’t Gonna Change, I Ain’t Leavin’ Without Your Love, and Joy Parade by a C+S favorite, Lennon and Maisy.

Let Me Be Your Star from Smash

Fictional Artists: Karen Cartwright & Ivy Lynn

Let Me Be Your Star was the big song at the end of the pilot for Smash, and I figured that if my goosebumps were any indication of how the rest of the series was going to be, the show would be a hit. Well, we all know how that went. Smash was pretty interesting for a while, and then Bollywood happened, someone got killed, etc. etc. However, there were some great original songs made for the fictional musical, including this one and another one of my favorites, Caught in the Storm.

Honorable Mentions: Say No More (Mon Amour) from Empire Records (Rex Manning Day, y’all),  California Dreams from California Dreams (I have this soundtrack, whatever), Friends Forever from Saved by the Bell (Zack Attack is forever in my heart).

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Characters I Would Not Hate If They Were Played By Different Actors

You know when you’re sitting at home, watching one of your regularly schedule programs, and enjoying every minute of it, until this one person shows up on your screen and ruins everything? Like, everything about your TV watching experience? My boss and I both love Parenthood, and agree that it’s one of the best dramas on the air right now. However, we greatly differ on one thing: Lauren Graham. He hates her. He can’t stand her acting, and he can’t stand her character, so put it together, and you get this 40-something year old guy ranting about how he has to mute it when she comes on or wants there to be a plot line that kills her off.

Now for those of you who don’t know, I love Lauren Graham. If I had to pick my favorite actress ever, it would be a tie between her and Amy Poehler. I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, so naturally I adore LG. I love her personality even more – have you seen her interviews with Ellen? Anyways, the point is that my boss always says Maura Tierney would’ve been such a better Sarah Braverman, and he would probably like her much better than LG now (if you didn’t know, Maura Tierney was originally cast as Sarah, but she was diagnosed with cancer and decided to leave the show, and they cast LG, and had to reshoot the pilot).

So in saying that, here are some characters I think would probably be much more tolerable if it was a different actor playing the role.

Jason Stiles – Gilmore Girls

Ah, Digger Stiles. Out of all of Lorelai’s boyfriends, you were the worst. And I’m including coffee shop Alex who made plans with Lorelai to go fishing, but it was Luke who taught her how to fish instead, and now he’s the main guy on Revolution. I really try not to judge a book by its cover, but with Jason, I am. He is a 4 compared to Lor’s 10. I mean she ended up with one of the manliest hottest men ever, Luke. How can you even compare him to Digger Stiles? His character was just not her type at all, so add an unlikable actor to that, and it’s not going to be well received by the fans.

Ellis Boyd – Smash

not an actual quote from smash

I found that picture from an article called “The Most Hated Character on TV?” I’m not the only one. For anyone who watched the first season, you know that this was the one person on the show who you could just picture yourself crawling into the TV and smacking him upside the head. I’d say hating Ellis is 50% hating the character and 50% hating the actor, played by Jaime Cepero (and coincidentally used to work in the Boston theater scene). He was just the absolute worst assistant would would literally do anything to get further in his career. But luckily for him, it looks like he’s not really missing anything since he’s been MIA after the first season and the show is doing horribly.

Dr. Erica Hahn – Grey’s Anatomy

This bitch. She came in and swooped in on Dr. Burke’s cardiothorassic legacy, leaving his gf and Seattle Grace’s fave doctor, Cristina Yang in the dust. Not only was she mean to Dr. Yang, but she also macked on Dr. Callie Torres, making them the first same-sex couple on the show. But there was always something off about her, and it’s probably the fact that when I look at her, I feel like I’m staring at a cold, damp, cement wall that is stationed somewhere in the middle of Russia. I don’t know why, but that’s what I feel, ok? She didn’t last long, because word on the street is that ABC execs didn’t like her either and forced Shonda Rhimes to kick her off the show.

Mark Brandanawicz – Parks and Recreation

ugh your face

More like “Mark Brandanaquitz!” Am I right, ladies? Long before Ben and Leslie liked and loved each other, she once pined for this guy. Who in my opinion, looked like a potato. He was just there. The fact that Leslie, one of, if not the most, strong-willed female characters on TV, was still harboring feelings for this guy who she hooked up with a long time ago is beyond me. He also dated Ann, which again, we’re back to the Jason Stiles complex, if it had been a better looking guy (so sorry, Paul Schneider), I might have believed their romance? But, I didn’t get it. No chemistry between any of them. Hell, Leslie and Ann have better chemistry with each other than he did with either of them.

Ivy Dickens – Gossip Girl

I still can’t tell you why Ivy was brought in as a new character in season 4. Maybe it had something to do with Serena’s grandma and the fact she was bribed to make the VanDerWoodsen clan believe she was their long lost cousin, ugh I don’t know. I can’t even really tell you why I kept watching Gossip Girl after season 2. But there was just something about Kaylee DeFer’s acting AND her voice that bugged the shit out of me. Like, just stop talking. No.

Pete Campbell – Mad Men

Pete CampbellPete Campbell is the epitome of a character you love to hate (see: 30 Reasons why you love to hate Pete Campbell). He’s WASPy, an ass, immature, and as of last season, an adulterer. And on the other hand, you have Vincent Kartheiser. He is a weird dude. In an interview with The Guardian, these words literally came out of his mouth:

“I don’t really go anywhere to buy things. In fact, I have been in a slow process of selling and giving away everything I own… Like, I don’t have a toilet at the moment.”

This is the man who is marrying Rory Gilmore IRL. But the thing is, you’re not really sure if he’s actually an asshat or of it’s just some ruse he does for the media. And if he is really a douche, then he’s perfect for the role of Pete. I’m so torn but I can’t not put him on this list.