The New York Times posted a cool piece today on how the music in The Office is decidedly un-hip, and why it couldn’t be any other way. During the Christmas ep, Michael (Steve Carell, pictured) couldn’t stop playing samples of a cheesy James Blunt song (on iTunes — nice cross-promotional product placement there, NBC) in an effort to get over Carol. The choice was so perfectly lame for that man at that moment. Which got me thinking: What kind of music do you prefer to hear on TV — random new artists or tongue-in-cheek throwbacks to the ghosts of yesterday’s hits?
There once was a time when I completely delighted in waiting for the end of an episode of The O.C. so I could see which masterfully selected indie tune would be plucked from semi-obscurity and shotgunned onto message boards everywhere so all the teens (and, ahem, adults) could immediately download them and then pretend they’d had them on their iPods for months. (Guilty.) In 2003, this tradition was considered my “livelihood,” along with other cool activities such as insomnia, Spicy Chex Mix, and memorizing the repetivie trivia on eight different Music Choice channels (see: insomnia).
But now I’m older, cooler, and have graduated to 99-cent sacks of Nutter Butters. I’m also less ecstatic about which new music gets showcased on TV. It’s just not as big of a deal to me anymore — the trend has become more of a commodity than anything else. The O.C. has released six different Mixes in CD form. And yeah, it’s sometimes fun to Google a chunk of lyrics from the closing montages of Grey’s Anatomy or Scrubs to see what the hell is playing. But by and large, I’d much rather gape at the utter hilarity of a karaoke jam to Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” (The Office). And I’m generally much more impressed at eerie-fantastic time capsule choices like Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind of Music” on the Season 2 premiere of Lost (for me, that was one of the most awesome song choices ever) than a cool new tune slapped over one of the CSI “Behold, Science at Work!” montages. What say you? What music on TV gets you the most hot and bothered?