Hear, hear, TV fans. The Jukebox is back with another selection of the week’s most on-point, giggle-inducing, and ironic songs on TV. This week’s show tunes signaled lots of beginnings and endings, from a New Girl wedding and a secondary character’s long-awaited step into the Glee forefront, to the abrupt end of NBC’s buzzy Playboy Club and some life-and-death considerations on Breaking Bad. See our picks below!
NEW GIRL (Fox)
The song: Phil Collins, “A Groovy Kind of Love”
The episode: “Wedding” (103)
The hook: The lovable weirdos from New Girl expressed themselves this Tuesday night as only lovable weirdos can — through the dance. Building on a tradition of goofy togetherness that caps off each episode, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and her boys went to a wedding where roommate Nick (Jake M. Johnson) had to confront the girl that broke his heart. After a series of misadventures, Nick found closure and took to the dance floor to let his freak-flag fly to Collins’ synthed-up 1988 cover of the Mindbenders 1965 original. Never has a chicken dance been so endearing and, dare I say, cathartic.
Watch it! Only Hulu Plus users can view Tuesday’s episode before it hits Fox.com on Oct. 12. In the meantime, read this week’s recap and watch the original video for the song, featuring Collins chain smoking as he glumly watches scenes from his 1988 flop Buster.
BREAKING BAD (AMC)
The song: Apollo Sunshine, “We Are Born When We Die”
The episode: “End Times” (412)
The hook: The Boston-born band’s contemplative track strikes a chilling note during a low moment for Bad‘s protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston). After meth kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) threatened to kill Walt’s entire family, Walt takes a moment to sit by the pool at his house so he can figure out what to do and reflect upon the choices he’s made. The song’s simple lyrics (“Why say goodbye? We are born again when we died”) lilted as Walt played a couple of practice rounds of Russian roulette, spinning a gun around on the table before him three times. Two out of the three times, it came to a stop pointing at him.
The song: “Cool” from West Side Story
The episode: “Asian F” (303)
The hook: We’ve known since he was just a featured player during season 1 that Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.) is a tremendous dancer, but Tuesday was his night to step into the spotlight. The song, which takes place at West Side Story‘s most tense moment, was a brilliant choice for Mike, who was feeling pressure from all sides in Tuesday’s episode. Backed up by the McKinley football team, Mike showed his strong vocals, blowing the casting directors — and yours truly — away.
Watch it! Only Hulu Plus users can view Tuesday’s episode before it hits Fox.com on Oct. 12. Until then, you can read our own Abby’s West’s recap and get your jazz hands on at Glee‘s VEVO page. Also, be sure to check out Jerome Robbins’ electrifying choreography from the 1961 film — it’s your civic duty.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA (HBO)
The song: Martin Solveig Feat. Dragonette & Idoling, “Big in Japan”
The episode: “I’m Good” (201)
The hook: Sometimes an on-the-nose reference is just what’s needed. Such was the case with Solveig’s song in Sunday’s ep of How To Make It in America. All hustle, a thumping anthem, the dance song practically propelled Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (Victor Rasuk) forward as they visited Japan to peddle a line of T-shirts they designed. If I were pounding the pavement in a foreign country, I’d definitely turn my iPod up to 11 and jam out to this.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY (FX)
The song: Patience and Prudence, “Tonight You Belong To Me”
The episode: “Pilot” (101)
The hook: Clearly Glee creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are hell bent on keeping us awake at night. Their song choices — including promos featuring Hannah Peel’s eerie cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” — have been awesomely creepy, and the inclusion of this song from a 1950s sister act was no exception. A Billboard smash when it was released in 1956, the song’s placement in the 1978 prologue for Horror imbues it with an unsettling feeling. A pair of redheaded twins (American Weasley doppelgangers who get off on violence) enter a derelict old house, and the angel-voiced tune kicks up just as they begin smashing the place to bits. Of course, the twins’ own destruction is the natural conclusion, and the refrain, “Tonight you belong to me,” takes on a sinister meaning as the boys are claimed by the unspeakable spirits that haunt the house.
Watch it! The gasp-inducing premiere isn’t available online yet, but EW just happened to get a sneak peek at the scene in question on Monday. If you’re not shivering in a corner yet, read Jeff Jensen’s recap.
The song: Fruit Bats, “You’re Too Weird”
The episode: “Betrayal” (103)
The hook: It’s almost a throwaway moment in the scheme (pun intended) of things, but including the indie-folk outfit’s breezy ditty during a summer morning as Charlotte Grayson’s (Christa B. Allen) ex-boyfriend Adam (Robbie Amell) sneaks into her room provides a nice, light counterpoint to all the machinations floating around the Hamptons. Moreover, the lyrics (“Somebody needs to tell me what I’m supposed to do/ Say that I’m not supposed to be in love with you… And I’m the only one who ever believed in you”) hit notes that are at once appropriate and paradoxical since Adam is definitely not all he claims to be.
THE PLAYBOY CLUB (NBC)
The song: “It’s My Party,” originally by Lesley Gore
The episode: “A Matter of Simple Duplicity” (103)
The hook: Colbie Caillat channeled Lesley Gore in a performance of this 1963 chart topper for the third — and final — episode of the short-lived firebrand of a series. Plot-wise, the song was merely background, as mob fixer-turned-political aspirant Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian) shimmied and dipped, hoping to inspire Frances Dunhill (Cassidy Freeman) to call in help from her powerful father. Caillat’s rafter-high riffs provide a nice balance to Cibrian’s goofy dance moves, but it was the meta significance of the ultimately ironic song choice that made the moment a standout when The Playboy Club was canceled just a day later.
Watch it! Nick and Frances get their prophetic dance on at 13:33 on the show’s Hulu page. Cry — if you want to — while reading Mandi Bierly’s take on the series’ final episode, then watch Mandi’s video obituary for the show.