'Glee,' 'X Factor,' 'Revenge': This week's TV Jukebox!
As we kept our ears perked up for this week’s best show tunes, we saw a trend: Family. In fact, we had a TV Jukebox first, with songs from both British folksters Richard and Linda Thompson and also their son Teddy.
As the Thompsons would know as well as anyone, family can take you on a crazy ride. This week’s music expressed that poetically and, at times, hilariously. From letdowns to glorious build-ups, harboring dark secrets and sweet memories, and encompassing Irish oddballs and naked roommates (see: New Girl), family takes all kinds. See this week’s picks below:
NEW GIRL (Fox)
The song: Yellowman, “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng”
The episode: “Naked” (104)
The hook: Back from a World Series-induced hiatus, New Girl turned in a hilariously off-kilter song choice as roommate Nick stripped to his skivvies to the tune of “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng.” It all started when Jess and Schmidt made Nick self-conscious about his physique before a big date. So what did this modern man do to boost his confidence? He got his nekkid groove on to a 27-year-old reggae joint from an albino Jamaican dancehall star. Did we understand Nick’s reasons? No. Did it make for a priceless moment? Yes!
GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)
The song: Matthew Perryman Jones, “Looking for You Again”
The episode: “Heart-Shaped Box” (808)
The hook: A song as lovely and lilting as “Looking for You Again” is like air to Grey’s fans, and its placement during a montage of reconciliation and reminiscence showed once again why this show is known for its music selection. The moment saw Jackson choose his career over his love life, and Teddy move toward reconciling with Henry after a fight — only to discover him coughing up blood. But most memorable for vintage Grey’s lovers, though, was the middle of the montage as Cristina, Alex, and Meredith went to Joe’s to remember dearly departed George O’Malley, whose mother returned in this episode. Alex summed up the shift in the show over the last several seasons: “George is dead, and Izzie is gone, and we’re all different. We’re different.” But that change didn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
The song: Richard and Linda Thompson, “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight”
The episode: “The Weekend” (104)
The hook: It was only right that the Thompsons’ 1974 ode to busting out of the daily grind played at the end of an episode called “The Weekend.” Amy hoped to throw her troubles away when she invited ex-husband Levi for a canoeing trip. Alas, we all have different ways of ignoring our problems. Former rageaholic Amy’s M.O. has involved hippy-dippy, feeling-centric searches for clarity. Levi’s has mainly consisted of muddying his mind with drugs and alcohol. By episode’s end, they decided to agree to disagree — basically the emotional equivalent of a weekend retreat. The song played as Amy drove home from with the new realization that you can get away from what weighs you down… but not for very long.
The song: James Blake, “A Case of You”
The episode: “Forced Family Fun” (307)
The hook: Blake’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s original served as a powerful lyrical match for the ongoing relationship between Sarah (Lauren Graham) and her alcoholic ex-husband Seth (John Corbett). Seth has thrown Sarah’s world into disorder since he reappeared in her life, but their connection, says music supervisor Liza Richardson, is “deep, powerful, and ancient.” As the two of them — Seth in rehab, Sarah at home — simultaneously watched a movie they used to watch together, Blake sang, “Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine. You taste so bitter and so sweet. Oh I could drink a case of you darling.” It was clear that they may be physically apart for some time, but they will be inextricably linked and drawn to each other for much, much longer.
Watch it! Check out the song at 39:57 on Parenthood‘s Hulu.
The song: Teddy Thompson, “Take Care of Yourself”
The episode: “Pot o’ Gold” (304)
The hook: McKinley’s new all-girl group The Troubletones put on a show-stopping rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman,” but it was The Glee Project winner Damian McGinty (as Irish exchange student Rory Flanagan) who handed in Tuesday’s most charming performance: British folkster Thompson’s dreamy “Take Care of Yourself.” Sure, the Troubletones’ diva-off indulged Gleeks’ love of a spectacle, but the crooning innocence and lovely falsetto of the throwback tune suited McGinty’s style to a T-bird. It also drove home the episode’s (read: Best Dad Ever! Burt Hummel’s) point that art is essential. Even without a big budget (no thanks to Sue Sylvester), a well-sung tune can be sweet, simple… life-changing.
The song: Kurt Vile, “Baby’s Arms”
The episode: “Charade” (107)
The hook: Vile’s tune encapsulated the breezy, ephemeral quality of summer romance during a playful moment between Emily and Daniel. The song mostly played as the couple frolicked in the Hamptons surf, but this is Revenge, so of course there had to be some darkness underpinning it all. Just a moment before, Jack — Emily other love interest (and one of the few people who could implode her vengeful plot) — learned about Emily and Daniel’s continuing relationship. For now, though, Emily was, as Vile’s ditty goes, hiding in her baby’s arms.
PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)
The song: Gabe Dixon Band, “All Will Be Well”
The episode: “End of the World” (406)
The hook: It’s rare to see poignance from Pawnee, but this week delivered as April challenged her husband Andy to make plans for them as if it were their last night on earth. Inspired by Andy’s bucket list, the grilled cheese and money-flashing were certainly amazing, but the task really paid off when the couple took the greatest risk of all and drove to the Grand Canyon. As Dixon sang about “the promises you’ve given to yourself,” they took in the canyon’s beauty. Even tart-tongued April had to admit, “I’m trying to find a way to be annoyed by it, but… I’m coming up empty.” Andy hugged April and told her, “I would have never done this without you.” A beat later, lest we forgot what show we were watching: “Where’s all the faces?… The presidents?”
I USED TO BE FAT (MTV)
The song: Debby Holiday, “Dive”
The episode: “Latrice” (113)
The hook: MTV isn’t only in the business of guido gawking. The network also puts out some first-rate inspiration courtesy of I Used To Be Fat. Tuesday’s episode focused on 18-year-old Latrice, who had 100-plus pounds to lose in as many days. Like many Fat teens before her, Latrice resisted progress, especially if it meant discussing the complicated, disappointing relationship with her mother. This uplifting clubber played just as Latrice broke through her pain. As she dropped her guard and embraced the program, Holiday belted out, “It’s a great big world/ And we are still alive/ Oh yeah, it’s a great big world/ So baby, come on and dive… Dive on in!”
Watch it! The song kicks in at 32:04 on MTV’s official page for I Used To Be Fat.
The song: Marilyn Manson, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
The episode: “Pilot” (101)
The hook: In the pilot for this CSI-with-the-heebie-jeebies procedural, Eurythmics’ 1982 original “Sweet Dreams” was played in the opening and proved a pivotal clue for hero Nick Burkhardt. After solving his first case in the world of demons and blut bads (that’s werewolves for you laymen), Nick went to visit his aunt Marie, who had explained Nick’s Grimm fate before being assaulted by a monster and plunged into a coma. At Marie’s bedside, Nick noticed a split-second before it was too late that a demon posing as a nurse was planning to administer poison to Marie. After a struggle, the demonurse stuck Nick with the toxin and fled. As he passed out, Manson’s ghoulish, yowling cover kicked in. The shift from Eurythmics’ synths to Manson’s screech was an appropriately unsettling musical proxy the irreparable change in Nick’s life.
THE X FACTOR (Fox)
The song: “Rhythm Nation,” originally by Janet Jackson
The episode: “Top 12 Perform” (111)
The hook: With a spotty first week of performances, it was up to Wednesday’s opening act Stereo Hogzz to prove why Idol fans should switch their allegiance to Simon Cowell’s latest. Cue the most bombastic performance seen this side of a Britney Spears HBO special. Backed up by 20 live dancers (and scores more on a screen behind them, all military inspired à la Jackson’s original video), they tore up the stage with the 1989 jam. After the eyeball assault (that’s a compliment), Cowell admitted he was jealous that Paula Abdul was their mentor, adding hyperbolically, “I don’t think there’s a band in the world right now that’s as good as you. That was a master class of choreography, being slick, vocals, charisma…” and exactly the sort of spectacle that differentiates X Factor from its competition.
THE SING-OFF (NBC)
The song: “Killer Queen / Bohemian Rhapsody / Somebody To Love,” originally by Queen
The episode: “Top 7 Groups: Superstar Medleys” (307)
The hook: The Dartmouth Aires gave reigning frontrunners Pentatonix some serious competition this week, turning in a ridiculous medley of Queen hits. The falsetto was off the charts, the song selection was on-point, and the build up to lead singer Michael Odokara-Okigbo’s climactic line was so strong that Sarah Bareilles grabbed fellow judge Shawn Stockman’s arm in anticipation. The Aires’ performance was so fun I almost didn’t notice the nightmarish collision of glitter, lamé, and velvet known as their wardrobe.Then again, they were paying homage to flashy, unitard-prone Freddie Mercury. The King of Queen would have approved.
Watch it! Relive the “Rhapsody” on NBC’s Sing-Off page.