Musical numbers

Last week, “How I Met Your Mother,” a painfully — almost dangerously — overlooked TV show and the single-handed keeper of the quality sitcom flame, featured a musical number as the finale to its 100th episode. And this was a real musical number: singing, dancing, choreographed routines performed by random passersby, all of whom inexplicably know the words. However, as much as it pains me to say, HIMYM is not particularly innovative in this respect. In recent years, musical numbers have been rearing their heads more regularly than an asphyxiated prairie dog. Here’s a handy-dandy reference guide to a good one, a bad one, and one that exists beyond any recognizable form of classification:

GOOD
SPIDER MAN 3’s infamous Emo Peter Parker dance scene shows newly-banged (as in “has bangs,” you pervert) supernerd Peter Parker clad in all black, swing dancing and finger snapping his way into the hearts and cheers of New York jazz club goers. While derided by real-life nerds for its silliness, the scene works precisely because it’s indicating just what a loser like Peter Parker would do were he to attempt to be a badass: dress like a rejected member of My Chemical Romance and take a ballroom class.

BAD
Anything from “Family Guy.” It’s not a funny show anymore, and the parody songs are about as clever as a trailer for MEET THE SPARTANS. The initial weirdness of seeing non-Disney cartoon characters perform intricate dance numbers may have been funny the first hundred thousand times they did it, but, as in keeping with the show’s apparent goal, stopped being anything but 22 minutes around which to place “King of the Hill” commercials.

INEXPLICABLE
The part in TWILIGHT where Edward stops being restraining-order-level-creepy for a few seconds and subjects a grand piano to his heretofore unmentioned gift for overblown Jim Brickman ripoffs. The camera sweeps in and out in grand, dramatic crane shots as oddly terrifying as, well, most TWILIGHT fans.

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