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Was Jeff and Dean Pelton's (sorry... Craig's) karaoke duet to Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" on Thursday night's Community the best musical moment in the history of television? Yes. It obviously was. Not only do you have Joel McHale and Jim Rash singing their hearts out to a slice of pure pop cheese (one from a Batman movie, no less), but the scene also featured Troy and Abed playing with shadow puppets, Britta and Shirley slowly realizing that the hitchhiker they've picked up might be a serial killer, and Chevy Chase hallucinating. It can't be topped.
That doesn't mean, however, that other shows haven't given it their all. So, in honor of the magic that was Jeff and the Dean's "Kiss," here are some of the best musical moments that preceded it. (And no, there will be nothing on here from Glee.)
30 Rock, Midnight Train to Georgia
There are a lot of fantastic musical moments to choose from when it comes to Tina Fey's weirdest brainchild: Tracy's novelty single "Werewolf Barmitzvah," Jenna's number-one-in-Israel hit "Muffin Top" and pretty much anything involving Cheyenne Jackson's Danny. The best one, however, is the rendition of "Midnight Train to Georgia," which features the entire cast narrating Kenneth's (ultimately failed) return to his hometown of Stone Mountain. The kicker, however, comes after the number ends, when guest star Gladys Knight emerges from her dressing room to shut everyone up. (I apologize for the lack of video; NBC has been cracking down on copyright recently.)
Arrested Development, Afternoon Delight
Glee tried to pull the old misinterpretation-of-the-song trick last season, but all the cool people know that the late, great AD did it first, and did it better. First Michael and Maeby, and then Lindsay and George-Michael, decided to duet on Starland Vocal Band's ode to daytime lovin', not realizing the lyrical content of the song was far from the wholesome, innocent message implied by the melody. In classic Bluth family fashion, hilarity and horror ensued, and it was glorious.
Scrubs, Safety Dance
Scrubs has featured a number of great musical moments over the years, from Ted's band's performances to the musical episode, but I have a soft spot for Turk's rendition of Safety Dance. He only sings a few bars, but the song is at once unexpected and perfect for the moment, and Donald Faison's delivery is phenomenal.
Battlestar Galactica, All Along the Watchtower
As the fourth season went on, the use of Dylan's classic tune as a plot point began to grow wearying and nonsensical. There were too many instances of forcing song lyrics into the dialogue (hint: no one has ever used the phrase "There must be some kind of way out of here" in casual conversation) and too many random coincidences (apparently the chord structure spells out the coordinates to Earth? I don't even know any more). But it can't be denied that the moment when Saul Tigh, Chief Tyrol, Anders and Tory Foster all gave in to the music echoing in their heads and realized what they were was shocking in the best way. Not to mention the final scene of Season 3, where the song plays over a gorgeous visual of the camera zooming out from Lee Adama's bewildered face, racing into space, and closing in on Earth.
Lost, Unnamed Scottish Drinking Song
Lost was not a show that was generally known for cheerful moments, which was one of the reasons it was so awesome to see Desmond and Charlie, after a night of heavy drinking with Hurley, singing Scottish drinking songs on the beach in "Flashes Before Your Eyes". Of course, it would soon turn sour (as these things invariably do), but the moment lasted long enough to offer a respite to both the characters and the audience. (Sorry for the lack of video; apparently I was the only person who found this scene charming.)