That '70s Show

10 Best Musical Performances In Live-Action Sitcoms

From Parks & Rec to How I Met Your Mother, nailing a good, entertaining musical episode in a sitcom is not easy, but some shows got it right.


  •  Musical performances in sitcoms are a great way for actors to showcase their acting abilities and add diversity to the show.
  •  Musical episodes in sitcoms, though initially unusual, often become standout moments for the shows, changing up the format and providing a refreshing break.
  •  From How I Met Your Mother to Parks & Rec, sitcoms have successfully incorporated musical numbers that range from funny and lighthearted to emotional and heartfelt.



Musical performances in sitcoms aren’t an unusual feature, but some shows do it better than others. Whether it’s for laughs, or to provoke an emotional reaction, a musical performance can convey a message that sometimes dialogue cannot. Some of the best TV shows in the comedy genre have had musical episodes, and it is a great way for actors to show the diversity and range in their acting abilities. Even in a situational comedy, music isn’t out of the question, though it can be tricky to nail a good musical bit.

Various sitcoms have aired specific musical episodes, changing up the show’s existing format as a palette cleanser. Although it may initially seem unusual to see sitcom characters breaking into song and carefully planned choreography, a musical episode often becomes a standout for a show. Whether it’s an entire episode dedicated to it, or just a quick melodic moment, musical performances in sitcoms are a trope that will seemingly never go away.

10. How I Met Your Mother – Girls vs Suits

Season 5, Episode 12

How I Met Your Mother Cast wearing suits in the street for the musical number

“Girls vs Suits” is one of How I Met Your Mother‘s best musical numbers and delves into the rather unusual brain of Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris.) The number sees the entire cast break into a full choreography across a busy New York street, as Barney explains through song why, as much as he loves both, his suits will always come before his sexual conquests. Stupidly enough, when the song ends he finds himself still in his apartment with a woman and pretends that he will throw his suits away to sleep with her.

9. That ’70s Show – Happy Together

Season 4, Episode 24

That ’70s Musical is considered one of That ’70s Show‘s best episodes, as Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) imagines himself and the rest of the gang in several musical numbers together. Although the episode sees several instances of song-and-dance, “Happy Together” stands out among the bunch for its carefully planned choreography and the surprisingly good voices of the cast. Not only does this number see Red (Kurtwood Smith) sing, but it also imagines Fez and Eric (Topher Grace) as brothers.

8. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Dayman

Season 4, Episode 13

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has seen several instances of musical numbers, but “Dayman” is the clear champion. In a seriously dark sitcom moment, Charlie (Charlie Day) writes and produces a play called “The Nightman Cometh”, which is filled with heavy implications of Charlie’s traumatic childhood memories. The song “Dayman” was written by Charlie in a previous episode, and was used as the basis to create the entire musical. Despite the episode’s theme, the song is incredibly catchy and has simple and memorable lyrics.

7. Modern Family – In The Moonlight (Do Me)

Season 1, Episode 4

Modern Family Dylan performing 'In the Moonlight (Do Me)

“In The Moonlight (Do Me)” provided a rather awkward moment for Modern Family‘s Haley (Sarah Hyland,) as she is serenaded by Dylan (Reid Ewing.) Claire (Julie Bowen) was already against Haley and Dylan’s relationship, and the song only made her parental worry worse. Although the first verse is very sweet, trying to convince the Dunphy’s of the relationship, its chorus heavily implies that the two had been intimate. Although “In The Moonlight (Do Me)” creates a tense atmosphere for everyone in the room, Haley is still charmed by it, much to Claire’s annoyance.

6. Community – Baby Boomer Santa

Season 2, Episode 21

Community: Abed and Troy performing Baby Boomer Santa

Community is another sitcom that saw a dedicated musical episode, but the taunting song written by Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) to Pierce (Chevy Chase) is the most memorable. “Baby Boomer Santa” sees Troy and Abed go through several quick-change appearances as they imply Santa was the connection to several important moments in history, in an attempt to convince the gang to take part in the Christmas Glee pageant. Troy and Abed created several songs and jingles during their friendship, and with the upcoming Community movie happening, they may have one last hit up their sleeves.

5. Schitt’s Creek – Simply The Best

Season 4, Episode 6

Noah Reid as Patrick playing

A musical number in a sitcom is usually a ploy for laughs, but this one, in particular, was sweet and heartfelt. Patrick’s (Noah Reid) rendition of “Simply The Best” is by far one of Schitt’s Creek‘s best musical performances, and as he serenades David (Dan Levy,) it only proves that Patrick and David are perfect for each other. Of course, the moment is still laced with comedy, as Moira (Catherine O’Hara) asks her son if he needs her to pull the fire alarm, to avoid any embarrassment.

4. Scrubs – For the Last Time, I’m Dominican

Season 6, Episode 6

Scrubs ensemble cast performing in the parking lot in My Musical Episode

Scrubs‘ musical episode was so popular at the time of its airing, it led to the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode, seeing a surge of other shows take a song-and-dance route. Although there are several musical numbers by the staff of Sacred Heart Hospital, “For the Last Time, I’m Dominican” is its most notable. Not only did it see stellar performances from Carla (Judy Reyes) and Turk (Donald Faison,) but it’s also a great, comedic example of a person of color’s frustrations with being misidentified.

3. The Office – The Tale of Sweeney Todd

Season 3, Episode 7

One of the best The Office filler episodes saw Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) pursue his passion for singing as he is cast in a local production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Andy is so excited about his upcoming performance that he brings the entire cast, in makeup and costume, to the office so that he can give his co-workers a preview. Much to Michael’s dismay, he finds out that he wasn’t too cast after having auditioned, but the rest of the office is happy to see Andy so joyful.

2. Friends – Freud!

Season 1, Episode 6

Friends' Joey performing the play Freud

Friends never saw a purely musical episode, unlike some sitcoms, but Joey’s (Matt LeBlanc) performance in the low-rent production of “Freud!” is very memorable. The ridiculous song makes fun of the Freudian theory, and Joey is forced to sing about genitalia to a poor co-star. Although the scene is hilarious, Joey’s friends are quick to be shocked and uncomfortable at his performance, but after the play finishes, they still offer him praise to be supportive of their friend’s career.

1. Parks & Rec – 5000 Candles in the Wind

Season 3, Episode 16

Parks & Rec Andy Dwyer performing 5000 Candles in the Wind at the Lil Sebastian memorial

“5000 Candles In The Wind” came from one of Parks and Recreation‘s most emotional moments, as Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) performed the song as part of the Lil’ Sebastian memorial. Inspired by Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind”, Andy was determined to write something five thousand times sadder, and so took this motivation literally. Not only is his song heartwrenching, but it’s also quite warming and wholesome, as the entire town of Pawnee gathers to mourn the tiny horse in this sweet sitcom episode.

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