7 defining TV music moments we couldn’t forget if we tried

April 29, 2014

In the words of Kenneth Parcell, I just love television so much. Particularly, I love thosemomentsin television; the ones that affix themselves to a song so permanently that whenever you hear, say, “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, you think of Marissa Cooper shooting Trey in The O.C. season 2 finale. (Or, you think of the SNL “Dear Sister” sketch that somehow does an even bigger justice to that now-anthem.)

So to celebrate the moments that tugged at our heartstrings and/or made us laugh until our throats were sore, here are seven TV musical moments we can’t forget if we tried. Are they all from The O.C.? I wish. But alas, if I were that biased, we’d be out clips from Dawson’s Creek and Grey’s Anatomy, and without them, what’s even the point. (Of anything. Not even just in relation to this piece.)



Dawson’s Creek

Moment:Dawson’s dad’s love of ice cream leads to his death

Song:“Drift Away” by Nick Nolan

A grown man, eating vanilla and chocolate ice cream on a waffle cone, sings along to “Drift Away” while driving home one rainy night. Overcome with the desire to perform, he begins drumming to the beat, only to lose the top scoop of ice cream in the process. Choosing to pick up the ice cream from the floor (where we assume he would then eat it, despite it being covered in germs and floor dirt) instead of cutting his losses, he drives straight into an oncoming truck, leading to his untimely demise. A disappointed “awww…”, post ice cream-drop, are his last known words.



Moment: Olivia and President Grant share “one minute” on the couch

Song: “The Light” by The Album Leaf

I’m sure there are people on this planet who don’t watch Scandal, but who cares about them right now. If you’re a Scandal fan, you know the importance of two words: one minute. (And if you’re not a Scandal fan, it’s the amount of time Olivia and President Grant—who are in love—give themselves to pretend he’s not a married person.) (Also, whyaren’t you a Scandal fan?) As for the song that accompanies that one minute? “The Light” by The Album Leaf, which only adds to the intensity of Olivia and President Grant crying on her couch because they know their love is doomed. This is how Scandal continually inspires feelings of heartbreak you didn’t know possible. (Or you did, but thought they were reserved only for your preteen years at the end of Titanic.) And even thinking about it, we’re all crying now.


Grey’s Anatomy

Moment:Removing the bomb

Song:“Just Breathe” by Anna Nalick

Andspeaking of Shondra Rhimes (who created bothScandal andGrey’s Anatomy), let’s all take a moment to acknowledge the wonder that is this: the second half of season two’s bomb episode, in which Meredith, Dr. Burke, Christina, and Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lightsremoved a ticking time bomb (literally) from a living patient. Emotional? Absolutely. But especially when accompanied by Anna Nalick’s “Just Breathe.” (Which none of us were during that scene AM I RIGHT HELLO I’M HERE ALL WEEK IS THIS THING ON.)

b) Moment: Denny dies

Song: “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

But since I know there’ll be uprising if Idon’t include Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars,” let us all bow our heads, pray for Denny, and acknowledge that at one point, this was our favourite song in the whole wide world.



Mad Men

Moment: Don shows Bobby, Sally, and Gene where he grew up

Song:“Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins

After years of lying to his wives, his employers, his kids, and himself, Don Draper chooses honesty at the end of season six when he takes Sally, Bobby, and not-so-Baby Gene to his childhood home and shows them where he came from. Of course, Mad Men does a perfect job of ensuring closing themes are on-point with their episodes, but “Both Sides Now” actually embodied the episode, the season, and the series, since Don chose to amalgamate his past with his present and give those around him perspective from—wait for it—both sides. The best. Matthew Weiner, if you are reading this, you’re still a long way from Mitch Leary dying in an ice cream accident, but it’s still a way to end an episode.


Breaking Bad


Moment: Walter White dies

Song: “Baby Blue” by Badfinger

It’s as if Vince Gilligan wanted to define #HYFR. (And honestly, he succeeded.) So if Breaking Bad had to end (which I still think is bullshit), it had no choice but to go out with a song that epitomized Walt’s relationship with making meth: love, admiration, and ultimately, doom. Badfinger didn’t know it, but they wrote “Baby Blue” for Walter White. And Vince Gilligan doesn’t know it, but I plan to write him every day for a year, thanking him for the perfect series end.


Ally McBeal

Moment:Ally sees a dancing baby

Song: “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Suede

Listen. Ally McBeal hallucinated a dancing CGI baby on a regular basis, and when that happened, “Hooked on a Feeling” played. I really don’t know why we’re even debating the placement of this moment on the list, but in case we still are: I dare you to listen to “Hooked on a Feeling” andnot look for a dancing CGI baby. In fact, I dare you not to wonder about what that dancing baby is doing right now. Exactly.


The O.C.

Moment: Seth sails away, Ryan drives away, Kristen cries in the pool house

Song: “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley

In 2004, every show that wasn’t The O.C. could burn in hell. (And for some of us in 2014, it’s the same story.) In fact, no life moment any of us will ever have will come close to the last scene of the season one finale. Never forget: Ryan leaves for Chino with Teresa (UGH), Seth sails away on a boat, Kristen cries because her adopted son has left, Marissa gets drunk alone, and Jeff Buckley plays. However, us O.C. fans know Buckley is and was well-associated with The O.C.: his music first played when Marissa made Ryan a mixed CD at the top of season one, then again when Marissa died at the end of season three. However, those moments pale in comparison to the image of Ryan waving goodbye to Marissa, who’s being picked up in a limousine, or that of Seth sailing on a glorified life raft. Rich people: the experience. (I love you.)

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