EW.com is posting their series of end of the year articles with their picks for best of everything in the entertainment world for 2018. I usually don’t get involved in those judgments, because I’m never able to pick favorites or list them in top to bottom order without long-winded explanations full of exceptions to my choices. Sort of like what’s happening with this explanation.
BUT- over the weekend, EW posted their picks for the 5 best songs of 2018 which originated on TV shows, and I have to hand it to them, as these are all great songs. I only knew of about half of them before. I have a song that I think should be added to the list, from back when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was still putting effort into more of its songs.
I may add to this list if I remember more songs from 2018 over the next week/ish.
EW Picks, My Commentary:
“This One’s for You” sung by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, from the 2018 Tony Awards
How is it that these two beloved, multi-talented performers, who’ve both been around for decades, have never won anything? Well, for example, Sara Bareilles’ Broadway show, Waitress, was shut out of a Tony win the year Hamilton swept the awards. Great for Hamilton, not so great for all of the other deserving shows and artists.
This song uses humor and a great melody to emphasize their camaraderie with the losers of the night, which, inevitably, was most of the audience, and to highlight the unsung heroes of Broadway, the ensemble players, who don’t win awards but form the backbone of every show. It was ironic but classy and good-natured, setting the tone for the night.
I am unashamedly biased about Waitress. It’s an amazing show. Everyone should find a way to see it on Broadway or on its national tour.
“I Want to Be a Child Star” sung by Tucker Bloom (Luca Padovan) on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I don’t write recaps of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend anymore, and I don’t regret that decision. I do still watch it, because
I’m a glutton for punishment I’ve been with it since the beginning, and I’m going to finish what I started. As I feared, this season has largely been phoned in and has become one long slog toward teaching Rebecca how to be a politically correct woman who won’t bother anyone with her neediness. On the other hand, by making Rebecca boring and her scenes painful, the show has had to jazz up the supporting characters and allow them to shine.
The music has largely been substandard, so I can’t point you to a Heather, Hector, or Valencia song to illustrate my point, but those characters, who stayed one-dimensional for years, are blossoming. It’s like watching the change from Roseanne to The Conners. The show drags when Rebecca’s onscreen, but when the story focuses on the rest of the cast, it becomes exciting again. The side characters are still allowed to have quirks, hopes and dreams, because they haven’t been sanitized into being mental health bots, with only their negative sides left on display.
Enter Rebecca’s little brother Tucker, who has the same issues that Rebecca did when she was his age. He gets one episode to scheme and manipulate, pull off a caper, and sing a really great song. Rebecca gets to take a step toward healing her own inner child by doing the things for Tucker that she wishes had been done for her as a preteen. She sends him to therapy and theater camp.
It’s a good resolution to the story. But we don’t watch this episode for Rebecca, and that’s a shame. It’s too bad the writers can’t figure out how to keep her interesting, wacky, and mentally healthy, since that type of character has been a TV comedy staple since the days of I Love Lucy.
“I Love My Body” sung by Connie the Hormone Monstress (Maya Rudolph) on Big Mouth
Where has this song been all of my life? Finally, a show that celebrates the battle scars of women, from the unique experiences women’s bodies survive: pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause. Growing older doesn’t make us ugly, ladies. It makes us fighters and survivors who deserve respect.
While Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is busy having Paula sing about childbirth as some purely mechanical process to be gotten through, so that you can have children you don’t want anyway, and calling itself feminist in the process, Big Mouth is telling women that we’re actually accomplishing something with our own unique bodies and we should love those bodies. And that we should love our own bodies at every age, young or old, regardless of the messages we get from society that can become unhealthy obsessions in our heads.
Because bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and why would anyone think there’s something wrong with that? If you think diversity is a good thing, then you ought to think it’s good to have diverse body types, too. Everyone has something unique to contribute, no matter what their body looks like, as many children, elderly, severely handicapped, very thin, and obese people have shown us.
This video is animated, but NSFW. Beware the scary, hairy ladies. 😘
“High Crimes and Misdemeanors” written by Jonathan Coulton, sung on The Good Fight
Remember Schoolhouse Rock!, the catchy little animated videos that taught quick lessons to kids in between their regular TV shows? “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”, which is done in the Schoolhouse Rock style, is the perfect follow-up to “I’m Just a Bill” and “The Constitution”. We need more Schoolhouse Rock-style songs that go into detail about how democracy and elections are meant to work, starting with the Bill of Rights.
“High Crimes and Misdemeanors” isn’t from Schoolhouse Rock, which accounts for its attention to detail and emphasis on the truth and reality of our current times. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all walk into polling places singing the election rules, and go to rallies singing the first amendment rules about freedom of speech and the right to assemble? Maybe add in some important Supreme Court decisions? Bet the White House Press Corps would love a jingle that quickly and succinctly explains their rights, which they could sing at opportune times.
Protest songs have always been part of the US’s fights for freedom. In the current era, protest songs that teach government officials and the electorate what the rules are, seem to me to be an excellent tool. The creators of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” have even provided an MP3 to help you get started.
“No Pants in Space” sung by Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad on Bob’s Burgers
It’s a rap battle reunion of the two original stars of The Book of Mormon. In space. If you don’t understand the appeal of this, well, you need to find a way to see Book of Mormon and anything else Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad have each done, immediately. I mean it. Now. We’ll wait. I suggest the last two seasons of Girls for Andrew Rannells and Frozen for Josh Gad, but those are both controversial choices, for very different reasons.
“In space, we don’t wear slacks.”- Thanks Bob’s Burgers, for the image of space as a place of perpetual Netflix and chill with Andrew and Josh. I’ll take it. My science fiction dreams are even more colorful now.
One More Bonus Best Song from Metawitches, from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, :
Get Your *ss Out of My House, sung by Lourdes Chan (Amy Hill) on CXG:
If you’re young, you might have been on the receiving end of this song. If you’re middle-aged or older, you might have experienced both sides. The feeling of “I love you, but grow up already”, crosses cultures and historical eras, making this song one that most adults can relate to.
Even if you weren’t forced out, you might have only left because you didn’t want to be that loser who lived with their parents forever. And even if you have made permanent arrangements for your adult child to stay with you, such as for health reasons, there are moments when you want your own space.
This song finally gave Lourdes Chan, played by the incomparable Amy Hill, the musical spotlight she deserved. Lourdes has been in the background since season 1, watching everything, and occasionally making snarky comments which prove that nothing gets past her. She’s known what was going on all along, through everyone’s machinations, and has mostly been content to sit back and let the kids figure it out for themselves.
If they (Rebecca) want to think she’s a sweet older lady that they’ve got fooled, that just makes her own vantage point from outside the situation all the sweeter. She doesn’t have anything to prove to them. Lourdes is happy and secure. She’s also a lovely, understated counterpart to Rebecca’s uptight, grasping mother, Naomi. We’ve never gotten to see enough of her, her real life outside of Josh and Rebecca or her inner thoughts.
But we do have this song, which gives us some details about her life and what she wants from it now. It’s as much about Lourdes as it is about Josh, and paints a picture of a woman who still wants a career, an active sex life, relationships with friends outside of her marriage and children, and a relationship with her son, just not one that cramps her style. In other words, Lourdes still wants to have it all, and she will, as soon as Josh gets out of her way.
Image courtesy of Netflix.