Top 10 Unexpected Dance Scenes on TV
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Emily Blair
These unexpected dance sense on TV were worthy of Broadway. Our countdown includes "Mad Men," "How I Met Your Mother," "Community," and more!
Top 10 Unexpected Dance Scenes on TV
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 unexpected dance scenes on TV.
For this list, we’ll be looking at surprising movement pieces on shows that don’t typically feature performances.
Which of these songs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
#10: Bert Cooper’s Last Dance
“Mad Men” (2007-15)
Following the passing of Sterling Cooper co-founder Bertram Cooper, Don Draper has a vision of Cooper singing and dancing to the song “The Best Things in Life are Free”. Since Cooper was played by two-time Tony award-winning actor Robert Morse, the performance was in good hands. It’s a scene that’s equal parts bizarre, entertaining, and symbolic. The song’s message is a beautiful and important one for Draper to hear. And the dancing secretaries accompanying Cooper are so fun to watch. But in a show that’s relatively grounded in reality, this musical number definitely came out of nowhere.
#9: The Wedding Dance
“The Office” (2005-13)
During the much-anticipated wedding episode for one of TV’s favorite couples, we naturally knew everything wouldn’t go to plan for Jim and Pam. Just before Pam walks down the aisle, friends, family, and coworkers all come together to surprise the happy couple with a flash mob set to Chris Brown’s “Forever”. The scene is a reference to a viral video about another similar wedding flash mob...which Michael makes sure Pam understands. Jim and Pam are such good sports about the surprise and happily let everyone have their fun dancing in the church. Plus, it’s such a treat seeing all our favorite characters from “The Office” show off their best dance moves when it’s their turn in the spotlight.
#8: Schmidt’s Bollywood Dance
“New Girl” (2011-18)
At Schmit and Cece’s engagement party in the season five premiere, Schmidt pulls out all the stops with a big surprise Bollywood-style dance performance. The dance is part of his plan to win over Cece’s mother, who doesn’t approve of their engagement. But it’s also a sweet gesture of pure love and appreciation to his fiancée. If you can manage to stop thinking about how cute all of that is for a moment during this dance number, there’s plenty of other things to focus on. The dancing is incredible, the outfits are beautiful, and Nick and Winston add just a touch of hilarity to the whole scene.
#7: “I Think We’re Alone Now”
“The Umbrella Academy” (2019-)
This series is an unusual take on the superhero genre. So it’s fitting it uses an unexpected dance number to tell us about some of its characters. Early in this first episode, we’ve only just met five of the seven siblings when Luther plays this classic 80s song. All five siblings begin to dance alone in different rooms of the house. Each of their unique dancing styles gives us some additional insight into their characters’ personalities. This unforgettable scene underscores that although these siblings have their differences, they are all still connected by their unique abilities and upbringing. After this great scene, we have no doubt that this catchy song will often be associated with the siblings of the Umbrella Academy.
#6: Lucifer Feels Alright
The first episode of “Lucifer’s” fourth season began with a somber piano number. This made it all the more satisfying for fans when the last episode kicked off with an upbeat dance sequence. The fun begins when Lucifer hops into a routine with four other dancers in a bar. Suddenly, the scene transitions to an entirely new dance sequence in an LA police department. Watching Lucifer move in sync with a room full of officers and detectives is both absurd and entertaining. And we can’t help but laugh every time Lucifer and Detective Dan reenact that iconic “Dirty Dancing” scene. Although the good times wouldn’t last forever, this dance sequence gave us a moment of light in the darkness.
#5: Raj’s Bollywood Daydream
“The Big Bang Theory” (2007-19)
This nerdy but relatively normal sitcom gets a bit experimental in this episode by showing various daydream sequences from Raj that center around his romantic feelings for Bernadette. The final daydream is by far the strangest. Everyone in the scene spontaneously joins in a big Bollywood-style song and dance number. The lyrics are like a cheesy love poem you can’t help but smile at, and the dancing is really fun and well-performed. Kunal Nayyar, who plays Raj, has said that he’s dreamed of being in a Bollywood film. We can only imagine how much he enjoyed filming this glimpse into his character’s inner thoughts.
#4: Big Dance Finale
The season one cliffhanger for this teen drama is honestly as unexpected as it is entertaining. The song “All For Us” by Labrinth and Zendaya has now been permanently tied to this series due to its multiple appearances in various episodes, but especially in this episode’s finale. As Zendaya’s character Rue starts to sing, the scene transitions into what is both a gorgeous music video for her new single and a beautifully symbolic ending to the season for her character. Without giving away any spoilers, the performance is equally tragic and phenomenal and totally left us on the edge of our seats waiting for season two.
#3: Barney’s Ode to Suits
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)
When Barney has to do the unthinkable, choose between a woman and his beloved suits, it takes a whole song and dance for him to come to a decision. With magical powers that allow him to put anyone and anything in a suit, Barney sings all about his favorite style of dress. He ultimately promises to ditch his suits once he remembers how hot his date is. Neil Patrick Harris is a super talented Broadway legend, so this was a moment everyone was waiting for and that he definitely delivered on. It took sixty-five dancers and a fifty-piece orchestra to complete this special 100th episode performance and totally made us want to see a full “How I Met Your Mother” musical.
#2: We’re Gonna Finally Be Fine
This season 3 premiere opens with Jeff daydreaming an elaborate dance number featuring all of the students of Greendale. The short but sweet song reveals all of Jeff’s hopes for the future semester. He mainly wants everything to go smoothly and stay as normal as possible. Considering how bizarre things have gotten in the previous seasons, his wishes seem a bit far-fetched. Each member of the study group gets a short solo before the whole group dances in the cafeteria with many other Greendale students beside them. Finally, the song ends with a burst of confetti as Jeff is awakened from his daydream. So really the only question that remains is...who wore the sparkly pink dress best, Shirley or Dean Pelton?
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
A Dance Battle on the Astral Plane
Terry and Holt Dance to “Push It”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-)
Harry’s Big Musical Dream
“3rd Rock from the Sun” (1996-2001)
The Dance of the Living Dead
“The X-Files” (1993-2002)
Gloria Gaynor Performs “I Will Survive” with Fez
“That 70’s Show” (1998-2006)
#1: The Name Game
“American Horror Story” (2011-)
In this episode of “Asylum”, the viewer is transported into Sister Jude’s musical hallucination after she receives shock therapy. She and the bulk of the cast sing “The Name Game”, a song originally recorded in 1964 by Shirley Ellis. The number served as a fun and colorful tribute to the 1960s. The song is catchy but still creepy, fitting perfectly with the unsettling style of the show. It’s a nice break from the show’s more traditional horror. While we can always count on Ryan Murphy to pull off an entertaining musical number based on his years working on “Glee”, this scene was completely unexpected on “American Horror Story.”