On Netflix, Wednesday went goth with The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck” and Umbrella Academy got loose with Kenny Loggins’s “Footloose.”

Hulu’s The Great rocked out with AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” while Reservation Dogs celebrated ’90s R&B with Brandy’s “Sittin’ Up In My Room.”

Also: Pete Davidson spotlighted Jimmy Soul’s “If You Wanna Be Happy” on his semi-autobiographical Peacock series, Bupkis; Prime Video’s comic book series The Boys went old-school Hollywood musical with George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”; and Showtime’s Yellowjackets brought in avant-garde theater legend John Cameron Mitchell for its own bird-brained idea. And though these scenes might be scripted to look like they come out of nowhere, a more premeditated moment in the season finale of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso saw football team AFC Richmond channeling The Sound of Music to say “so long, farewell.”

In this post-needle-drop, anything-can-go-viral world of prestige TV, it’s great to have good acting, writing, and directing. But sometimes it’s even better to have a good beat you can dance to. The Great star Elle Fanning says there’s power to the medium of dance because it “can describe things and convey emotions that we all feel…especially when it’s wild and free.” Fanning, who has a background in ballet, worked with choreographer Polly Bennett to give her character, Catherine the Great, the cathartic release she needs after a particularly trying 10 episodes that include the death of her husband, Peter (Nicholas Hoult).

“It’s almost like an exorcism out of her body because she’s put up with so much this season,” Fanning says.

Make Your Own Kind of Music

Jason Orley, who directed all but two episodes of Davidson’s Bupkis, says that show was always going to find ways to celebrate music simply because “Pete is obsessed with music.” In collaborating with the comedian and series showrunner/co-creator Judah Miller, they wanted “this undercurrent of joy” to thread through a series that is otherwise about heavy topics like depression and death. (The series was originally meant to open with the song “Maybe” from the musical Annie, and the first episode includes costar Joe Pesci playing The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment,” a scene that grew out of an unscripted jam session).

In the sixth episode, “ISO,” which Orley cowrote with Davidson and Miller and features the Jimmy Soul dance, the character is lonely because he’s away from his family for the winter holidays. After scoring some drugs from teens working at a local bowling alley, he feels momentary relief. A spotlight shines on him in an otherwise dark set and the dancing starts.

Orley says it was Davidson’s idea for the number, which came together in a mere 45 minutes after a long day of filming; otherwise, the scene felt too sad and the character’s motivation for the drugs is that he wants them so that he doesn’t feel sad. Though they recorded the dance to Irving Berlin’s “Putting on the Ritz,” Orley says it was changed in post to “If You Wanna Be Happy” because the latter song starts with lots of enthusiastic clapping and a “chorus of people talking,” so that it felt like the character wasn’t alone.

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