TV’s 20 Greatest Original (Non-Theme) Songs

Senior Pop Culture Editor
04.18.12 93 Comments

Tomorrow is the triumphant return of “Parks and Recreation,” which has been off the air since March 8. (The last time it was on the same night as “Community”: back in December.) It’s been a great season, but one thing’s been missing: Mouse Rat, former Punch Face Champion, former Andy and the D-Bags, former Puppy Pendulum, former Penis Pendulum, former Nothing Rhymes with Blorange, former…this could go on for awhile.

So much time has been spent on Leslie’s campaign in season four that there hasn’t been an opportunity for Andy Dwyer to top his ballad-for-the-ages, “5,000 Candles,” dedicated to Lil’ Sebastian, Pawnee’s most famous dead miniature horse. It’s a song so good, it’ll make you piss tears from your eyes – and in a TOTAL coincidence, it also appears on our list of the 20 Greatest Original TV Songs Ever.

Some notes: theme songs don’t count; neither do covers (parodies are fine, though). I also discounted songs performed by bands that exist outside the confines of the TV series, like Tenacious D or Polaris (with one exception). Other than that, everything else is fair game. R.I.P. Lil’ S.

Episode: “The Rock”

Song Title: “Mulatto Butts”


Had to.

Episode: “My Musical”

Song Title: “Guy Love”

Best Lyric: “I feel exactly those feelings too/And that’s why I keep them inside/’Cause this bear can’t bear the world’s disdain/And sometimes it’s easier to hide”

Episode: “Origins”

Song Title: “Bub-Bubs”

Best Lyric: “Gonna make your bub-bubs bounce/Right now”

Episode: N/A

Song Title: “Kill the White People”

Best Lyric: “Kill the white people, yeah, but buy my record first”

Episode: “Once More, with Feeling”

Song Title: “I’ll Never Tell”

Best Lyric: “I’ve read this tale/There’s wedding, then betrayal/I know there’ll come the day/I’ll want to run and hide”

Episode: “Dogpound”

Song Title: “Happy Song”

Best Lyric: “My d*ck is bigger than a monkey’s paw!”

Episode: “Slap Bet”

Song Title: “Let’s Go to the Mall”

Best Lyric: “…and don’t forget the robot!”

Episode: “The Final Sacrifice”

Song Title: “Canada Song”

Best Lyric: “You lousy, stinking, Francophonic, bacon-loving bastards/Your country’s just a giant piece of sh—”

Episode: “The Susie”

Song Title: “George’s Answering Machine”

Best Lyric: “I must be out or I’d pick up my phone/Where could I be?”

Episode: “Dee Dates a Retarded Person”

Song Title: “Night Man”

Best Lyric: “It’s just two men sharing the night/It might seem wrong, but it’s just right/It’s just two men sharing each other/It’s just two men like loving brothers”

Episode: “The Belchies”

Song Title: “Taffy Butt”

Best Lyric: “Give me some taffy butt”

Episode: “Peace”

Song Title: “Throw the Jew Down the Well”

Best Lyric: “If you see the Jew coming/You must be careful of his teeth/You must grab him by his money/And I tell you what to do”

Episode: “The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings”

Song Title: “Leela: Orphan of the Stars”

Best Lyric: “I can’t believe the Devil is so unforgiving/I can’t believe everybody is just ad-libbing.”

Episode: “All About Mormons”

Song Title: “Joseph Smith Song”

Best Lyric: “Joseph Smith was called a prophet/Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb/He started the Mormon religion/Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb”

Episode: “Season 3, Episode 1”

Song Title: “I Wrote This Song in ’94”

Best Lyric: “Look around the club, see everyone in the place/Showing ‘Pac love, got a smile on my face/The girl in the miniskirt has bad taste, because her shirt don’t match/And there’s a puddin’ stain on the back/What the f*ck is that?/It might be doo-doo”

Episode: “Li’l Sebastian”

Song Title: “5,000 Candles”

Best Lyric: “And though we all miss you every day/We know you’re up there eating Heaven’s hay/And here’s the part that hurts the most/Humans cannot ride a ghost”

Episode: “Righteous Brothers”

Song Title: “It Ain’t Easy Being White (It Ain’t Easy Being Brown)”

Best Lyric: “All this pressure to be bright/I got children running all over town”

Episode: “Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers”

Song Title: “Lady L”

Best Lyric: “Is your green Army jacket keeping you warm at night?”

I couldn’t chose just one, so…here’s five:

Episode: “Bart After Dark”

Song Title: “We Put the Spring in Springfield”

Best Lyric: “Our only major quarrel’s with your total lack of morals/Our skimpy costumes ain’t so bad/They seem to entertain your dad”

Episode: “Radio Bart”

Song Title: “We’re Sending Our Love Down the Well”

Best Lyric: “Though we can’t get him out, we’ll do the next best thing/We go on TV/And sing, sing, sing”

Episode: “Marge vs. the Monorail”

Song Title: “Monorail”

Best Lyric: “The ring came off my pudding can/Take my pen knife, my good man”

Episode: “The Day Violence Died”

Song Title: “I’m an Amendment”

Best Lyric: “There’s a lot of flag-burners who have got too much freedom/I want to make it legal for policemen to beat ’em”

Episode: “You’re Checkin’ In”

Song Title: “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”

Best Lyric: “I should put you away where you can’t kill or maim us/But this is LA and you’re rich and famous”

Episode: “Training”

Song Title: “Free Love Freeway”

Best Lyric: “Free love on the free love freeway/The love is free and the freeway’s long/I got some hot love on the hot-love highway/I ain’t going home cos’ my baby’s gone”

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