Top 5 Speechless Musical Moments

Ahead of Speechless' 3rd season, here is a list of my favorite musical moments from the series so far.

1. "Get your wheelchair van a-runnin'... annual DiMeo road trip!"
(s1e11 "R-O--Road T-R--Trip" and s2e12 "The H-U-S--Hustle")

So nice they've done it twice: This parody of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" -- in which Maya and Jimmy announce their family's spontaneous yearly post-holidays tradition -- showcases the musical talents of Minnie Driver (who put out her first album of singer-songwriter folk-pop, Everything I've Got in My Pocket, in 2004 and has since released two more) and John Ross Bowie (who played and sang in the New York pop-punk trio Egghead for several years in the '90s before he got into acting).
"Ray objects every year..."
"Vans can move faster than people!"
Bonus tracks: In s1e11, the plot turns on a strategically placed cassingle of Go West's "King of Wishful Thinking"; in s2e12, Maya dances to Van McCoy's "The Hustle" at a '70s-themed school fundraiser, and the kids take the van on a smashing spree to the strains of the Undertones' punk-pop classic "Teenage Kicks."

2. "Junk drawer, junk drawers, junk refrigerator..."
(s2e1 "W-E--We're B-A--Back!")

Cedric Yarbrough gets a delightful showcase of his own in the Season 2 premiere when Kenneth relishes an opportunity to school the DiMeos on their messy lifestyle through song parody; Jimmy joins in to harmonize after recognizing the tune, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass, from the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.

3. "A special-needs mum's excuse to do jack squat..."
(s2e16 "One A-N--Angry M--Maya")

In this fully choreographed fantasy sequence -- a goof on "I've Got a Golden Ticket" from Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory -- Maya secretly delights in her jury-duty summons as a chance to take some much-desired "me" time away from her many household responsibilities without the guilt of doing so for purely selfish reasons ("I've got a civic duty to fulfill!"). For an account of how this number came about and came together, check out show creator Scott Silveri's Hollywood Reporter guest column (the YouTube clip in the article has since been deleted, but Yahoo! still has a clip).

4. The Colonel & Little Kenny, together again.
(s2e7 "B-R-I--British I-N-V--Invasion")

An impromptu rendition of Elton John & Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" by Maya, Kenneth and his visiting dad, The Colonel (Keith David) -- no, he's not a military man, it's just a stage name -- lends a moment of levity to a Thanksgiving otherwise stuffed with family drama. Later, the reunited Colonel & Little Kenny -- whose singing act had originally ended many years earlier when young Kenneth had quit mid-gig due to his overbearing father's constant criticisms -- sweetly croon "My Dad / His Dad" (to the tune of the Temptations' "My Girl") at the sushi restaurant where Jimmy has returned to conquer the Godzilla Roll that had defeated him the day before.

5. Jimmy's got juice!
(s1e22 "M-A--May-Jay")

In a sendup of Goodfellas' Copacabana tracking shot (it even uses the same cue, the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me"), Jimmy wheels JJ (Micah Fowler) into the hospital for knee surgery, only to notice for the first time just how much "juice" (special treatment) he receives there as a result of his son's frequent stays.
Bonus tracks: "Dancehall Domine," by Canadian power-poppers The New Pornographers, plays during the cold-open time-lapse montage in which JJ spends most of a day trying to unbutton his pajama top; when a new friend and fellow dad takes Jimmy out to a fancy dinner, the restaurant's jazz band gleefully performs the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" at Jimmy's request.

Honorable Mentions:

Shout-outs to XTC / Dukes of Stratosphear, the Ramones and Henry Rollins.
(s1e16 "O-S--Oscar P-A--Party," s1e17 "S-U-R--Surprise," and s1e18 "D-I--Ding")

During the latter half of Season 1, three episodes in a row featured punk / New Wave-related references that made my music-nerd heart sing: At the Oscar Party for Maya's special-needs parents' support group, Jimmy begins to recognize that the seemingly dull dads actually have "interests [and] taste" when one turns out to be a fellow fan of XTC (and their psychedelic side-project); at a birthday party for Dylan (Kyla Kenedy), Jimmy tries to work past his awkwardness and find common ground with Kenneth, but a mention of the Ramones leads to a hilarious bit of confusion between them; and during a grocery-shopping trip, a flashback montage of Jimmy's broken promises to Dylan includes "Henry Rollins' autobiography!"

Jimmy was a punk.
(s2e9 "S-T--Star W--Wars W--Wars")

While JJ and Ray (Mason Cook) attend the premiere of The Last Jedi, Maya and Dylan make the most of a rare evening at home without the boys but soon become frustrated with Jimmy's reluctance to suggest fun activities of his own. Thanks to some manipulation from his wife and daughter, Jimmy gets to pogo (to "Damaged Beyond Repair" by Syracuse, NY power-poppers The Flashcubes) and have Dylan dance on his feet (to "Wake Up" by Tomorrow's Tulips, a D.I.Y. garage-grunge group from Orange County); but when the ladies suggest having a family jam covering his old punk band's songs, he catches on to their trickery (Maya: "I knew I shouldn't have said his band was good").

"You're the unforgettable pain, you're the sweetest kind of rain..."
(s2e15 "U-N--Unforgettable P-A--Pain")

After getting dumped by his first girlfriend, Ray is inspired to write and sing this hilariously tortured acoustic lament ("And my brain goes insane when the Taylor train rolls through my mainframe"). Funnier still, shortly after smashing his guitar, Dylan catches herself singing her brother's song and wonders, "Where is that from? It's so good!"


Speechless s.1 and 2 are now available on MOD DVD through; s.3 premieres October 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. Central on ABC.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »