So, time to review The Best Friend Band. The first of many, many music-themed episodes of the HBO era. There's like one from every season, and those are just the explicitly music-themed ones, not the slightly more subtle ones from season 47 (which I'll of course review later). But is this episode music to my ears, or is it nothing but noise (by the way, get used to seeing that comparison, I'm gonna use it every time I review a music-themed episode)? Let's find out.
So the cold open features Grover setting up the theme, with chickens interrupting him. I'll admit the ending where he fell down was actually kinda funny, but the rest isn't really noteworthy. Get used to me glossing over this specific cold open whenever I review another music-themed episode, because it's in every single one (except the one from season 50).
The episode's story starts with Elmo and Abby rehearsing for the titular "Best Friend Band". And here's the first part I've got a bone to pick with. Abby has been on the street for about 10 years when this episode premiered. For the better part of those 10 years, she's been paired with Elmo. And only NOW they're starting to refer to each other as best friends? And it feels so forced. Anyway, they start playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, only to play at different speeds (or in music terms, tempos). Oscar seems to like it though, and he also enjoys their argument over it. Considering how forced it sounded when they called each other best friends at the beginning, I do too. They decide to break up until Chris suggests they compromise. They do, and the problem is solved, much to Oscar's dismay. I loved this line he said about it:
: Way to ruin perfectly bad music.
So the duo then play the Alphabet Song, only to do so at different volumes (or dynamics). They break up again, and compromise again. Rinse and repeat for the third part, only this time they struggle with what song to play (Abby wants to play Old McDonald, and Elmo wants to play Elmo's Song). They blend the songs together and problem solved.
Wow. This story is so repetitive, and it felt unnatural hearing Abby and Elmo call each other best friends. I did love Grover having to move the piano again and again though. And I loved Oscar's commentary. Now that he can apparently move from can to can, I look forward to seeing this more. Altogether, this story is fine I guess.
So the letter of the day is M. I have nothing else to say because there's no letter (or even "letter") segment following the dance break. Instead, we get Fifth Harmony's song.
First of all, the singers in the televised version (the one I watched for this review) are (as noted earlier in this thread) not actually Fifth Harmony themselves. And I'm so glad about this, because in the version where they do sing, it sounds, let's just say not very good. There really isn't much else I can say about the song though. It's basically about how everything is music. The rhythm of your feet, the sound of a woodpecker tapping, frogs croaking, and coins exploding in the oven (OK, they never mentioned that last one) are all musical. It's such a nothing song, and this isn't even the last time they use it (although it will be outdated the next time they do...)
So onto the next part of the episode, Murray Has a Little Lamb. I don't think I've ever discussed these segments before, so I'll do so now.
First, I just wanna say that as a kid, these segments bored me. And this one somewhat still does. However, while I don't think the quality has changed much with age, the intentions certainly have. As I've gotten older, I've grown to love seeing Muppets interact with real people in the real world. And these segments definitely filled that box. Honestly, I'm now a little disappointed that this was Murray's last season, as now this quality is gone. At least, until I review The Magical Wand Chase.
And now for the number of the day, which is 5. Once again, I have nothing to say because there's no number segment following the dance break (this will be a bit of a trend in this season especially). And instead, we go directly to EW.
On that note, today EW is all about violins. First of all, when I visited the thread about season 38 (the season this segment debuted in), I saw someone made a pun on "Too much unnecessary violins on TV". That's a great pun, and I'm a little disappointed it took some random guy on the internet to think that up instead of someone actually writing for the show. Second of all, this is the 3rd EW rerun they've used thus far, and the cropping is still atrocious. Third of all, we've got our first e-mail and like the Noodle family bits, they add the sides of the computer screen to hide that it's not HD. Other than that, this is much like any other EW episode, although I did enjoy the part of the e-mail where Miri tried to play a pumpkin like a violin. And I'm not surprised Elmo played the Violin Song on a violin, although I am surprised he's really good at it. It was probably whatever the violin equivalent of lip-synching is.
All in all, this episode was an improvement over the last one. I liked Oscar and Grover's parts in the street story, I was amused at many points throughout the episode, and while it was definitely not perfect, I think it's worthy of a 6/10 regardless. All I can say now is that I hope that "When Dinosaurs Walked on Sesame Street is even better than this. I guess I'll have to wait and see...