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Top 10 Out-of-Genre TV Episodes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake. Well that was unexpected. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 out of genre TV episodes. For this list, we’re taking a look at TV episodes that are inconsistent with a show’s genre, offering something completely different than usual. This can include musical episodes, episodes produced in different media or episodes that have a different vibe than usual. Needless to say, we were caught quite off-guard when these episodes started. Special thanks to our user NickSpake for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nick Spake.

Top 10 Out-of-Genre TV Episodes


Well that was unexpected. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 out of genre TV episodes.

For this list, we’re taking a look at TV episodes that are inconsistent with a show’s genre, offering something completely different than usual. This can include musical episodes, episodes produced in different media or episodes that have a different vibe than usual.

#10: “Stevil”
“Family Matters” (1989-98)

“Family Matters” started out as a run-of-the-mill family sitcom, but became consistently more absurd as Steve Urkel took center stage. The show peaked in outlandishness with this Halloween special where Urkel acquires a lookalike ventriloquist dummy. In a move that’s way dark for a TGIF show, the dummy comes to life, dons the name Stevil, and starts stalking and attacking the Winslow family. While it all turns out be a dream, there wasn’t a kid who saw this episode who wasn’t horrified by this dancing, satanic puppet. Of course now he’s just hilarious.

#9: “Changing Channels”
“Supernatural” (2005-)

This episode of “Supernatural” doesn’t just take Sam and Dean to one different genre, but several. It’s clear that there’s something amiss from the opening scene as the brothers find themselves in a sitcom, complete with lousy jokes, a live studio audience, and a “Full House”-like opening. “Changing Channels” maintains little consistency as they jump across TV Land from a procedural cop drama, to a sexy medical soap opera, to “Knight Rider.” It’s multiple episodes and a genital herpes commercial for the price of one, with all the supernatural elements you’d expect from a Sam and Dean adventure.

#8: “The Rescue Mission”
“Power Rangers Lost Galaxy” (1999)

Most adults remember “Power Rangers” for its colorful action, campy charm, and ridiculous creatures strait out of a Japanese monster flick. This episode of “Power Rangers Lost Galaxy” takes a grim turn as the Rangers stumble upon the ancient Galaxy Book aboard a spaceship. With dark lighting, sophisticated sets, and a suspenseful tone, “The Rescue Mission” feels more like “Alien” than typical “Power Rangers” fare. It’s also notably the show’s only episode with no Japanese footage. Seeing how this is “Power Rangers,” though, it still works in some silly moments.

#7: “My Musical”
“Scrubs” (2001-10)

Observed through the eyes of Broadway star Stephanie D’Abruzzo, “My Musical” delivers a diverse collection of sidesplitting songs about the wonder of poo, the difference between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, and eternal guy love. The musical approach never becomes a cheap gimmick, though, cleverly tying the numbers into a two-act structure and a touching story. “Scrubs” certainly went all out with this musical episode, enlisting composers like Doug Besterman, Paul Perry, Jeff Marx, and EGOTer Robert Lopez, who’s now best known for writing a song about letting it go.

#6: “Krusty Krab Training Video”
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

The Krusty Krab Training Video will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about working at this underwater fast food establishment…except for how to make a Krabby Patty. Regardless, this tutorial video caught many young fans off-guard as one of the funniest episodes of “SpongeBob.” Capturing all the bizarre humor that made the cartoon’s earliest seasons so special, “Krusty Krab Training Video” is full of insight about Mr. Krab’s rise to success, good hygiene, and how not to be a Squidward. It’s a laugh-a-minute load of hoopla.

#5: Pretty Much Every Episode
“Community” (2009-)

When it first premiered, “Community” was a sitcom about a ragtag study group at a community college, drawing inspiration from John Hughes. Towards the end of season one, however, Dan Harmon’s show went into full-on parody mode with the paintball war epic, “Modern Warfare.” Since then, “Community” has turned into an unpredictable satire of popular culture, making fun of zombie apocalypses, documentaries, and stop-motion Christmas specials. Unlike some sitcoms that have an out-of-genre episode every once and a while, this cauldron of creativity delivers an inventive new concept pretty much each week.

#4: “Queen of Jordan”
“30 Rock” (2006-13)

Anybody who’s married to Tracy Jordan deserves their own reality show. In “Queen of Jordan,” Tracy’s wife, Angie, steals the spotlight as she attempts to launch her singing career. Angie surrounds herself with countless pets and an entourage of attention-hungry individuals like former call girl Randi and homosexual party planner D’Fwan. The regular “30 Rock” cast also makes appearances with Gay Jack Donaghy proving his masculinity, Jenna throwing wine at everyone to get on cam-er-a, and Frank reuniting with the love of his life. This out-of-genre episode proved so successful; it spawned a follow-up: “Queen of Jordan 2: Mystery of the Phantom Pooper.”

#3: “And Then There Was Shawn”
“Boy Meets World” (1993-2000)

Like “Stevil,” “And Then There Was Shawn” goes to some unbelievably dark places for a show aimed at young adults. Taking a page from “Scream,” the episode finds Cory and the gang locked inside the school with a masked killer. Since Shawn has grown up with classics like “Blood in the Showers,” “The Last of the Obvious Suspects” and “The Killer Is One of Us,” he knows every trick to survive a scary movie. This horror-centric episode is full of great meta humor, surprisingly strong character development, and even a “They killed Kenny” “South Park” reference.

#2: “Hush”
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

Its magical world has given leeway for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to produce various out-of-genre episodes, like the musical “Once More, with Feeling.” But nothing was ever quite as ambitious or jarring as the Emmy-nominated “Hush.” This practically dialogue-free episode derives a ton of inspired humor from its silent movie premise while also being one of the show’s most genuinely creepy outings. Inspired by reviews of the show that said the best part was its dialogue, Joss Whedon did something different if not only to prove he could. But “Hush” is ultimately about human communication, amounting to a perfect final scene that will leave you at a loss for words.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Seahorse Seashell Party”
“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)
- “Naturama”
“Futurama” (1999-2013)
- “The Nightman Cometh”
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2005-)
- “Back in the Red: Part III”
“Red Dwarf” (1988-99; 2012-)
- “Revenging Angel”
“Farscape” (1999-2003)

#1: All “Treehouse of Horror” episodes
“The Simpsons” (1989-)

Compared to other animated programs, “The Simpsons” usually stays grounded in reality. However, every October and sometimes early November, the show takes a break from its regular routine with its annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode. Through three twisted tales, the Simpsons plunge themselves into the gothic and supernatural. The possibilities are endless with the specials dramatizing “The Raven,” parodying “The Shining,” and sending Homer to the fabled third dimension. There have been so many memorable shorts over the past couple of decades that they’re worthy of a list of their own.

Do you agree with our list? What out of genre episodes took you by surprise? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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