‘Schoolhouse Rock 50th Anniversary Singalong’ Recap: A Total Delight

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You know when a party features a guest list including Kermit the Frog, the Black Eyed Peas, Retta, and Raven-Symoné, it’s going to be a good time. It’s made only better by the fact that these folks have teamed up to celebrate one of the most beloved kids’ shows of all time: Schoolhouse Rock!

To celebrate its golden anniversary, ABC brought back the educational series with a new special, which aired Wednesday night. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong featured familiar faces singing wonderfully catchy classics like “I’m Just a Bill” (sung by Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen in full costume) and “Figure Eight” (accompanied by a classy dance number performed by Derek Hough).

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While none of the numbers lived up to the retro animation style of the 1970s series, it was nice to see the timeless tunes adapted for a more contemporary audience. I do fear for the wear and tear on my old Schoolhouse Rock! VHS tapes—surely, I’m not alone in wanting to keep them safe and protected—so pressing play on an ABC special allowed me to relive my childhood memories without ruining them.

One of the sweetest performances came in the middle of the special, with the lesser known song, “Unpack Your Adjectives.” The novelty was the performer here: Kermit the Frog joins in to sing the song to a room full of students. What a wonderful crossover; The Muppet Show meets Schoolhouse Rock!

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There’s another crossover when Lisa Ann Walter and Quinta Brunson jump in from the Abbott Elementary set to celebrate the legacy of the series. Now, get Bluey out of there—we need an episode of Abbott where the students are all obsessed with “Conjunction Junction,” Walter’s favorite Schoolhouse Rock! song.

But the best moment, by far, came at the end of the special. We got a tease of the Black Eyed Peas near the middle of the celebration as they sang “Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla”—which, if you don’t remember, is all about how to use pronouns—but they got the final billing as well. The trio aptly sang “Three Is A Magic Number,” even changing the lyrics to suit their group: “Black Eyed Peas consist of three and that’s a magic number.” (Sorry, Fergie.)

Some of the numbers were botched, though, so if you want to watch the singalong I’d highly recommend finding clips on YouTube. Julianne Hough attempted to reach the high heavens with her rendition of “Interplanet Janet,” but she came crashing to the ground—we’re going to need a better diva to pull this one off next time. The whole show was kitschy, with young dancers flipping around like a Broadway production of The Prom. You’re better off sticking to Kermit and the Black Eyed Peas.

Derek Hough

But all in all, it’s nice that ABC put together a special for one of their finest educational programs, especially to keep the memory alive as new folks discover Schoolhouse Rock! The series is dedicated to the memory of George Newall, one of the original creators of the show, a touching tribute to the legacy of the series as a whole and the brilliant minds behind it.

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