As I thought about some of the great songs performed on sitcoms, several came to mind. There are the obvious ones. “Friends Forever” performed by the famous band of the future, The Zack Attach, on the “Saved by the Bell” episode where younger me learned that fame isn’t everything. “Suits” performed by the cast of “How I Met Your Mother”, where Barney decides that he cares more about his suits than hot bimbos. And of course “The Pit” performed by Mouse Rat in a “Parks and Recreation” episode where Andy falls in a pit. Classic TV.
However, “Freelove Freeway” by Ricky Gervais, in character as David Brent, from the “The Training” episode of the original “The Office” is the clear winner.
This song is pitch perfect in so many ways. First of all, it’s an undeniably great pop song. So great in fact that Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, actually assisted in a studio recording of the song. When has a TV sitcom song ever actually gotten that kind of treatment?
The song, as part of the sitcom, is also terribly funny. It barely makes any sense. The song is a love song about a guy longing for a girl, but during David Brent’s performance Gareth thinks the girl is dead (she’s not) and Tim thinks the guy is gay (he’s not).
Finally, the song just fits amazingly well within the context of the episode and the sitcom itself. Most songs in TV shows, even the good ones, fit in either illogically (like any How I Met Your Mother song) or just seem like they were written first and then thrown into an episode through some makeshift reasoning (like any Family Guy song). “Freelove Freeway” in The Office just fits. In its particular episode, David Brent plays the song for a circle of his employees, while in the process cutting off a staff training he’s organized and showing up the actual trainer. The show absolutely sets it up for a cringe-worthy performance.
But the thing is, even though the song is a joke, it’s so good that you’ll love it. And you’ll hate yourself for loving it. It’s just one of the show’s many charms.