The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. This week’s question: what’s the best song by a fictional character, cartoon musician or otherwise?
Who doesn’t feel for a squirrel stuck under the sea? Sandy Cheeks’ country crooning in Season 1’s “Texas” episode of Spongebob Squarepants is a highlight of the entire series, as she emerges from her underwater biodome to sing a song that tears at every heartstring in Bikini Bottom. Press play, put on your cowboy hat, and let your inner-Texas jump out. – Gus Turner
My favorite fictional bop is “Hex Girl” by the Hex Girls from Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost, better known by its chorus, “I’m gonna put a spell on you.” The Hex Girls–Thorn, Luna and Dusk–are witchy “eco-goth” girl group icons who joined the Scooby gang several times after their initial appearance in Witch’s Ghost, and their catalog also boasts the anthemic “Earth, Wind, Fire, and Air”. But nothing beats the catchy, empowering, magical bop that introduced them; I still regularly get this song stuck in my head, especially as spooky season approaches. – Leah Williams
Often when someone wants to show off their singing skills, they sing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” by Effie in the movie Dreamgirls, played and sang by Jennifer Holliday in the 1981 Broadway show and Jennifer Hudson in the 2006 movie. Jennifer Holliday won a Tony and a Grammy for her performance, and Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for hers. There is merit in their awards because this is a truly difficult song to sing, and it’s easily the most recognizable song from the production. – Landyn Pan
So many great fictional musicians come to mind (Protozoa from Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Lizzie McGuire), but I have to go with my heart: Powerline from A Goofy Movie! Nothing beats Max Goof hijacking a school assembly to perform the a standing ovation-worthy lip sync rendition of Powerline’s “Stand Out” or joining the pop star on stage at his concert to perform “I2I” as he does one of the OG viral dances, The Perfect Cast. Of course, the man, the myth, the legend behind the Powerline vocals deserves a shout out: Tevin Campbell! – Kristen Maldonado
I’m at a loss; not because I can’t think of anything, but since I can’t narrow down which SpongeBob SquarePants bop reigns supreme. There’s the Krusty Krab pizza anthem, the campfire song, the halftime show performance… but there’s nothing as emotional as “Without You,” when SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs admit “a stove is just a stove” but “this grill is not a home.” I cried every time I watched this episode as a kid, and I still cry to this song now. I feel precisely no shame. – Matt Gehring