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From Northern Exposure: A Song

One night a million years ago I’m watching Northern Exposure and there’s a scene with something about Shelly’s pageant and there’s a song in the background, something odd and the people singing have accents maybe and there’s a drifting twirling while they show the pageant women spinning in their gowns.

I wanted that song.

I didn’t know how to find it — this was before google — and all I could remember is that it says “pretty” in it. Pretty girls? Pretty something? I remembered the swirling skirts, slow motion and the word pretty — a delicate cacophony of skirts and singing but I had no idea how to find it.

I’ve looked for that song since that show aired in 1991.

I recently realized I could get the series on DVD from the library and comb through them to find the song but c’mon — that’s a lot of television to scan through and I’m a busy person. So I started hunting episode lists trying to find the one I needed figuring I could just get that year and do a lot of fast forwarding ’til I came to a pageant scene. And my friends, I have found it.

It took me awhile because I remembered the scene as if Shelly was watching but I figured out it was actually Maurice watching the pageant in the episode The Big Kiss. And once I figured that out, I found the song. And it’s by Sondheim and I already own it and I love it and I play it all the time and now I can play it in a new context.

This isn’t the version (the version on Northern Exposure is from the original Broadway cast) but it’s a nice one all the same.

(Hey, was Northern Exposure the first television show to really utilize their soundtrack? Does Grey’s Anatomy owe them a debt or what?)

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