The television-show-music montage made its debut underneath a radar that no amount of research can seem to muster up. Although the montage's early use in film is evident, the end-of-a-TV-show montage seems to have slipped into the cultural brainstem without leaving a mark at the beginning.
How has it seeped into our consciousness to the point that nearly every show on primetime ends with one? Why is this? Is our attention span so short that we need a montage accompanied by Death Cab for Cutie in order to remember the last hour? Or is this another scheme perpetrated by the record labels or artists themselves? Maybe.
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There's not doubt that shows like Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, House and Bones, are prime vehicles for pushing products. Count the Apple products in a single episode of House if you doubt it (something must be working there, eh?). Prime time shows are the new MTV, highlighting new and upcoming bands on major labels to a degree that has created forums dedicated to just the end music montage. Stranger still, TV shows occupying hour long spots have decreased in length over the course of the montage's public acceptance. Where shows once ran 52 minutes, then 47, then 45, they now clock in at 43 minutes. Subtract the obligatory montage at the end and the title's theme song, and you get about 36 minutes of actual entertainment. This leads us to conclude that the writers have gotten lazy or the production costs have increased in proportion to advertising revenue, or the montages are actually good.
Let's consider that last possibility, that montage's are actually good storytelling. It's an absurd premise. In a non-scientific manner we asked around to see if people approved or disapproved of them. Guess what: An overwhelming majority said they had no idea what in the Sam Hill we were talking about. This suggests that people have somehow already tuned out by the end of a show, not even noticing the scene in which their favorite character is spooning up with their most despised character while Feist plays in the background.