Tag Archives: TV theme songs

Whatever Happened to TV Theme Songs? (THE SEQUEL)

A little while back,  I wrote a blog entry entitled  Whatever Happened to TV Theme Songs?  In it, I complained about the fact that most television programs today seem to have done away with theme songs, opting instead to use a few bland instrumental chords to introduce their show.  Some shows, like Lost or The Vampire Diaries,  have scrapped their opening sequences entirely.

When I was done bitching, I chose ten theme songs and opening sequences that I really enjoyed from my TV watching past, and shared them with anyone who might be interested.  And you guys seemed to like it.  (By “like it,” I mean you “clicked on it.”  For all I know, you may have took one look at the theme songs I chose, said “That TV Recapper Girl  is a total Poopyhead,” and slammed your browser in my face.)

But here’s the thing. . . .   There are SO MANY really great theme songs and opening sequences out there, that I DIDN’T get to show you.  And, for that reason, I thought it might be fun to try this again.  So, without further adieu, I present to you, ten MORE old school TV theme songs (in no particular order) that I find pretty cool.

1) All in the Family

All right.  So I can’t really say that this show was part of my childhood.  After all, it was already off the air, by the time I was born.  But I catch it in reruns ALL THE TIME, mostly just to watch the opening sequence.  I’m not entirely sure why I like it so much.  Perhaps it’s because there is something about Archie and Edith Bunker that reminds me a lot of my paternal grandparents.  Also, any opening sequence that involves that much ridiculously bad, off-key singing, is pretty cool in my book . . .

2) The Jeffersons

Like All in the Family, its spinoff, The Jeffersons, aired a smidgeon before my TV watching time.  But I watch it in reruns whenever I can find it, basically because I think its Sherman Hemsley is “the bees knees.”  He could just be standing around doing nothing, and I would find it absolutely hilarious.  Sherman is just so cute!  To me, he’s kind of like a black Danny Devito . . .

Did I mention that the song in the opening sequence is super catchy?  I still find myself singing it out loud every time I move into a new apartment, much to the extreme displeasure of anyone unlucky enough to be helping me move.  Just listen, and I dare you not to sing along!

3) Roseanne

This “smarter than it looked” show, about a working class family, was on the air, pretty much throughout my childhood.  During its nine-year run, the show’s opening sequence underwent nearly annual tweaks and changes.  Ironically, my favorite opening sequences for Roseanne came near the end of its run, when the show itself was losing some of the good humor and sharp writing of earlier seasons.  The opening sequences for the last two seasons of Roseanne, featured these really cool character morphs, illustrating how (for better or worse) the characters had aged during the show’s long run.

My favorite morph was for the Becky character, who, during the show’s nine years, was played by two different actresses, Lecy Goranson and Saarah Chalke (Scrubs).  The sequence morphs the two together, as if they are the same person.  My second favorite morph was for Roseanne herself, who made some really bad hair and plastic surgery choices during that decade.  In one picture in particular, her entire face seems to droop downward in a perverse, overly-botoxed sneer that actually used to give me nightmares.  When you see it, you’ll know why.

(Unfortunately, there is no embedding on this video.  So, you have to click the internal link, to watch it on YouTube.  Sorry!)

4) The Wonder Years

I loved this show when I was a little kid, for so many reasons.  For one, I thought Fred Savage was a total hottie.  I wanted to be Winnie Cooper, so that I could date him.  If my first TV crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement, Fred Savage comes in a close second.  Also, the dad on the show, Dan Luria, looked a lot like my dad, which I thought was pretty cool.

And, of course, the opening sequence was amazing!  You see, I was an only child, and, from what I gather, not a particularly photogenic one.  Therefore, we never had home videos in my family.  (I don’t even think we owned a video camera.)  So, when I would watch The Wonder Years, as a kid, I liked to pretend that Kevin Arnold’s home videos were mine.  Sometimes I would even reenact Winnie’s parts, as I watched  . . . It was kind of embarrassing.

5) Blossom

You know what?  When I said that NO home videos exist of me as a child, that’s not entirely true.  I do distinctly remember one video that was taken just before one of my dance recitals.  In it, 7-year old me BORED MY POOR FAMILY TO TEARS, by suiting up in my dance costume, and reenacting the ENTIRE RECITAL, casting myself in all the crucial roles, of course. 

 Funny looking costume?  Bad goofy dancing?  I imagine it looked a lot like this . . .

6) Dinosaurs

The things you learn when researching a blog entry!  I distinctly remember watching this program as a kid, during ABC’s fabulous Friday night TGIF lineup.  The show was sort of a live action Flintstones, only all the characters in it were dinosaurs.  Now that I think about it, the whole thing was a little bizarre . . .

But regardless of the quality of the show itself, I remember really loving what I thought was the show’s theme song.  Today, I looked up the theme song to Dinosaurs on YouTube, and learned that what I THOUGHT was the theme song, wasn’t the theme song at all.  It was merely a song, and accompanying video, that was featured during one of the show’s episodes.  The actual theme song kind of sucked.  But THIS song was SO GOOD and SO FUNNY, that I’ve decided to share it with you instead . . .

7) Salute Your Shorts

By now, you already know how I feel about theme songs that  feature ridiculously bad and off-key singing.  So, of course, I simply had to include this theme song on the list, from a Nickelodeon show about a very poorly managed sleepaway camp . . .

8 ) Step by Step

Yet another installment from ABC’s TGIF lineup makes the list at Number 8.  Step by Step was kind of a revamped Brady Bunch for us ’90s kids to enjoy.  It starred Suzanne Somers — as the mom of a blended family — one who looked remarkably similar to Chrissy Snow from Three’s Company.

Around the time this was on the air, I was spending a lot of free time hanging out at amusement parks with my friends.  So, of course, I absolutely adored this amusement park-themed opening sequence.

9) Freaks and Geeks

I’m cheating a bit here, because I didn’t actually watch this show during its initial run.  Rather, I caught it recently on Netflix, and was amazed by how brilliant it was, and how many of its cast members (and writing staff) eventually went on to do bigger and better things.  If, by chance, you are interested in my take, on the show itself, you can find that here. 

However, right now, I am here to talk about its kick ass opening sequence, which features the rebel anthem Bad Reputation by Joan Jett, and accurately portrays the extreme awkwardness and pure horror that is Yearbook Picture Day!

10) What I Like About You

Even though it has been off the air for a few years now, I still enjoy watching repeats of this classic WB show about two very different sisters living under one roof, and navigating life and love in New York City.  On the surface, it looks like your typical cheesy teen romcom.  However, Jennie Garth and Amanda Bynes made the show way better than it should have been, with their amazing on-screen chemistry and fabulous comedic timing. 

But, of course, my favorite episodes of the show were the ones from later seasons.  After all, these focused on Amanda Byne’s character, Holly, and her relationship with on-again, off-again boyfriend, Vince, played by MY TV boyfriend, the painfully gorgeous, Nick Zano.  This guy doesn’t get nearly enough work these days in my opinion . . .

Oh, and did I mention that the show’s opening sequence features the cast riding and dancing around Times Square to the tune of Lilix’s awesome cover of the song What I Like About You?

So, there you have it folks — ten more TV theme songs to add to my collection of nostalgic television awesomeness.  Have I missed any of your favorites?

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Whatever Happened to TV Theme Songs?

Remember back in the olden days, when television shows had catchy theme songs, and opening sequences, typically featuring pictures of cast members and scenes from the show?  Whatever happened to those?   When was it exactly that television programmers decided that theme songs were “dorky” — that cast pictures and opening credits were just plain unnecessary?  Perhaps, it happened around the same time that producers made this  . . .

Call me out of touch, but I, for one, miss my TV Theme Songs.  After all,  “jingles” were the soundtrack to my childhood and adolescence.  The opening sequences that accompanied them allowed me the few precious moments I needed to get revved up for my favorite shows.  (Not to mention, they allowed me to drool over adorable close-ups of whatever actor I happened to be crushing on at the time.) 

This is why today, I would like to pay homage to the theme songs and opening sequences that made me the TV Recapper I am today.  These opening sequences that I am about to show you will probably be as close as I will ever come to writing an autobiography.  My list begins with the first two television programs that I recall watching, back when I was still in diapers, and runs all the way through to present day.  (Don’t worry, I only chose ten shows . . .)

So, without further adieu:  My Life as a Series of Television Theme Songs . . .

Sesame Street

For most of us, this was probably the first television show (and theme song) to which we were exposed.  I’m pretty sure my mom was already making me watch Sesame Street, when I was still in her womb.  And even though I haven’t watched the show in . . . well  . . . a LONG time, its theme song still gets my toes tapping, and its colorful opening sequence still brings a smile to my face.

(Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an opening sequence on YouTube that corresponded to a time when I was actually watching this show.  All the available examples either aired too early, or too late for Baby Me.   Plus, apparently, Sesame Street changes their opener ALL THE TIME!  Fortunately, the song always stays pretty much the same.  And the  above opener came closest to how I remembered the sequence, i.e. MORE pictures of puppets and LESS of random kids that I don’t know, or care, about . . . So you can get the basic idea.)

Fraggle Rock

I have very vivid memories of this HBO show. (Can you believe HBO used to air children’s programming at night?  Things SURE have changed . . . )  The extent to which I remember this show is strange considering that, based on the time frame during which it aired, I had to have been more or less a toddler when I was watching it.  I distinctly remember, however, that its characters were awesome!  Let’s see . . . there was Red, the sporty tomboy Fraggle,

Mokey, the artsy-fartsy, hippie-dippy Fraggle,

oh . . . and that other Fraggle that talked, acted, and sort of looked like Woody Allen.

Then there were the DOOZERS, blue collar workaholics that were ACTUALLY BLUE!

And, let’s not forget Fraggle Rock had one of the most kickass opening sequences of ALL TIME!

Full House

This is one of those shows that, back when I was a kid, I thought was AWESOME.  However, now, sometimes, I watch it in reruns, and wonder what I was smoking back then  . . .  Yet, back in the day, Full House was part of TGIF, ABC’s kid-friendly Friday night lineup.  And everyone who was anyone (and who didn’t have a sleepover party to attend that weekend) was watching. 

D.J. Tanner was the big sister I never had, but wish I did.  Little Me wanted to be just like her when I grew up, (or, rather, merely aged a few years).  I even had my room decorated the way her character did on the show (same bed sheets)!  Apparently, I would have been one stalkerish little sister . . .  It’s probably a good thing that I was an only child.   

Home Improvement

Honestly, I shouldn’t even be including this one, because the theme song had NO WORDS, and, actually, was kind of lame.  However, Home Improvement was a very important show for me, because it marked my ascent into womanhood.  After all, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the middle child on the show, was my FIRST EVER television crush!

In fact, this very picture, which was probably cut out of some Teen Bop magazine from the early 90s, hung on my childhood bedroom closet door for an embarrassingly long time.  Just in case, you were curious, my first movie crush was Macauley Culkin from Home Alone.

It seems kind of creepy for me to be saying these things now.  But, rest assured, these were both age appropriate crushes for me at the time . . .

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

A rapping, super cheesily dressed, teenage Will Smith?  How could I NOT include this opening sequence in my list?

Friends

After listening to this theme song EVERY Thursday night for TEN YEARS, I can’t even hear the first few bars of “I’ll Be There for You” anymore, without wanting to slit my wrists.  But there was a time, not too long ago, when I LOVED the song, and LOVED the show!  Honestly, who DIDN’T want to be one of the Friends?  They were all just SO COOL!  (Well . . . except for, maybe, Ross.)

Dawson’s Creek

Ahhhh . . . Dawson’s Creek.  My lifelong obsession with Pacey Witter and his gal pal, Joey Potter began with just a few simple words, belted out by Paula Cole, “I don’t wanna wait!”   (Sadly, I own, and still, on occasion, watch, the DVD’s for the ENTIRE series.)  Oh, and by the way, just a note for The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity: here’s living proof that you DID NOT invent “shaky cam.”

The O.C.

The O.C. has been off the air for a few years now, but I am still going through a bit of withdrawal.  Benjamin McKenzie’s Ryan Atwood was the ULTIMATE brooding bad boy (and pretty easy on the eyes too, I might add).

Oh, and Seth and Summer? They gave hope to EVERY nerd out there who ever had dreams of dating the prom queen.

Plus, the show’s opening sequence, put a modern spin on a musical classic . . .  What could be better?

Veronica Mars

Adorably snarky teen super sleuth?  CHECK!  Twisty turny and surprisingly dark seasonal mysteries (and slightly less twisty and dark episodic mysteries)?  CHECK!  Super sexy, mildly mutually abusive, “LoVE” / Hate relationship between two hot twenty-somethings playing teens? CHECK!  Catchy, yet ultra hip, theme song and title sequence featuring The Dandy Warhols?  TRIPLE CHECK!

True Blood

Well, folks, we have traveled long and far (20 some odd years, to be exact), but we have finally made it back to present day.  And, like I said, for the most part, theme songs and opening sequences have, sadly, become a thing of the past.  But fear not, because all hope is not lost . . .

While it does not technically fit the opening sequence mold (no pictures of the cast are shown here), True Blood’s “Bad Things” title sequence is everything a slightly raunchy, often funny, and fangtastic show about vampires, and other assorted supernatural creatures from the South, should be . . .

So, there you have it — my life summed up in ten television theme songs . . . Something tells me the next generation won’t be able to write a blog entry like this one . . .

[P.S.  Did I forget to include YOUR favorite TV Theme Song in this list?  If so, maybe I caught it in the sequel to this post, which features 10 more awesome TV Theme Songs.  You can find that post here.]

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Filed under 80s television, 90s television, music, television, TV theme songs