Why don't television shows have theme songs anymore? I think it started with Seinfeld's Bobby McFarrin tribute in their opening credits but whatever the reason they just don't have theme songs like they used to--though the Amazing Race has a decent enough ditty. Maybe I'd start watching t.v. again if they had cool songs to lure me in. Here are my top picks:
1. The A-Team. Okay I know I'm just abandoning myself completely to the 80s but this was a fabulous theme song and what made it even better was the plot exposition done in voice over. Hysterical now but boy I thought it was great back in 7th grade. My friends and I caught every episode and secretly had code names for each other that mirrored the Team's code names. Oh yes, we were cool. A close second would be Knight Rider or Magnum P.I. (the best-looking mustache on the planet).
2. The Brady Bunch. I loved this one and would sing along to the best of my abilities whenever I caught an episode. Don’t tell but secretly I dreamed I was Cindy Brady complete with a set of curly pigtails. You too?
3. Miami Vice or maybe Law and Order. I never actually saw a Miami Vice episode (Mom had declared it Trashy and it was off limits) but ran into plenty of Don Johnson wannabes throughout my 80s existence. Law and Order on the other hand--loved loved loved that show. I say "loved" because I haven't seen too many episodes recently, not since the blond assistant D.A. left (I have a hard time keeping McCoy's women straight). Odd that he never gets an ugly male sidekick, just gorgeous females. . . but as for theme songs, when the guitar comes in I feel my Coolness Quotient jump significantly.
4. Gilligan's Island. Who doesn't love this? "A three-hour tour, A three-hour tour . . ." Any theme song that tells a story gets bonus points--in fact, I think the presidential candidates ought to seriously consider creating their own theme songs where they set their platform into a catchy ballad that can be played at debates, fund raisers, town meetings, whatever. It's a winning idea. Can't you just hear Hilary's song?
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
A tale with a lot of dirt
That started back in Little Rock
With the Governor and a Skirt, the Governor and a Skirt.
The man was a womanizer and
His lifetime mate was mad
But she had White House hopes she'd be
First Lady to that Cad, First Lady to that Cad.
The election went without a hitch
With Blue States far and wide
For Bill Clinton . . .
and Hilary too . . .
Stephanopolous . . . and Albright
Jan Re-no and Sha-la-la
(But not a landslide).
So starts the career of our Castaway
Around for a long, long time
We've have to make the best of things
It's an uphill climb.
Ms. Clinton as a Senator
Has done her very best
To make America comfortable
With a woman Prez.
No lies, no court, no Monica
Not a single impeaching
Could stop her from her clever plan
To someday have The Seat.
So join us in November
You're sure to get an ache
From Senators, press and lawyers
How much can America take?
5. Bonanza. Fabulous theme song. Words aren’t necessary when you can just “bum bum-da-bum, bum-da-bum, bum-da-bum, bum bummmm BUM! . . . .” along. The mark of a great theme song. And a flaming map in the background doesn't hurt either. Maybe I shouldn't say this but my Mom and her friends as teens loved Little Joe enough to write their own episodes just for him. Dragnet and Rawhide are honorable mentions as well.
6. The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. I'm lumping these two together because if you've seen one felted, feathered, fingered puppet you've seen them all. Don't tell me you can watch the Fraggle Rock credits without clapping, you know you do.
7. Scooby-Doo. Yes I know it’s a cartoon but it’s still cool. Maybe it's the drum solo at the beginning, maybe it's the flock of squawking bats that sets the mood, maybe it's the way Velma runs, but whatever it is I loved it and my kids are carrying the flame of affection high and strong. Enough to make it to number seven on the list. Don’t tell me you don’t know all the words to it. Favorite episode? The Green Ghosts--whatever that one was called--the one that was like Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians . . . only with (um) two floating green ghosts and (er) a talking dog with a cat's tail.
8. Dudley Do-right. And if you thought cartoons were off-limits wait until you hear this one. Did you watch Rocky and Bullwinkle? I’ll still watch it if the kids check out the DVDs from the library. They think I can do a pretty good Natasha imitation but regardless, the Dudley Do-right theme is classic and catchy.
9. Friends. Never really been a fan of the show but for the record I was listening to The Rembrandts before America had ever heard of Jennifer Aniston. Anyone ever hear that great early-90s tune, "Just the Way It Is"?
10. Greatest American Hero. Do you remember this show? I LOVED it. Saw every episode and cried when it ended so abruptly (maybe I'm exaggerating just a little) and loved the theme song too—though I warn you, it’s 80s with a vengeance complete with a blond afro-mullet and Connie Selleca.
11. Highlander. Does this qualify as a theme song? Because it’s really a legitimate song used as a theme song (“Princes of the Universe” by Queen--and who doesn't love Queen?) but whether you’ll give it to me or not I love it. I have the full version on my ipod. Which do I like better: the theme song or Adrian Paul? Hmmm . . . better get back to me on that one.
12. Mission Impossible. It’s an obvious choice and so cool it’s hung around for quite awhile and has kept Tom Cruise’s career above water. Barely.
13. Hawaii 5-0. The coolest theme song ever. It’s still cool even all these years later. I caught my kids listening to it the other day thinking it was something new. I had to explain things to them that Cool has been around longer than they have and that this theme song was back from when I was too young to watch cop shows. The 60s invented Cool I believe, I think the patent was registered back in 1961 when Audrey Hepburn did Breakfast at Tiffany's. It all goes back to Audrey.
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