80s, 90s, Cartoons, Quick Lists, TV — March 29, 2013 12:14 pm

7 Theme Songs that Give Away the Premise of the Show

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One of my many guilty pleasures (which I shouldn’t refer to as “guilty pleasures,” but it’s my way of excusing my likes in real life. No, I don’t really like eating olive sandwiches, it’s just a guilty pleasure. No, I don’t enjoy watching Dharma and Greg, it’s just a guilty pleasure. Those New Kids on the Block concerts? –okay, those were the real deal. Marry me, Jonathan Knight?)

Uh, tangents aside, I legitimately like theme songs. You don’t see them much in current day TV shows—maybe a short little ditty a la How I Met Your Mother, or a couple notes and a screen of the show’s title a la Castle. In the 90s and the times before, we were treated to full fledged, specially crafted verse (or sometimes just instrumentals) for each show on TV. Here are a handful of those shows with themes that go above and beyond their purpose of introducing the show to an audience to outright spelling out what will be happening in a very rambly way.

7 – The Nanny

The sexual tension in this series is riveting!
This straight up tells you what happened and where the show is headed. Fran Drescher is dumped, finds herself on a rich man’s doorstep, he asks her to be his kids’ nanny. That’s pretty much the first episode alone. From there, the father’s female business partner is forever jealous of Fran because Maxwell Sheffield is (not so) secretly smitten with her. The magic of surprise is gone, but that never stopped me from getting sucked in. Or writing The Nanny fanfiction. It was a dark period in my life.

6 – Hammerman

The longest theme song for an animated series. Way to hold the kids’ attention to get yourself that renewal… oh, wait…
When a theme song includes the phrase “Here’s how it started…” you know you’re in for a treat. Hammer raps about magical shoes and grandpas, which is what the cartoon was about. How it didn’t make it to a second season, I will never understand.

5 – Fresh Prince of Bel Air

The most-often sung theme song in existence, I’d put money on it.
Now this is a story all about how… this episode and every episode after it will go. Boy is uprooted from urban roots and placed into well-to-do hoity-toity extended family’s home. Culture shock all around. We all learn from Will Smith, but mostly we learn that Carlton has smooth moves.

4 – Gilligan’s Island

They just don’t make theme songs like they used to. Roll call!
The Gilligan’s Island theme song clocks in at a full minute, completely unheard of nowadays. In addition to going over the premise of the show, it outlines every character (even “and the rest”). If you didn’t quite catch what the show was about from that minute-long theme song, fear not—the end credits give viewers a recap as well as encouragement to tune in next week to find out what happens next. Phew! That whole 20 minutes of episode I watched really wasn’t cutting it in terms of plot development. Thank goodness for theme songs!

3 – The “Weird Al” Show

Oh, what kind of wacky adventures could Al really get up to?
I think it’s safe to say you pretty much knew what you were getting into with The “Weird Al” Show, but just in case, his 1:15-long theme song should help you out. Let’s pick out some keywords: hamster, accordion, bowling, lederhosen, spatula, tater tot farm, jelly bean and pickle sandwich. Throw all that into the cave the narrator is singing about and you have the show.

2 – Stop the Smoggies

Why didn’t they just name the show The Suntots?
At almost two minutes long, the Smoggies (or Stop the Smoggies) theme song not only comes at you from the perspective of the antagonists (the Smoggies), you also get the protagonists (Suntots) telling you what’s up. It’s like two theme songs in one in terms of content and length. Fun fact: Smoggies episodes are only 45 seconds long thanks to the lengthy theme song. Just kidding. Maybe.

1 – MST3K

If the theme or show doesn’t make sense… well, too damn bad!
Poor Joel dicked around too much at work and was shot into space to watch crappy movies. He done messed up again by using all the extra parts to make robot companions instead of some kind of remote control so he could turn the crappy movies off. One smart move of the MST3K people: telling viewers not to worry about plot holes and to just relax. Now they don’t have to address it in the actual episode, so the 90 second theme song at least had a higher purpose this go around.

What theme songs do you think spoiled the show or just went on too long? Leave us a comment below!

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