These top five lists are pretty fun. I found myself wasting part of a morning playing this amazing game:
Which reminded me that kids nowadays don’t even know what a theme song is. They’ll never know the joy that comes, ten, fifteen years after a show is off the air, when you can bond with a person just by humming the first few notes of a song, having them join in, a wordless mutual understanding of days gone by…
Where was I?
Theme songs! This week, the Cable sitcom edition. For a show to qualify, it had to be on a station other than the “Big 3”. See… hold on, let me explain to the young’uns. When I was little, if you paid for TV
5. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show
First of all, it’s frightening to see how young Shandling looks in this clip, because I always used to think he looked really old when I would watch the show. So many of his jokes went over my head as a young kid, I mostly remember odd comments about lips and hair. I need to find some episodes to watch. This one is notable mostly because of how ridiculously meta the whole thing is, much like the sitcom itself.
First, this show was pretty groundbreaking in its time. Three brothers run a bar, one of them has only recently come out, and it dealt honestly with the reactions of his somewhat sensible middle brother and rough-around-the-edges older brother. And it was pretty damn funny. Mostly though, I remember it because it was really fun to sing with my Dad. (and since it’s the 80s, something needed to feature saxophone…)
3. Fraggle Rock
Hell yes. This song was a god damn party in a box. Listen to that guitar! It’s Muppets, it’s Henson, there’s no resisting.
If you were a fan of horrible production values, large sweaty men, campy drama, or any combination of prayer-saying, vegetable eating, and vitamin taking, then you know what I’m talking about. I could (and have) spent hours on YouTube reliving the glory of Ricky Steamboat’s recovery from the savage attack of the Macho Man, Koko B Ware’s singing career, Hillbilly Jim leaping from the audience to save Hulk Hogan, George “the Animal” Steele learning how to talk, Cap’n Lou Albano… man, it doesn’t get much better.
1. Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea / Mysterious Cities of Gold
Nickelodeon used to mine a bunch of foreign shows to round out their programming schedule. These two hold a special place in my heart, because they provided the spark that grew into a love of long-form writing. Pretty much every other show on TV for kids was episodic, a thirty minute story with no ramifications carrying over from week to week. These two shows were all about the quest. There was the promise of a goal, an endpoint (and in the case of Spartakus, some pretty kickass Bic and Bac musical breakdowns).
I know the original (non-US) versions of Voltron and Robotech also followed some pretty epic arcs, but I grew up in Wyoming, and our cable stations were pretty limited…
Anyway, the Spartakus theme is sung by Menudo if I remember correctly, and my friend Chris would always judiciously work fart noises into the Cities of Gold theme (right before the aahhhhh-aahhhAHHahhhAhhhh part) which was always good for a laugh.
I think I’ll hit up some obscure cartoon music for next Monday’s Music selections.