I am fortunate to have grown up during a time when TV shows had theme songs. The shows from before my time had great, catchy tunes but no lyrics – i.e., I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. TV shows today don’t have songs. They have a identifying sounds like the Donk-Donk of Law and Order. But in the seventies and eighties, TV theme songs held just as many life lessons as the shows themselves, even those “very special episodes.”
From Mary Tyler Moore we learned that we could turn the world on with a smile. We could take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. Many say it was her character’s single-woman-with-a-career that made the show so iconic, but I say that song influenced us just as much. By then end of the opening credits, we knew that we were gonna make it after all.
We learned that it takes Different Strokes to move the world. From Growing Pains, we know that as long as we’ve got each other, we can take anything that comes our way. Who’s the Boss offered us a brand new life around the bend. Golden Girls taught us to say thank you for being a friend. You hung out at Cheers because everybody knew your name. And their troubles were all the same. Full House showed us everywhere you look, there’s a hand to hold on to. The Jeffersons made us want a piece of the pie, so that we could move on up to the east side. The Love Boat showed us that love could be exciting and new. Let it flow and it flows back to you. We were lucky to have Good Times. Long before I had a crush on a young republican named Alex P. Keaton, Family Ties told me that there ain’t nothing we can’t love each other through. Sha-la-la-la.
Laverne and Shirley could have been a big influence with their “making our dreams come true” message, but we were all busy trying to figure out what they said before that. Arm in arm, playing hopscotch and chanting jibberish that we couldn’t understand. We had no search engines back then to get answers regarding our misheard lyrics…
Is it Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to, Positive Pepper Incorporated?
No, it’s The Easel, The Otter, Hops in Pressure Incorporated.
You’re both wrong. It’s The Measels, The Nozzle, Call the Wrecker Incorporated
As it turns out, they were saying “shlemiel, schlemazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated.” I had heard of hasenpfeffer in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. But since none of the kids in my neighborhood were fluent in Yiddish, shlemiel and schlemazel went right over our heads. According to my research, the first one is someone who is a born loser and the other is someone who can’t catch a break. Those are people who would definitely want their dreams to come true, for me and you.
Even in the 90s, there were still some great tv theme songs. My favorite was FRIENDS. Even now, if I hear it… No one told you life was gonna be this way … I have to do the CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP. You do it too, don’t you?
My hats off to all those great tv theme songs….