TV sitcoms used to be events. They used to have theme songs that everyone knew and could sing along to in their entirety. Theme songs told the back story or the premise of the show so that even if you’d never seen the show, you knew what you were getting into simply by watching the opening credits. They gave the emotional feel of the show and they were contagiously singalongable. Find me a Gen X-er who can’t still sing the entire theme songs from Cheers, WKRP in Cincinnati, or my personal favorite, The Facts of Life. When the TV was on, you heard the theme song begin and you knew you had about 45 seconds to finish brushing your teeth, yell to the rest of family “IT’S COMING ON!!!” and run to the living room before you missed anything.
Now, there are no theme songs. You better have your arse on the couch at precisely 9 p.m. or you’ll miss the whole plot.
And remember how exciting it was to start the new fall season and see all the revamped show intros? In them we’d get a sneak peak of clips of upcoming episodes, and then all season you’d watch in anticipation for when you’d finally see the episode where that clip of Tony Danza in the shower acting like he’s doing a TV commercial with his shampoo comes from! Or, why is Tootie covered in paint? What kind of hijinks ensued to create such a scene? The anticipation! My 10-year-old mind could hardly wait!
Why, network gods, did you do away with the sitcom theme song!? Why have you forsaken our love of schmaltzy rhyme with upbeat tempos? These theme songs made me believe in the human spirit! They made believe that yes, I, too, can be standing tall on the wings of my dreams, just like Balki Bartokomous! When the world never seemed to be living up to my dreams, suddenly I was finding out the facts of life were all about ME.
I beg of the network execs, bring back the sitcom theme song! If you did, you would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.
Sit, Ubu, sit.