Breaking Bad. Castle. How I Met Your Mother. The Big Bang Theory. These are some of the shows I currently watch on a regular basis. While watching one of them, something struck me as… odd. Nothing was wrong with the show, but there was something different with the way it was being presented. I couldn’t put my finger on it and it kind of bothered me. Eventually, I forgot about it.
One day, while at work, I was humming the theme song of, of all things, The Golden Girls. I don’t know why it was stuck in my head that day. It just was. It was in my brain the entire day and I couldn’t get rid of it. Then I remembered the thing that was bothering me and it struck me. Television shows today don’t seem to have opening credits and a theme song to go with it!
Now, I’m not saying they don’t have opening credits nor theme songs. They are there but they aren’t as prominent as they were before. Before, the program would even show the first scene, you’d get a 30 to 45 second theme song accompanied by a few extremely short snippets and the actors/actresses names embossed underneath them when they’re flashed on the screen. They were important since it signaled you returning to their world and helps get you into the mood of watching the characters’ misadventures for that day.
But now, the intros aren’t that detailed. Some programs, like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, still do have theme songs but they’re incredibly shorted and don’t really show any scenes; they just give you a blur of images without any context. Some of them, like Breaking Bad, don’t even have something you can consider a theme song. They just play a little ditty to signal the start of the episode.
Sure, it may not seem like a big thing. I mean, the theme song or the intro should never be the focus of the show anyway. But the title song actually becomes a jumping point for people to remember the show when we get older. Music just tends to creep out of your memory for no reason at all. Like I mentioned earlier, I just started humming the tune of The Golden Girls for no apparent reason. But, just by doing that, it triggered my memory of the show, some of the jokes and scenes that I thought I forgot. Those memories were still in there and I started remembering them all because I unconsciously recalled the tune of “Thank You For Being A Friend.”
Maybe I’m being too critical about this but I honestly believe a great theme song can make a show much better than it really is. Take Duck Tales for example. I never really watched the show when I was a kid. To be more specific, I didn’t wake up early on a Saturday morning to watch the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews. I would watch it if it happened to be on, though. But I still remember the damned theme song! And, because of that theme song, I still have good memories of watching some of the episodes.
I’m just a little afraid I won’t have such fond memories of the more recent shows I’m watching now because of the lack of an intro. I mean, will I subconsciously recall shows like Revolution and Almost Human 10 years from now? Will the memories and the good times I had with these shows just fade into memory while the theme song of Happy Days, a show that’s much older than me, will make me remember The Fonz and him trying to jump a shark (which is where we get the term we all so love)?
Oh, great. Just as I typed that, the song just popped into my brain! Dammit!
Maybe I’m just a nostalgic old timer who thinks things were be “in my days.” Or maybe I’m just not “hip” to the way television is being run today. I hope I’m wrong and I’ll still have fond memories of Walter White cooking up meth in an RV or of Barney Stintson accepting a challenge no one game him. But I’ll only find out when I’m older.
Do you think we still need theme songs for television programs? Or are they outdated in this day of age? Post your thoughts and comments in the fields below.