Networks flash zooming logos or three-second jingles in place of the overextended 60-second song explaining how Gilligan and crew ended up on the island or what Will Smith is doing in Bel Air. And sure, maybe they get a few more commercials in or maybe we’d fast-forward through them anyway, but there was something special about curling up on the couch under a ratty, old blanket and listening to these classics, week after week. Let’s count down seven of the greatest:
7. Growing Pains. With old scrolling photos of all the main characters and beautifully cheesy crooning about how, as long as we got each other, we’ve got the world spinning right in our hands, the Growing Pains theme song was the sitcom equivalent of taking a stroll up Grandma’s Staircase.
6. Family Ties. Sha-la-la-la!
5. Cheers. Old photos of men in top hats and Lincoln beards sipping fine ales and spirits in the theme song that elevates boozing after work into a noble pastime to be squeezed between polo matches and quail hunting. Romantic lyrics invited you into this magical place where everybody knows your name.
4. The Golden Girls. My brother-in-law Dee summarizes this theme song in three words: old ladies hugging. Including side-hugs, shoulder squeezes, and group huddles, how many do you count?
3. The Facts of Life. This Diff’rent Strokes spinoff stars housekeeper Edna Garrett making a lateral career move into a housemother of an all-girls school. The Facts of Life told us bluntly that you take the good, you take the bad, you take ‘em both, and there you have, the facts of life … the facts of life.
2. Perfect Strangers. Watch as Balki Bartokomous shirks his sheep shepherding shtick in Mypos and sails over to the US with an ‘America or Burst’ crate to live with his distant cousin Larry in Chicago. Gotta love his mom’s tearful hankie-wave and the classic Dance of Joy. These two really are standing tall on the wings of their dreams. Nothing’s gonna stop them now.
1. Who’s the Boss? St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tony Micelli busts up his shoulder in one heart-wrenching slide into home plate. So he’s forced to leave Brooklyn in his big, blue van and ends up taking the road that’s hidden to score a brand new life around the bend. At the end of the trail is Angela, Mona, Jonathan, and a lucrative man-maiding gig.
Cornball theme songs from the 80′s were chock full of soaring crescendos and hokey lyrics about family values laid neat and tidy over fairytale plotlines and streaming images of group hugs and wacky hijinx. There was something so warm, comforting, and dependable about plopping down on the couch each week for that half-hour of good times with good pals.
So, to cheesy TV theme songs from the 80s we say: Thank you for being a friend.