#814 Cheesy theme songs from 80’s sitcoms

TV theme songs are a dying breed.

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.


64 thoughts on “#814 Cheesy theme songs from 80’s sitcoms

  1. I don’t know most of those themes as I’m British (“Cheers” is the one I know, and a fine theme it is) but I appreciate the sentiment none the less.

  2. I vaguely remember loving Perfect Strangers. That Balki, what a maroon!

    Also, I know this isn’t sitcom technically but it’s from the 80s and just as cheesy. The theme from Shining Time Station on PBS talks about reaching for wisdom and speed. A classic.

  3. Where’s Charles in Charge? He’s in charge of our days and our nights, and he’s also in charge of our wrongs and our rights.

    1. THANK YOU. The second I read the title, I heard “There’s a new boy in the neighborhood. He lives downstairs and it’s understood…”

  4. Awesome!! Of all your posts, this is my favourite! My iPod is packed with old school TV Themes: CHiPs, Spenser for Hire, Spiderman (Live Action 1977), Dynasty… I can’t get enough of them. Thanks you for coming out and letting me know I’m not geek-alone on this one!!
    Keep up the great work on the blog!!


  5. In Canada we had a little program called “The Littlest Hobo”, about a german shepard who roamed from town to town helping solve crimes (wow, that sounds even more ridiculous now that I type it out). It was pretty painful, with a major lack of narrative, but had a kick-ass theme song:
    (check it out on youtube)

    There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
    Down the road is where I’ll always be

    Every stop I make, I’ll make a new friend
    Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again.

    Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want settle down,
    Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

    Down this road, that never seems to end,
    Where new adventure, lies just around the bend.

    So if you want to join me for a while
    Just grab your hat, come travel light – that’s hobo style.

    Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want settle down,
    Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home.

    So if you want to join me for a while
    Just grab your hat, come travel light
    That’s hobo style.

    Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want settle down,
    Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

  6. i hate to be one of THOSE people (again) but what about Small Wonder? and The Cosby Show?

    still, a very good list

    one of the few blogs i will check back in on fer sure!

  7. its almost like you dont even need to watch the show to understand it– just watch the opening sequence, it tells you everything you need to know.

    -kevin of basquiatthinksimcool.blogspot.com

  8. the who’s the boss theme song made me tear up. this might as well be a compilation of the openers to all of my favorite shows as a kid (minus facts of life… just never saw it somehow, and cheers, which depressed the hell out of me).

  9. My fam used to have a game regarding the “Growing Pains” opening theme…we would try to guess which member of the Seaver family would remain for a final moment at the end of the walk when everyone else turns to go back into the house. There weren’t really stakes on the bet…just bragging rights. My brother won a disproportionate number of times because his answer was always “Mike”, and, of course, the producers chose the adorable Kirk Cameron to most frequently give the final nod.

    There really is nothing like a good, cheesy TV theme song. Except singing them while intoxicated – that is hours of entertainment.

  10. Ditto Hols on singing them when drunk. That’s great!

    What was that one show with the truck driver and the monkey? BJ and the Bear or something?

  11. I have actually never heard of any of these shows. But don’t judge, i was born in the mid-nineties.
    I counted 8 hugs… im sure i missed some

  12. I loved watching reruns of Growing Pains and this theme song is only made more awesome by the fact that it was our staff slow song at my summer camp this last summer! Now it’s probably even beat out any of my other favorites though Fresh Prince is right up there of course, along with a lot of other ones.

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