#814 Cheesy theme songs from 80’s sitcoms

[digg=http://digg.com/television/7_Cheesiest_80_s_TV_Theme_Songs] 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.


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#815 When you nudge the person snoring next to you and it makes them stop

It's either you or them. Nudge and move on.

Just tap that elbow in the rib cage a bit, maybe pat the belly, or if you’re feeling particularly brave, give a big kick to the back of the knees while loudly whispering Shhhhhh in their ears.  If that still doesn’t work, it’s time to roll them on over, and don’t worry: if they wake up, it’ll just be for a second and they’ll never remember it tomorrow.


Photo from: here

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#816 When the late-night pizza order arrives really, really early

Hot and earlyGrumbling tums make the pizza come every time. Scope this scene:

It’s late at night, clock clicking past three in the morning, you and your friends are laying on a torn, potato chip crumb covered couch, sporting big grins, slack jaws, droopy eyes, and sweaty T-shirts. You’re half-awake but fully-hungry, half-cooked but not fully done, half-exhausted but fully up for ordering a giant, hot and steamy, late night pizza pie.

Someone suggests it and everybody wants it. And then it’s all over.

First you start picturing burning hot mozzarella sliding around on slippery tomato sauce. You dream of wet and glistening pepperoni, the corners black and crispy, little grease puddles laying in the folds. And you know, you just know, that pizza will taste delicious. Because how can it not?

Long gone by 2amSee, we all know this ain’t your 6pm Dinner Order, where toppings are debated, phone numbers are looked up, and the table is set for dinner, complete with triangle-folded paper towels and a giant 2L bottle of Coke centerpiece.

No, this is the Late Night Scarf-It-And-Sleep Order. This is the one your doctor warned you about. This is the one that took out Grandpa. Yeah, this is the big ball of dough that sponges up everything else in your belly. It’s the only cure for rapid outbreaks of the Midnight Munchies, that empty, raw, growling feeling your gut gives you when it’s tired and confused and suddenly wants breakfast.

The Scarf-It-And-Sleep generally consists of somebody dialing whatever number is in their cell phone, ordering a plain cheese or pepperoni pizza without asking anybody else, and then just throwing it on their credit card because they can’t be bothered to collect five bucks from everybody sitting around playing Nintendo.

The only issue with the Scarf-It-And-Sleep is that even in the middle of the night you get told what you always get told. “That’ll be 45 minutes to an hour,” they say. And brother, you know and I know that you don’t want to be waiting an hour for pizza at three in the morning. Somebody might just crack and drink a bottle of salad dressing or eat a chunk of butter the size of a deck of cards, man. It’s a tense scene.

And that’s why it’s great when, once in a while, you get that surprise really, really early pizza delivery. When twelve minutes after you place your order, the doorbell rings and wham-bam, thank you gram, it’s here and it’s hot and it’s time to toss that greasy square of hot cardboard on the floor and just rip right into it like a pack of hungry of lions around a dead zebra.

So this one goes out to the pizza chains that surprise us with an early delivery once in a while. Thanks for filling our bellies with your greasy goodness just in time for bed.


Get in while there's still meat

Photo from: here, here and here

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#818 When the dentist says you have no cavities

Sit back and relax

Cavities hurt.

Yesterday I got two of them filled real tight with the hard, white cake.

First they sat me down in the loungy, blue leather dentist chair and then tipped me back so the blood poured into my brain and filled up my eyeballs. Then they dressed me up with a plastic bib and goggles before stuffing my mouth full of cotton balls. After that it was time to get my teeth tapped and clanged with mirrors and picks while the hygienist struck up a fascinating conversation about her mother-in-law’s unwillingness to acknowledge the length of her commute.

And that was just an introduction to the ninety minute main attraction.

Me in a dream I once had

Soon it was time for a couple injections of freezing goop to the gums, some deep-sea drilling, and a lot of Tooth-Sawdust Water splashing in every direction, misting up my goggles, spraying on my arms, dripping down my numb lips. Cheek and jaw muscles I barely used soon started to fail on me after trying to keep my metal-stuffed mouth open for so long. And of course, every once in a while they’d ask if I wanted to spit but before I’d have a chance to squeeze out a “Enn unnay, angs” I was generally interrupted by twenty more minutes of sharp and forceful drilling.

It was long.

And it was terrible.

And it cost $300.

But it helped me dream of better days, when the dentist would clink around in there for a few minutes, put his tools on the side table, flash a thumbs up and say “No cavities!” At least that’s how I imagine it would happen. Then instead of putting up with a long and painful ordeal, I’d just sail off into the sunset, congratulating myself on some mighty fine brushing, some thorough flossing, and a job well done.



Photos from: here , here, and here

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#819 The Take a Penny, Leave a Penny bowl

take-that-pennyNobody likes pennies.

Sure, maybe in the 1800s they scored you a handful of gumballs or the evening edition of your local Times-Express, but these days they’re barely worth 1% of a Snickers bar. Go on, lick the edge of a Snickers next time and scrape off a few molecules of chocolate with your tongue. That, that right there. That’s a penny.

Of course, having said that, there is one moment where the value of a penny shoots sky-high, and that’s when the beef jerky and Red Bull at the gas station rings up to $5.01. Yeah, if you’re cringing right now, it’s because you know that’s a terrible price leading to a few Checkout Possibilities:

1. By The Rules. One option is just to roll with it. Break that ten and get ready for a mittful of change back, including the dreaded 4-Penny Punchout. Now your pocket is bursting and your hand smells like dirty copper, but what are you going to do? You played by the rules and you lost.

2. The Cashier Cheat. You can never predict when this will happen. Sometimes you’re expecting to play by the rules but the cashier will just round around for you. When Bill-Counting Betty don’t care about the till balance, she just drop you a nickel and a wink.

3. The Bowl. Finally, we come to the main attraction. Since you don’t want ninety-nine cents jingle-jangling around your pocket, you eye the Take a Penny, Leave a Penny bowl and see what it’s offering. You know you’ve made your deposits over the years, so you don’t feel guilty about a little withdrawal now.

Yes, the Take a Penny, Leave a Penny bowl brings out the best in us. Just remember: take a penny, leave a penny?

Take a favor. Leave a legacy.



Photos from: here, here, and here

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#820 Making it out of the bathroom at work before anyone realizes you made it smell that way

bathroomStinking up the can at work is terrible.

Let’s face it: there are no fans to turn on, windows to open, spray cans to spray, or matches to light. No, you’re on your own in this non-anon, dimly lit den of suit-and-tie hellos and on-the-job head nods. Whatever dark cloud you’re releasing in there hangs heavy as you bow your head in front of the mirror and scrub your dirty, dirty hands. Everyone knows what just went down and no one is happy about it.

But that’s why it’s so great when you can scram real quick and get out when the bathroom’s empty and the getting out’s good. Three cheers for the anonymous call of nature.


Photo from: here

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#822 When there’s still time left in the parking meter when you pull up

Like a tiny present

Say some kind and generous soul left seven unused minutes on the parking meter and left you with three big choices.

First of all, you could go with the No Dollar Dash. This is where you do some quick mental math and figure you can run all your errands before the time expires. If you can rent a movie, grab a slice of pizza, and pick up the dry cleaning that quick, then go man, just go.

Grab it and run

Then again, maybe you’re not a No Dollar Dash kind of guy. Perhaps you prefer the Tight Quarter Squeeze because you’re a bit cheap and afraid of getting a ticket. So you plug a warm quarter in there because you’re sure seventeen minutes will be good enough. Hey, you’re still thankful for the seven free minutes, but figure it’s worth buying yourself a brisk walk in place of a run.

Buying time

Lastly, you could just go Slot Machine. These folks just don’t trust themselves. The parking ticket must be avoided at all costs, even if it means dumping an extra couple dollars in the meter. They buy themselves a big, warm security blanket in case they get held up somewhere.

And now, even though most of us would like to think of ourselves as laid back No Dollar Dash kind of folks, let’s be honest. We love the Slot Machines, because they’re the ones who leave us with seven minutes left the next time. And if it wasn’t for the Tight Quarter Squeezers and their perfect parking planning, getting seven minutes of free time would just become no big deal.

So by holding hands and all joining together, we all make that world go right on round.



Photo from: here, here, here, and here

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#823 When you find out what was making that horrible smell and get rid of it

What a weird cover

Okay, a few years back my eleventh grade Chemistry class began with Ms. Serevetas handing out textbooks. A small woman wearing big glasses and a big labcoat, she just introduced herself and then began calling us up, one by one, to the front of the room.

It was the first day so nobody had the guts to just start talking or playing games in the back. Honestly, we just sat in mind-numbing silence while each person shuffled up, signed their name, collected their ratty old book, and shuffled back down.

It was a slow and painful ordeal until something really funny happened: one guy’s book stunk.

Honestly, it just really stunk. It was terrible. A steamy hot funk filled the room and people started giggling. Some laughed, some pointed, but Stinky-Book Guy stared straight ahead, pretending nothing was happening.

Unfortunately for him, the buzz and chatter quickly built to a point where Ms. Serevetas was forced to take action. She did so by looking up at Stinky suspiciously, and then scrunching her eyebrows with a pained grimace until he was finally forced to began fanning through the pages while everybody stared on in anticipation.

And remember: we were bored out of our minds here so this Mystery of the Funky Textbook captivated us like nothing else. The room got quiet and tense and everyone craned their necks and stared at the stink, the book, and the guy, with tingly anticipation.

Stinky-Book Guy fanned through the pages slowly at first, and then quicker, and then quicker, until a few pages slapped real fast and told us all that the mystery stench had been found.

So we watched with teeth clenched as he peeled back the page to reveal an old … rotting … piece of salami.

Don't disrespect Boyle with cured meats

Yeah, apparently someone had the good idea to drop a thin slice of cured meat between two pages on Boyle’s Law for a nice, long sit in a musty storage closet all summer. Now that once beautifully speckled slice of spice was gray and slimy and smelled like a fish market the Tuesday after a long weekend.

Anyway, at this point there was only one thing to do and Stinky-Book Guy did it: he bit his lip, nodded forcefully, and then peeled that salami off, walked over to the garbage can, and dropped it right on in.

And so — whether it’s the old can of salmon in your kitchen garbage pail, the toilet that didn’t get flushed before a long vacation, or the pool of dirty water collecting under the carpet in your basement, how does it feel to find that stinky treasure and just ditch real fast?


Eat it don't keep it

Photos from: here and here

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