Fellow children of the 1980s, please join me in this flashback tour down After School Avenue, just past Parental Neglect Place to a the cheese-filled wonderland known as 1980s Television . . .
Yes, yes, I know. You know all the words to the Fresh Prince theme song, Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice and Push It by Salt n’ Pepa and they are all AWESOME. Good for you. You are a child of the 80s. I included The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song here because it really was something new and interesting that hadn’t been done before . . . but I just could not in good conscience include it in the list proper on account of it being some of the worst rapping in the history of recorded music.
Three’s Company ran from 1977, the year both the Toronto Blue Jays and your humble narrator were born, until 1984, so I only really saw it in re-runs but I still had to include it here because the Three’s Company opening theme is somehow iconic despite it being, like the show itself, vapid and idiotic. I mean, look at the expression on John Ritter’s face when he turns to the camera during the opening bumper car sequence and try to convince me this was a quality show. Nonetheless, “Come and knock on our door” is an opening that is burned into my entire generation’s frontal lobes so here it is in its glory at #9.
Growing Pains ran from 1985 until 1992. I remember only that it was forgettable. The crazy crap Kirk Cameron has done in real life since the show ended is much more interesting than the show itself ever was. Also, apparently there was a made-for-tv Growing Pains movie that aired in 2000? How was I not aware of this? Looks like a gem too.
The only reason The Cosby Show theme doesn’t rank higher in my list is because it’s instrumental-only and it’s a bit hard to pin down because the same piece of music (“Kiss Me”) was performed by several different artists throughout the show’s run (1984 – 1992) and they’re all distinct (and all good) so it’s really not one single, definitive theme song. But it is still a fully awesome dance-a-thon with a track that has stood the test of time, a fate not shared by Lisa Bonet’s GIANT linen pants.
I never watched the show, but I knew if I didn’t include the Facts of Life theme song in my list I’d get lynched. The show ran from 1979 to 1988 and was probably, like, good or whatever.
Running from 1985 to 1992, The Golden Girls overlapped exactly with Growing Pains. I personally think they were both mediocre as shows, but the Golden Girls theme song in particular is pretty strong. Cynthia Fee’s ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ accomplishes a lot in 35 seconds or so, and does a great job of setting up the show which obviously is at its heart about friendships that truly endure.
Obviously The Littlest Hobo theme song is the greatest theme song of all time just as The Littlest Hobo is the greatest show in the history of television. AINEC. I mean, come on, it stars a dog, people. A NOMADIC DOG THAT TRAVELS FROM TOWN TO TOWN SOLVING CRIMES. (Not serious crimes – it’s a Canadian show so it’s more like crimes of the “Case of the Missing Toque” and “There’s a Mouse in my Beer” variety.) Anyway, greatest TV show and theme song in history, obviously, but it lost points because it’s way too damn long so it comes in at number 4. The second run of The Littlest Hobo ran from 1979 to 1985.
I remember Family Ties (1982 – 1989) as being genuinely a very good show. There was a lot more depth to its humour than its vacuous 1980s sitcom counterparts (I’m looking at you, Tony Danza and Judith Light), it tackled some real issues occasionally and it did a pretty good job of building the Keatons into a family you believed – and believed in. And let’s not forget the tremendous cast (Michael J. Fox won 3 Emmys in a row for his portrayal of Alex P. Keaton). The theme song itself, “Without Us” performed by Johnny Mathis and Denise Williams, is longer than it has any business being but it’s overall a very nice duet that hooks up with the central theme of the show and adeptly sets the tone.
The Dukes of Hazzard managed to squeeze six seasons (1979 – 1985) out of a formulaic plot, one-dimensional characters, the same car chase every week and a wardrobe full of halter tops and tight, skimpy little shorts. In other words: ONE HUNDRED PERCENT PURE UNFILTERED GENIUS. Waylon Jennings’ “The Good Ol’ Boys” theme song is fantastic and was very close to taking the coveted #1 spot in this definitive list but settled in at number two. I’m sure Mr. Jennings will be devastated.
Cheers ran for 11 seasons, from 1982 to 1993 and that darned “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” theme song, even after all that time, just plain refused to get old. It’s a beautiful song whose brevity belies its willingness to flirt with grander human themes, with just the right blend of charm and pathos, whimsy and gravitas. (Sorry – Mom’s reading so I’m trying to make her feel better about investing all that money in my English degree). Even long after we grew weary of the Sam & Diane dynamic, the Cheers theme song, the best TV theme song of the 1980s, kept pulling us right back in to the hilarious, zany world of a bunch of family-avoiding, deadbeat alcoholics.
- Bosom Buddies for using a previously-released song as its opening theme and also for being basically the dumbest thing ever put on television
- Fame for being adapted from the earlier movie (but it’s still a kick-ass theme song)
- The A-Team because there exists an excruciating 3 minute, 12 second version of the A-Team theme song that cannot be un-heard
- Dallas, Miami Vice, Knight Rider, CHiPs, Magnum P.I. and American Hero because even though you remember them fondly, they’re actually not very good – trust me on this one
This week’s review: Disney’s The Princess Who Never Laughed starring the inimitable Goofy.
This little gem is written by . . . wait . . . no author credit?
So who penned this masterpiece? Just a dark basement crammed full of junior writers not worthy of getting their names on the title page, I guess. Whatever. Like “writer” is an actual job anyhow. Go do something useful, Shakespeare. Dig a ditch, hippy.
Okay so what are we up against here?
Princess, won’t laugh, Goofy’s the guy to make her laugh, okay. I can get my head around that for the next 20 minutes.
Oh . . . um . . . and so apparently Goofy’s family has no food and is starving to death.
And only NOW the thought occurs to them that perhaps one of them should get a job (I mean a REAL job, not “writer”).
Okay so Goofy gets a job and earns some eggs. Wonderful! He and his mother can eat! Oh this is excellent, I am so relieved, this is certainly a . . . . wait, what? Oh dear lord, no! What are you doing man?? STOP!
So Goofy spends all day doing back-breaking labour to earn some food to prevent himself and his elderly mother from starving. And he chooses to juggle and destroy all of the eggs he earned. And now he and his mother have nothing to eat? Didn’t it occur to him that HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO JUGGLE??
Okay. All right. Good. It’s positive to read this book to my four year old so he can learn some hard-ass life lessons right? I sure hope Goofy’s mother doesn’t starve to death in this damn book because that will really take the shine off of the Disneyland trip we have coming up.
Okay, good news. Goofy gets a new job the next day, milking the dairy cows.
I’m not exactly sure why Goofy didn’t just keep working at his other job. Seems odd to start a new job after just one day, and like that is NOT going to look good to future Disney Barnyard employers . . . but I digress.
And anyway it looks like the job market in Goofyland is pretty frickin’ hot because the very next day he gets a new job and earns a bunch of milk for his trouble. This is good news indeed.
Now he and his mother will . . . no Goofy, NO! WTF man? Seriously?
Okay at this point I’m no longer blaming Goofy. This is clearly a cry for help. Goofy is wrestling with some serious metal health issues and what he needs is not another labouring job – he needs therapy and medication. Here’s a man with the intellect of a child being asked to provide for his . . .
Wait a second, things are looking up – he just got the best job yet! What the hell? He works one single day and gets A COW?? I worked at Amazon.com for like two years and got ZERO livestock in compensation. Ripoff.
Anyway, so this grown man-dog with the intellect of a child-puppy goes out and does one day of work and earns a cow.
Okay Goofy. Good work man. Now just grab it by the collar and lead . . . oh mercy. Oh no. Oh this is not good.
Instead Goofy dresses up the cow in his clothes and tries to carry it.
And THIS is what finally makes the princess laugh?
A idiotic mutant half-man with a personality disorder who presumably hasn’t eaten in a week is having his vertebrae crushed by 800 pounds of blue-rare porterhouse, and surely will soon slip, be smashed to bits and bleed out under your tower window . . . wow . . . HILARIOUS! LOLOLOL.
What kind of sadistic Disney kingdom must this be?
(Still though, strong economy. Thinking about sending those cow people a resumé.)