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Dear Television: Please Bring Back TV Theme Songs

I long for the days of a jaunty yet descriptive theme song.

If you’re anything like me, 2020 has turned your brain into a bowl of mashed potatoes. Many folks are finding that they struggle with concentration and focus, which is understandable considering we’ve been living in a rock tumbler of despair since February. And scientists agree, noting both psychological and physiological reasons why our brains aren’t braining at their usual capacity.

I have what I think might be an unorthodox solution: bring back TV theme songs.

Okay, hear me out. We used to live in a world of descriptive TV theme songs, which summed up the basic premise of a series with a catchy tune. This has long been typical in childrens’ programming, but more mature shows featured them as well. And these don’t have to be verbatim the plot of the series, although honestly, who doesn’t love a concise summary of a premise?

More importantly, we know live in a world positively overloaded with televised series, and given the streaming model, we are often waiting over a year for new seasons. How am I supposed to remember what all happened on some twisty mystery series I last watched 16 months ago?

A functioning memory? In this economy?! You must be joking. And sure, you have the “previously on” trailers that recap episodes and season arcs, but you can’t sing along to a trailer can you? Why not spin that storyline into a jaunty number guaranteed to stick in your head for months on end.

Another reason to revive the TV theme song? It’s a great mnemonic device. Whether you use the Golden Girls theme to remember where you left your phone, or the Friends theme lyrics replaced with your bedtime routine, there’s plenty of possibilities to trick your stressed melon into completing basic human tasks.

Another solid pastime is replacing the lyrics of your favorite TV theme songs with jokes about your friends and family. I myself enjoy using the theme song from The Facts of Life every time my mother asks me to fix her computer. It’s a whole bit I’ve devised out of boredom and borderline insanity, because if I have to show my mom how to attach a document to an email one more time I may never recover.

There is something deeply satisfying about a shared musical experience. Whether its Christmas caroling or singing along together on a road trip, there is plenty of magic and silliness to be found in a group singalong. But since we can’t congregate in groups right now, we have to get creative.

Call up your brother and leave him a voicemail of you singing his favorite show’s theme song. Or call your best friend and harangue them with the Friends theme. Or best of all, make up a theme song for a series that doesn’t have one. I’ve done that recently with HBO’s The Undoing:

The Undoing, The Undoing
Nicole Kidman’s wearing all them coats on
The Undoing, The Undoing
Hugh Grant is handsome but creepy on
The Undoing, The Undoing
Those kids are gonna need therapy!

I guess what I’m saying is times are hard, this holiday season is weird, so let your goofball flag fly, I guess. Have a happy, safe, and most of all silly holiday season, from your pals and confidantes here at The Mary Sue.

(featured image: screencap/Steven Brandt)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.