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They Don’t Get It

October 15, 2009

The other night, I happened across a channel on YouTube run by bobtwcatlanta.  It is a treasure trove of tv theme songs/opening sequences from the 1970’s, ’80’s and ’90’s.  And I’m not talking about the ones you can see or have seen time and again, I ran into some rarities I NEVER expected to see again.  If you like nostalgia like I do, I urge you to check this person’s channel out, and be ready to spend hours remembering.

As I enjoyed this trip, a thought struck me.  These opening sequences and themes served a real purpose.  They actually helped establish time, place, and character.  Every once in a while, one of these themes would break out and become a hit song in it’s own right.  You also got to put names and faces together, so you’d nknow who was who.

But, now, you don’t get this luxury, or that pleasure.  Oh no.  Madison
Avenue, and it’s unholy alliance with the major networks have convinced each other, and you the American Public, that you don’t have the patience or the attention span to sit through such things.  Now, you’re expected to know who’s who, without having SEEN the show before, and you’re lucky to get a guitar riff or string hit.  Get real, Madison Avenue, CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox.  If we can sit through the 60 minutes or 30 minutes worth of crap you’re passing off as entertainment these days without flipping stations, we can sit through a 30 or 60 second opening sequence WITH theme music AND matching names to faces.

Neil Patrick Harris, the star of one of CBS’s top-rated sitcoms understands this.  He made a huge point about it at this year’s Emmy Awards when he chastised the networks for abandoning this creative art form.  If one of TV’s most visible and bankable stars can recognize that theme music to TV shows has merit, then why can’t the bigwigs in the boardroom?

Answer:  They are AFRAID!  That’s right, they’re afraid that you’re not going to stick around to watch their show if they actually take the time to introduce it the way they used to.  They can hear you reaching for your remote to change the channel, or worse turn off the TV all together, and do something more worthwile, like reading, or calling a friend, or spending time with your family.  These are all unacceptable to the network bigwigs, and Madison Avenue, no matter what their PSA’s tell you.  What the networks REALLY should be concerned about is the fact that people are doing these awful things to their networks because their shows are CRAP.

I say bring back the theme song and the opening sequnece.  Give us credit for having patience and an attention span, you’ll also be putting some talented songwriters to work.  And in this economy, that’s far from a bad thing.

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