Pop Culture Odds and Ends – I’m Back, Baby edition

I couldn’t think of any better way to bring the blog back from its brief hiatus than with everyone’s favorite post, the bi-weekly pop culture roundup. Pop culture stops for no man (or woman) and stories kept rolling out even while I was away, so this post is as much for me as it is for you. So while we all play catch up, enjoy this barrage of links to stories that you might have missed:

  • You people are failing me when it comes to Happy Endings. Shame on you.
  • Kids retell Star Wars in their own words:

 

  • This might be a reason to have a baby – White Stripes songs have been turned into an album of lullabies (just kidding, Mom. Probably).
  • The History Channel’s The Bible miniseries is already out on DVD.

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  • Dang – I missed out on the auction for Tupac’s fedora from the “California Love” video. I look excellent in hats.
  • Listen to a new song from John Legend and Rick Ross.
  • Crackle is now streaming episodes of The Shield for free. Definitely a show to check out if you haven’t seen it. It is where I first discovered the awesomeness that is Walton Goggins.
  • Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno addressed The Tonight Show succession rumors:

Jimmy, my friend, some unsolicited advice: stop palling around with Leno. He cannot be trusted.

  • The Hollywood Reporter says that Fallon has signed a deal to take over The Tonight Show. Seth Meyers is the frontrunner to take over Fallon’s 12:30 time slot.
  • Steve Buscemi will direct a live Vampire Weekend webcast.
  • Not sure how I feel about this: Amy Poehler is rumored to be dating fellow comedian (and occasional Parks and Recreation guest star) Nick Kroll. Love them both, but I’m still not over her split with Will Arnett.
  • This seems like a waste of perfectly good Easter candy:

 

  • Glee star Cory Monteith has checked into rehab and will miss some episodes of season 4, currently in production.
  • Springsteen has brought someone on stage to sing “Waiting on a Sunny Day” at every show I have been to, but I’ve never seen him do this before:

Lucky kid – and this only makes me love the Boss more.

  • The collected wisdom of Duck Dynasty’s Uncle Si. I don’t watch the show – should I check it out?
  • OK – this kind of freaked me out – celebrities that are unbelievably the same age. The Taylor Swift/Adele thing always kills me.
  • There is adorable and then there is Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Jeopardy! in 1997:

 

  • Cher’s mom is getting a Lifetime movie. It has got to be better than Liz & Dick and the recent Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story (based on a murder one town over from where I live).
  • Based on the success of the Veronica Mars kickstarter, Funny or Die has some 90s TV shows that they think should get the movie treatment.
  • Queens of the Stone Age debuted a new song at Lollapalooza Brazil, the band’s first in six years.
  • I have discovered yet another website that specialized in pop culture inspired art. I really think this print would tie my living room together.
  • Tublr of the week: Mean Mad Men (Mad Men/Mean Girls mashup). Totally fetch.

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  • Thanks to a new website, I can listen to many of the Phish concerts that I attended for free.
  • The creator of the 90s Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All has brought the character back as an adult in a new book.
  • Adios TV Guide Network.
  • Watch the cast of The Big Bang Theory do a number from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sheldon Cooper in drag is unsettling.
  • Bronson Pinchot hijacks a weather cast on a local news cast. I have no words:

 

  • Actor Richard Griffiths, who played Harry Potter’s Uncle Vernon (among other things) passed away last week.
  • Are Walking Dead and Toy Story the same?
  • The CW has released the first images of their new The Vampire Diaries spin-off pilot, The Originals.
  • Ron Howard will appear as himself on an upcoming episode of Arrested Development. He is also the show’s narrator.
  • I enjoy this collection of GIFs of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead sneaking up on people. He is one stealth dude.

And now, some supercuts and mashups:

  • People running in movies:

 

  • I’m glad I didn’t watch this before I flew Southwest last week.
  • All of Woody Allen’s stammers:

 

  • Bill & Ted & Lincoln’s Excellent Adventure:

 

  • And finally, spliced together like this, Fraggle Rock was pretty deep (and a little depressing):

TV Theme Songs

I’ve been going to bed ridiculously early this week; I don’t know if it is the fact that my body is exhausted from fighting off this cold or if my last birthday triggered some sort of easy-pass to old age. Whatever it is, I’m not exactly a fan. I’ve always been a night owl so it pains me to be going to bed at 9 am. I didn’t even go to bed at 9 am when I was a toddler! It’s also wreaking havoc with my already aggressive TV schedule; the shows are just piling up on my DVR. It’s only the second week of fall TV and I’m already behind. That doesn’t jibe well with today’s spoiler culture; a very shocking development on Sons of Anarchy was completely ruined for me by Facebook (thanks for nothing, people).

So I’m kind of in pop culture survival mode at the moment; my strategy is to keep up with the daily programs (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) as those are the most topical and pile up the quickest. This weekend I’ll binge watch everything else on my DVR to get myself up to speed.

It was while watching the dailies that I got the inspiration for this post. Blog favorite Jimmy Fallon did a fun bit with the cast of Guys With Kids (a show that Fallon created). Similar to the hysterical “History of Rap” that Fallon did with Justin Timberlake, the gang performed the history of TV theme songs. Can you name them all?

This was right in my wheelhouse – not only do I love Jimmy Fallon and love Jimmy Fallon when he sings, I also love TV theme songs. They are one of my favorite categories in the game Song Pop, though I usually get tripped up by the Sci-Fi shows. Like Jimmy, I am saddened by the move away from using theme songs for shows. I understand why it has happened – that’s 20-30 more seconds for actual story – but I think that they are so fun. Theme songs help set the tone for the show and often help keep the show on your mind. A catchy theme song will draw a person in who is perhaps channel surfing. In the case of The Greatest American Hero, the theme song may become more popular than the actual show.

While Fallon and the gang hit on some of my favorite TV theme songs, there were a few of my favorites that didn’t get included. If they do a “The History of Theme Shows, Part II,” I humbly suggest the following theme songs for inclusion:

Charles in Charge

This is the case of liking a theme song vastly more than I liked the actual show. I think I only watched a handful of episodes of Charles in Charge – even at 11, I knew this wasn’t good television – but I would watch the opening credits every time I came across them. It’s a total ear worm. In fact, I’ll probably wind up humming this song all day around the office. Sorry co-workers.

Unsolved Mysteries

Obviously this isn’t a song that Fallon could really sing – though I’m sure he and the Roots could come up with something – but it deserves inclusion on this list because it is the antithesis of the Charles in Charge theme. This theme music freaked me out as a kid. I’ve grown up into a person who loves horror movies and other scary things, but I could not listen to this music. It terrified me. I loved the show Unsolved Mysteries, but would go running from the room when the theme song came on. Something about it just really made me uneasy, which is kind of the point (though I doubt they expected as a sever reaction as I had). Even now when I hear this music, I get a little uncomfortable. In fact, I’d better move on.

Weeds

I can’t prove this definitively, but I’m pretty sure this show went off the rails the exact moment that they stopped using this theme song. I enjoyed the song – I thought it set the mood of the show very well – and I liked that they had fun with it by having different artists perform it. Once they abandoned the theme song and left Agrestic, I lost interest. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

One Day at a Time

We’re finally at the intersection of liking the show AND liking the theme song. I legitimately loved this show as a kid (and probably still do – it’s been a while since I watched it). The theme song was the perfect complement to the show; though it doesn’t explicitly lay out the plot like some theme songs do (see Gilligan’s Island), it captures the tone of a single mother (how scandalous!) struggling to raise her two teenaged daughters.

WKRP in Cincinnati

This theme song kind of gives the back story of the character of Andy – he has moved around to different radio stations and is hoping to find a home at the struggling WRKP. Again – another catchy song that sticks with you. This show I do know that I still love; I bought my mom the first season on DVD for some holiday and then I proceeded to sit down and watch them all. It has some of the greatest characters from a sitcom. If you didn’t watch the show, I highly recommend seeking it out. It’s worth it for the Thanksgiving episode alone.

The O.C.

I mentioned in my review of Last Resort my fondness for The O.C. and I can’t discount that the theme song had something to do with it. Every single time it came on, I would sing along with it. The O.C. actually introduced me to a lot of music that I wouldn’t have normally known; they did an excellent job of incorporating music into the storylines. This is one trend that I notice is more prevalent now; while shows are moving away from theme songs, they have begun to use original songs (rather than musak) to set the tone of scenes. This has given some smaller bands more mainstream exposure.

And finally…….

The Muppet Show

I mean really – did you think I wasn’t going to work the Muppets in here?  Don’t be ridiculous. I loved this theme song so much that I actually made my pledge sisters use it for one of our sorority songs.  It’s funny and bouncy, just like The Muppet Show. I’ll probably be rocking out to this for the rest of the afternoon.

 

I could probably go on and on with this topic, but I’ll spare you. There are just so many TV themes that I love. But now it’s your turn – what are your favorite theme songs and why?