Most Exposition In a Theme Song?


You know my love of theme songs that explain the premise — a lost art, at least for the moment. (Networks don’t have time to do them, and HBO and Showtime, which do have room for longer title sequences, don’t want to do that kind of theme song, even for comedies.) But I was wondering which of these theme songs contains the greatest amount of exposition. That is, who gets the most information into the lyrics of a one-minute song?

The Nanny and Fresh Prince and Gilligan’s Island are all contenders, but I think the champ has to be Open All Night, a short-lived comedy created by Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses (Buffalo Bill, The Days And Nights of Molly Dodd). They wrote the lyrics for the theme song, and the lyrics not only tell us the premise and identify most of the major characters, they fill us in on the protagonist’s entire life story from birth to the present.


Most Exposition In a Theme Song?

  1. Brady Bunch has to be up there.

    George Dzundza — the guy who always seems to be one step away from notoriety.

    Was one of the original Law & Order cops who everyone’s long forgotten.

  2. Wow – that was spectacular

  3. Isn’t the Partridge Family theme song’s story the clearest case study in the value of exposition?

    Season One’s version included this crisp background note:

    “Five of us, and mom working all day,
    We knew we could help her if our music could pay.
    Danny got Rueben to sell our songs,
    And it really came together when mom sang along”

    However, for seasons two through four, that was replaced with these useless generalities:

    “We had a dream, we’d go travelin’ together,
    We’d spread a little lovin’ then we’d keep movin’ on.
    Somethin’ always happens whenever we’re together
    We get a happy feelin’ when we’re singing a song.”

  4. It doesn’t mention it in the credits (and maybe the borrowing was accidental), but doesn’t this show seem rather like the British OPEN ALL HOURS, except that the grocer was helped by a nephew and far from having a wife, lusted hopelessly for the nurse who lived across the street.

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