Let’s stick to the really old ones — and let’s not include any instrumentals, OK?
By far the most delightfully informative and/or amusing ones are:
7) The theme from Alice
Broadway baby Linda Lavin belting “There’s a New Girl in Town” was brash and fun and set the tone for the fish-out-of-water show to kiss your grits. David Shire wrote that ditty with Streisand’s darlings the Bergmans.
6) Green Acres
Such a fizzy way to set up the culture-clash comedy, especially when Eva Gabor deadpans, “Darling, I love you but give me Park Avenue.” You really felt her pain — and prepared to laugh your head off over it.
5) Gilligan’s Island
Another story song laying out the exposition, this one introduces you to all the characters (“the skipper, too …”) as they set about their three-hour tour with enough outfits for several seasons. It’s similar to The Brady Bunch theme in its sheer emphasis on plot, but I refuse to give that vomity show any honor.
4) The Addams Family
The finger snaps. The great lyrics (“They’re creepy and they’re kooky”). The wacky rhymes (“museum/see ’em/scree-um”). It was all too darkly delicious, alerting your palate that some clever Halloweeny high jinks were on the way.
3) The Mary Tyler Moore Show
“Love Is All Around” summed up the sunny Mary Richards character to a T, and started each week on an optimistic note that underlined the infectious nature of her goody-two-shoes aura. By the time Mary threw her knitted hat in the air, the song twinkled off into your memory bank for all time.
2) The Jeffersons
“Movin’ On Up” is a rollicking r&b tune that’s sheer urban joy, taking you right on up to a musical deluxe apartment in the sky. “Good Times” was great, too, but not as good as “Movin’ On Up.”
And the best theme song of all …
1) Golden Girls
“Thank You for Being a Friend” is a sweet but not icky number, written by Marni Nixon’s son Andrew Gold (but sung by a woman). It doesn’t try for the wicked wit of the show, but is content with providing a lovely theme for the ultimate comedy about sisterhood. It’s number one on my all-time sitcom-theme hit parade.