Sometimes there is a poetry to a television show’s opening credits. There are songs written just for the occasion and cast introductions are created all adhering to the theme of the show. Sometimes these credit sequences are better than the actual shows themselves. The opening credits become a beast unto themselves and it is these beautiful beasts I wish to discuss today:
The Golden Girls
It’s hard to believe “Thank You for Being a Friend” wasn’t specifically penned for the show itself. It’s so perfect and sums up the camaraderie of the girls in a way that is so succinct and catchy. Well. At least the part they used. The part they didn’t use in the opening credits ends up going on to talk about dying and floating away into space. That’s not really something 4 very different gals living together in Florida need to be hearing about in their twilight years.
The Sister, Sister theme evolved, as did the two amazing ladies who starred in the show. But what their opening credits maintained was their fantastic theme song. It was specifically written for the show and has poignant lyrics like, “Talk about a two way twister.” And when the girls grew up and found out they could sing, so did they sing their own theme song. The lyrics grew up along with them with Tia and Tamera proudly belting “I got my own mind” and “I do my own style, on my own time.” You certainly got and do, girls. You certainly got and do.
This theme song is not only to the point, but also may be the song wherein the word ‘horse’ appears most often. The song conveys the premise of the TV show in less than a minute. And you accept it. You accept this talking horse. This theme song is also especially notable for its use of a talking horse and for incorporating not one, but two horseshoes into it’s title graphic.
The Addams Family
Another song that tells the story of the show that also manages to get the cast to interact with the theme song. Also extraordinary is the way they rhyme “museum,” “see’em,” and “scree-um.”
Best Opening Sequence That Has Nothing to do with the Actual Show
You couldn’t pay me to play in a fountain. In New York or any other city. It doesn’t even look like NY. It’s a show about being friends and living in New York and they didn’t bother to really do anything New York-y in their opening credits. It looks more like San Francisco to me. But I don’t care. It works for them. I love watching these fools dance around in water, opening umbrellas for no reason. Why is there their couch from the cafe they hang out in out there – outside?! I don’t know, but I love it! Jennifer Aniston can be seen mouthing the words to her own theme song at one point! What is that crazy girl doing!? Just being a friend. Being a FRIENDS. Great job, FRIENDS.
The Cosby Show
For whatever reason, I never watched The Cosby Show much but I have very vivid memories of this particular opening sequence because it has nothing to do with anything. This opening credits sequence makes it look like the Cosby clan is next door neighbors with the Golden Girls. Why are they wearing that bizarre color palette? Why are they doing those odd choreographed dance moves? Does anybody know whose idea this was? Let me know, because I want to give them a blue ribbon because this is amazing. Well done, gang.
Best Family Fun
Step by Step
Oh my God, this family is having the most fun ever. They’re at an amusement park having the time of their lives! They use the water spray things to spray each other cause their wacky and their parents get totally soaked on the bridge. The two grown girls get to play in a ball pit! They usually only let little kids do that. So much family fun in one amusement park it’s crazy!
So this show should kind of be disqualified since there’s no embeddable version of their credit sequence available. Basically what their It Factor boiled down to was a baby riding in a convertible in their opening shot. Nothing says it-factor like baby in a convertible.
Best Sequence with No Cast or Show Clips
This is one of the most recognizable sequences and super classy. There are no cheesy cast introductions and there aren’t even any clips from episodes. They never had to update this sequence as the seasons on the show passed and viewers loved it that way.
Most Awkward Cast Intro
Again, another one that should be disqualified because there’s no embeddable version. But Family Matters is one of the kings of awkward cast introductions – especially season 1. You have characters doing things specifically for their intro that they don’t really ever do on the show. Carl stares off into the distance, Harriet gets ups from a piano she wasn’t even playing, kooky Estelle reads Rolling Stone, and the kids do weird generic kid things. A baby gets it’s own intro moment. And the aunt is just kind of enjoying standing in a garden. Awkward success.
This introduces the cast with usual clips and things, but deserves one of the most awkward cast intro awards due to the fact that they put the actual actors’ names over the weird paint-by-numbers portrait instead of the actual people. Who is painting this thing? It makes every cast member look creepy and uncomfortable. Awkward to the max.
The song, the clips, the whole thing adds up to brilliance. It’s literal and super catchy and amazing and everyone and everything about The Jeffersons opening credits is awesome. We don’t even need to see the whole cast. And it makes me really want a piece of the pie.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
It’s a testament to the magic of this theme song that you can start singing it at any time and everyone around you will join in and probably know all of the words. This opening credits sequence is a movie unto itself. Will Smith performs it and it is practically perfect in every way.