The TV show intro — the magic moments before your beloved program begins. The show’s 30 minute arc induces a strong emotional pull in you. Some skeptics consider the intro a lost art form, paling in importance to mighty primetime programming, and for others, it’s a disgrace to the holy ritual of watching their favorite show. But for me, these small vignettes of video and sound flow through my veins, pump blood through my organic vessels and bring me to life. This is my open love letter to the art of the theme song, the cast credits; the anticipation before the show begins.
Some may call me crazy, a lovestruck fool or a hopeless romantic, enamored with the sound and light waves traveling from the screen to my consciousness. But these feelings are legitimate, real and stronger than ever. For me, the TV show intro is an amazing work of art and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
Intros (back in the glory days of television) united us as Americans. It’s impossible to remember every episode of “Friends,” every intricate moment of “Gilmore Girls” or every joke made on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Those hilarious quips or iconic scenes have fallen by the wayside in the banks of our memory. But I bet anyone who has religiously watched these shows can recite their theme songs by heart. I bet they get up off of the couch and groove to the tunes which radiate from the television and into their soul. These were the pop songs of our youth, the connecting threads of our young hearts, bridging cultural gaps and creating beautiful friendships in the process.
Not only do the theme songs of TV shows make them great, but their ability to tell a story in such a short amount of time elevate them magnificently. Look at “Friends,” for example. Immediately, it’s obvious that this show is about friends goofing off together and doing silly things; it’s amazing that so much is conveyed in such a short time. Or in the show “Adventure Time,” the first 15 seconds takes the viewer on a whirlwind journey of whimsical fun, showing them that the theme song is all they need to see in order to grab their attention. It’s genius and it’s show-stopping — it’s the magical art of the intro at work.
Any reader might question my logic. “There are terrible intros in the world,” non-believers shout at me. “TV intros are annoying and unnecessary,” heretics say. Yes, I know that there are bad eggs in the bunch.
Not everything is perfect; no relationship is what it seems on the surface. There are ups and downs that go on behind the scenes, and the intro and I are no exception. We have had our spats over things like why the intro to “Modern Family” was so lackluster or why “Stranger Things” was such a good show, despite the intro being just slowly zooming text. Like any normal love story, there are bumps in the road, but we are able to move past them by working a little bit harder and focusing on the good times.
And there have been many good times. TV show intros have made me the man I am today. They have stuck with me throughout my life and they are the one constant that I can always count on. When I was five years old, I was beaming with happiness whenever the “Dora the Explorer” song came on.
At ten years old, I was giddily singing along to “Spongebob Squarepants” while munching on my cereal in the morning. At 15, I discussed the beautiful simplicity of the “Parks and Rec” intro with my friends. And now I’m 20, and I’m dissecting the intricate melodies and symphonic harmonies sprinkled into the “30 Rock” theme music that always puts me into a good mood. Whenever I need an old friend to turn to, I not only look for my favorite shows, but my favorite intros that accompany them. The classic tunes never get old, and my love for them grows each time I watch these programs.
Television is a versatile medium that is constantly changing. Shows are evolving into new and exciting genres and formats, and so are their intros. One thing that will never change, though, is my unwavering infatuation for these beautiful gems. Love them or hate them, TV intros are here to stay, and I will be right there beside them, always giving them my love with a sweet embrace and a five-star rating.