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The wonder of sitcoms and some great theme songs from television comedies of the 1980s
Take a trip down memory lane to a time of big hair, hug earrings and spandex. A time when the synthesizer began making more of an appearance in music and electronic dance music became the rage.
I refer to the era of the 1980s. Most of us remember it for sitcoms like Cheers, Charles in Charge and the Cosby Show. Career women of the era would remember Murphy Brown.
Then, there were the theme songs of these sitcoms that rang with many of us during the time. These songs put the sitcoms on our minds whenever we heard them.
We will take a look at the draw of the sitcom, the nature of their theme songs and some of the theme songs of very popular sitcoms of the 1980s.
The decade of the 1980s
The decade of the 1980s had some hallmarks that allowed people to identify with it immediately. Here are some charms from this very special decade.
Fashion and style
This era was the dawn of big hair and the punk hairdo. Hairstyles were diverse and certainly big!!
Who could forget the birth of the leg warmer? These are still popular today. Have a look at 1980’s Leg warmers!
This was the time when punk fashion began making an appearance. Outlandish, big and loud fashion was the rage!
Viewers began having more choice as Cable and the Home Box Office began to make an appearance.
The mini-series and Made-For-Home movies made themselves felt. Then came the birth of soap operas like Dallas, General Hospital, Dynasty and Falcon Crest.
We go more into the topic of today with the television sitcom, which was given more life in the 1980s with shows based on stand-up-comic routines. Many would remember Cheers, The Cosby Show, Charles in Charge and Married....with Children.
Music of the 1980s was characterized by the birth of technology and New Wave pop. Groups like the Pet Shop Boys gave us a form of electronic dance music many of us still jive to. Groups like Tears for Fears gave us new wave pop that many of us still Shout to.
Music from 1980s sitcoms was memorable in its own right. Many of them got us to relate to the sitcoms they were associated with.
Why do we like sitcoms?
The topic of this article is music and the theme songs of 1980s sitcoms, but before we discuss that it is good to go a little into the psychology of the sitcom and why many of us are drawn to them.
Fascinated by their out-of-this-world nature
Many of us are taken by the out-of-this world nature of these sitcoms, where people behave a little oddly in realistic situations. The resulting combination is funny truth that draws us to TV.
Take the show Cheers, focusing on a bar in Boston, Massachusetts where everyone goes to drink, kick back and relax. The antics of the characters at the bar are what made it a little out of this world, funny, and drew audiences.
Learn life lessons
Many of these sitcoms, though quirky, were relatable because we could learn many lessons from life. We learned a lot about family relationships from the Huxtables as with those Married....with Children.
A balance of quirky, yet level headed characters.
There are always characters in each sitcom that are quirky, balanced off by those who knock them with a sense of reality.....and that balance provides the draw for audiences.
Cliff Huxtable provided a humorous, off-the-wall look at raising his kids, unlike Clair, who was level-headed and over-achieving. The hilarious combination gave the Cosby show is pull for 9 years from 1984.
Realistic, yet funny
These sitcoms were realistic yet terribly funny. Many of them deal with situations that we relate to and deal with on a day to day basis. but the quirkiness of some of the characters made the realism less pedantic and more fun to face.
The quirkiness of the characters in Cheers made their trials and tribulations seem easier to deal with, tolerable and even laughable.
What is the function of a sitcom’s theme song?
Why did sitcoms, particularly those of the 1980s, have to have a theme song? They served a few purposes.
They served as tunes that characterized the sitcom.
These theme songs served to characterize these sitcoms and identify their very nature. The Cheers theme song and its refrain “Where everybody knows your name” told everyone about the nature of the show, identifying it as being about a place where ordinary folk could go to and be appreciated.
They filled voids at the opening or closing of shows.
These songs filled spaces at the beginnings of shows that might be present otherwise. A song served as the necessary opening and closing of shows.
Feel good factor
These songs made people feel good, and many were drawn to their positive vibes.
Cheers Theme Song
A few of our favorite 1980s sitcoms and their theme songs
Here are a few of our favorite sitcoms and their theme songs.
The series surrounds folks who work in or patronize a bar named Cheers in Boston. The foibles of the characters, with their realistic quirkiness, gave the show its draw from 1982 to 1993 and even bore successful spinoffs like Frasier. The characters included Sam Malone (Ted Danson) the bartender who has problems pursuing meaningful relationships and Fraiser, the snarky and slightly off-the-wall psychiatrist who became a regular at Cheers in the third episode.
The theme song of the series, sung by Gary Portnoy, spoke for the ordinary folk who simply just want to be appreciated despite their ups and downs. Cheers became a place to go to “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”
Different Strokes Theme Song
This show, starring Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, is about happenings in the Drummond household and ran from 1978 to 1985 on NBC. It also ran for another year on ABC TV. More importantly, it speaks of the importance of inter-racial harmony, shown in how two black brothers, adopted, become the sons that successful businessman Philip Drummond never had.
The song, performed by Alan Thicke says it all - it takes “Different Strokes to Rule the World.”
Family Ties Theme Song
Family Ties ran between 1982 and 1989, and spoke of the sometimes tricky relationship between young Republican Alex (MIchael J Fox) and his Hippie parents. The show showcased the change between the liberalism of the 60s and 70s to the conservatism of the 1980s, neatly symbolized by Alex.
The short little theme song stressed the importance of these ties despite differences. Hence, “What will you do, baby, without us...”
Perfect Strangers Theme Songs
A show that humorously stresses tolerance of each other’s lifestyles, Perfect Strangers ran from 1986 to 1993.It starred Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker. We see how a cynical man’s life is changed and his eyes opened when his naive cousin, a sheepherder from the Mediterranean, comes to live with him. It is also a show about how we can live our dreams no matter what the odds are.
The theme song was composed by Jesse Frederick and Bennet Salvay. It was performed by David Pomeranz, and spoke of how we have to live our dreams despite the difficulties that come our way. “Standing Tall, on the Wings of My Dreams...”
Full House Theme Song
Full House, starring Bob Saget, addressed the problems of single parenthood. Danny Tanner (Saget) faces the dilemma of raising three children after his wife is killed in a car accident. What makes the situation hilarious is that he deals with the growing pains of three girls! He struggles with his own purpose in life as well.
The theme song, performed by Jesse Frederick, captured the shows essence for audiences, that of the need for support while on a search for our purpose in life. “Everywhere you look, there’s a heart, a hand to hold on to.”
Who's The Boss Theme Song
Who’s the Boss
Focusing on the dilemma of single parenthood, Who’s the Boss starred Tony Danza who works as a live in housekeeper for Judith Light. Danza, as a live in house keeper, provides the fatherly guidance that Light’s children have been missing, while she provides the maternal needs for his daughter, played by Alyssa Milano. The hilarity came with the Danza and Light’s romantic liasons and their eventual mutual attraction.
The theme song, Brand New Life, spoke of the difficulties the modern family’s need to adapt to each other. It also gave the show the realism and funniness that audiences could connect with. “There's more to live than what you're living, so take a chance and face the wind."
Here, I would like to thank the writers who answered the question What Is Your Favorite 1980s sitcom? Do check them out.
The 1980’s sitcoms bring us many good laughs and memories. Do enjoy the theme songs!
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