We’re back with part three of the least controversial list in internet history. I have been counting down the top 40 theme songs for pre-2000 Nickelodeon shows, and we have already seen such classics as Blue’s Clues, Roundhouse, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and What Would You Do. This week we see sibling rivalries and magic powers. Let’s get to it!
24. The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993-96)
The opening theme for The Adventures of Pete & Pete is, at the very least, strange. The band is featured visually, on the set of the show, despite not actually being part of the show. The credits are not actually even credits; while Welcome Freshmen displayed the character names alongside the actor names during the opening theme, Pete & Pete foregoes actor names at all, showing only the names of the characters. Can anyone think of another show that does that? Then, just to take it another level, two non-characters are included along with the cast. There are uniqueness points, yes, but totally ignoring theme song convention can only get you so far.
23. Legends of the Hidden Temple (1993-95)
Game show theme songs are inherently tricky, but Legends has two great things going for it: 1.) probably the greatest set in-game show history, (for the record, Official This Was TV Game Show Expert- a different position than Official This Was TV Game Show Time Slot Expert- Whitney McIntosh made me limit this to probably) and 2.) definitely the greatest talking Olmec head in-game show history. Unfortunately it also has a whole lot of Kirk Fogg, whose entrance I remember being a whole lot more exciting when I was younger. Still, the exciting music, the peeks at the temple through the bushes, and especially Olmec make this the third highest rated Nick game show theme.
22. Double Dare/Family Double Dare (1986-92)
Sorry, but this is another one where theme song with visual was not really available, but there is an interesting reason for that. Like with lower ranked game shows, such as Figure It Out, there is no standard visual. But here, instead of random introductions, we actually get our first competition of the show. This can be exciting, but it also a lot of pointless excitement, as the chance of the first competition having a meaningful impact is slim. It also provides no real context to an uninitiated audience. Still, it is exciting, and that is good enough to be our second highest rated game show.
21. The Angry Beavers (1997-2001)
I think what sells me on the theme for The Angry Beavers is the music. For a show that I did not particularly care for, this music sets a fun tone. The graphics work well with this song in a way many of the other shows do not; this animation was clearly done for this music. There is, however, one significant flaw with the opening, as it had led me to believe the series was named Angry Beavers, with no definite article.
20. The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991-96)
Much like with Blue’s Clues, the theme for Ren & Stimpy is not the show’s most famous song. Still, while I was not a huge fan of Ren & Stimpy in our roundtable review, but this opening perfectly encapsulates the silliness and immaturity that the series featured heavily. There is not much to say about this theme, which is a perfect representation of the show but is instantly forgettable. A fine selection for the middle of our list.
19. Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-96)
A surprising number of these Nickelodeon themes feature lyrics that exclusively repeat the title of the show, and I believe Rocko is our highest rated of these themes. What works best with the Rocko opening is the visuals. Watch that sequence on mute, and even without ever having seen the series you could have a good idea of how Rocko got to this “modern life.” Other theme songs have better introductions to characters, but here there is no question you know who Rocko is, and a good deal about him. Since he is the title character, and the clear central lead, this works well for this show.
18. 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd (1999-2002)
I have never seen 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. I had never heard of 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. It is possible someone is playing an extremely thorough and oddly particular long con on me and 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd is not actually a television show that existed but some weird side project Seth Green did to get Sloan McQuewick to sleep with him on Entourage. But assuming that 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd is an actual series that aired on Nickelodeon starting in 1999, I now know the exact plot of this series. And since it is a somewhat complex plot, not only does Seth Green, the eponymous dog, explain it to us, we then get a musical explanation! This is a solid minute of exposition, and if my gut feeling about this show is right, it probably was not the only exposition-filled explanation the audience got. Still, as a stand alone theme, it works.
t16. The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994-98)
t16. The Wild Thornberrys (1998-2004)
First an apology for both of these clips. The Alex Mack intro is a compilation of the openings from various theme songs, while the Thornberrys intro (from the series, rather than the movie), is virtually nonexistent on the internet. The commonalities between these themes do not end there, however. Both shows are similar, about teenage girls with superpowers, and their intros both do the same thing, with the main character explaining how she acquired her powers over music. Alex Mack “was just an average kid until an accident changed [her] life,” while Eliza Thornberry is “part of your average family.” Alex tells us about her best friend, her sister, and her parents, while Eliza introduces us to her dad, her mom, her sister, plus Donnie and Darwin. An accident changed Alex’s life, “and since then, nothing’s been the same.” For Eliza, something amazing happened, “and you know what? Life’s never been the same.” Alex “can’t let anyone else know,” while Eliza’s power is “totally secret.”
Much like with Eddie McDowd, these intros give a first time viewer the necessary background information to follow the show. What bumps these two up a notch is their ability to introduce multiple characters, and the ability for the narration to reflect the actual personalities of Alex and Eliza, in a way that Seth Green’s narration does not sound like a school bully.
Next time: Square pants, football heads, and 15-9