Monday, May 20, 2013

my favorite tv theme song of all time? glad you asked ...

"Man I love how Redman tastes.
And damn, I love my NASCAR race.
And any song sung by George Strait?
Is country at its best.

And yes, I love a good cold beer,
And mustard on my fries.
I love a good loud honky tonk --
It rocks on Friday nights.

And hell yes I love my truck!
But I want you to know,
That honey?
I love your love the most ..."

-- "Love Your Love the Most" by Eric Church.


I figured for the first post of the week, that I'd lighten up the mood a little bit. 

The three previous posts have not exactly been "happy", "uplifting", "positive", "funny", or even "entertaining".  So I figured I'd finally finish a post I started back in March, and let's see where this leads to.

I give you ... the TV Theme Song Tournament!!!  (kazoo voice) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The format is simple: I'm taking 68 TV show theme songs, and facing them off, to determine which of these 68 is my favorite of all time.  The only rule(s) applied to this (hootie johnson voice) toonumunt, is that (1) I had to have watched at least one full episode of the show, and (2) for sitcoms, the year the pilot episode aired, is the regional it is eligible for.  (For example, "Benson" debuted in the late 1970s, even though most of its episodes aired in the 1980s.  Therefore, if "Benson" qualifies for the field, they are eligible for the "Other Decades Sitcoms" regional, not the "1980s Sitcoms" regional.)  

Got it?  Good.

With that benchmark established, let's get to the logistics.

I divided the theme songs into four regionals:

* 1980s sitcoms (number one overall)
* Other decades sitcoms (number two overall)
* Dramas (number three overall)
* Game Shows (number four overall)

With the regionals established, it's time to work the S-curve, and seed this sucker.  By random draw, the First Four Seeds will come from the Dramas Regional, and the Other Decades Sitcoms Regional, meaning three of the "First Four" matchups, have a true "Cinderella" entering the Regional -- a true "bid thief".  Because I am sneaky good like that. 

Here, peoples and peepettes, is your Television Theme Song Tournament S-Curve (and remember -- it's not the quality of the SHOW we're deciding here, it's the quality of the show's THEME SONG):

One Seeds: "Cheers" (#1 overall seed), "Good Times" (#2 overall seed), "Hill Street Blues" (#3 overall seed), "Jeopardy" (#4 overall seed).
Two Seeds: "The Price Is Right" (#5), "LA Law" (#6), "Friends" (#7), "Growing Pains (#8).
Three Seeds: "Family Ties" (#9), "Sanford and Son" (#10), "Dallas" (#11), "The Match Game" (#12).
Four Seeds: "Wheel Of Fortune" (#13), "The Sopranos" (#14), "Family Guy" (#15), "The Golden Girls" (#16).
Five Seeds: "Saved By The Bell" (#17), "The Muppet Show" (#18), "Hunter (Final Season)" (#19), "Press Your Luck" (#20).
Six Seeds: "Family Feud" (#21), "Twin Peaks" (#22), "Benson" (#23), "Married With Children" (#24).
Seven Seeds: "ALF" (#25), "Laverne and Shirley" (#26), "The A-Team" (#27), "Super Password" (#28).
Eight Seeds: "High Rollers" (#29), "Friday Night Lights" (#30), "One Day At A Time" (#31), "The Wonder Years" (#32).
Nine Seeds: "Night Court" (#33), "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (#34), "Mission: Impossible" (#35), "The Mole" (#36).
Ten Seeds: "Let's Make a Deal" (#37), "The Love Boat" (#38), "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (#39), "Doogie Howser M.D." (#40).
Eleven Seeds: "The Hogan Family" (#41), "MASH" (#42), "Swingtown" (#43), "Survivor" (#44)
Twelve Seeds: "Big Brother" (#45), "The Greatest American Hero" (#46), "The Norm Show" (#47), "Family Matters" (#48).
Thirteen Seeds: "The Simpsons" (#49), "Diff'rent Strokes" (#50), "NYPD Blue" (#51), "Love Connection" (#52).
Fourteen Seeds: "The Newlywed Game" (#53),  "Law and Order" (#54), "The Facts of Life" (#55), "Webster" (#56).
Fifteen Seeds: "Kate and Allie" (#57), "Roseanne (Final Season)" (#58), "The West Wing" (#59), "To Tell The Truth" (#60).
Sixteen Seeds: "Tic Tac Dough" (#61), "The Fall Guy" (#62), "Better With You" (#63), "Empty Nest" (#64).
First Four Seeds: "My So Called Life" (#65), "All In The Family" (#66), "Boy Meets World" (#67), "Simon and Simon" (#68).

My God, that field is loaded -- LOADED! -- with quality! 

Here's your bracket:

Here we go ...

* The First Four Round.

16 "My So Called Life" over 16 "Empty Nest".  "Life" gets the edge because (a) I like it better, and (b) I refuse -- and I mean refuse! -- to bring David Leisure (as wacky neighbor Charlie) back into our lives.  You're welcome.

16 "Simon and Simon" over 16 "Tic Tac Dough".  Not a tough choice.  And this won't be the last time we hear from our ol' buddy Wink Martindale in this toonumunt; it's just the first.

16 "All In The Family" over 16 "Better With You".  Another 90-42 cakewalk to open the evening in Dayton.  Having noted that, it's been two years, and I'm still fuming mad at ABC over cancelling "Better With You" after one season.  That's outrageous.  Having to watch Jake Lacy wasted all season on "The Office" was outrageous enough; yanking Casey and Mia out of our lives after only 22 half hour engagements is borderline criminal.

16 "The Fall Guy" over 16 "Boy Meets World".  Come on, this isn't even fair.  "The Fall Guy" is one of the coolest theme songs ever.  Seriously, click the damned Youtube! link and enjoy the next 90 seconds of your life.  You will NOT regret clicking it.  (My way of saying, "The Fall Guy" ain't gonna become the first 16 seed to win in the tournament.)

* The Round of 64.

1980s Sitcom Regional:

“Cheers” over 16 “Simon and Simon”.  In hindsight, “Simon and Simon” is criminitely underseeded.  It’s grouse.  It’s Zues in nature.  They’re the 2006 Bradley Braves, only they aren’t going to the Sweet 16; “Cheers” is just too formidable an opponent.

“The Wonder Years” over 9 “Night Court”.  Setting up a round of 32 matchup that should have TV theme song lovers salivating.

“Saved By The Bell” over 12 “Family Matters”.  Sorry – Screech trumps Urkel.  To say nothing of Zack and Slater trumping Eddie, and Kelly treating Laura like her own personal urinal.  But Carl trumps Mr. Belding.  Always.

“The Golden Girls” over 13 “The Simpsons”.  Did you know that “The Golden Girls” theme song, was actually a minor hit in the 1970s?  I didn’t either until I started this thing.  See – this site is not just for entertainment purposes only!  It’s educational too!

“Family Ties” over 14 “Webster”.  Put it this way – the only 3 seed imaginable that could lose to “Webster”, is Duke University.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh come on!  I can’t do a tournament prediction piece without a few cheap shots at Dook!

“Married With Children” over 11 “The Hogan Family”.  I should pick an upset here, or else the higher seeds are all going to advance … but how can you pick against Frank Sinatra?  Mr. Vice President?  (vice president (for how much longer?) biden voice) Folks!  Frank Sinatra had mob ties!  A three letter word – ties!

Thank you sir.  And may I say, two things, Mr. Vice President.  First, how your life has not been turned into a sitcom named "Sh*t Joe Biden Says", or at least a Twitter account by that handle, I have no idea.  And second, your impending elevation to the throne of the free world, frightens the sh*t out of me.  And that is a three letter word – sh*t!

Also -- seriously, click on that "Hogan Family" link.  How -- and I'm being serious here -- how in the name of God did the gorgeous Jane Mancini date a Hogan kid?  And what is Dylan McCay's dad doing in this craptacular show, starring one of my alma mater's two famous acting alum's?  (Both Sandy Duncan and Rod Roddy graduated from TCU.  KU claims Don Johnson and Kirstie Alley.  (Pause).  Yeah -- I'm damned proud to be a Horny Frog too!)

“ALF” over 10 “Doogie Howser M.D.”  I picked the season three “ALF” theme, because like with most 80s sitcoms, they “jazzed up” the thing as the seasons went along, in some idiotic effort to keep things fresh, hip, lively.  And it didn't work.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh, good point!

Guys and gals?  Let me do this right.  Gregg?  Do you have a couple words you'd like to share, in order to state the obvious?  You do?  Oh, that is bloody fantastic!  OK sir, the floor is yours!

(“the voice of reason” disgusted as holy hell voice) IT’S “ALF!”  

Thank you sir.  Back to the proceedings.

“Growing Pains” over 15 “Kate and Allie”.  And then you have “Growing Pains”, who as their seasons went along, dulled down the theme song, until the final season’s all acapella version.  The 1980s / early 1990s: TV theme song’s finest hour!

Game Show Regional:

“Jeopardy” over 16 “My So Called Life”.  Look it, I hate to spoil the fun here, but “Jeopardy” isn’t going to win this thing.  They’re the Duke of this tournament – give them a top three seed, and they’re crapping the court by the Sweet 16.  But you can argue that no theme song ever has had as much pop-culture influence and re-usage, as “Jeopardy”’s final question music.  Just sayin’.  That should count for something.

“High Rollers” over 9 “The Mole”.  This was a triple overtime, “Wink from midcourt at the buzzer for the win!” exciting.  If, you know, Wink Martindale and Anderson Cooper ever faced off on a court.  Let’s all be thankful we’ll never have to witness that.  Especially if Wink draws short straw and gets “skins” designation.

“Press Your Luck” over 12 “Big Brother”.  Whammy! trumps Chenbot.  I think.  In this bracket, he does, anyway.

“Wheel of Fortune” over 13 “Love Connection”.  And before we continue, I need to refill the shiraz.  I’ll be back in (chuck woolery voice) “two and two”.

“The Match Game” over 14 “The Newlywed Game”.  While I’m stalling for time here, since we haven’t quite reached “two and two” yet, two things:

* why don’t game show hosts use the phallic-style microphone anymore?  It added a lovely touch of sleaze and debauchery.  I miss the phallic-style mic, which as Gene Rayburn (who hosted “The Match Game” and popularized that style of mic) noted, he did precisely because it would remind female viewers of a penis, and it might help him on the social scene.  Oh Gene.  Rest in peace, buddy.  We miss ya.

* I would be failing in my duties as a blogger, if I didn’t note my favorite Bob Eubanks moments – one from “The Newlywed Game***”, one from the closing credits of “Roger and Me”.  And since the latter one has been blocked due to "copyright infringement", I'll just quote Bob Eubanks' epic joke from the closing credits.

"Last week I was out mowing the yard with my shirt off, and my back got stiff.  My wife told me next time, to mow the yard with my pants off."

And that came right on the heels of "why don't Jewish women get AIDS?  They marry assholes, not f*ck them".

Mr. Bob Eubanks everyone!!!  (Pause).  God bless it, how did I not include "Card Sharks" in the Game Show Regional?  Epic brainfart on my part ...

(***: when "in the bathroom sink" isn't even CLOSE to the best "weirdest place you've ever hooked up" response?  Oh sweet merciful Jesus, that's awesome!)

11 “Survivor” over 6 “Family Feud”.  Hey, our first upset!  The reason for this is simple: (a) “Survivor”’s theme is better, and (b) compare the hosts.  Richard Dawson trumps Jeff Probst … but Ray Combs, Steve Harvey, Richard Karn, Peterman from “Seinfeld”, and (oh God) Louie Anderson get pummeled by Probst.  And in Ol’ Lou’s case, he might be into that kind of thing.

“Super Password” over 10 “Let’s Make a Deal”.  I’d argue this is a classic over/under value matchup.  Bert Convy is the most underrated game show host of all time; Monty Hall is the most overrated.  Convy would kick his ass.

Also, did you know that Betty White was married to original “Password” host Allen Ludden until he tragically passed?  That’s why Betty has appeared on every form of “Password” to ever exist.  You’re welcome.

“The Price Is Right” over 15 “To Tell The Truth”.  While I’m reflecting on the great, great panelists who’ve gone on to that panel in the sky, I would be failing miserably if I didn’t mention two of the greatest: Arlene Francis (of "What's My Line" fame) … and the comedic chops of one Soupy Sales.  Rest in peace guys.  Or guy and gal.  And damn, was Arlene Francis a gal.

(In case you cannot tell, my “parental raising in childhood” was basically me being dropped in front of a TV, tuned into USA all day, watching game shows and crappy courtroom dramas.  I miss childhood.)

Other Decade’s Sitcoms Regional:

“Good Times” over 16 “All In The Family”.  Please, God, I beg you -- PLEASE forgive me, for the voice I’m about to use.  (billy “fudge” packer voice) Now see here Jim – look at what the committee did.  They slotted a show about a barely getting by black family in the ghetto, to face off against a white bigot living a comfortable existence in Queens.  These type of matchups don’t just happen by chance!  (jim nantz voice) It’s called rigging the bracket!  (billy “fudge” packer voice) Exactly, Jim.  (cue smug, arrogant prick grin on Packer; “hello friends” creepy child molestor grin on Nantz and … scene).

“Fresh Prince of Bel Air” over 8 “One Day At A Time”.  Come on folks – there’s no way I’m letting the show I declared to be the “Worst Show in Television History” win a matchup.  But I will toss in some trivia – did you know that the travel agency where Ann and Barbara worked the final few seasons of “Time” … was recycled and used as the location for Al Bundy’s shoe store in “Married With Children”?  It’s true.  And again – you’re welcome.

“The Muppet Show” over 12 “The Norm Show”.  In the words of Waldorf and Stadler: “why do we always come here?  I guess we’ll never know.  It’s like a kind of torture, to have to watch the show!”

13 “Diff’rent Strokes” over 4 “Family Guy”.  I’m being serious here folks – of the seven major stars of this show (Conrad Bain, Dixie Carter, Charlotte Rae, Gary Coleman, Dana Plato, Todd Bridges, and Gordon Jump (the bike shop owner turned child molestor), what odds would you have gotten that Charlotte Rae and Todd Bridges would be the last two standing?  The other five, all departed.  All now just a nostalgic look back at what television used to offer.  Like this side boob.  Like that side boob?  Well it shouldn’t, because that’s my side boob.  Good night everyone!

“Sanford and Son” over 14 “The Facts of Life”.  Peoples and peepettes?  Check out these next four matchups, starting with this one.  I guaran-damn-tee you, that you could identify each theme song in fewer than five notes, and you probably know the words to at least five of them.  I’m telling you, this sub regional is LOADED.

“Benson” over 11 “MASH”.  Two songs with no words, just epic, epic music.  I like “Benson” way, way, way too much, to let it lose here, even though “Suicide Is Painless” is probably the far better song.

(Also, another "what are the f*cking odds?!?!" trivia fact -- Missy Gold, who played Governor Gatling's daughter on "Benson"?  Oh hell yes, that's Tracey Gold's older sister!  You know, Carol Seaver, on the "still alive in the 1980s sitcom bracket" "Growing Pains" team?  Again -- you're welcome.)

(Also, I should probably note -- my mom might ... scratch that -- will -- write me out of the, uuh, will, at having her favorite show of all time's theme song go out in round one.  (verne lundquist voice) Wonderful!)

“Laverne and Shirley” over 10 “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.  Oh.  My.  God.  This might be a better first round matchup than anything the legitimate NCAA tournament gave us this year.  “Laverne” wins for two reasons – they’re from Milwaukee, and they work in a brewery.  Hard to top that.

(And hell yes, if you take the Lakefront Brewery tour, you get to hold that glove, put it on the conveyor belt, and belt this song out loud AND proud!)

15 “Roseanne (Final Season)” over 2 “Friends”.  And now, we have a stunner!  Holy cow!  Is the Other Decades Sitcoms Regional going to be our trainwreck?  “Roseanne” wins the stunner because I love Blues Traveler, and I’m probably the only person alive who didn’t hate the final season … whereas I checked out of “Friends” shortly after the “Fireball” episode in season five.

Dramas Regional:

“Hill Street Blues” over 16 “The Fall Guy”.  How do I put this delicately ... "NYPD Blue" is my favorite show of all time.  "Hill Street Blues", I would argue, is THE most influential show of all time.

"Mission: Impossible" over 8 "Friday Night Lights".  "Lights" theme song is overseeded by five slots; "Impossible" is underseeded by five slots.  Your classic "9 beats the crap out of 8" game.

12 "The Greatest American Hero" over 5 "Hunter (Final Season)".  If you're beating Hunter?  You're a damned solid team.  Or theme song, in this case.

"The Sopranos" over 13 "NYPD Blue".  Yes, "Blue" is my favorite show of all time ... but in the words of (bill walton voice) villiam valton -- it has a TERRIBLE theme song.  In the words of Charles Barkley -- it has a TURRIBLE theme song.  

"Dallas" over 14 "Law and Order".  A Loyola-Marymount in the Hank Gathers / Bo Kimble days 130-62 rout.  

(And since apparently I'm the only person who watches the "Dallas" reboot ... give the theme from the episode this season where JR is buried a listen.  It's so f*cking good ...)

"Twin Peaks" over 11 "Swingtown".  It's been five years, and I'm still fuming mad CBS caved to the idiot religious right, and pulled the plug on the most daring, honest, quality show a non-cable network has picked up since ... uuh ... yeah.  "Swingtown" was thirteen episodes of awesome.  The theme song?  Not so much.

10 "The Love Boat" over 7 "The A-Team".  Total coin flip.  Love them both.

(And I'm guessing, when he reads this "upset", that Jasson will hurl something at the screen he's reading this on, drop a "(blank) you Stevo!", and unfriend me on Facebook, for daring to go against The A-Team.  And dude?  You'd be totally, completely justified, in that response ... I'm having second thoughts myself ... until I saw the 2 seed.  "The A-Team" wouldn't get past the round of 32.  So let them go out quietly, and early.  But damn, I loved that show ...)

"LA Law" over 15 "The West Wing".  Good GOD, where do I begin on "why" "LA Law" wins out -- the music ... or the talent on the cast?  You have one of the Partridge kids (Susan Dey).  Eventual President Santos on "The West Wing", as well as eventual Detective Simone on "NYPD Blue" (Jimmy Smits).  You have Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen).  You have the dude who is married to Taylor McBride (Harry Hamlin ... and how I failed to get "Melrose Place" into the field of participants, is something I should be hammered by Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis for, for the next thirteen minutes).  Unreal.  This, to quote my dad's favorite line, "this is an ass kicking of Biblical proportions".  Yes.  Yes it is.

Here's where we stand, entering the Round of 32:

* The Round of 32.

1980s Sitcom Regional:

1 "Cheers" over 8 "The Wonder Years".  Honestly, I like "The Wonder Years" better ... but come on.  This is your typical "eight seed keeps it close to the under four, then the top seed pulls away" Saturday opener for the round of 32.

4 "The Golden Girls" over 5 "Saved By The Bell".  I cannot believe I am about to type this ... Naked Dorothy Spornak trumps Naked Jessie Spano.

6 "Married With Children" over 3 "Family Ties".  There may or may not be hired goons standing behind me, as I type this outcome.  #muchloveforthemafia

2 "Growing Pains" over 7 "ALF".  I ask this with all due respect -- is there ANY matchup imaginable that screams "sh*ttacular 80s sitcom!", than "Growing Pains" vs "ALF"?  No?  Good.

Game Shows Regional:

1 "Jeopardy" over 8 "High Rollers".  I guess Wink crapped out early (rimshot!)

5 "Press Your Luck" over 4 "Wheel of Fortune".  One of those "I can absolutely see either team winning this ... and taking out the one seed on Thursday" matchups I love to see come late March.

3 " The Match Game" over 11 "Survivor".  Fill in the blank.  "Gene Rayburn enjoyed hosting "Match Game" so much, he made Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly promise to (blank) at his funeral".  It's been fourteen years, and I still miss Gene Rayburn.

2 "The Price Is Right" over 7 "Super Password".  A buzzer beater.

Other Decade's Sitcom Regional:

1 "Good Times" over 9 "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".  Jimmy Walker was Will Smith, before Will Smith knew who he was.  Kid (clap!) Dy-No-Mite! advances!  (everyone voice) You rigged this!  (stevo response voice) Hell yes I did ...

13 "Diff'rent Strokes" over 5 "The Muppet Show".  (everyone voice) Oh come on!  You TOTALLY rigged this!  Have you no shame?  Have you no decency?  (stevo voice) Can you please define the meaning of the words "shame" and/or "decency"?

3 "Sanford and Son" over 6 "Benson".  This one?  Hurt like a mo' fo'.  (Pause).  Yeah, I know -- fair and impartial.  The "Sanford and Son" intro is that damned good, that it has to advance.

7 "Laverne and Shirley" over 15 "Roseanne (Final Season)".  At the risk of throwing race into this (which -- I swear to God, is NOT what I intended), this regional is pretty much gonna be a 70s / early 80s African American sitcom (coach don fambrough voice) showdown, hoedown, throwdown!, is it not?

Dramas Regional:

1 "Hill Street Blues" over 9 "Mission: Impossible".  Surprisingly not even contested.

12 " The Greatest American Hero" over 4 "The Sopranos".  For a couple reasons, namely (a) one is an uplifting, "go for it!" theme, and the other is anything but, and (b) come on -- there isn't a kid my age (I am 36, halfway to 37) who didn't know every damned word to this theme song when they were 7 years old, jumping off the swingset as you reached peak height on the thing.  "Believe it or not?  I'm walking on air!  I never thought I could feel so free-ee-ee!!!"

3 "Dallas" over 6 "Twin Peaks".  Come on, we all know JR Ewing would have kicked Agent Cooper's ass eight ways from Sunday.

2 "LA Law" over 10 "The Love Boat".  Two more reasons why "LA Law" was so damned good -- hell yes, that's (almost) Vice President Leo McGarry in the credits ... and oh hell yes, that's Berta in the credits, for season six!

Here's where we stand, as the opening weekend is done, and we're headed to the Sweet 16:

If you thought getting here was tough?  Now we have to keep going!  There are some LOADED Sweet Sixteen matchups here folks!  And I mean loaded!  So let's get at it ...

* The Sweet 16.

1980s Sitcoms Regional:

1 "Cheers" over 4 "The Golden Girls".  You can accuse me of bias, you can accuse me of rigging the bracket, but good God folks, look at what Gary Portnoy's classic has survived so far: an underrated 90s classic ("My So Called Life"), the only cover of a Beatles song that was better than the original ("The Wonder Years"), and now, the power of cheesecake ("The Golden Girls").  And either NO MAAM or Leonardo DiCaprio await in the 1980s Sitcoms Regional Finals!  There's a reason why this was the top overall regional -- because whoever wins this thing, has EARNED their way to ... wherever the hell this Final Four is being staged at.

And since Stevo's Site Numero Dos rules and regulations require Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery (with Jay Bilas) to call any and all Final Four games we stage in any event?  We're placing this puppy in Atlantic City.  Or the Barclay's in Brooklyn.  Whatever Bill wants, he gets.  Done and done.

2 "Growing Pains" over 6 "Married With Children".  Any TV theme song good enough for Daughtry to cover?  Is making an Elite 8 appearance.

Game Shows Regional:

5 "Press Your Luck" over 1 "Jeopardy".  Our first one seed to bite the dust! The beauty of this epic, epic, epic run linked next?  He opened with a Whammy!, to throw the producers off his scheme.  Epic.  Absolutely epic.  

Plus, you gotta love how Peter Tamarkin (the host) is panicking as the game progresses ... and Michael Larsen's opponents, turn into his biggest cheerleaders.  

3 "The Match Game" over 2 "The Price Is Right".  Bob Barker never had a classic moment like this.

Other Decade's Sitcoms Regional:

1 "Good Times" over 13 "Diff'rent Strokes".  (Pause).  Is it time?  (Pause).  You think so?  (Pause).  I agree.

There's only one way to break this down ... ladies and gentlemen, we're taking this, to the "Tale of the Tape"!!!

Seven Head-To-Head Comparisons, to determine which craptacular 70s sitcom theme song that I can't get enough of, deserves the right to advance!!!

1. "Very Special Episode" Story Line.

Good Times: Penny gets the crap beat out of her by her mother.
Diff'rent Strokes: Dudley gets liquored up and molested by a bike shop owner.
Winner?  Diff'rent Strokes.  

2. "Horrific" National Catch Phrase.

Good Times: "Dy (clap!) No Mite!"
Diff'rent Strokes: "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
Winner?  Good Times.

3. Spin-Off Relationship.

Good Times: spun off from "Maude" and "All In The Family".
Diff'rent Strokes: spun "The Facts of Life".
Winner?  Push.  We're all winners here.

4. Strong, Opinionated Female Lead Characters.

Good Times: Florida Evans (played by Esther Rolle); Willona Woods (played by Janet DuBois).
Diff'rent Strokes: Edna Garrett (played by Charlotte Rae) and Maggie McKinney (played by Dixie Carter).
Winner?  Push.  We're all winners here.

5. Best Threesome of Siblings.

Good Times: JJ (played by Jimmie Walker), Thelma (played by Bern Nadette Stadis) and Michael (played by Ralph Carter).
Diff'rent Strokes: Arnold (played by Gary Coleman), Willis (played by Todd Bridges) and Kimberly (played by Dana Plato).
Winner?  Good Times.  They were all actually blood related, per the storyline.

6. First Major PSA Push by a Sitcom.

Good Times: STD awareness.
Diff'rent Strokes: DARE awareness.
Winner?  Diff'rent Strokes.  Hey, First Lady trumps penicillin.

So we're tied 2-2-2.  Game seven ...

7. Best Theme Song.

(classic sitcom theme song voice) Ain't we lucky we got 'em?  (na na na na na) Good Times!!!!!

3 "Sanford and Son" over 7 "Laverne and Shirley".  Sets up the best regional final since ... what, Duke / Kentucky in 1992?  This one's gonna be epic folks -- Sanford and Son versus the Evans family!

Dramas Regional:

1 "Hill Street Blues" over 12 "The Greatest American Hero".  And if you thought "Non 1980s Sitcom Regional"'s final was epic, I'm giving you this classic theme song against ...

3 "Dallas" over 2 "LA Law".  In the bastardized words of Kevin Harlan, "oh baby!  What a matchup!"  

Here's where we stand entering the Elite Eight:

* The Elite Eight.

1980s Sitcoms Regional Final:

1 "Cheers" over 2 "Growing Pains".  God bless it, what a matchup!  What a (coach don fambrough voice) showdown, throwdown, hoedown!  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  You think?  OK, ok, fine.

Ladies and Gentlemen ... your second "Tale of the Tape".

1. Lead male character's occupation.

Growing Pains: a psychiatrist.
Cheers: an recovering alcoholic bartender.
Winner: Cheers.

2. Did the lead male character write the show's theme song?

Growing Pains: yes.
Cheers: no.
Winner: Growing Pains.  Mr. Thicke also wrote the theme songs to "Wheel of Fortune", "Diff'rent Strokes", and "The Facts of Life", amongst other shows.

3. Wacky yet lovable character's nickname.

Growing Pains: Boner.
Cheers: Coach.
Winner: (amy poehler voice) Really?  Growing Pains.

4. Unknown actor who became a household name starring in the show's later seasons.

Growing Pains: Leonardo DiCaprio (played Luke Brewer).
Cheers: Woody Harrelson (played Woody Boyd).
Winner: push.  We're all winners here.

5. Female actress who had an eating disorder in real life.

Growing Pains: Tracey Gold (bulimia).
Cheers: Kirstie Alley (obesity).
Winner: push.  We're all losers here.

6. Devoutly religious star who forced the show to scrap storylines that went against his religious beliefs.

Growing Pains: Kirk Cameron.
Cheers: (none).
Winner: Cheers.

7. Best theme song.

(classic sitcom theme song voice) You wanna go where people know, your troubles are all the same!  You wanna go where everybody knows your name!!!

1980s Sitcoms Regional Champion: "Cheers".

Game Shows Regional Final:

3 "The Match Game" over 5 "Press Your Luck".  Sometimes, a matchup this epic -- pitting my two favorite game shows of all time against each other, qualifies as epic -- comes down to one simple question.

Which host voluntarily appeared on "Maury", before they sadly passed on from this life?

Son of a b*tch!  They BOTH appeared!  In the same damned episode!  In that case?  I gotta go with ... the guy who brings out his own phallic-style microphone ... to appear on a talk show, in which the output of a phallic-shaped thing, is routinely used to determine paternity on a nightly basis.

Game Shows Regional Champion: "The Match Game".

Other Decade's Sitcoms Regional Final:

3 "Sanford and Son" over 1 "Good Times".  OK, ok, fine -- can we FINALLY put to rest this ridiculous notion that I'm biased against anyone or anything (other than an organization known as "the denver broncos")?

If I was judging this based on the quality of the show?  "Good Times" wins 100 times out of 100.  But based on the theme song?  

How can you NOT pick "Sanford and Son"?  Has ANY song more perfectly defined an era of our lives, than the theme song to "Sanford and Son"?  I say no.

Other Decade's Sitcoms Regional Winner: "Sanford and Son".

Dramas Regional Final:

1 "Hill Street Blues" over 3 "Dallas".  (fidelity ad guy voice) Why not?

1. Major character's real life death from cancer, that rocked the show's quality to its foundation, in a bad way.

Hill Street Blues: Michael Conrad (who played Sgt. Phil Esterhaus; note I could not find the first rollcall scene after his passing on Youtube!, but it's epically good).
Dallas: Larry Hagman (who played J.R. Ewing; died in the rebooted series' second season).
Winner: push.  We are all losers here.

2. Show changed the face of television in a very good way.

Hill Street Blues: hell yes.
Dallas: hell yes.
Winner: Hill Street Blues.  Gave rise to my favorite show of all time, "NYPD Blue", six years later.

3. Creative-as-hell plot line nobody saw coming.

Hill Street Blues: that the captain of the precinct (played by Daniel Travanti) and the district attorney (played by Barbara Bosson) were married.
Dallas: that an entire season was nothing but a dream.
Winner: Dallas.  Especially since two of the more famous sitcoms of the last thirty years ("Newhart" and "Roseanne") blatantly plagarized this unique idea for their final episode.

4. Hot as hell (virtual) unknown who sprung to stardom through this show.

Hill Street Blues: Veronica Hamel.
Dallas: Victoria Principal.
Winner: Hill Street Blues.  Principal's big break came playing Rosa Amici in "Earthquake" four years before "Dallas" began.

5. Location show occurred in.

Hill Street Blues: never stated, but widely assumed to be inner-city Chicago.
Dallas: the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Winner: Dallas.

6. Instrumental-only theme song everyone recognizes within the first five seconds?

Hill Street Blues: hell yes.
Dallas: hell yes.
Winner: push.  We are all winners here.

7. Best theme song.

Dramas Regional Winner: "Hill Street Blues".

Four shows.  Three matchups.  Two finalists.  One winner.

How things shape up for the Final Four:

Let's do this.

Final Four:

1 "Cheers" over 3 "The Match Game".  Gene Rayburn and company had a fine run, but it had to end sometime, and facing the powerhouse that is Gary Portnoy's epic composition, that sometime is now.

1 "Hill Street Blues" over 3 "Sanford and Son".  Two instrumentals going at it, and honestly, this one could go either way.  I think it speaks tremendously of my parents, that if you take a look at my scrapbook from childhood my mom and dad have, that when I was five, I knew every character's name on both shows.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Well I think it speaks tremendously, and it's my site, so screw off!

Television Theme Song Championship:

1 "Hill Street Blues" over 1 "Cheers".  But honestly?  We are all winners here.

Greatest Television Theme Song Ever: "Hill Street Blues".

Hope this was at least semi-entertaining.  And feel free to sound off and disagree in the comments.  Half the fun of this, is that there were a solid eight to ten matchups, where I would make the argument, I picked the wrong winner.  

Below, is the entire field, played out to its' conclusion.  Until next time -- (sgt. phil esterhaus voice) let's be careful out there ...


Anonymous said...

Greatest American Hero was VERY, VERY, VERY underseeded. Probably was F4 caliber.

Also Family Guy losing in the first round was a crock of sh*t.

Cheers probably should have won.

stevo! said...

How pathetic is it, that now, we "discourage" kids from jumping off the swing at its' peak? Good God, every day at recess -- pump that swing as high as you could, and "fly"! Go figure -- not one broken arm / leg / ego at my elementary school (brantley gilbert voice) back in the day.

Agree on travesty of "Family Guy" that early -- but "Simon and Simon" theme song is the biggest crock of sh*t in the tourney, in my opinion. That's the F4 song that got truly screwed.

Glad you enjoyed the post though. Don't be a stranger -- love the comments, good or bad or ugly.

Anonymous said...

And seriously, Night Court didn't make the field? I'm assuming it won the NIT, but still definitely and error by the committee on omitting that one.

stevo! said...

Night court was the 9 seed in the 1980s Sitcom Regional

big brother power poll 1.0

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