Saturday, October 24, 2009

Things Are Not As They Theme, Dept.

I recently tweeted the demise of composer Vic Mizzy. And that, in itself, is sad. The tweeting of it, I mean.

Previously: The bard Vic Mizzy has joined the Nine atop Mount Parnassus! Let us erect a monument in gleaming marble that will straddle the ages and offer up a hecatomb in his eternal honor!

Today: RT OMG Vic Mizzy hu? died u guyz!! #deadpool

Yes. We suck as a civilization.

Anyhoo, Vic Mizzy died. And in every American's DNA is encoded the fingersnaps of The Addams Family theme, which he wrote, and in every American's racial memory lurks the bantering theme for Green Acres, which he also wrote.

Now, sure, you have your "academy" poets with their MFAs and dog-eared Moleskines full of squinchy, purloined feet. But, as I've tried to show in the past, American popular lyric-writing kicks a lot of this Autumn Afternoons in Hartford shite in teh culo.

By way of demonstration, here are the lyrics for The Addams Family theme:

They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're all together ooky,
The Addams Family.

Their house is a museum
Where people come to see 'em
They really are a screa-um,
The Addams Family.


So, get a witch's shawl on,
A broomstick you can crawl on,
We're gonna pay a call on
The Addams Family.

Okay? 'Nuff said.

Now, howzabout a little Green Acres?

He: Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

She: New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

He:...The chores.
She:...The stores.
He:...Fresh air.
She:...Times Square

He: You are my wife.
She: Goodbye, city life.

Both: Green Acres, we are there!

I mean, can that be beat as an expository duet? One minute, six seconds; everything you need to know about the lead characters' relationship and about the premise of the show. Hell, you could do a three-act opera in 30 minutes with that kind of concision and economy! It's catchy, it's funny, you welcome it week after week.

Let me hitch my pants up to my tits, don my Henry-Fonda-in-On-Golden-Pond hat and affect my Andy Rooney croak...

What the H-E-double-swizzle-sticks happened to TV theme songs? Three shows I watch regularly--popular shows--have nothing that even vaguely resembles a theme. Lost? A hanging attackless chord. Heroes? Ten seconds of whirling flute and percussion. Stargate Universe? Talky expository bit a la Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica--Jesus, I watch a lot of sci-fi television--over rumbling symphonic bits, then done. Tell me that Lost wouldn't be improved with a Gilligan's Island-style theme. I think it might go something like this...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
About a doughty set
That flew out from Australia's shores
Aboard a fragile jet.
The doc was a handsome, healing man,
Of stern and troubled mien.
A passenger, but not for long,
On flight eight-fifteen, on flight eight-fifteen.
&c., &c.

Granted, working one's way through all 14 billed main characters in the course of a theme might cut into each week's story a bit. But recapitulation is part of sonata form, so nyah.

At any rate, ave atque vale, Vic Mizzy. Know that countless generations will thrum the lyre and whack the tabor to your songs. Or not. But thanks, anyway.

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