When I growing up, I was allowed to watch about an hour of television every week. Usually, this meant two half-hour shows that the whole family watched together. Here are the shows from my childhood/teenage years that I can remember watching often enough to recognize the theme song:
1. Batman (with Adam West)
2. The Monkees
3. The Beverly Hillbillies
4. I Dream of Jeannie
6. My Three Sons
7. The Brady Bunch
8. Green Acres
9. The Partridge Family
10. Gilligan's Island
11. Happy Days
I often wonder what bizarre influence those television shows have had on me. My first crush was on Davy Jones ... yeah, I still have a thing for men with accents. And my second crush was on Robin, Batman's sidekick. He always seemed like the underdog, never getting the respect he deserved, while everyone fawned over Batman. For creeping out my feminist sensibilities, I would have to say that "I Dream of Jeannie" wins, hands down. Stumbling across the show as an adult and watching it was most horrifying.
The main thing I remember from any television show is the opening theme song. I liked the stability of listening to the same song the same time every week. I'd be lying on the living room floor, squeezed in between a bunch of siblings and some extras, all of us fighting for a good spot, all grabbing for the popcorn or pretzels or whatever the snack was that week. After the theme song, I'd usually return to the book I was reading - which is perhaps why I remember almost nothing from these shows - but still I liked the stability of hearing that same music every week.
I can remember Spouse singing television theme songs to me when I was in labor with my second child. I'd been in labor for about 24 hours, a slow, easy labor, and I was in a dimly lit room, relaxing in a tub of hot water. Spouse, sitting on the floor next to the tub, had been entertaining me for hours and the lack of sleep made him punchy. So he started to sing television theme songs, often doing imitations of the characters as well. I couldn't even do the Lamaze breathing we'd practiced because I was laughing so hard. When the midwife came in to check my vitals, she would tease us and say, "What's going on in here? It doesn't sound like you are having a baby. You are laughing way too much." And she was relieved to find that I was fully dilated and ready to push the baby out. "Thank God. I don't think I could stand to hear the Brady Bunch theme song one more time."
Boy-in-Black, the child whose birth was accompanied by laughter and song, is now the kid whose job it is to tape whatever television show the family has agreed to watch each week. This season the kids chose the show Scrubs. It's a ritual for us to gather in a dark room, with snacks assembled and a book in my hand. I swear, it takes about half an hour before we can actually watch the show because someone is always running downstairs to get another glass of juice or something. We fight over pillows and With-a-Why is still young enough to fight for a spot next to Mom. Boy-in-Black always tries to fastforward through the theme song and opening credits, and the whole family teases me because I won't let him. I like listening to the opening music, while the kids jockey for position, shoving each other playfully, grabbing for snacks, teasing each other, and joking throughout the opening credits. I don't really watch the show; the theme song is the part I like best.