Ah, the ‘90s. A simpler time back when it was cool to wear Starter jackets, drink Sunny Delight and not get called “poor”, and, most importantly, the internet wasn’t around to fuck our lives up. We also appreciated television more. Back then, there was no Netflix, Hulu, DVR, TiVo, or streaming service that we could use to get our fix. If you weren’t home by 4pm for a show that started at 4pm, you straight up missed it and had to scan a *gasp* TV Guide to find a time where it would rerun. Or you’d never see it again. The stakes were THAT high.
Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for 90s TV. There were no distractions during that era of television. Every time I watched a show, it was at the very least a minor event. Now, even if I like something, I have my phone out or laptop open. Shit sucks. But never fear, y’all. Thankfully there are heroic nerds in this world dedicated to capturing, mildly restoring, and uploading tons of 90s television theme songs on the internet so I can watch them and create crude/extremely biased rankings.
Fuckin’ Goof Troop, man. Just watching this makes you want to call your dad and tell him that you love him. Also, Max’s entire outfit was next-level. Like, Russell Westbrook will pay thousands of dollars to wear that to a post-game press conference in the 2015-2016 NBA season type of next-level.
I’ll say it, I didn’t like Full House as a TV show. Maybe it was the fact that I grew up in the Bronx and couldn’t relate to any of what that gaggle of white people was doing all day, but there is no denying this theme song. As I desperately searched for the remote to change the channel during TGIF, this song eventually became ingrained within my soul and now I can’t help but love it.
This show was fairly trash, but the theme banged with the best of them. Related: one of my weirder parlor tricks is the ability to recite this theme verbatim without ever having voluntarily watched an episode of the show. And by “parlor trick”, I mean “ways to prevent girls from having sex with me.”
Wait a second – is that a black, single-father of three, and small business owner in what appears to be a suburban neighborhood? This has got to be a fictional television show because I’m pretty sure that has never happened before. Sidenote: Omar Gooding had the wildest career trajectory ever. From Wild ‘N Crazy Kids to Smart Guy to the movie Baby Boy starring Tyrese and Snoop Dogg. What a life.
10. America’s Funniest Home Videos
Quite possibly the perfect song to get you excited to watch people get maimed, cripplingly embarrassed, and hit in the testicles.
“America, America, this is youuu”
*man falls through an inner tube and most certainly dies a horrific death*
9. Chip ’N Dale Rescue Rangers
I always appreciate songs where you know the singer popped several blood vessels and just powered through it. And this dude very clearly almost died during the recording of this song. For that, I will always appreciate it. Add in the fact that two chipmunks, a hot ass mouse, a rat, and a fly were solving complex capers in the background, and this theme had it all.
8. Tiny Toon Adventures
So many levels to this intro. Every time you thought it was going to end, they started a new, more fire verse. Plus, I actually learned a ton watching this. We got succinct character bios, some of the Looney Tunes backstory, and some veiled inside references to the TV industry. And, of course, it hit on some of the real issues, like Gogo’s manic schizophrenia and Furball’s constant unluckiness despite living life the right way. Total package.
7. Family Matters
While this is perfect, never forget that the pre-Urkel ‘Family Matters’ theme featured a scene where Laura and the sister that mysteriously disappeared for no reason were sitting in the grass feeding pigeons. Pigeons. Air rats. Flying AIDS.
Also, ‘Family Matters’ taught us a very important lesson: it takes a lot to make a stew.
6. Kenan & Kel
No big deal, just future SNL star, Kenan Thompson, future Wendy’s franchiser, Kel Mitchell, and greatest rapper of all-time, Coolio, irresponsibly driving a car down the road. This theme is extra special because I know Coolio’s current livelihood is directly connected to this song. On the 1st and the 15th of every month, you can wake up and smile knowing that Coolio is aggressively loading his checking account to see if that “Kenan & Kel” theme song direct deposit hit yet.
5. Salute Your Shorts
Shout out to Camp Anawanna for being a place of wonderment, personal discovery, and advanced dickery. “It makes me wanna fart” was such a classic rebellious kid line and you know for a fact that it inspired so many of the assholes that we know today.
What was the deal with Ugg, though? Middle-aged camp counselor, no family, penchant for hanging out with pre-teens? Things aren’t adding up.
4. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
There are rock ballads and then there is the ‘Power Rangers’ theme song. I knew it was LIT when Zordon tasked his effeminate robot slave, Alpha, to recruit “teenagers with attitude” and he proceeded to pick a Black black ranger and an Asian yellow ranger. Up until, like, two months ago, my life’s aspiration was to get that call from Zordon and be tasked with beating up silly putty dudes all day. Unfortunately, I’m neither a teen nor do I have attitude.
(Sneaky sexual innuendo at the 0:20 mark where the phallic lightning bolt bones the purple circle – ah, the things you miss when you’re five.)
3. The Magic School Bus
Ah, the laughs we had watching our favorite grossly negligent teacher, Ms. Frizzle, put children’s lives in peril in an effort to teach experiential lessons. But damn, the kids weren’t even halfway down Main Street before that terrifyingly sentient bus sent them careening into a random body of water. To top it all off, they instantly got fucked up by a startled octopus. Not a good look, Frizzle. Track was flames emoji, though.
2. Fresh Prince of Bel Air
If I lacked creativity and blogging ingenuity, I would have definitely made this the number one song. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves, it has all of the necessary ingredients: young Will Smith, catchy song, and white people love it to (almost) the same degree as black people. No way for this theme song to fail. Not on my watch.
Controversial choice? Maybe. Instructional as fuck? Undoubtedly. If you had no idea what Pokemon was about, you’d be completely in the know by the song’s end. Not many theme songs can simultaneously get you amped up for some cool shit and make you feel completely ok with watching cartoon slavery. Because that’s what it was — adorable, oftentimes exciting cartoon slavery. Other than Pikachu, who was considered to be “free,” every other Pokemon was trapped in a ball unless they were needed to fight to the death. Did I ruin the show? I hope I didn’t ruin the show.
Anything that I miss? Leave it in the comments. We can argue about how wrong you are there.