Jun. 12th, 2013

[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com

Schaun Tozer

: Okay, okay, first things first: let's share the EXCITEMENT!!
I fully intended to post the amazing theme to Portlandia -- Washed Out's "Feel It All Around" -- and discuss my giddy bliss every time the introductory sketch cuts abruptly to this song, with the accompanying shots of Portland. But, just to be sure I wasn't skimping on another theme, I decided to check the DVD shelves. Lost? Nah. A tuneless crescendo is not that musically interesting. Stargate Universe? Does that show even have a theme? -- and so on. Until, near the end of the row, Intelligence .

Intelligence is one of those things I'd never have watched without prior actor obsession knowledge -- in this case, the guilty pleasure love of my life, Matt Frewer. As is not often the case, however, it ended up actually being good. Intelligence (a gritty take on the corruption of both Vancouver's drug market and law enforcement) is a fucking good show. But, like most quality Canadian TV (I'm looking at you, This Is Wonderland) -- it got canceled before its time; 2 seasons and a cliffhanger ending and that's all they wrote.

Flashback to 2008/2009, when I got into the show, and INSTANTLY fell in love with the theme. And, because that was the case back in the day, try as I might, I could not for the life of me figure out the name or artist. No clue. No one could help. It was an obscure piece that no message board could get their hands on, and I couldn't find the soundtrack to buy. So, those strange sitar-y chords were sadly relegated to the back of my musical memory ---

UNTIL THIS WEEK, when, upon happening on those seasons, I remember how much I'd loved the theme -- how perfect it had been, just like Portlandia's, every time it graced the opening and closing credits -- and I said to myself "FORGET INDIE DREAMPOP, let's see if we can find Canadian eastern-influenced instrumentals!" And lo & behold, ITUNES NOW ACTUALLY FUCKING HAS THE SOUNDTRACK. My joy, my joy, my excitement!!

A good TV theme for a good TV show is kinda just that, though -- not just a flash of recognition, of familiar ground, but of excitement. The show is about to start; you know these characters, you may even know the situations in which they're about to get, but if you feel connected -- well, like Fringe -- when you hear those notes, your heart skips and beats faster and you start grinning or even crying depending how long it's been since you've seen an episode and how much it meant the last time you did and then BOOM the music stops & the show starts and it hasn't even been long enough for you.

This is all contingent on feeling emotionally connected to TV, though -- on finding it, in some ways, a place to call home. And the best shows really do become home, in their way, and the theme is like the doorbell: you don't quite know who's on the other side, but you know it's your guest, and will be experienced on your terms (and maybe the guest takes over your house for awhile...but that's for another post). The theme itself is a harbinger of emotion, of possibility, and "Followed" captures that -- and the mood of the show it's announcing -- perfectly.
[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

Love Is All Around
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Greatest Hits
(originally composed and performed by Sonny Curtis)

I can't believe that I actually had to think about this.
For even, like, a millisecond.



"Love Is All Around"

is THE TV-theme I HAD to post.

I think I first saw an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when CFCF-12 celebrated a milestone anniversary.  For a week, they aired episodes of classic television shows my 9 or 10-year-old-self fell in love with; shows like The Munsters, Bewitched, Get Smart and, of course, TMTMS.

Mary Richards is definitely one of my early feminist role-models (something I started to explore more concretely here).  She was single.  She worked.  She lived alone in a small apartment in a big city.  She was a good friend.  She spoke up for herself (her boss, Mr. Grant, famously tells her that she's "got spunk" in the pilot and, when she thanks him, growls that he doesn't like spunk, haha).

Most importantly, there was a kind of confident pleasure she took in the everyday aspects of living.  This was the framework I began to envision for myself.  It differed from that espoused by my many of friends at the time (and, even now).  Despite the fact that she developed out of a half-hour situational comedy, Mary was not a static character.  She did long for things--a partner (this was a prominent feature of many plotlines, but this longing did not necessarily impact her happiness or sense of self-worth.  I think it says something that, at series end, Mary was still single), a pay raise, more responsibility and autonomy.  In watching her change, the viewer was made aware of her flaws; she made mistakes and not only learned from them, but kept at it.  I think by "it" I mean living; striving in spite of.  

The theme song, like the show itself, is uplifting; a bit like a one-minute pep-talk.  Lines like:

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big
And, girl, this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving

make me want to throw my hat up into the air (haha, sometimes I just can't help myself) and...just try.  Try is such a small word for all that it can encompass.  

I decided to post Joan Jett's cover of "Love Is All Around" rather than the original because I like its brashness.  The need for, and interest in, volume and noise and aggressive-sounding, female-voiced music at the moment is something I am excited about and am continuing to explore (a new-favourite band may have stemmed from all of this).  In any event, this cover of "Love Is All Around" lends the lyrics a certain toughness...as if they were tousled a bit or rubbed with grainy sandpaper.     


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