I’ve decided to give a quick bit of thought on theme songs for TV shows.
Basically, I want to say that I really dislike the theme song for Life Unexpected. My friend had the same, immediate gut reaction when she heard it for the first time: AWFUL. The tone is so off from the rest of the show and it isn’t the kind of thing anyone would ever walk around singing. It’s not catchy in the slightest. Think about it, the whole point of a theme song is that it’s catchy and immediately recognizable.
The Big Bang Theory theme, “I Don’t Wanna Wait” from Dawson’s Creek, “California” from the OC, “Where You Lead” from Gilmore Girls, “I’ll Be There For You” from Friends, Saved by the Bell theme, Fresh Prince theme song, Seventh Heaven theme etc. When you hear any of these songs, you immediately associate them with their respective show and the images from the opening credits. And they’re songs that are easily stuck in your head and you find yourself singing them. (This only works if the song is catchy and is representative of the show in tone and lyrics.) Perfect case scenario for the networks: it gets stuck in people’s heads, they sing it, people ask where it’s from, and a discussion about the show ensues. Or lots of people sing it, reminding other people of the show and they think about it enough that they go check it out.
My point: Life Unexpected, while having the right lyrics for the show, does not have the right beat and tone. It’s too slow and almost downbeat. And it isn’t catchy. It’s sort of just missing everything that a good theme song should have.
(Sidenote: I don’t understand why many shows don’t have theme songs at all nowadays–and a little beat does not count. Sometimes it works as with Star Trek, The Simpsons, and How I Met Your Mother, but overall, the beats are not distinctive enough and can’t really be sung so they don’t get stuck in your head the same way. It’s also disappointing for me when I watch.)