Saturday, May 22, 2010

Namely Nostalgic: Songs In Sitcoms

It’s always a treat when a sitcom is able to incorporate music into the subject of the episode. There is something about a good song that can take a moment of action and expand it to a more significant level. It certainly makes the scene stand out years later.

Some examples include The Eagles song "Desperado" on Seinfeld, Don Henley's "New York Minute" on Friends, one of the most iconic being George Thorogood's "Bad To The Bone" on Married With Children and even Uncle Jesse's cover of The Beach Boys song "Forever" on Full House. However, the best example of songs in sitcoms came from the show The Wonder Years.

No, it wasn’t essential for the show to do it, since the writing was so strong, but the music certainly added another layer of sentiment and relevance. The one song that stands out most vividly in my mind is “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes. It was played on the episode with guest actress Julie Condra during a pizza shop scene. She played the character Madeline Adams who had become a romantic interest for Kevin Arnold. As it turned out, she also became the romantic interest for the millions of adolescent male viewers who looked forward to the handful of episodes she graced the screen with.

Hearing that song being played really amplified the condition of the moment. But quite frankly, The Wonder Years had unraveled so many of those relatable growing up moments and made them even more poignant because of the songs that were tied to them.

With recent news that Winnie Cooper actress Danica McKeller is expecting a baby, you can’t help but feel happy for the quintessential girl-next-door.

It’s interesting how the element of music is the one thing that is halting the sale of the show on DVD. Hopefully one day we’ll have The Wonder Years in our collection. It'll once again give the fans that chance at reliving their own past through the lives of the characters that represented us all. That's what a good show can do for those watching. And when a song can be nestled in, it just makes it even more memorable. There are of course plenty of other examples of songs in sitcoms that I’m sure you the reader can think of that helped the episode along. Have at it.

Gabe is a contributor to Just My Show and a blogger at Down In The Attic


Just My Show said...

Good stuff Gabe. The Wonder Years did this so well. The series finale (which Dan Lauria told us in the podcast was not the ending they had planned) was enhanced so much by using the music from The Natural.

"With or Without You" used during the Ross and Rachel breakup on "Freinds" stands out as well.

Songfacts said...

I think "Hello It's Me" in That '70s show was tremendous. No dialogue could have said what the song did.

Here's our list of songs used in TV shows.