Hi, Viewers Like Me!
After my scholarly and completely accurate analysis of the United States Presidents yesterday, it is time to tackle a much, much more important topic today: what are the raddest cartoon theme songs ever?
Now, just so you all know, if I have a Ph.D in Presidential Facts, then when it comes to Cartoon Theme Songs I'm Stephen Hawking. In fact, I frittered away four years of a Stanford education just watching 80's & 90's Disney and Nickelodeon crap on Youtube all day. THIS IS THE BLOG POST I WAS BORN TO WRITE. ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME NOW.
Okay, on to the list! Let's waste 45 minutes of your time!
30. DIGIMON - 1999
"Digimon" is most notable for completely ripping off "Pokemon" (especially the "mon"), but it squeaks on to the list over other deserving candidates such as Rugrats, Care Bears, Goof Troop and Street Sharks because its theme song is just. Too. Boss. Best part: the Big White Digimon Jesus at 0:31.
29. Muppet Babies - 1984
I like how it seems as if the same voice actor is speaking as every single character in the same take. Also...Nanny's hot. THERE I SAID IT.
28. X-Men - 1992
A legendary show that gets ranked this low only because 1. I happen to be a lyrics guy and there aren't any here and 2. What the hell is "Jubilee"?
27. Dinosaucers - 1987
I love the following theme song tropes seen in this video: the entire origin story being explained in 10 seconds, "ordinary teenagers" randomly being given magic rings, all of the characters taking a group picture at a picnic, and dinosaurs wearing revealing mecha-suits.
FUN BONUS: for those who like "Dinosaucers," but wish it was more annoying and somehow Blink 182-ier, check out "Dino Squad"!
(No, of course my little sister and I haven't watched all of Season 1 on Netflix Instant Viewing. That would be...crazy...)
26. Gargoyles - 1994
"Stone by day...warriors by night...we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect...frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years..."
Granted, those aren't lyrics, nor is this even remotely a song, but that prose...it's just so hauntingly beautiful. Did Cormac McCarthy write "Gargoyles"?
25. King Arthur & the Knights of Justice - 1993
Football? Nevermind -- JOUSTING! This song is so HARD ROCKIN', even if it does sound weirdly like "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama.
24. Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors - 1985
Love the father-son storyline and the villain who turns into some kind of gross pubic sloth. My only qualm is that the "Wheeled Warriors" seem to be traveling at like 35 miles per hour. What are they, the Bill Steinkellner Warriors? (CALLING YOU OUT, DAD.)
23. Popples - 1986
As good an argument to not do drugs as any.
22. Arthur - 1996
Ziggy Marley's best (and, let's be real here, only) song. Important question to ponder: is Arthur black? Think on that one for a while.
21. Sailor Moon - 1992
Easily the most romantic theme song on the countdown. And by "romantic" I do mean "explicitly sexual."
20. The Magic School Bus - 1994
Fun fact: That's Little Richard singing! Or someone doing a bad Little Richard impression. Who could possibly tell?
Such brilliant lyrics here. So strap your bums right to your seat, come on in and don't be shy, just to make your day complete, you might get baked into a pie!
Again, I ask the question: did Cormac McCarthy write this?
19. Inspector Gadget - 1983
Whoo-oo! This is an unforgettable song, and probably deserves to be higher, but I'm afraid "Inspector Gadget" is just another one of those things I once loved that Matthew Broderick has ruined for me, along with "Ferris Bueller" and driving.
18. Alvin & the Chipmunks - 1988
Yes, before there was a "Chipwreck" or a "Squeakuel," there was this show I watched religiously every morning in second grade. I love how the theme song is basically just about child actors having their make-up applied. Showbiz!
17. Tale Spin - 1990
The Baha Men's second-finest work.
I've never really understood the concept of this show, though. So it's just "Top Gun"...but with Baloo and friends? Was that the kind of thing that got advertisers to whip out their checkbooks in 1990? (It was? Oh, okay. Tight.)
16. Denver, the Last Dinosaur - 1988
When I saw a character suffer a serious spinal injury at the 0:10 mark, I thought this was going to be a show about a Texas high school football team and the community that rallies around it. But then I realized that this was actually about a goofy brontosaurus with an electric guitar. And somehow everything made sense.
15. TIE - Tiny Toon Adventures - 1992 & Animaniacs - 1993
I'm still not sure what exactly Steven Spielberg had to do with these shows or why they were so showbiz-centric -- what eight-year old cares? But I do recall that the "Tiny Toons" theme taught a young me what "censors" were and that "Animaniacs" taught me the adjective "Shirley MacLainey." So that's pretty cool. I mean, Shirley MacLainey.
13. Defenders of the Earth - 1986
Looo-thar! Defenders of the Earth wins EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS POINTS because it's the only one of our shows to feature MY MOM AS A CAST MEMBER. Seriously, you guys. Cheri "Jedda Gordon" Steinkellner!!!!! Seriously!!!
12. The Bots Master - 1993
In case you guys couldn't tell, the list is officially getting really competitive. The fact that a theme song featuring rapping robots named "the Sports Boyz" only ranks 12th on my list is like a kid with perfect SAT scores getting deferred early action from Yale.
11. Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego - 1994
10. Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears - 1985
It's weird to me how today's generation of kids equate Disney Channel with teen girl sensations like Miley and Selena. For my money, Disney Channel IS and ALWAYS WILL BE Gummi Bears. (And, fine. Fine. I've seen my share of Zack and Cody.)
9. Thundercats - 1985
I always thought that this actual show was sort of boring (usually I'd just sit through reruns of it waiting for Sailor Moon to come on...), but there is no denying the theme song's high-octane eff-yeah-ness. Plus I'm excited for the movie.
(One more thing: we're all allowed to think that Cheetara is hot, right? We are? Great. Moving on.)
8. Jem & the Holograms - 1985
Everybody on this show looks exactly the same, and the only way you can tell the difference is by their hair color, and the way you know you're supposed to root for Jem is because she's the Aryan one.
7. DuckTales - 1987
SHOCKER! DuckTales isn't even in my top six! I expect this to be controversial. I expect my hundreds of thousands of fans to revolt in outrage. I expect to have my mailbox inundated with shiny gold coins and old-timey one-piece men's bathing suits.
6. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - 1989
The thinking man's DuckTales theme song. I rank it slightly above its Disney Afternoons rival. The tiebreaker was that part at the 0:49 mark where Chip and Dale back up into each other while in drag. DuckTales would never challenge the social attitudes toward gender norms in such daring fashion.
5. Pokemon - 1998
Every single person I met in college knows all of the lyrics to this song (that is, if all of the people I met in college were Asian males, which is nearly true).
4. Pole Position - 1984
I know what you're thinking: what the eff is Pole Position? Here's what I'm saying: LEARN.
This Knight Rider rip-off has it all: a super-catchy hook, exciting animation, talking computer faces, an ambiguous monkey/lemur sidekick, and, by far the most important element for any cartoon theme song: brother-sister sexual tension.
3. Doug - 1991
Yeah, yeah, it doesn't have lyrics, but what freaking incredible not lyrics they are!
Sorry the embed link isn't working. Apparently the only working Doug intros on YouTube are the ones from *shudder* Disney Doug.
Yet another way that *spit on the ground* Disney Doug is conspiring to destroy my life.
*Slams head into wall, punches hand through car window, rips off shirt in disgust, and chokes nearby bird.* DISNEY DOOOOUGGGGGGG!!!!!!!
2. Cybersix - 1999
Tell me this isn't the most Oscar-worthy thing you've ever seen. If this is drawn, then how was it so well-shot? I mean, just look at that serious breakfast part! That had to have been directed by David Fincher, right?
Oh, and just so everyone knows, "Cybersix" is about a "a leather-clad artificial human superhero who by day operates behind the guise of a male high school literature teacher, and by night battles the monstrous biological weapons of her creator."
I mean...Hilary Swank, right? Right?!?
And speeeaking of Oscar-worthy...
1. David the Gnome - 1985
Narrated by Christopher Plummer?! Executives in Charge of Production BOB AND HARVEY WEINSTEIN?!?!? (Fun fact: Harvey Weinstein also directed the "David the Gnome" spin-off "The Gnomes' Great Adventure.")
But the real reason this song earns the number 1 slot on the Top 30 Cartoons of All-Time is because of its evocative imagery, its profound character relationships, its stirring chorus, that sad part with all of the rabbits in the rain, and, and, and...
and because it fits perfectly into my vocal range.
Happy YouTubing, everybody!