Friday, June 3, 2011

Idiot Boksen - The Worst Opening Credits in TV History

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 4:20 PM


Opening credit sequences can be elaborately beautiful gateways, preparing us for our favorite shows. Or they can be painfully distracting to the point we groan and pray for TiVo. This post is about the latter.

(Before we start, I'd like to mention Dan Gibson's post about H8R, wherein fame whores like Kim Kardashian and Snooki confront poor, common schlubs who've denigrated them in some form. I can't fathom a worse idea. From the previews, it doesn't even look like Kim's "h8r" even said anything mean. Kim Kardashian and Snooki are rich, no-talent hacks, famous because of America's obsession with wanting to feel better than rich, no-talent hacks. Please, please show up at my door with cameras, because I will be ready to say the same thing.)

(Wait. I can fathom a worse idea. It's called WyNRS. Camera crews follow Ken Lay and Bernie Madoff as they confront all those stupid jerks who complained about losing their life savings. Pure gold. Call me, CW, and we'll work out the deets.)

So, anyway . . . bad opening credits.

Last week, I heaped praise on HBO for its innovation and attention to detail in main titles. They've aired some of the best openings of all time. Then, of course, there's Entourage.

I don't want to get into the show itself, which purported to skewer celebrity early on before taking a hard right turn into unfiltered d-baggery, but those credits are just bad. They're gaudy, dull, and depressing, and they're set to Jane's Addiction's "Superhero". I just watched them three times, and it's like someone took an iron file to my nerve endings. Why the credits don't illustrate the brotherhood between characters or glamorous views from the Hollywood Hills is beyond me. I'll give credit where credit's due, though: after 59 seconds of this tripe, sitting through 30 minutes of Adrian Grenier's acting isn't quite so painful.

We could spend the whole column running through horrible '80s openings, but most would run together after a while. Not so with Small Wonder's credits, which stand out in their singular incompetence.

Who edited this thing? Take a look at the :27 second mark, where it becomes quite clear Vicki the Robot is, indeed, a robot. She has circuits in her back! That shot lasts 2 seconds.

But then we zoom in even further to a wavering shot of the circuit board itself, which blinks and presumably beeps if that inane theme song wasn't playing over it. You know how long that shot lasts? 4 seconds. I timed it. It's the equivalent of saying "Vicki is a robot. YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME!?! HERE, I'LL PROVE IT!!! LOOK AT THIS, YOU DULLARDS!!! LOOK AT IT!!! SEE? CIRCUITS!!!"

In compiling my best credits list, I considered adding The Brady Bunch. They're iconic, explain the show's backstory, and the score is an earworm.

You know what ruins them 37 years later? Public knowledge the whole cast was ostensibly banging each other. Those familial glances take a creepy turn when you know Greg was trying to get with Carol and Jan and Marcia had a lesbian tryst. Poor Alice...the eye of the hurricane, that one.

You know what I hate, man? The suburbs. Those stupid suburbs. They're all the same, man. All those rich whiteys up there drive their Land Rovers, and all their Land Rovers are all the same. And they all jog on the nice little manicured paths. It's all so pretty and manufactured. But you know what, man? It's not all pretty. Those people have dark secrets, man. They just gloss it over with their cookie-cutter McMansions.

(I can't embed this video, unfortunately, so you'll have to go here to view it.)

We get it, Weeds. The suburbs are homogeneous black pits where culture goes to die. Self-righteous urbanites were railing against the suburbs three decades ago. Note to screenwriters: if your concept is plumbing depths previously explored ad nauseum by Desperate Housewives, it's time to find a new angle.

(Which reminds me of this documentary I heard on Radiolab. You think the downfall of humanity will come about through rampant greed and violence? Blatant disregard for the environment? Nuclear annihilation? WRONG. The end will come because of...wait for malls. DUN DUN DUN. Yeesh. I'm no fan of big box stores or sprawl, but give me a break.)

It's one thing when a bad show has a bad main title, but there's a unique sadness when you have to suffer through a horrendous opening to get to a great show. Such is the case with Veronica Mars, a terrific hour of television marred by :30 seconds of a crap song by The Dandy Warhols, the only band in history with a lead singer less appealing than Anton Newcombe.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor later had a cameo once where he sings karaoke. It was horrifying.

Fortunately, Veronica Mars decided to switch things up for Season 3. Unfortunately, in a crushing blow to reason and virtue the world over, they simply used a wrought out remix of the same song, and the opening credits got even worse.

It wasn't as if the opening was the only bad thing about Veronica Mars, but at least they had the good sense to get rid of boring characters like Jackie and Duncan Kane. Thankfully, creator Rob Thomas later absolved himself by creating Party Down.

As far as the worst is concerned, I think I'd have to go with Entourage. At least Small Wonder has some comedic value.

Honorable mention goes to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, though a spoof from South Park makes it much more bearable.

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