The 5 Worst Sitcoms With the Best Theme Songs
You couldn’t pay me to watch a full episode of The Cleveland Show, but at the same time, if you offered me $100 to sit through the show’s entire theme song without moving to the beat, I’d be boogying away empty-handed.
The history of television is littered with unwatchable, uninspiring and unfunny sitcoms that live on only as interesting footnotes on Scott Baio’s Wikipedia page. Back in the Golden Age of the multicam, networks hastily filled their vacant time slots with cheap, crappy shows that were essentially star searches for whichever diamond in the rough would go on to star in a hit series after the first one bit the dust. It didn’t take much to make a sitcom in those days — you just needed a core cast of three-to-six attractive twenty-something actors, a soundstage with a distinctive set, a live studio audience and, of course, a catchy intro and outro tune that signaled to viewers who were nodding off that Charles in Charge was about to start, and they had less than 30 seconds to change the channel.
Over in the sitcoms subreddit, TV comedy historians recently attempted to answer the question, “What's the worst TV show with the best theme song?” Here are their top picks, starting with…
The Big Bang Theory (2007 - 2019)
“Worst,” in this case, is a highly subjective term, seeing as Chuck Lorre’s much-dunked-upon sitcom about horny nerds is objectively one of the most commercially successful television shows of all time. At the same time, however, The Big Bang Theory is also one of the most passionately hated shows in the history of the internet forum — but even the anti-Lorre legion must admit that Barenaked Ladies laid down a sick track in the intro.
The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983)
It’s probably not a good sign that the funniest part of the short-lived ABC superhero show was how, halfway through the first season, the showrunners were forced to change the lead character’s last name from “Hinckley” to “Hanley,” lest audiences assume that he has some familial relation to the man who shot President Ronald Reagan. However, “Believe It or Not” is a genuine bop that topped out at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Cleveland Show (2009-2013)
Even Seth MacFarlane’s many haters must admit that, though they may find his humor to be immature, his writing shallow and his characters annoying, the man knows how to write a goddamn ditty. Compared to American Dad and, of course, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show is MacFarlane’s single weakest animated series by far. Maybe he should have just made it into an album.
Mister Ed (1961-1966)
The whole “talking horse as the central character” premise was finally nailed by BoJack Horseman almost a full half century after the antiquated Mister Ed went off the air. However, there’s a good chance that a large number of sitcom fans who weren’t even alive when the adaptation of Walter R. Brooks’ short stories was on TV can sing along to the line, “A horse is a horse, of course, of course…”
Charles in Charge (1984-1990)
Confoundingly, the premise of, “What if Scott Baio was a babysitter?” wasn’t only enough to get this snoozefest greenlit, it got Charles in Charge through five unremarkable seasons and 126 totally forgettable episodes. However, the theme song had that airy, light, 1980s singer-songwriter feel that inspired covers long after the show bit the dust.