At one time, a TV show’s theme song was an essential part of the program. Today, many shows don’t even have them because the network or producers don’t want to take a chance on viewers getting bored and changing the channel while the ditty plays.
If a show is lucky enough to have a theme song and the series continues for a couple years, the music is often shortened as time goes on. The thinking is that the audience is already familiar with the show and the musical opening isn’t as crucial. In syndication, the theme song is the first thing to be clipped down to allow for more commercial time.
A couple years ago, Family Guy did a nice little parody of long theme songs. In the episode No Meals on Wheels, Peter (Seth MacFarlane) and Lois (Alex Borstein) are sitting down to watch a classic episode of Bea Arthur’s Maude. It’s supposedly an early episode that ends up having an extra, extra long version of the theme.
The Family Guy producers are obviously great fans of the Norman Lear-created sitcom. They went to a lot of trouble to craft additional lyrics for “And Then There’s Maude” and to hire a sound-alike for the late Donny Hathaway.
If you’re not familiar with the original, it’s linked below. If the Maude theme is already running through your head, skip to the Family Guy gag below.
Lady Godiva was a freedom rider,
She didn’t care if the whole world looked.
Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her,
She was a sister who really cooked.
Madame Curie was a strong woman character,
working all day in a science lab, yeah!
Clara Barton was a famous nurse,
who was rapping with the soldiers and bandages, too.
Susan B. Anthony, always out doin’ stuff,
Marching around and holding up signs.
Pocahontas had it all goin’ on,
An Indian guide with lots of Indian pride.
Indira Gandhi ran a whole big country,
That isn’t easy even if you’re a guy.
Babe Zaharias was a really good athelete,
Good at track and field and professional golf, too.
Amelia Earhart flew a lot of airplanes,
Except for that one time when she didn’t come back.
Cleopatra lived way out in the desert,
But still found a way to keep herself looking fine.
And then there’s Maude!