Thursday TV Throwback: ’90s Cartoon Theme Songs

animaniacs_620_081612.jpgIn our quest to bring you the best TV reading, sometimes we have to look… backwards. That’s why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist.

This week’s theme: ’90s Cartoon Theme Songs!

Long gone are the days when you could be in another room and hear your favorite cartoon’s theme song come on the television, signaling that you had exactly thirty seconds (give or take) to sprint to the kitchen, grab your TV-viewing snack of choice, and plop down in front of the screen for another thrilling edition of… well, whatever it is you were watching at the time. Do modern-day cartoons have the same signature jams? Not even close. Are we so wrong for pining for a simpler time? A time when cartoon theme songs flowed freely, like a plunging mullet over a jean jacket or a rainbow waterfall on a Lisa Frank trapper-keeper.

Need your fix of TV cartoon theme songs? Here’s what our staff picked in this week’s throwback.

Shaunna Murphy: Animaniacs

I don’t know what this says about me, but I always wanted to join them on their madcap adventures. I was jealous of Dot. She was so CUTE. Also, they introduced the world to Pinky and the Brain, which is my other favorite ’90s theme. 

Matt Patches: Mummies Alive!
A cartoon only I seem to remember, Mummies Alive! wisely uses its minute-long theme song to explain its bizarre premise: mummies who come to life at night to fight crime in the name of the present day reincarnation of Ramses. 
Alicia LutesDisney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears!
It is probably one of the most annoying theme songs, but also the catchiest. My brother, sister & I would sing it non-stop whenever it came on and I’m pretty sure by the end of season one my mother wanted to murder every single gummi bear. I guess it’s no surprise that we weren’t allowed to eat gummy bears as snacks after this.

Michael Arbeiter: Freakazoid!

Calls his home the Freak-a-lair. Freakazoid. Fricassee. Floyd the barber cuts his hair. Freakzoid. Chimpanzee.

Brian Moylan: Jem

Sorry, everyone, but there would be no awesome ’90s cartoon theme songs without the ’80s, and the ultimate musical cartoon of all time: Jem!

Anna Brand: Powerpuff Girls

God, I always wanted to be Buttercup because she was feisty with black hair and mean green eyes. Plus they got to fly and fight crime + the forces of evil.  

Abbey Stone: Duck Tales

“Life is like a hurricane…” Gets me every time. I definitely still know every word of the Duck Tales theme song, even though at this point I can barely recount what the show is about. And it has a bridge! What theme song do you know that has verses, a chorus, and a bridge? “Duck Tales, Woo-oo!”

Kelsea Stahler: TaleSpin

How many cartoon intros involved cartoon bears dressed like gangsters and Carmen Miranda? Only Talespin. This theme song consists mostly of “oh-ee-ays” and “oh-ee-ohs,” but riddle me this: what other children’s show theme song inspires as much actual dancing as this island-life anthem? That’s what I thought.

Amanda Villarosa: Doug

I am all about Quailman.

Marc Snetiker: Hey Arnold!

It’s not exactly the most lyrically elegant of theme songs — all of the spoken lines come from Helga yelling — but the jazzy jam is exactly what ’90s kids remember when they think of this tale of struggling children in the inner city. Oh, did you not realize that that’s what this show was about? It’s called hindsight, people.

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