I’ve discovered the secret to happiness. Or fleeting, temporary happiness in any case (isn’t that what all happiness is? -Ed). It’s meant easier mornings and enduring feelings of contentment that last until at worst 11am. That’s a victory in my eyes. It’s simple (relatively speaking). When I departed New Zealand I hosted a Comicon themed leaving party. To cultivate a certain atmosphere, I made a six hour playlist containing 250+ TV theme songs (which probably took a mere 12 hours. It’s about priorities, people). Out of mostly flippancy (and to kill time) the other night I threw it on while my girlfriend and I cleaned up post dinner. Something stirred in me, feelings of nostalgia, comfort and inner elation. It was electric. For the past three days I’ve listened on my way to work, on the way home and ridden those feelings in both directions. I can tell you now, it’s pretty damn difficult to hold a dour expression while Samurai Pizza Cats worms its way through your brain.
Wait, let’s just take a minute to appreciate the absurdity of Samurai Pizza Cats. From a brief wiki read, due to poor or non-existent translations of the Japanese version, the US dub took a complete overhaul of the dialogue. It was littered with relevant pop-cultural references and quick witted humour, a far cry from the considerably less ridiculous original. It shows even through the intro, which as a 29 year old still makes me laugh. “They’re stronger than old cheese!” The singer proclaims. “They’re stronger than dirt!” Either this means they did a hellava job pitching beyond their target demo or I still possess an infantile sense of humour. The verdict’s out on that one. The show is straight up bonkers and well worth the few minutes I’ve spent reminiscing over it.
That’s what this playlist is though, constant reminiscing of rosier, innocent times. It’s reaffirmed my belief that I have no place ever talking smack about the programming kids watch these days, because without a doubt I viewed dumber shit. Would you believe me if I told you that back in the 90s Disney leveraged their ownership of the Mighty Ducks franchise into an animated series? Would this entirely believable scenario seem a smidgeon more peculiar if I said it involved anthropomorphic alien ducks from an frozen planet devoted to ice hockey coming to earth and thwarting evil with weapons centred around ice hockey gear? Because that happened and I LOVED IT.
This playlist has made me realise that my favourite cartoons as a child could best be summed up by a Venn diagram featuring the circles “animals/dinosaurs”, “super heroes” and “robots”. It explains my love of Denver the Last Dinosaur (dinosaur circle, obviously), Batman the Animated Series (also just an impeccable cartoon) and Transformers. It points out why the Dinobots were my favourite Transformers (intersection of dinosaurs/robots), but also my love of Dinoriders and Dinosaucers.
It’s easy to see why this playlist perks me up so easily. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, but it’s more than that. Intro songs are meant to get you pumped up for what you’re about to watch, right? There’s usually a jaunty tune, or in the case of shows with a convoluted sci-fi plot they’ll often do a full spoken word plot outline to ease you in (as I’m sure anyone who gets a memory triggered by the words “our world is in peril” can attest to). There’s something truly uplifting about being constantly bombarded with flashbacks to things that were frivolous and easy to buy into. The days when you could just casually watch a show with no concerns for continuity, before we binged everything as a matter of course. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way we watch now. I want to be gripped, to be immersed so fully into a world that I can identify with its characters. As a child though? With the kind of attention span children have?
Well I just wanted cheesy intro songs that explicitly described everything I’d see if I stuck around.