Four Words We Only Knew Because of Sitcom Opening Themes

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by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in Television

Two things I love more than almost anything – vocabulary and sitcoms. Here are four words we probably would never have started using if it weren’t for these sitcom theme songs.

Confidant

Growing up, The Golden Girls exposed our impressionable minds to a lot of things (especially Blanche). One of the most memorable lessons came in the opening moments of the show’s theme:

‘Friend’, ‘pal’… ‘confidant’? Even those of us who’d never been exposed to the word ‘confidant’ could piece together the idea based on the context, but if you were anything like me, you had to be sure. I always had this permeating fear of using a word whose meaning I wasn’t entirely sure of (which probably stemmed from that afternoon in fifth grade when I asked my mom what ‘pimp’ meant). Her undeniably awkward response was enough to push me to a dictionary for my answers from that day forward.

I’m sure I looked up ‘confidant’ at some point, because I couldn’t risk asking mom and having it turn out to be another word for ‘slut’ or something (yet another term we learned from the Golden Girls- thanks Sophia!).

 

DOA

Allright, we’re already betraying the headline a little bit by sneaking an acronym in here, but my guess is that more than one kid or teen asked someone (a confidant, perhaps!) what the hell that word was in the Friends theme song: “Your love life is… WHAT?”

By now we all know that DOA = Dead on Arrival. But when Friends debuted I was 18 years old (which means many of you reading this were even younger) and the only reason I was familiar with the term DOA was because my dad was a grizzled old cop and regaled us with ferociously inappropriate work stories at the dinner table.

 

Hunch

Frank De Vol and Sherwood Schwartz needed something to rhyme with ‘Bunch’, so they were limited from the start. Assuming they tried mightily but couldn’t wedge the word ‘lunch’ into the theme’s narrative, they were left with ‘hunch’, which seemed to be a fitting word to describe the feeling Mike and Carol got when considering combining their respective and oddly symmetrical broken families.

We’re willing to entertain arguments here- it’s possible that if you grew up watching Scooby Doo: Where Are You? that you were fully familiar with the word ‘hunch’ before you ever heard the Brady Bunch song- it just comes down to which show you were exposed to first (they both premiered in 1969). For our purposes, the nod goes to the Bradys.

 

Circumstance

More specifically, a ‘victim of’. Sure, the Bosom Buddies theme was actually a Billy Joel song that existed outside of the Bosom-verse, but many of us were introduced to it via the charming Hanks/Scolari sitcom.

See? It’s all perfectly normal.

What words did you learn from television theme songs?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Raymond November 6, 2015 at 10:48 am

“Schlemiel” and “schlemazel” from the Laverne & Shirley theme. Although, to be fair, I still have no idea what those words mean.

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Classick November 7, 2015 at 10:12 am

I first learned the word “deluxe” from the opening theme to “The Jeffersons”, but then again, it also made me hungry for fried fish and grilled beans…

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Dex1138 November 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Track down he song DOA by the band Bloodrock. This is how 12 year old me learned DOA.

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@eclectik December 8, 2015 at 11:13 pm

“Opinionation”

Blossom.

wtf.

Reply

Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck December 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm

YES. This is perfect. Exactly.

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