Sitcoms are a dime a dozen—major entertainment networks such as NBC, CBS, and FOX cycle through them at a rapid pace, each with their own premise and title theme songs. Speaking of the latter, a number of shows last long enough that their signature song becomes instantly recognizable. However, a few of these themes become something more—a celebrated track forever enshrined in the minds of viewers across the world, symbolizing good memories of the times spent watching and laughing at the trials of their favorite comedic characters. Why not rank the best ones?
The bizarre, keyboard–produced slap bass central to Seinfeld’s theme has no business being so enjoyable, but the simplistic and funky noise somehow works its magic to create a jazzy harmony. It’s an unforgettable vibe that has the viewer reminiscing of silly, random escapades around the city alongside a few friends.
7. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory nails its own content in the opening piece—Barenaked Ladies sings at a speedy pace about a classic trope of science nerddom: the big bang and the history of the universe. The rapid–fire delivery is fun and catchy, as viewers have to rap along to “The earth began to cool, the autotrophs began to drool/Neanderthals developed tools/We built a wall (we built the pyramids)!”
6. Curb Your Enthusiasm
With the tubas pumping and the strings humming, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s theme is an idyllic beat that perfectly captures the bumbling, stumbling nature of Larry David’s fictionalized version of himself. The song is completely pleasant, like the soundtrack to a smooth stroll in the park with a few hijinks.
5. The Jeffersons
Full of an irresistible swing, Ja’Net Dubois’s “Movin’ On Up” opening for The Jeffersons has everyone clapping along with the accompanying choir. The song is the ideal choice for dancing with a partner in a freestyle around the floor—the rhythm is incomparable as Dubois hits all of her notes.
4. The Office
The Office achieves the feat of having a 30–second title track that entirely encompasses the feeling of nostalgia—from the moment the first piano chords begin playing, a surge of happy memories floods the viewer’s mind. The unique sound of the melodica adds a sweet depth as the drum beats along in the background.
3. The Simpsons
A fully orchestral track, the title song for The Simpsons is a piece fitting for the longest–running American sitcom. Composed by the critically acclaimed Danny Elfman, the woodwinds and strings are excellently balanced in a style similar to that of a 1950s band—it’s sonically pleasing and full of unforgettable riffs and chromatic scales.
As Gary Portnoy’s classic opener for a legendary show, the Cheers theme is a special piece that could have been released as its own single and still been successful. The piano is beautifully bittersweet, while the lyrics convey a longing for a place where one feels like they belong—a sentiment held by people everywhere. At the end of the day, “You want to be where everybody knows your name.”
1. The Fresh Prince of Bel–Air
Was there any doubt that this would be number one? Philadelphia’s own Will Smith was building off the success of his early hip hop career when he became the lead of The Fresh Prince of Bel–Air, and he promptly delivered the show’s iconic tune. From the moment Smith begins rapping the opening lyrics “Now, this is a story all about how/My life got flipped—turned upside down,” the groovy vibes are infectious—the viewer is already hooked and humming along for the next two minutes.
Honorable Mentions: Malcolm in the Middle, Friends, Family Guy