Welcome to another edition of Rich Karski’s A SONG I HEARD TODAY: the only music review column that eschews the concept of gender because I don’t care if my dog is a boy, mascara makes him look adorable.
One thing I will say about writing this column is that it has really fucked up my routine of listening to the Replacements when I’m feeling good and listening to Mazzy Star when I’m feeling bad and occasionally listening to some ‘90s slow jams when I’m feeling sexy. Making an honest attempt to broaden my horizons has been mostly annoying because I hate everything and think everything is bad and anything unfamiliar to me is extra bad because if it were good I would already know about it because I am a distinguished man of culture and taste.
Sometimes, however, I go down these rabbit holes that result in me actually remembering that there are great things out there that for whatever reason I forgot about because I can only fit so much information in my brain and I need to know how to recite the alphabet backwards for legal reasons.
This week’s rabbit hole was a great one, because I spent a lot of time dicking around on YouTube and listening to old TV theme songs. You remember TV theme songs, right? If you saw that weirdly awesome Too Many Cooks thing that was on the internet a few months ago, this is what they were making fun of. They were songs that played before TV shows in the ‘80s and ‘90s so you knew what TV show was on because how else were you supposed to tell all of those white people apart?
It was a little hard to choose the best one for the column, because pretty much all of them are about how families should stick together and everything used to be a lot better than it is now but hey AT LEAST WE HAVE LOVE AND EACH OTHER AND LOOK SOMEBODY IS BAKING COOKIES AND SOMEBODY ELSE IS SHOOTING A BASKETBALL!
I decided to go with perhaps the most popular, and most recognizable of all the TV theme songs: Gary Portnoy- Where Everybody Knows Your Name which should just be called the Cheers Theme Song because that’s what it is Gary you better fucking relax with naming a song something that it isn’t.
The artist, Gary Portnoy, is probably a made up guy because that name is very dumb and I don’t believe for a second that this song wasn’t written by Ted Danson. Would a network allow Ted Danson to write the theme song for his own show? Probably. That’s one less person they have to pay and Ted Danson is a man of many mysterious talents. Also if you rearrange the letters in “Gary Portnoy” you get “Gay Porn Troy” which, as everybody knows, was Ted Danson’s stage name when he first broke into acting in the world of homosexual pornography. I see you Ted Danson.
Upon first listen, really all you can think is “Oh hey, ‘Cheers’ is on. Let’s go watch ‘Cheers’ you guys.” Why would you listen to this song on its own without the promise of Woody and Norm’s wacky antics immediately to follow? It’s just jarring.
The first verse is the one everybody is familiar with. About making your way in the world and taking a break from your troubles and what not. But were you aware that there are MORE verses? Several actually! Gay Porn Troy must have been doing a lot of cocaine if somebody said “Hey we need you to write a theme song for our TV show” and his response was “Great! I’ll make it eight minutes long!” Look Gay Porn Troy, everyone is just here for the money shot. They don’t need all that back story. You of all people should know this. The next verse is where it gets real weird.
All those nights when you got no lights/the check is in the mail/And your little angel hung the cat up by its tail/And your third fiancé didn’t show
Hey so maybe you’ve been left at the altar three times because you’re poor as shit and your child is a psychopath. You’re raising a future serial killer, who will need intensive therapy to prevent him from slaughtering prostitutes from coast to coast, and you don’t even have enough money to pay your electric bill. “WELP, I’M GONNA HIT THE BAR!” Not that I can blame you, but if that’s your attitude you don’t get to complain.
Then we hit the chorus, which we all know. Everybody knows your name, they’re glad you came, everyone’s got the same problems, Ted Danson is there, blah blah blah. You know what that sounds like to me? AA. Everybody has to introduce themselves, everybody is an alcoholic, and they’re real happy they’re not the only ones in the room because otherwise they’re going to relapse and it’s going to be all your fault for not showing up. Also, Ted Danson is there.
A bar where everybody knows you and has the same problems as you sounds like a fucking nightmare as well. It actually sounds more like a family Christmas party than a bar. Everyone is real happy to see you at first and then they all get drunk and start yelling about how everybody else fucked up and somehow ruined their lives.
I want a bar where I’m anonymous and nobody gives a shit that I’m there. I want people with different, worse problems that make me feel better about my problems. “I have a mood disorder that prevents me from experiencing real joy or sadness and I’m going through a creative crisis that is making me seriously consider giving up on my dreams and falling into the dull monotony of a middle management consumer’s life in a capitalist society.” “Well, I got my dick bit off by a shark.” I don’t want to be around people like me. I hate people like me. I want to hang with the shark dick guy.
Roll out of bed Mr. Coffee’s dead/the morning’s looking bright/And your shrink ran off to Europe and didn’t even write/And your husband wants to be a girl
Yes there’s another verse, and no this one doesn’t make the least bit of sense. I’m trying to figure out what the fuck this guy is talking about and I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it. Look, this is a fucking show about getting drunk with your mailman and you’re turning it into a more desperate version of “What About Bob?” Also, is Mr. Coffee the name of your fucked up kid’s cat? I hope it’s just a metaphor for not having any fucking coffee because I can’t deal with you bringing a dead cat into this equation. Why would you give a shit if your therapist didn’t send you a goddamned postcard from the Leaning Tower of Pisa? You’re the reason your kid is a monster. Also you should respect your husband’s wishes you transphobic piece of shit. There is nothing good about you.
Next they just repeat the chorus over and over like some sort of “ONE OF US ONE OF US” chants to try and trick you into losing all hope and sinking into the vile world of Gay Porn Troy and his minions. This song gets a D- because it’s clearly just a cult recruitment song and the thought of being happy in a bar is disgusting and the beer is probably poisoned so that you can all join Captain Troy on his final voyage to Dicktopia upon a giant dick shaped spaceship.