Stop The Presses!

The Sticky Icky Ticky Tacky TV Theme Song: Why Changing The Opening Credits Has Changed An Entire Series

Stop The Presses!

The former theme song for the TV show Weeds, Malvina Reynolds' 1962 classic song "Little Boxes," is sorely missed.

Despite still being one of the best programs on all of television, the show has lost something and hardly seems to be the great green show it once was since changing the opening credits. The former opening theme song, "Little Boxes," was pure early pop candy that was eerie enough to stick in any audiophile's head long after Weeds had been turned off.

"Little Boxes" was originally written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, but it was not made popular until Pete Seeger's version came out in 1963. The lyrics describe what would eventually be the inevitable sprawl of suburban living. Neighborhoods were built shabbily--and in record time, Reynolds was inspired to write this while living in California in the early 1960s and saw the beginning of the homogenization of America. Her lyrics describe the sameness that would eventually take over large areas of the nation. Not to exclude the people lodging in these homes, Reynold's also refers to the sameness amongst the dwellers.

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

The version used in Season 1 was the original song by Reynolds. After the series became a huge hit in its first season, several other artists covered the song during seasons 3 and 4, including Elvis Costello, Death Cab For Cutie, Ozomatli, Randy Newman, Billy Bob Thornton and even Linkin Park. On the premiere episode of season 4, the Reynolds version was used for the final time.

Another show that was able to use the several versions of the same song was The Cosby Show. "Kiss Me," the show's opening song, was composed by Stu Gardner, Bill Cosby, and seven different versions were used for The Cosby Show. One final version was written for the final episode that had never been used. However the original song was still used.

Theme songs set the tone for TV shows and having a revolving door of musicians and versions of a song could have been risky. But now that Weeds begins with simply a short melody and credits that change weekly and usually suggest hints at the episode's plot, it seems as though something is missing. Sitting down with the "ticky tacky" was part of the fun of watching the show centered around a suburban mom selling the sticky icky--who may look the same, but surely is not.

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