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Psych and the Art of the Theme Song

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I know, you know that I'm not telling the truth. I know, you know, they just don't have any proof.

Nonsensical lines or pure genius?

A little bit less than two years ago I read a short piece in Newsweek which discussed the importance of opening credits. Though perhaps a wise piece – and written by someone with a great first name – I think that he misses one of the most important aspects of any credit sequence, the music. Though often referred to as a visual medium, it seems to me that television is very much an auditory one as well; people wouldn't watch nearly as much television if it was silent.

In between the lines there's a lot of obscurity. I'm not inclined to resign to maturity. If it's all right, then you're all wrong, but why bounce around to the same damn song?

Think back in television history. If you can see the I Love Lucy opening in your head, you can probably hear the theme song. There is no way that you can recall the credits to I Dream of Jeannie and not start singing the tune. And then you have my personal favorites, stuff like Cheers. That series had those great old-looking pictures which so clearly were asking you if you wanted to go where everybody knows your name. How about Friends and those crazy kids playing in that fountain, perhaps trying to make the best of a bad day, finding merriment via their companions – it's like you're always stuck in second gear, and it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but I'll be there for you.

Embrace the deception – learn how to bend. Your worst inhibition's gonna psych you out in the end.

The music and the visuals for those television shows and for so many more are forever fused together; they can't be disentangled from one another. There are shows where the visuals overpower the lyrics and ones where the lyrics overpower the visuals. For my money, one of the best cases of the latter is the show Psych.

The show's theme song, "I Know, You Know" by the Friendly Indians has the same sort of feel to it that the show itself espouses. They ought to be similar, since one of the members of the Friendly Indians, Steve Franks, is one of the creators and executive producers of Psych. Both the song and the show are loud, over the top, and show the same sort of reckless abandon. There is a sense of fun that is imbued in both the series and the song itself that is incredibly infectious.

I tend to watch a lot of television – if alien Alec Baldwin were right, my brains would have turned into gelatinous goo a heck of a long time ago. One of the ways that I get through as much television as I do is by, even if they do set the stage, bypassing the opening credits. Seriously, with the amount of time opening credits take if I skip them, the "previously on," the "next time on," and the commercials I can fit in tons more content. Psych, however, is a show that I not only watch the opening credits of every single time, I sometimes actually rewind them just so that I can hear the song again.

I know, you know. I know, you know…

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
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