The Hilariously Depressing Theme Songs of Classic TV Sitcoms

    August 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

    For some reason, in the 1980s, there was a huge influx of lighthearted TV shows about heartbreaking premises. Some of these situation “comedies” went so far as to bum the viewer out before the theme song was over:

    1. Dear John

    Dear John

    What Was It about?

    Man with no life joins a support group after his wife leaves him

    Answering the question, “could anything be more lamely depressing than a sitcom based around a one-sided divorce?” is the show’s intro. Each week, viewers are treated to the sight of John’s horrible heartbreaking moment:


    2. Empty Nest

    empty nest wide

    What Was It about?

    Widower finds himself living with his two wacky daughters

    It’s okay for a sitcom to be based on a traumatic moment, in fact it’s quite common. But, why does the theme song have to hammer home that moment of true pain every single week? If every show did what Empty Nest did, Full House would’ve started with the lyrics, “whatever happened to the mom of this family? Oh, that’s right: Car accident, it was on Evenin’ TV!”

    3. M*A*S*H


    What Was It about?

    Medical unit tries to stay punchy despite being surrounded by the stark landscape of war.

    This lyric-free intro is superimposed with scenes of what is supposed to be the Korean War. Also the name of the theme song is “Suicide Is Painless”

    4. The John Larroquette Show

    john larroquette

    What Was It about?

    Recovering alcoholic becomes night manager of a bus depot

    Another theme song which takes the worst, most depressing part of the show and hammers it home. John Larroquette’s character trades all his possessions for alcohol and ends up sleeping in an alley:


    5. Punky Brewster

    punky brewster

    What Was It about?

    Spry youngster is abandoned by her mother, then taken in by a grumpy old man.

    The intro starts with the recently-abandoned Punky trying to help people carry their groceries in exchange for food money. Then, she breaks into a decrepit tenement to sleep. We always assumed that, somewhere between the two events, she did heroin.

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