TV Adaptation Theme Songs

Sep 17, 2021

Oscar Award-winning composers Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez are the geniuses behind that WandaVision song "Agatha All Along," for which the world is forever indebted to them. So, it was only right to give them a chance to show off their TV theme song chops! In this music parody game, the lyrics of older TV theme songs were changed to make them about recent TV series, based on books. Step aside Marvel, there's a new "most ambitious crossover event in history."

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

They're back. Kristen and Bobby Lopez wrote the music for "Frozen," "Coco" and are the ones behind that "WandaVision" song "Agatha All Along." They've also won every single award available. But it pales in comparison to their greatest accomplishment, having appeared on ASK ME ANOTHER a record five times. This will be their sixth. Kristen, Bobby, welcome back. Hello.

KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Hi.

ROBERT LOPEZ: Hello.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Thanks for having us.

LOPEZ: Yeah, thank you so much for having us.

EISENBERG: I think it was the last time we talked - but it could have been two times ago - that you were both experimenting with some pretty high-end pizza combinations.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Ophira.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Literally, last week, I told him, like, you've developed a strange tic where whenever we run out of something to think about or talk about, he just goes right to the default of talking about pizza. I'm not kidding.

(LAUGHTER)

JONATHAN COULTON: What sorts of things does he say about pizza?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: It's a weird, as the kids say, hyperfixation that he's got right now where there's a little pause, and then he'll go, I've been thinking about experimenting with a thicker crust.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I feel like this is a relatively typical, like, dad-in-the-middle-zone-of-his-life thing...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

COULTON: ...Is that your children are now old enough that you don't have to constantly tend to them and take care of them, and you have - but you have all this energy from doing that. And so you have a new child, which is pizza.

LOPEZ: Exactly.

EISENBERG: So - but I'm just guessing that you also have been working so much during this time - "WandaVision," which, of course, you also did a lot of writing for with a different song for every episode.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Yep. That was the most fun job ever. That really was a dream job.

LOPEZ: It was a blast.

EISENBERG: All right. So this is perfect segue way because - I'm guessing, but you tell me. Did you listen to a lot of TV theme songs as you were working on "WandaVision"?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: A fair amount, though they live...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Like, they live in us. Sorry. I just - I got so excited about it that I hit...

LOPEZ: She just smashed the microphone.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: ...The microphone.

EISENBERG: It's fine.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: No, really. Like, theme songs and...

LOPEZ: They live in us.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Theme songs...

EISENBERG: Hear this? That's inside of me.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: ...And '80s jingles are all just there. I won't remember what we did yesterday. But you name me a product from the '80s...

EISENBERG: Oh.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: ...And I can sing the jingle.

EISENBERG: OK, perfect. So, I mean, the big trend these days, of course, is shows based on books. But the trend we miss in TV is theme songs with lyrics, right?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Yes.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

EISENBERG: I miss that so much. So who is going to solve this problem right now? This game...

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: All right.

EISENBERG: ...And Jonathan Coulton.

LOPEZ: All right.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Go Jonathan Coulton.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: We have changed the lyrics of older TV theme songs to make them about recent TV series based on books. You can earn a point by telling me the name of the TV show that I'm singing about, and another point by telling me what TV theme I am singing, all right? You ready?

LOPEZ: All right. Ready.

COULTON: OK. OK. Here we go.

(Singing) Just...

You probably know what it is already, right?

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: (Singing) Sit right back and you'll hear a tale.

LOPEZ: (Singing) Sit right back and you'll hear a tale.

COULTON: Yeah, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: OK. Here we go.

(Singing) Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a wealthy town, the scandals that enveloped it and the lady whistled down. With pregnancy, fake dating, too, an evil Duke and his son, a judgy queen and lots of sex in the Regency style.

LOPEZ: Very good. I like that.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Woo (ph).

COULTON: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: All right. Well, we know it's "Gilligan's Island."

LOPEZ: That's the tune.

COULTON: Yes.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: That's the tune.

EISENBERG: Yes.

LOPEZ: Isn't it "Bridgerton"?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: The TV show - yes, "Bridgerton."

COULTON: It is "Bridgerton."

LOPEZ: Yes.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Yes.

COULTON: That is correct.

EISENBERG: That's right. Shonda Rhimes could make a retirement home sexy, I swear.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: (Laughter).

COULTON: All right, here's another one for you.

(Singing) Here's the story of a secret agent who was feeling just a little bit ignored. She was always on the case, never ending, but she was getting bored. It's the story of a rogue assassin who knows how to draw Polastri from her shell. She's a killer and she's a fashion icon. Her name is Villanelle.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: (Singing) It's "Killing Eve."

COULTON: (Laughter).

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: (Singing) It's "Killing Eve."

LOPEZ: (Singing) It's "Killing Eve."

COULTON: That's right.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: (Singing) That's the theme song about the show "Killing Eve."

LOPEZ: (Singing) Killing...

(Vocalizing).

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: (Vocalizing).

COULTON: (Vocalizing). Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Right on.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Yeah. And that's "The Brady Bunch." Yeah.

COULTON: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Was "Killing Eve" based on a book? We have to get that book.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: It was. It's a whole series of books - the Villanelle series by Luke Jennings. Yeah.

EISENBERG: And I'm going to say, this is inspiring in a way that they were all first published as e-books.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Huh.

LOPEZ: Wow.

EISENBERG: Yeah. This was...

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Wow.

EISENBERG: ...Something very recent.

LOPEZ: They're environmentally friendly.

EISENBERG: Yes, that's true.

COULTON: (Laughter) That's right.

EISENBERG: That's a good point. Never thought of that.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Talk about pizza, honey. Talk about pizza.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Stick to pizza. All right, here's another one.

(Singing) You get the best of both worlds - time travel surprise, Scotland's full of hot guys. You get the best of both worlds - got a second husband and you're living in the best of both worlds.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: That is "Hannah Montana." And...

COULTON: Oh, yeah.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: ...That is "Outlander."

COULTON: Yeah. That's correct.

EISENBERG: Nice.

COULTON: Well done.

LOPEZ: I'm just glad we're on the same team for this one...

(LAUGHTER)

LOPEZ: ...Because I didn't know that one.

COULTON: All right, here's another one.

(Singing) Life is like a ren faire here at Oxford. Demons, witches, army bands - visit new worlds. It's Armageddon. Might dethrone heaven. Dust tales - woohoo (ph).

LOPEZ: OK, so...

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: All right, we know it's "DuckTales."

LOPEZ: "DuckTales," right?

EISENBERG: Yeah.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: We know it's "DuckTales."

COULTON: It is "DuckTales."

LOPEZ: And it's "The Golden Compass," right? It's the...

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Oh, yes. It's "His Dark Materials."

LOPEZ: "His Dark Materials."

COULTON: "His Dark Materials" - that is correct.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Yes.

COULTON: Well done.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: With Lin-Manuel Miranda...

COULTON: That's right.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: ...Our buddy and friend - which is the same thing.

(LAUGHTER)

LOPEZ: Redundancy.

COULTON: All right, here's the last one.

(Singing) Thank you for being a pal, though I'm an angel and you're from hell. Find ourselves in a kind of divine detente. But if you swap the Antichrist, then heaven's armies got involved. It's not remiss to fight that old apocalypse. But it's reasonable to say, I think the world's going to end.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Nice.

LOPEZ: That's good.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: OK, so it's definitely "Golden Girls." And it's that show...

LOPEZ: "Lucifer"?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: ...That has the word omen it.

LOPEZ: Oh.

COULTON: Not a bad omen.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: A good omen. "Good Omen" (ph).

COULTON: "Good Omens" - that's correct.

EISENBERG: Yes.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: We have not gone down the "Good Omen" pathway, as you can tell, but everyone has told us we should.

EISENBERG: Yeah, Sophia is the devil.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I would watch that show.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Let's just - let's just fight for humanity out on the lanai.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.