Opening credits: Change we can’t believe in

Posted by sara February 17th, 2009 at 11:00am In Amazing Race General The Simpsons

Several media outlets brought the new Simpsons credits to my attention today, and I have to say, this is just the latest in a troubling new trend of shows changing their tried-and-true opening sequences after many, many seasons.

The first culprit: ER. These are the season 1 credits:

Look how young everyone is! This is before Clooney’s Caesar haircut, and before, you know, everybody died. So they ran with a version of this intro for thirteen years. Then, in 2007, someone over at NBC decided that the classic, 43-second opening sequence was just too bulky for the New Show Populated By People We Don’t Care About Please Come Back Noah Wyle. So this is what we get (just the beginning part):

Yep. Five seconds. I can totally understand abridging the credits to fit in more content. Or cutting them down, like Friends did after a few years, because everyone knows what the song sounds like and frankly, can’t stand to listen to it even one more time (clap clap clap clap). But after thirteen years? That is so strange.

Exhibit 2: The Amazing Race. Here are the classic TAR credits (beginning about 6:30 in), including such thirteen-races-old archetypes as Plane Flying, Sun Setting, Cities With Tall Things, Shouting Indigenous Folks, and Indigenous Folks With Indigenous Livestock. And of course, the very important Final Bomp.

Sunday’s first episode of TAR 14 showcased the new credit sequence:

It’s like they suddenly remembered that Jerry Bruckheimer produces this show! And let Michael Bay handle the sound editing! It’s so bizarre and metal-y. And the Final Bomp is sadly subdued.

So the extended Simpsons intro is kind of fitting into the mold, although I’m kind of sad that the Simpsons now have a nicer TV than I do. The credit sequence for The Simpsons has always been more malleable than most shows’ (and I’m not a hardcore Comic Book Guy about the show) so this doesn’t really bother me, but you know, sometimes you need continuity in television. Which is why I watched five episodes of Sports Night on DVD yesterday.


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