At one point earlier today (because I’m such a productive person), I had the ambitious notion that I would attempt to solve the mystery of which nineties sitcom was better, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Friends. After about two minutes of deep thought, I decided I would have a better chance of solving the conflict in Syria.
So I settled on the more reasonable, but still difficult task of determining which show has the best theme song. They might be two of the ten most recognizable songs to any human being born between the years 1980-1992. They are the standard for sitcom theme songs, carrying the torch passed down to them by Cheers. Things have gone downhill lately. The How I Met Your Mother theme song is almost as bad as the show itself. The Office and Parks and Rec theme songs don’t even have lyrics.
Let’s start by watching the Fresh Prince theme song:
Every line is pure gold.
However, after watching that video, I think we’re all thinking the same thing. What happened in the middle of the song?
“I begged and pleaded with her, day after day,
But she packed my suitcase and sent me on my way.
She gave me a kiss and then she gave me my ticket,
Then I put on my walkman and said ‘I might as well kick it.’
First class, Oh this is bad, drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass,
Is this what the people of Bel-Air living like? Hmm this might be alright.”
Ummm….Where the f*ck did that come from? That wasn’t on the show. I’ll admit, they are pretty good lines, but as far as I’m concerned, they don’t exist. I live in a world where “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air” is followed by “I whistled for a cab and when it came near…”
No video in the history of mankind has done more for clapping and fountains than what you just witnessed.
So I think the best way to approach this debate is to go over a few categories and figure out which song has the edge in each one.
Lyrics: Fresh Prince
The edge has to go to Fresh Prince here. The song tells a story. No, it tells a saga…No…a quest.
We all have the song memorized. Some people have the whole Friends song memorized, but they consciously made the effort to do so. No one tried to memorize the Fresh Prince song…it just sort of happened.
I mean how can you deny gems like:
“I whistled for a cab and when it came near the license plate said ‘Fresh’ and there were dice in the mirror.”
I still say “smell ya later” to cab drivers when I get out of the cab. It’s totally worth the extra dollar I tip them afterwards.
The Fresh Prince song doesn’t actually have a chorus, it’s just one long verse. The Friends song will get stuck in your head. There’s no avoiding it. You don’t have to know the words. As long as you see one episode, then the rest of the day you’ll be singing “I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour…I’ll be there for you…something something something….I’ll be there for you… Cause you’re there for me too….Doo doo do da doo doo da doooooo.”
Diversity: Fresh Prince
The Friends video has exactly zero non-white people in it. The Fresh Prince video has exactly one non-African American person in it…the cab driver.
Point Fresh Prince
Karaoke Friendly: Tie
It really depends on what caused your intoxication.
If you are drunk off of clear liquors (vodka, gin, tequila, etc) then you’ll be much more inclined to sing the Friends theme song.
If you are drunk off of beer or perhaps whiskey then you’ll be saying “West Philadelphia, born and raised” way before your cue to start.
If you aren’t drunk at all then you really need to get off the stage. Karaoke machines should have reverse Breathalyzers.
Largest Appealing Demographic: Fresh Prince
This was hard. Look, if you enter a room full of sorority girls and play the Friends theme song, shit will hit the fan faster than the Rachel/Joey relationship ended. There will be screaming and jumping and off-pitch singing.
In fact, any group of girls are bound to get excited. But I’m not sure you can say the same things about guys. Sure, I’ll be humming the song under my breath for the next two hours, but I won’t be openly excited.
On the other hand, there’s no one who won’t get pumped to sing along with the Fresh Prince song. Don’t believe me? Test it. Walk up to a stranger and say “I got in one little fight and my mom got scared.” Then wait. They’ll try to resist, but eventually they’ll mumble “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.” And you better believe they’ll point their index finger back and forth while they do it.
Winner: Fresh Prince
What can I say? They won more categories. The video had a lasting effect on me. For the longest time I thought that someone picking you up and spinning you sideways is what it was like to get your ass kicked.
I want to make one thing clear: there are no losers in this showdown. We’re all winners for having experienced these songs throughout our lives.
For all you people disappointed that Friends didn’t win I know how you feel. I mean, no one told you life was going to be this way. Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA. It’s kind of like your life’s always stuck in second gear. It hasn’t been your day, your month, or even your year.
I used to feel the same way…till I looked at my kingdom, I was finally there to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.