Curb Your Enthusiasm

Music in Media / For Some Cable Television Comedies, Bizarre Is Better

By Andrew Thomas


I’d like to take a moment to discuss an area of composed music that is frequently overlooked: comedy.  Consistent with the attitude of the rest of the industry, comedic music is seen as the cheap, uninteresting little brother of the bold, exciting dramatic score. Want proof? In the 12 years since the Academy stopped giving Oscars for both comedic and dramatic scores and consolidated them both into one category, only one comedic score has actually won (Michael Giacchino’s, for Up.) And only 7 of the 60 nominees in that span were comedies, and 5 of those were animated. 

But I don’t even want to discuss music in comedic features. I’d like to draw your attention to a few programs that are doing interesting things with music on the small screen. Comedies on cable are employing music in ways that network comedies and studio features wouldn’t even consider, using it not just to create mood and reveal emotion, but also to set up expectations and then defy them, or even comment on the on-screen action.

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TA Mixtape / Music In Media: TV Dinner

by Andrew Thomas

“It just sort of introduces the idea that you’re in for something pretty idiotic.” – Larry David

I love food. I love eating it. I love making it. I love talking about it. I love hearing people talk about it. I even love watching people make it on competition based television shows. Unfortunately, those shows by nature must leave out one of my favorite elements of food: the smell. When you enter a restaurant owned by a knowledgeable chef, you’ll notice the immediate presence of a powerful, distinct and pleasing aroma. It heightens the anticipation. It lets you know the type of food is on the way. It focuses your senses on the tastes and textures to come.

A good theme song is the television equivalent to a tantalizing aroma before a delicious meal. It whets your appetite for the rest of the show. The tone of the song will let you know if the show will be light, dark, comedic, dramatic, intense, intelligent, unconventional, or any number of things. When you hear the twanging guitars and mournful fiddle of Deadwood’s Opening Sequence, you know you’re not in for a buddy cop comedy. When you hear The Barenaked Ladies prattle off a Brief History of The Universe, you know you’re not watching a show about a rape lawyer.

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