Sunday, September 24, 2006


Theme music and the incidental music for TV series don't mean squat to the tele-folks who live within those TV shows. Although the theme music underscores their actions and might even pre-determine their moods, they are unaware of it pervading their surroundings.

Except for Lt. 'Columbo'. It's obvious that he has a touch of tele-cognizance because he can actually hear the incidental music, as demonstrated in the episode "Last Salute To The Commodore".

In the scene when he has gathered all of his suspects together to determine who killed the Commodore and then his son-in-law as well, Columbo demands absolute quiet as he listens to the Commodore's watch.

Apparently it's not quiet enough because once again he calls for silence. This time, the incidental music cuts out.

And Columbo responds, "Thank you."

It's a good thing this little talent is not available to all police detectives in Toobworld. The theme music for the 'Inspector Morse' series contains a musical version of Morse code which spells out his name. The incidental music does this as well in most of the episodes, spelling out the names of various characters - oftentimes the murderer!

Had Inspector Morse the ability to hear that music, he'd solve the case before it had even begun, and then we would have been denied the chance to enjoy as much of John Thaw's performances as we were lucky to get.

I bring up the theme music for TV shows because I've been enjoying 'Justice' on FOX these last few weeks. Too bad I'll be abandoning it for 'Lost' once that returns on October 4th.

For its theme music, 'Justice' is using 'Lawyers, Guns, and Money' by Warren Zevon:

"I was an innocent bystander
But somehow I got stuck
Between a rock and a hard place
Send lawyers, guns, and money......"

For those of you familiar with the song, you'll notice there's a line missing: "Cuz I'm down on my luck."

Those who don't know the song might think that the rhyme should have been some other word ending in "uck" which could apply to the legal system.......

There's room to have kept it in - the producers throw in a guitar riff between the last two lines to replace it. So why did they take it out?

I would think a person who's down on their luck would want the best law firm in the City of Angels to represent them and get them out of whatever predicament they're in.

Perhaps the producers didn't want the audience confused into thinking that to have chosen the law firm of TNT&G was the last possible resort.

I don't have anything against using established rock and pop songs as TV theme songs - I like the various songs of The Who for the 'CSI' franchise, although only the first one actually was relevant. I don't even mind them in commercials, for the most part. After all, had it not been for the VW Cabrio blipvert, I'd never have been introduced to the magical wonderment of Nick Drake.

But I don't like them getting twisted for the sake of the new use. So here's hoping that someday soon the producers of 'Justice' will return that snippet of the song to its original version.


"Enjoy every sandwich!"
Warren Zevon
'Late Night with David Letterman'

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