Let’s take a break from the geek for a moment here and turn our laser like focus on the pop culture world of 1980s television. I recently watched the intros to the shows Taxi and Hill Street Blues and noticed something interesting.
For those not familiar, Taxi was a hilarious comedy running 1978 to 1983 that featured Judd Hirsch, Danny Devito, Andy Kaufman, and Christopher Lloyd among many stars who provided laughs about the lives of taxi drivers. However, I’ve always found the intro to be one of the most incredibly depressing television series intros of all time. You’ve got sad music with a taxi driving across a bridge. Not something that exactly screams, “Get your laughing hats on.”
Hill Street Blues was a drama about a bunch of cops, which ran from 1981 to 1987. I remember my dad watching it and I loved the theme song. I was too young to watch or care about such things as the lives of police men and women in a crime ridden city, but I did have a cheapo plastic cop car that I would pretend was from that show.
Anyway, the funny thing is that not only do I feel that the song for Hill Street Blues is slightly more upbeat, but the imagery is as well.
The first cast member you see is smiling while on the phone, then cut to cop car, then cut to another cop smiling. In fact, out of all the cast members shown there’s 8 smiling and 5 not smiling. Here are shots of the cast in no particular order:
Out of the seven no smiles, Barbara Bosson has a confused or surprised look. I’m not reading unhappy here. And James B. Sikking has what can be read as a sort of silly look. So I’m calling it 8 smiles, 3 no smiles, and 2 inconclusive reactions.
Compare that to Taxi which features 0 people smiling in the intro.
If one didn’t know any better, you’d think that Taxi was the drama and Hill Street Blues was the comedy.
What do you say? Do you have fond memories of either show or do you agree or disagree with my findings?