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Cartoon Intro Cavalcade: "The Tick" (1994)

The Tick (1994) is another example of how a theme song can do a whole lot of the heavy lifting in setting the tone of an opening sequence, and by extension an entire series. Doug Katsaros provides a metric ton of retro swing for the theme song, with scat singing that’s so over-dramatic that it becomes funny all by itself. Even without any visuals, the theme song already signals that you’re in for something pretty unapologetically silly.

That promise is borne out by the accompanying footage, which is a highlight reel clipped from the first 7 or 8 episodes of the series. It’s extremely efficient at introducing a lot of the show’s major characters; visually explains the Tick’s nigh-invulnerability, arachnid strength, and dim-bulb personality; and highlights a few of the series’ most memorable supporting heroes and villains, like the Tick’s sidekick Arthur, American Maid, and Dinosaur Neil. The crew also seems to have worked hard to sync up the music with the images, which makes the whole more than the sum of its parts. I think the bit where the song syncs up with Mr. Mental screaming at the Tick remains one of the funnier moments of the series, managing to make me smile every single time I see it.

Enough. If the best thing about The Tick‘s opening sequence is how the theme song can do the heavy lifting, then the best thing I can do is get out of the way and let it do its thing.

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