Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears
We have Michael Eisner to thank for this series, which Wikipedia tells me was “loosely inspired by the gummi bear candies,” and that qualifies as one of the most hilarious things I have ever read. I mean, it’s a fair assessment, as real gummy bears would be hard to eat if they were wearing clothes. And... talking.
The Gummi Bears’ theme song, like many theme songs of its era, meticulously explains the setting for the series, which is sort of a medieval fantasy in which the Gummis are trying to reclaim a lost kingdom. So it’s like Game of Thrones, only animated.
Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers
If I’m honest, I don’t remember that much about this series, aside from the unavoidably earworm-y intro song, a gorgeously stereotypical example of 80s adult-contemporary pop. I may not have even watched it very often, except for the intro; I had a similar relationship with another Disney afteroon-cartoon of the same period: Talespin. Great theme song, mediocre show.
I do like that Chip ‘n Dale’s apparent predilection for dressing in drag was specially highlighted in the intro sequence. Cartoons just don’t do drag like they used to.
Tiny Toon Adventures
Apparently in 1990 there was some concern that old-school Bugs Bunny wasn’t “gnarly” enough for the new generation, so they made this bizarre redux of younger counterparts to the well-known Warner Bros characters of old. This was inane because a) BUGS BUNNY IS NEVER UNCOOL and b) many of the cartoons centered on newly created characters anyway, like those three boring pigeons [ETA: these were actually on Animaniacs, whoops!], or the little girl who hugs everything.
I never understood that, just like how "Garfield and Friends" was mostly cartoons about a bunch of unfunny farm animals (the “friends”) with very little actual Garfield, which was all anyone wanted! WHAT THE HELL, CARTOONS?
Catchy intro track, though.
(And no, I am not including Animaniacs on this list. Freaking dog-mouse proto-hipster sociopaths. I even hated their theme song.)
In its heyday, I thought "Muppet Babies" was the greatest television show ever conceived and probably would have fought anyone who disagreed. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s aged nearly as well as the original "Muppet Show," or, um, even as well as "Jem," which I watched recently on Netflix and found totally lacking in the stratospheric coolness I rememeber.
That said, I still sing the theme song to my cats. With updated lyrics about how cute they are.
WOO-OO! "DuckTales" was a cartoon about Mitt Romney and his rise to power, even while dealing with his three annoying “nephews” who inexplicably live with him. I think they’re his kids, but I don’t want to start any rumors.
Seriously though, "DuckTales" is the very pinnacle of late 80s cartoon theme songs. Nothing does it better. Life is like a hurricane, you guys. Life is like a hurricane.
Your turn! What did I leave out? Let's argue about it.