'Better With You': Theme songs are better with Ben Kweller

better-with-you-casey-mia.jpgTelevision fans, it's time that we face the facts. It's a sad, sad truth, but one of television's most beloved traditions is on the endangered list.

Yes, we're talking about the TV theme song. What is the world coming to when we can't come home from a long day, settle in in front of the TV, and sing along to the opening credits of our favorite show? Heck, even "Glee" doesn't have a theme song. It's a travesty.

Don't lose hope, comrades. We've still got gems like ABC Wednesday's "Better With You" to bring some musical joy to an otherwise dreary landscape full of block-lettered title cards and that creepy dun-dun! gong from "Law & Order."

Having a theme song was important to creator and executive producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan. "I know that theme songs and main titles aren't in vogue anymore, probably because shows have gotten shorter and shorter and the writers need that time for story, but I have always loved them," she tells Zap2it. "I like that they are presentational and allow you that time to set your drink down and call off to a family member, 'It's on' before the show starts."

Goldberg-Meehan reached out to indie-pop singer-songwriter Ben Kweller when it came time to choose a song, and he wrote an original full-length track to fit the show. "I think Shana is a genius and I'm thrilled to be a part of one of her creations," he says. "I genuinely enjoy writing music for TV so I get excited no matter what, but working with her is quite special."

Once he got to know the show's characters, writing a fitting theme came naturally to Kweller, who has been writing and playing his own songs since he was a teenager growing up in Texas. "Writing it was quick and easy. What kicked it off was a guitar riff I've had floating around since I was 16," he says. "Watching the pilot did the rest - the juices started flowing and I finished it in about 2 hours backstage after a show. I was on such a roll, I recorded a demo and e-mailed it off to Shana that night."

That 13-year-old guitar riff served the show well.

"I love the lyrics that he wrote for this," Goldberg-Meehan says. "I like what this song says about the show - the idea that in a good relationship the whole is greater than the sum of its parts or as Ben puts it, 'even at my best, I'm better with you'."

Kweller makes sure to tune into the show. "It gets better every week and I love the cast. It's funny -- I feel so proud of them! I don't know them, but I feel like I do. The thing we have in common is that we've all been working so hard on our respective parts and now to see the show live on TV is such a thrill."

Like any true TV fan, Kweller knows the significance of a perfect theme song. "
My 4-year-old was watching 'Scooby Doo' reruns the other day, and I was thinking how that show wouldn't be 'Scooby Doo,' if there wasn't 'Scooby-dooby-doo, where-are-you!' for over a minute!" he says. "I was raised on classic TV themes like 'Growing Pains' and 'The Jeffersons,' so I totally approach theme writing from a traditional standpoint. I actually had no idea that theme songs are generally not created for TV much anymore due to time constraints!"

We've got to take a stand for theme songs, America. It's for the good of the industry! We still find ourselves humming the theme to "Gilligan's Island" or "The Brady Bunch." Do you think that 40 years from now, people will find themselves humming the "Law & Order" dun-dun! in their kitchen? No. But they just might still be getting the catchy "Better With You" theme stuck in their heads (while they float around on their hoverboards, of course).

Catch Reba McEntire's highly anticipated guest-starring role on tonight's (Nov. 17) episode of "Better With You" -- after you listen to Kweller's theme, of course. If you can't get enough, you can listen to a 45-second preview clip of the song below, and when it strikes your fancy, click here to download the full-length track for free from Kweller's ABC Music Lounge page.

Yes, we said for free. You can also check out the "Better With You" music lounge page to preview even more music from the series, which airs at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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Photo Credit: ABC