Even those who hate Zooey Deschanel‘s cloyingly “adorkable” onscreen persona must admit she’s a decent songwriter. She and Him, her band with M Ward, has put out consistently solid retro tinged pop records, proving her the exception to the rule that actors shouldn’t dabble in musical vanity projects. Which was why I was sort of interested to hear the full version of the theme song she wrote for New Girl, currently streaming over at Vulture. Could it be that something redeemable had come out of that painfully un-funny excuse for a sitcom?
Not really. It’s perky and annoying. (In fairness, I should mention that Zooey’s more nuanced work is not.) The way she phrases the word “lolli-pup” makes my skin crawl. But it does do a fairly good job at capturing the show’s mindless tweeness, so I guess you can’t blame Zooey if that’s what she had to work with. She gets herself into dicier territory, however, when discussing her inspiration for the track.
“There were theme songs I had in mind as inspiration, like, I love the theme from Welcome Back, Kotter,” she recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “John Sebastian wrote that, from The Lovin’ Spoonful. I really love that sound, so I wanted something upbeat that really felt like a theme song.”
Here are the first two lines of the theme song to Welcome Back Kotter:
Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out. Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about.
Here are the first two lines of the theme song to New Girl:
Hey girl, whatcha doin? Hey girl, where ya goin’?
Can you spot the differences? The theme to Welcome Back Kotter sets up the serious premise underlying the show’s comedy, while New Girl‘s theme song sets up that the show has no premise. And no, sunshine and lollipops don’t count.