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It Looks Like Your Sweater’s Attacking You.

May 25, 2010

Last year I visited my parents and after much encouraging from my mother, I brought back my childhood Casio keyboard they got for me as a present years and years ago.  I’ve been playing my beloved keyboard off and on these past few months, and it’s amazing what songs pop back up in my fingers after only a little tinkering.  I took 8 years of a piano lessons and hated most of it, because I wasn’t so great at classical music; but I am a decent keyboardist in terms of playing chords and accompanying pop songs, occasionally busting out a solo riff or picking out a melody by ear.  One of the first times this happened was when I figured out that the “flute” sound on the Casio was exactly like the flute sound in the theme song to the sitcom I Married Dora, and after some Sunday morning inspiration hit in 1987, I plucked out the tune excitedly, playing it over and over again.  My mother, in the midst of getting ready for church, busted into my room and asked me to bring it down a notch.  She said something about it being “too early in the morning” for such shenanigans, which I thought was weird at the time since everyone was already awake for aforementioned churchgoing.  Now as an adult, I realize probably the shrieking electronic piano tones were a just bit much to handle before coffee and hymns.

What was that?  You don’t remember the I Married Dora theme?  Oh, well here you go.

Yep, that’s Juliette Lewis as a teen.  And starring the great Elizabeth Pena.  The premise of the show was something terrible, like a widower needs a maid and she doesn’t clean houses but she needs a green card, so they get fake-married, or real-married but occasionally they have to act married, but mostly it’s a bumbling Who’s the Boss, attempting to flip it and add class and race issues.  It probably did this badly, I cannot vouch for the quality of the episodes, because I only remember two things about the show. Well, ok, three if you count the theme song first.  I remember an episode when the Dad is going out on a date, and he comes down in an outfit that was quite popular among preppies at the time:  khakis, a white button down shirt, a sweater tied around your shoulders and some boat shoes.  He turns to Dora (Pena) and asks, “how do I look?”  and she answers, “it looks like your sweater’s attacking you.”  And it did!   And I never wore my sweater again that way and whenever I saw anyone else with it, I thought about when sweaters attack.

The other thing I remember is the final scene of the final episode.  Given recent discussions at Fry Butter about tv show cancellations, it seemed appropriate to unearth it:

(I really love youtube for confirming all these things in my brain as real and not dream memories.)

Elizabeth Pena was the reason I watched that sitcom, I was in love with her after seeing La Bamba, and though she popped up all over the place for awhile, I wouldn’t see her in a role that did her justice again until John Sayles’s movie Lone Star in 1996.  Then in 2000 she reunited with my other favorite La Bamba actor Esai Morales when she popped up in a Showtime drama series, Resurrection Boulevard, which focused on an Angeleno family comprised of three generations of boxers.  The show wasn’t exceptional, it was solidly good nighttime soap drama with cable freedom to show sex and swearing, but after 3 seasons it petered out.  Now my beloved Pena is floating around, doing the round of guest spots (NCIS, Numb3rs, Without a Trace, Ghost Whisperer) in between small movies.  Where is her star vehicle??  I’m still waiting.  Esai Morales has landed on the show Caprica and his presence has convinced me to keep half-caught up with the series — it’s decent, but it’s no BSG.  Then again, there’s also Polly Walker, so I might start get it together to focus my attention.  However, Polly Walker also headed up the television show Rome, which despite being critically-acclaimed got canned, so perhaps I shouldn’t get too attached to that series either.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2010 10:16 am

    It does not surprise you to hear I remember this show. AAFES/AFN was notorious for broadcasting failed and recently canned sitcoms for entertainment in our outposts in K-town, Wiesbaden and various other locations.

    I Married Dora and Oh Madeline were two of my favorites. I laughed like a loon at both your Casio – handclaps on overdrive and “It looks like your sweater is attacking you.”

    Both of which I remember.

    This was amazing, Ray Ray.

  2. May 25, 2010 10:25 am

    I’m not much of a musician but I always loved figuring out on my recorder the (mainly woodwind) themes from movies, TV shows and pop songs. “Suicide is Painless” and the instrumental breaks in “California Dreaming” and “the Boxer” are some of my favorites.

    That ending was so satisfying! More shows should end that way.

  3. raymondj permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:36 am

    oh Madeline!!! she never got the proper star vehicle she deserved either. did you watch the Ellen Burstyn Show? Elaine Stritch as her mom and Megan Mullally as her daughter? they could air that show now and it might be a hit, damn. at the very least, a 30 Rock writer owes them dinner.

    @redlami — i just got myself a melodica and i’m doing the same thing as you are with that recorder!!

  4. kia576 permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:44 am

    I think I Married Dora aired on Fridays during its initial run in the States, so I associate it with elementary school style weekend fun, pizza & bowling parties.

    How fun is a “full” theme song & opening credit sequence. I really miss that from network tv.

  5. raymondj permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:47 am

    so true, I often bemoan the lack of proper theme songs in television nowadays. What will the kids sample in 15 years?!?

  6. tonyinabag permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:59 am

    They did a marathon of season/series finales on TV Land like, 6 or 7 years ago on New Years Eve and my bff and I were at home drinking instead of going out to the bar. We watched the I Married Dora finale and both of us were like, “omg, did that really happen?”

  7. raymondj permalink
    May 25, 2010 12:08 pm

    @tony: that was pretty much my reaction when I watched it air live in 1985. I believe it was the first recorded incident of me saying “oh no they didn’t!”

  8. May 26, 2010 7:34 am

    With the exception of King of the Hill and Boston Legal I can’t recall most television show theme songs. Do many still even have them?

    (man jazz vocalizing)


  9. kia576 permalink
    May 26, 2010 7:55 am

    I don’t think any of the network TV sitcoms have theme songs anymore, they get straight to the action with any credits rolling under the opening scenes.

    HBO shows always have great ones. I usually watch Treme’s instead of fast forwarding through.

  10. May 26, 2010 8:03 am

    I have definitely booty quaked to this HBO show theme:

    probably my favorite show theme in the last decade. It was also my ringtone for like three years.

  11. kia576 permalink
    May 26, 2010 8:56 am

    Ivan Neville’s (son of Aaron) Dumpstaphunk did an amazing cover of that song. Seeing them perform was as much fun as I have ever had at a live music event.

  12. evmaroon permalink
    May 26, 2010 11:09 am

    This is why you’re so awesome.

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