They Might Be Giants and Kids Shows: A Study

I always remembered seeing references to the band They Might Be Giants on Nickelodeon. I never thought too much about it until we started delving into kids shows on this blog. I started thinking about how much they were mentioned (which wasn’t much, but it was enough to make an impression on my small brain I guess) and how their songs appeared in many different shows.

I can’t really make a connection as to why they were so popular with a children’s television network. Maybe they knew someone who knew someone that enjoyed their music. It makes sense because for a band, their material wasn’t very “mature”. I don’t know why I put that in quotes. I honestly get so confused when it comes to quotation marks. I swear I have a college degree.

The first show that they were mentioned on was probably Clarissa Explains It All. She never actually explained why They Might Be Giants was in love with Nickelodeon or vice versa, but she mentioned liking the band. Fair enough. They have some fun songs that a pre-teen girl like herself would enjoy.clarissa

Okay according to our research base (Wikipedia) Clarissa’s character confesses her love (in the first episode!) for John Linnell from TMBG. Like, who enjoys the band that much that they know the names of the members? I knew Clarissa was weird, but I didn’t know she was that weird. I guess she had their posters all over her room as well. Just to make damn well sure people were convinced that she was a fan. It’s like, okay we believe you.

Oddly enough, TMBG had some tunes played in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures. I distinctly remember an episode where the characters made their own music videos to a plethora of different songs and there were not one, but two TMBG songs slipped into the mix. Now that I think about it, I guess they weren’t music videos per se, but the characters acted out little scenes to the songs. The songs that were in the episode were “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”. Fascinating, right?

*Let me just note that I used a TMBG song in one of my science projects about the sun. They have a whole song about it and I played it at the end of my report and passed out Sun Chips. I know, I’m a creative genius.

Another Nickelodeon show that could get away with almost anything, KaBlam!, mentioned TMBG and even played one of the band’s music videos called “Dr. Worm”. I actually have that song on my iPod. It’s pretty enjoyable. I remember when my brother and I saw/heard it and how we were instantly intrigued.

One of the most popular links to the band was through the intro to Malcolm in the Middle. The band managed to stray from Nickelodeon and do things that they never dreamed of doing—theme songs. Malcolm in the Middle had a pretty catchy one though, can we all agree? And such relatable lyrics! Who doesn’t like singing, “You’re not the boss of me now!”?

Other lesser known shows that the band lent their musical talents to were Disney’s Higglytown Hereos, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Meet the Robinsons. Embarrassing.

I think we can all agree that They Might Be Giants had a cool connection to kids shows in the 90’s and now it’s just weird. Like, can they make any normal songs?

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6 thoughts on “They Might Be Giants and Kids Shows: A Study

    • Thanks! I felt pretty clever coming up with it. But I guess all the facts were on Wikipedia anyway. It’s like not possible for me to have an original thought anymore hah!

  1. I think TMBG are actually known as a kid’s band. I used to look up concerts and at different venues and they were always doing noon shows for kids. So really Clarissa was weird for being so into them. I think their music speaks most to rebellious 8 year olds. I think you’re the only person who put this connection together. I typed in “why were They Might Be Giants all over Nickelodeon” and this was the first thing that came up and pretty much the only thing. Copyright this idea, just in case.

    • Haha oh really? That makes more sense then. Lol I could totally see them doing shows at noon. Haha Clarissa was just so weird already. She never wore any normal clothes.
      I typed it into google too and nothing came up. Hmm I probably should copyright this since it’s the only creative thought I’ve had for a while.

      • I think they started as “modern rock”/”quirk pop” (I didn’t make up the latter term, but I like to use it to describe some things that fall outside of normal genrefication). They were big on “college radio” (which is a term I think they use to describe things that are too shitty or too awesome to be played for the mainstream, stupid conformist mainstream). Maybe they got sick of the non-lucrative college kid/”where can I download that, dude?” crowd and decided to go where the money is: kid’s entertainment. Did you know The Wiggles earned $45 million in 2009? I’m going to stab myself in the eye.

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