I've seen a bunch of great posts in the past couple months listing favorite credit sequences and opening themes, which got me thinking about one of my favorite television gimmicks: Taking the normal opening credit sequence and winking at the fans by twisting it somehow, or using it in an interesting way. Here are five of my favorite examples.
1. Boston Legal - In this fantastic clip, Jerry describes a song he sings in his head to Shirley, and when she asks him to sing it for her, it segues into Jerry singing along with the opening theme (which I already love):
2. Veronica Mars - At the very end of this clip, Wallace expresses surprise that Veronica knew someone. Veronica says, "We used to be friends. A long time ago." Which in the episode, of course (though not in this clip, sorry), segues straight into the fantastic Dandy Warhols theme song, with the lyrics "A long time ago, we used to be friends." Ah, so deliciously meta:3. Holiday-themed credits! This example is from Psych's holiday special last month:4. The Simpsons - In the beginning of this episode, Skinner installs vending machines in Springfield Elementary, which Bart uses to gorge himself on junk food. "Three weeks later..." we get this parody of their usual opening credits sequence, but with an obese Bart:5. The X-Files - I don't have a clip of this, unfortunately. The show's usual opening credits sequence would end with the famous "The Truth is Out There" tagline splashed across the screen. Occasionally, though, the tagline would be replaced by something pertinent to the specific episode, such as "Trust No One," "Apology is Policy," or "All Lies Lead to the Truth." (You can see the full list here.) It was always pretty exciting for us X-Files dorks when it happened--just a little extra nugget of information for those who were paying attention.
Feel free to chime in if you have any favorite special or cleverly-used opening credit sequences! I'm sure there are a zillion examples out there--these are just the best ones that came to mind.