Song Fu Challenge #1

ByJoCo May 29, 2008

The challenge was to write a theme song for a TV show about ourselves (or in my case, me). I thought about it for a very short time before deciding that such a show would probably include some kind of monkey. Possibly even a monkey butler. Here’s the pitch for the show, which is obviously called “Monkey Shines”:

I am a stuffy, middle aged bachelor with an enormous inheritance. The monkey is a charming but unpredictable rake, who is also a master thief. In the pilot episode he is arrested while trying to steal my collection of jewels. He charms the judge, who much to my dismay orders that as a condition of his probation, the monkey must become my butler. Hilarity ensues as we try to live together, each of us coming to learn and appreciate the other’s perspective on life.

I think it’s got to be a talking monkey, I really don’t see any other way. Voting has begun: please do not use your sheer numbers to overwhelm the competition.


Jeff Little says

That's right... I suppose numbers and fanbases do count. We didn't think this through... I don't think our fan is up to the task of finding hundreds of unique IPs to vote for us from. Bummer. Well, thanks for instructing your peop's in our favor. Doubt it will work... loyalty sucks for the competition.

Spiff says

Sounds like someone's a little worried their Fu may not be up to snuff? ;)

Christophano says

Am I the only one who would totally watch that show?
It sounds great!

SevinPackage says

Sounds like a more believable version of Silver Spoons.

I'd watch it.

Okay, everybody, let the Overwhelming commence!

eliannrad says

I'm going to make my sister vote on her computer... and possibly my brother on his computer.

thomast says

So, where's your Big Yellow Hat?

Scarybug says

I have to choose between JoCo, Paul & Storm, and Venture Brothers creator Doc Hammer???

Nooooo! My brain will explode! Can't you all win?

Kelfazin says

Well, not sure if it's my browser here at work, but I can't scroll past JoCo, the page keeps popping back up to the top. While that's well and good because JoCo rocks, it means I can't get to the voting form! Will try again at home this eve :)

Roberto says

Is it just me, or is there a Seinfeld "vibe" to that story? (look for "butler")

Martha Rose says

Would so watch that show. :)
Ended up voting for Paul and Storm, though. You need no help (as evidenced by the current tally ^^), and gosh-darn-it I do like those Western whip-lash effects.

Marcy says

You got my vote. Monkeys win. Always.

M_pony says

What do you mean "Can't they all win?" They ALREADY all win, sheesh! :)

And as much as I totally lurvz ya I also voted for P&S.. it was the "LalalalaLalalalalaa" line in the chorus that nailed it for me. ;)

Secundus says

This show has to be animated. It could never work in live action.

OR, it could be literally LIVE ACTION. Every episode broadcast Live in real time. One hour of your day with the monkey!! But then it couldn't talk...

Roman V says

@M_pony, I'm with you on that one. Plus P+S definitely got the "in the style of a classic television show" rule the best.

Roman V says

I'd say you have the advantage though, being that the system is "write a song in a week".

Demetrius says

You could go for a "ripped from today's headlines" angle. Is this monkey butler equipped with a robot arm that he can control with his mind?

Kaethe says

Is this meant to be a Seinfeld reference? I think that was vaugly the plot of the sitcom Jerry and George where pitching to NBC.

Andrea says

You guys, I notice from the voting numbers that the contestants are not getting as many votes as the masters. About 100 people less voted in the contestant category! So don't forget to listen to and vote for the challengers as well as your choice of masters.

I went with Elaine Chao Finnell, but there were many strong ones.

Cliff says

I'd also totally watch that show.

I BEG of you, JoCo, to write out a few more verses for that for the "extended opening credits". It's a great song, and deserves the two-thirds of the votes it has for the Masters of Song Fu.

Brie says

Heh. Cool song. The electric guitar part is very Journey-esque. (That's a compliment, BTW.)

HellZiggy says

I'd totally watch that show, but I gotta admit I liked Paul & Storm's song a little bit more.
For the challengers there were about 4 or 5 I really liked, but I went with Run At The Dog. They were both good *and* from the greatest city in the country - Minneapolis!

~Sharon, Mpls. Merch Minion

Arlen says

Voted for JoCo and Lex Friedman. Inspector Gadget homage was too good not to honor.

Trampas says

Was it just me, or did you automatically discount any theme songs that were just lyric changes of real theme songs? Wasn't it supposed to be a "songwriting" contest? -Just my two cents.

Loved both JoCo's and Paul and Storm's!

LoonieBin says

If the monkey was a master thief, why was he caught?

art says

paul and storm needed the vote so i voted for them...sorry. your winning anyway. lol

Elisa says

I'm already singing it to myself and have sent it to a friend. Catchy, sir. :)

Frederick Heath-Renn says

He's a master thief, but not a master escaper.

Voted for Paul & Storm - but JoCo was second.

Jack F says

Love your song - there's some great sitcom cliches - but Paul and Storm beat you on this one. (Sometimes you just need to tell a dick joke and ride off into the sunset.)

Kyevan says

See, now I have this image of a cross over between Paul and Storm's show, and JoCo's.

"And the Lord ended the world, because He had gotten the result He wanted."

Joe Ardent says

In spite of my allegiance to Doc Hammer, I must ruefully admit that "Monkey Shines" is the best TV theme song presented there. Damn you, Jonathon Coulton, and your mastery of Gen-X pop culture asthetic!

Bill says

Is it just me, or does that TV show pitch remind anyone else of the pilot pitch for Jerry's show on Seinfeld?

LSK says

Could you add this to the downloads page?

Scarlett says

Wait, is the backup singing "JoCo?" Ha...

Mark B. from Austin TX says

Well, I have to say that Paul and Storm's entry is very good, and I also like the 3rd guy's song, although his vocals aren't as good as the other two entries. I think it's going to be a very close contest.

Lhyzz says

That was a great theme song! :) *vote*

About five out of all the challengers were really good; Broad Band Fiasco, Elaine Chao Finnell, Cloakie, To Serve Mankind, and Run At The Dog... hard to choose from. If I could have gotten the voting on the challengers to work, I think it would have been Elaine Chao Finnell... just because we need more women in comedy/novelty/whatever music.

whall says

I listened to almost all of theme - I'm amazed at the talent out there. Well, except for germ.

anyway, I don't see a voting form; seems others might be having the same problem.

Let me know if I should just hack in and make your votes 12.54 % higher than the difference between 2nd place and 3rd place.

Scarlett says

Run At The Dog's song kinda freaked me out... it was so... cheerful... *shudder*...

BigHollywoodProducer says

As a big Hollywood producer, let me just say that "Monkey Shines" did better with focus groups than 93% of the shows we've tested recently.

Next time you're in LA have your people call my people. We'll do lunch.

Anton says

And quickstop entertainment is down. Did we hit it too hard?

Lindsay says

I was so impressed with all these contestants, I wish I could vote more than once! (Well, I tried on my mom's computer, but it seems to have the same problem as a lot of other people with the page not loading properly.) I did vote for you, JoCo, though it was a pretty close toss-up between you and Paul and Storm. I wound up just liking your song better.

There were about 3 of the challengers that I would have voted for if I could... I wound up going for Cloakie because he got the old-fashioned vibe so well, and it was funny/ridiculous, and he wrote a great pitch of himself. It's too bad most of these contestants seem to be pretty obscure, cause there's a few I'd like to hear more of.

Hepcat says

Dude. Sorry to see your Twitter that you have the stomach bug. I just was at Wiscon, where more than 50 people dropped from that (including me), or as we've taken to calling it, WisCholera.

Drink lots of Propel and get lots of sleep. Feel better!

ryan says

filk parody of still alive

buschap says

Wow. Strong late showing by Paul and Storm.

There's some interesting game theory there. People opting for their second choice when JoCo was so far in the lead at the outset, maybe.

Way to keep it exciting, Internet.

Naruki says

Is anyone else from here having trouble with the voting? If so, and you've managed to fix it, what'd you do?

rozwarren says

I just tried to vote and couldn't. I didn't manage to fix it. I'm a boomer. I predate computers and fixing them completely is out of the question.

rozwarren says

I was trying to say fixing them is completely out of the question.

Teppesh says

As much as I love JoCo and P&S, I have to say that I was won over by the stylings of Doc Hammer's "Man of Steel, Badge of Tin." I would totally watch a show about a half-robot, half-cowboy.

Cloakie says

I hope I can get some more votes on Thursday, the WKRP Guy just pasted me up in by a small margin.


Kyevan says

Cloakie: Eh. You're song's OK, but the Nazi bit kinda was a minus, in my opinion. Maybe because it reminds me of the really terrible propaganda comic covers and Bugs Bunny cartoons I've seen.

So, for the Masters, I'm stuck between Jonathan Coulton, and Paul and Storm. I love both songs, but I can only vote for one. So it all comes down to an age-old question: Monkeys or Dick Jokes?

The Challengers are in a similar spot: I can't pick between Elaine Chao Finnell's Cubical Gopher, and To Serve Mankind's To Serve Mankind.

... Actually, the two pairs are very similar. Each has one calmer song (Elaine's or JoCo's) and one more energetic one (Paul and Storm's or To Serve Mankind's). Each has a one-man (or woman) and a two-man entry. Hmm.

Cambiata says

I want Cloakie to win. :( Or at least come in second to RatD. He DEFINITELY shouldn't be losing to a WKRP knock-off. On the other hand, no one should (because even if they're bad, an original song is better than a stolen one).

Kyevan says

Like I said, I like most of the style of Cloakie's entry, it's just the particular subject matter of this song is a turnoff.

This doesn't bias me against him, though. Different songs are different. Even for my favorites, there are a few songs I hate.

Cloakie says

It takes all sorts. Thank you, Cambiata and all the others who have made me blush. In addition, thanks to who at my surprise started a campaign on their website for me.

This was fun, I still plan on making a song for the second challenge although I didn't move to round two.

Ride the tiger,

Eric Ginsberg says

This wreaks of 80's-esque montage openings, like Golden Girls, Who's The Boss and Charles in Charge. It's a winner.