Once there was a little girl, a girl who could make fiends! She kept the whole town terrified, the girl who could make fiends! Then there came another girl, who wanted to be FRIENDS! Vendetta cannot stand her, so she plots her end!
It's Adventure Time, come on, grab your friends, we'll go to very distant lands...
Teacher's Pet: "Born on the wrong end of the leash he was a dreamer, and a little schemer. A simple mutt living a dogs life, but when he heard the bell for school, he started to drool. One day he said: "I'll take a chance" (trade his leash for a pair of pants). In a glance, which becomes his favorite pastime. I have buried a bone for the last time. I wanna be a boy. He's all over just being rover. I gotta be a boy. This teachers pet's gonna be a boy"
The Plucky Duck Show, the short-lived spin-off of Tiny Toon Adventures, likewise has a long tell-'em-everything theme song. "The writers ... are hackers/The artists all went crackers/The actors ... are yakkers/But don't complain — it's free!"
"They're Pinky and the Brain! Yes, Pinky and the Brain! One is a genius, the other's insane! To prove their mouse-y worth, they'll overthrow the earth! They're dinky, they're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain!"
Danny Phantom: "Yo Danny Fenton he was just fourteen/when his parents built a very strange machine..." — neatly saving the producers from having to force the audience to sit through a tedious getting-his-powers episode at all.
O'Grady: "Not easy to believe that this stuff is real/Sometimes it's kinda cool, but mostly just annoying/Paranormal world, I guess it's a weird place"
Clone High: "Way way back in the 1980s / secret government employees / Dug up famous guys and ladies / and made amusing genetic copies..."
Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a subversion of this: the hip-hop style Theme Tune introduces the main characters, but doesn't match the theme of the show, nor do the lyrics accurately describe them.
James Bond Jr. (abysmal cartoon about Bond's nephew): "... he learned the game from his uncle James..."
Jane and the Dragon includes a theme song that helpfully explains that the show will be about Jane. And a dragon.
George, George, George of the Jungle! Strong as he can be! (AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!) Watch Out for That Tree!! George, George, George of the Jungle! Lives a life that's free! (AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!) Watch out for that tree! When he gets in a scrape He makes his escape With the help of his friend An ape named Ape Then away he'll schlep On his elephant Shep While Fella and Ursula stay in step With George, George, George of the Jungle! Friend to you and me! (AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!) Watch out for that tree! Watch out for that (AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!) tree! George, George, George of the Jungle! Friend to you and me!
The other segments in the show had 'em too — complete with catch phrases — for Tom Slick and Super Chicken.
Teen Titans: "When there's trouble you know who to call/Teen Titans!"
According to the first season DVD bonus features, Glen Murakami (I believe) lamented the fact that "cartoons don't have theme songs nowadays" like "The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family" and actually set out to make sure Teen Titans would. So there you go.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! Absorbent and yellow and porous is he! SpongeBob SquarePants!...
One fine day with a woof and a purr/A baby was born and it caused a little stir/No blue buzzard, no three-eyed frog/Just a feline, canine, little CatDog.
Galaxy High has an expository theme tune... but the words can hardly be heard through the vocoder.
Doyle was a high school star everybody thought he'd go real far but he didn't care a thing about the classes he took you know he just wasn't interested in his books Aimee was the smartest girl in school\\Not very popular, not very cool Two kids will be chosen from Earth to go to school at Galaxy High...
The theme song of the animated Space WesternBravestarr is a rhymed, spoken narration that explains the show's premise ("In a distant time and faraway place/The planet New Texas floats deep in space...")
"Into these worlds of unknown danger they ride / They're the Galaxy Rangers, heroes in the sky / No guts, no glory!..."
"Now he's got superpowers, he's no ordinary kid, he's Ben 10!"
Spider-Man, Spider-Man! Does whatever a spider can! Spins a web, any size! Catches thieves, just like flies! Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man! Is he strong? Listen, bud/He's got radioactive blood! Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead! Hey there, there goes the Spider-Man! In the chill of the night At the scene of a crime Like a streeeeeaaaaak of light, here he arrives, just in time! Spýder-Man, Spider-Man! Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man Wealth and fame, he's ignored Action is his reward! To him, life is a great big bang up! Whenever there's a hang up You'll find the Spider-Maaaaaaan!
Livin' on the edge Fighting crime Spinning webs Swinging from the highest ledge He can leap above our heads Villains on the rise And the city's victimised Leapin' up with no surprise Arrivin' in the speed of time.
"Tony Stark makes you feel/He's a cool exec with a heart of steel..."
"Doc Bruce Banner/Pelted by Gamma Rays/ changes to the Hulk/Ain't he unglamorous?" They actually manage to ALMOST make "Gamma" rhyme with "Banner", while making "unglamorous" rhyme with "Gamma Rays" at the same time.
"When Captain America throws his mighty shield/All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield!"
"'Cross the rainbow bridge of Asgard/Where the booming heavens roar/You'll behold in breathless wonder/The God of Thunder, Miiiiighty Thor!"
He's a man on a mission, in armour of high tech ammunition. Trapped on the edge of an endless game, his teenage life will never be the same, in a dangerous world he does all he can he's Iron Maaaaaaan! Iron Maaaan!
The Adventures of T Rex: "Across Rep City, Big Boss and his crew has dinosaurs reaching for the stars/the boys pay their respect and put the Corporation back behind bars."
Hammerman, Hammerman, does whatever a hammer can...
A sub-trope of this would be the verse reserved for the villain(s) to exposit their role(s) in the show. Many '80s cartoons had this.
From the Jem theme song: "But we're the Misfits/Our songs are better/We are the Misfits, the Misfits/And we're gonna get 'er!"
From the theme song to (The All-New) Pound Puppies: "You Pound Puppies!/I hate them, yes I do/Eww, Pound Puppies!/They're yuckity, ickity-poo!/I'll capture every pup/then I'll lock 'em all up/You Pound Puppies! Your rebel days are through!"
Also shows up in the theme song to Channel Umptee-3: "The world belongs in a box!"
The theme song of the Stunt Dawgs introduced all characters, heroes and villains: "We are the Stunt Scabs and this is our show/We are the Stunt Scabs, oh no!"
"Autobots wage their battles to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons" also kind of sums up part of the plot.
The 1986 Transformersanimated movie also has an extended version of theme, which uses the TV theme as the chorus, played over the end credits that largely sums up the plot of the movie.
While the Transformers Animated had something of a more generic intro that used a remix of the original song, the Japanese version went all out and included a song written by JAM Project about how they would take up arms and beat back the badguys.
Included was a theme explaining how truly powerful evil was and an anthem that praised the Decepticons.
The Australian animated series The Adventures of Blinky Bill had a theme tune which informed viewers of the show's premise. Given that it had long story arcs, this was a very good idea.
The Fairly OddParents: "Timmy is an average kid, that no-one understands/Mom and Dad and Vicky always giving him commands..."
Huntik: Secrets & Seekers: "...There's a secret lost in time. There's an ancient story. One for all and all for one. Fighting for the glory..."
Mummies Alive!: "A little boy named Prestley found a secret out this year / that he was once a Pharaoh when Egyptians ruled the world / and now some sorcerer called Scarab tries to get 'im day and night / But Prestley has 4 guardians to protect his very life!"
Cow and Chicken: "Momma had a chicken / Momma had a cow / Dad was proud, he didn't care how!"
Dexter's Laboratory (closing credits): "In Dexter's laboratory / Lives the smartest boy you've ever seen/But Dee Dee blows his experiments to smithereens..."
Unique in that this is actually the song they play at the end. The beginning theme song is just an instrumental version of this.
"Captain Planet, he's our hero, gonna take pollution down to zero!/He's our powers, magnified/And he's fighting for the planet's side!/Captain Planet, he's our hero, gonna take pollution down to zero!/Gonna help us, put asunder, bad guys who like to/Loot and plunder!"
You'll pay for this, Captain Planet!
Played for laughs on The Simpsons episode "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" with "The Lovematic Grandpa" (a parody of My Mother The Car): "While shopping for some cans, an old man passed away/He started up for Heaven but he got lost upon the way/Now he's The Lovematic Grandpa..."
Don't forget the Flintstones parody.
Homer:Simpson/Homer Simpson/He's the greatest guy in his-tor-y/From the/Town of Springfield/He's about to hit a chestnut tree~/AAAAHHH!
Carl Squared: "One night I was in my room,/Surfin' online like I always do/Found a way to be so much more,/With a drop of DNA my clone was born!/I'm stuck with myself again, my clone is my new best friend. Carl squared/Freaks of a feather, now and forever. Carl squared./He may walk and talk like me but don't believe everything you see!/Nanananana Nanananana./He's my clone, CARL squared!"
Despite pretty much playing this trope straight, the theme song also cleverly subverted it by leaving out a VERY important plot detail as to the true nature of one of the title characters.
Sushi Pack: "They're very, very strong, but only two inches long, the super hero sushis that are sitting on my plate!"
Even one-shot Merchandise-Driven pilots can have these. PJ Sparkles: "She closed her eyes and made a wish for people to love and care for, and in a beautiful blinding light, she got everything she asked for!"
"It's G.I. Joe against Cobra, the enemy... GI Joe is there, GI Joe!/Real American hero, GI Joe is there!"
"Masked crusaders / working overtime, fighting crime, fighting crime! Secret raiders / who will neutralize, soon as they arrive at the sight! Trakker's gonna' lead the mission / and Spectrum's got such super vision! M.A.S.K., it's the mighty power that can save the day!"
Not only that, but they also parody it one episode, where Spud is daydreaming that he's on a sitcom with his crush, the cheerleader Stacy. Although the song is cut off in the middle, you still get a fairly good idea of what the 'show' would have been like: "She's perky/ He's quirky..."
Both the 1970s and 2000s version of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings have one of these:
"Well you know my name is Simon/And the things I draw come true..."
"C'mon, my name is Simon and I'm inviting you/Into a world that's hard to believe but it's absolutely true/From my imagination, what I draw comes true."
"Fighting crime, trying to save the world, here they come just in time, The Powerpuff Girls..."
Like Dexter's Laboratory, this is the ending theme. The opening theme of The Powerpuff Girls is an instrumental preceded by a narrated origin story.
The first season of the 1994-1996 Fantastic Four series was hit-you-over-the-head with this, detailing the team's origin and each of the Four's powers. The second season, with the shift in appearance, switched to an upbeat, more dramatic instrumental theme.
"On an outer space adventure/They got hit by cosmic rays/And the Four were changed forever/In some most Fantastic ways/No need to fear they're here/Just call for four/Fantastic Four/Don't need no more/Reed Richards is elastic/Sue can fade from sight/Johnny is the Human Torch/The Thing just loves to fight..."
So many: The Funky Phantom was always one of the better ones. "We were cold and soaking wet, and lost out in a storm: we ran inside this spooky house just hoping to get warm - the dusty clock said half past six, we knew that it was wrong! But when we set the hands to twelve, the clock began to BONGG..."
Cro, one of the few theme songs to admit, however euphemistically, that most of the characters had been dead since the late Stone Age and were being remembered by a Talking Mammoth Popsicle.
Cro was a smart boy, he had a lot on the ball. But the family that took him in was total Neanderthal.
WordGirl had a theme song about the characters of the show and such.
"He's a Superdog/He's a Superhero/He came to Earth from outer space/And his name is Krypto."
"Wings of silver, nerves of steel!/SilverHawks!/Partly metal, partly real!/SilverHawks!"
Emmy wished on a dragon scale/And that's what started Dragon Tales/Around the room the dragons flew/But Emmy and Max knew what to do/They climbed on the backs of their dragon friends/Now the adventures never end!
"Water, fire, earth and air, Guardians Unite!/We are, we are, we are, W.I.T.C.H.!/We are, we are, we are, W.I.T.C.H.!"
SuperTed: Quite abrasive. "This is a story about an ordinary Teddy Bear. When he was made, they found something wrong with him, and threw him away, like a piece of rubbish. Then, from outer space, a spotty man brought him to life with magic dust..." etc. Narrated by a former Dalek operator.
Australian cartoon series Arthur and the Square Knights of the Round Table:
Arthur! The king of Camelot
He's a ring-a-ding-a-ling of a king;
Arthur! He likes to joust a lot
And he really makes the kingdom swing.
Dragons run from Arthur's lance
And the Black Knight hasn't a chance;
If you're in trouble send a cable
To the hero of our fable
That's just "Arthur of Camelot"!
He took the sword from the stone and made a table round,
Muppet Babies, we make our dreams come true!/Muppet Babies, we'll do the same for you!/When your world looks kinda weird and you wish that you weren't there/Just close your eyes and make believe and you can be anywhere!
Super fighting robot!/Mega Man!/Super fighting robot!/Mega Man!
Street Sharks: They bite, they fight/They stand for everything right/They bite, they fight/Chewin' up evil with all of their might!
Spoofed on Family Guy with Peter's Stylistic SuckShow Within a Show "Handiquacks": One day, 3 Ducks were crossing the road/Goin' to get some soda/But they weren't looking where they were goin'/And the bus came along and hit them all./Now they're handicapped and. . .an...an... No . . ./ that's pretty much it!/ Handi-Quacks!/And they never got their Sodaaaaaaaaa!
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: A kid with a knack for invention/With a superpowered mind, a mechanical canine/Rescues the day from sure destruction/This is the theme song/for Jimmy Neutron
Stitched together with whatever crap was found or could be grabbed
Re-invented in the bowels of a lab
Spliced! They have all been spliced
Half baked and diced
By some crazy doctor
Who went vamoose
And now you'll pay the price — They evolved
Bits of hippo, chunks of llama
Swap the hind legs for an udder
Splice a parakeet with donkey feet
And season it with butter
It's no ordinary island; do we have to say it twice?
It's no ordinary island 'cause they're spliced, spliced, spliced!
Spiral Zone: Darkness has fallen on the victims of the zone./Our world calls for courage/Peace and freedom we must own.
From the Animated Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables: "Once upon an orphanage, my life was in near tragic state/I longed to find a brighter place, somewhere full of love and grace/I dreamed of fields with a cool ocean breeze, a home for my own family/When I got my wish, I pinched myself to make sure this home was real."
The theme tune for Watch My Chops is initially sung by Corneil the talking dog, expositing his intelligence ("I can talk, read and write/And surf the 'net all of the day and all of the night-")...at which point his dogsitter Bernie walks in, realizes Corneil can talk, and is promptly told to keep it a secret, thus setting up the premise of the show.
And likes drinking coffee like he just got out of bed,
A busting dialect, he's a cat and I know that,
And even with the sounds you can really get down!
Some withholds that spell disaster,
But Garfield's a cat and remains the master,
Double-roddle-roddle he's a cat and I know that,
And sticking on the fact he can take the fact
He's so fat, he's so fat, that he loves his lasagna,
Eating it whole with a pizza palmegana!
Garfield and Friends, here they come, here they come, here they come!
In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Daffy Duck and Egghead", Daffy Duck sings one for himself midway through. An instrumental version of the song, "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", became the official Looney Tunes theme:
"My name is Daffy Duck, I worked on a merry-go-round. The job was swell, I did quite well 'Til The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down!"
Spacecats (a 1991 NBC show by ALF creator Paul Fusco):
Somewhere out in outer space A world beyond the human race Observed our planet was a mess. Working in the lab real late Until they found they did create The perfect answer to the quest. The Spacecats, from another planet on mission Fighting crime with feline intuition Spacecats are good Heroes, fight for justice, fight for freedom That's exactly why we need 'em Spacecats good They're furry, they're funny, they're housebroken! Spacecats!
Ned's Newt: "There once was a boy who wanted a pet / When he got to the store a newt was all he could get / Brought it home but to his surprise / The newt just laid there, he was barely alive / The pet store owner knew what to do / He gave the boy a can of Zippo Newt Food! / Ned's Newt — he's so humongous / Ned's Newt — how very precocious / Ned's Newt — he's where the fun is, yeah!"
"It's that awesome bodacious time of day 'Cause it's time for Mr. Bogus to come out and play! He's wild! (Wild!) He's cool! (Cool!) He's Bogus! He's a tiny friend and he likes to play! It's that bodacious Bogus time of day! Mr. Bogus! Come on, Mr. Bogus! Mr. Bogus has come out to play! Mr. Bogus! Come on, Mr. Bogus! Mr. Bogus! Mr. Bogus! Mr. Bogus! [Cut to random claymation vignette.] [Second random vignette plays.] Mr. Bogus! Mr. Bogus! Mr. Bogus!"
Jamie! Jamie! Jamie and the Magic Torch. Down the helter skelter, faster and faster, Towards Cuckoo Land.
Wordsworth! Wordsworth! Following hard behind. Ready for adventure, always there to lend a paw ...or hand!
Mr Boo and all the others too, The strangest people you've ever seen. And the torch with its magical beam - If I hadn't really been there, I'd think that I was dreaming!
Jamie! Jamie! No two nights are the same. Life is one long glorious game, with Jamie. Jamie and the Magic Torch!
Sanjay And Craig: "Looking for a pet one day / Sanjay found a talking snake / And a perfect match was made / Jumped into his arms to say / Dude / What's up?..."
T.U.F.F. Puppy: "Dudley Puppy was a plain old mutt! (Plain old mutt!) / He'd scratch, and dig, and then he'd chew his butt! (Chew his butt!) / But when bad guys got too rough / He went to work for T.U.F.F. / And now he's doin' secret agent stuff..."
One, two, three, four! Guy finds a ring, it does super things, Now he´┐Żs secretly SheZow (SheZow!) Here to save the World, dressed like a girl, Sister has the know-how. His sidekick Maz cracks him up, Best friend a guy could ask for. Villains beware, SheZow´┐Żs in his lair, Lookin´┐Ż to settle the score. Hey! She-S-P, super strength and speed, everything a superhero needs. Vanishing Cream, Laser lipstick too, His big weakness? A ´┐Żmessed up 'do´┐Ż! SheHicle revs with power supreme, Becomes a plane and a submarine. Super slap and a sonic scream, Guys a kid who´┐Żs livin´┐Ż the dream! SheZow (SheZow), Guy is SheZow Was his aunt but he´┐Żs SheZow now. SheZow (SheZow), Guy is SheZow, If Dad finds out he´┐Żll have a cow. Villains from sea and outer space, Are always getting´┐Ż in SheZow´┐Żs face. Tara, Tattoozoola too, Watch out! SheZow´┐Żs after you. SheZow (SheZow), Guy is SheZow Kelly and Sheila are runnin´┐Ż the show. SheZow (SheZow), Guy is SheZow Boys kick it like bros. SheZow (SheZow), Guy is SheZow Never been a hero like him before. SheZow (SheZow), Guy is SheZow There´┐Żs only one SheZow! (Ow!)
This is the World of Commander McBragg Your hair will curl in the World of McBragg. He fights monsters galore And then asks for still more Or so says the brag of McBragg.
When on the hill the marines plant a flag They may be led by Commander McBragg. With a cannon in hand He can beat any band Or so says the brag of McBragg.
Fencing and fighting and round table knighting And slaying of dragons, too. Shipping and sailing and great harpoon whaling There's nothing McBragg can't do. Hunting and trapping and gold miner mapping And flying to Timbuktu. Roping and riding and Indian guiding Commander McBragg comes through.
This is the World of Commander McBragg Your head will whirl in the World of McBragg. He can do anything In his world he's a king Or so says the brag of McBragg.
Thomas And Friends' "Roll Call" theme song talks about the main characters, their personalities, and where they work.
"Who can you rely on when the chips are down? Call on Mumfie when you need defending, Braver than a bulldog, brighter than a clown, Here comes Mumfie with a happy ending! With his faithful friend, the Scarecrow, He's got dreams enough to share, So, if you want adventure, this is where to start, If you need a hero, who can play the part? The little pachyderm with a great big heart!"