"Geez, not only do you ignore the original song, but you rewrite it, and you get it to tell me what I'm about to watch right now! Well, what are you gonna do next? Tell me the names of all the characters that are in the show?!"An Expository Theme Tune for a series that includes a rundown of the main characters, usually with a line or two about each one's role in the show. Especially common in kids' shows. Note that not all examples contain the characters' names in the lyrics. Some examples have songs that only describe them. May also occur in Opening Narrations, and even in shows that have instrumentals (e.g., 1990s X-Men). Compare Intro Dump.
— MarzGurl in her Top 10 List of Animated Shows That Tell the Whole Story in Their Theme Song
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- Blockbuster Video has a rare example of a commercialnote doing this:
"Fire is our man, he's as great as he can beAnd Summer, she's a friend to you and meAnd then there's Slo Mo, with his dog PauseRewind, he's the greatest, and all our friends are sayingWOW! What a difference! Blockbuster Video! WOW! What a difference! Blockbuster Video!"note
- One memorable campaign for Fanta (in all its incarnations) features "The Fantanas", whose names are shown onscreen one at a time.
- Another rare advertising example is Barbie and the Rockers (also used in the two animated specialsnote ):
We're Barbie, and the Rockers (with Ken)!Rocking out, we're totally in the groove!Dana, Dee Dee, Derek, and Diva too!...note
- Sailor Moon's DiC dub theme song.
- But it was only accurate for the first season. Pluto isn't mentioned once she shows up in R, nor are Any of the Outer Senshi in S, or Chibi Moon in either S or SuperS. Not a very good roll call if you forget half the heroes.
- It probably sounds worse on Geneon's American DVDs of the third season. The English versions include the American theme song synced with a Japanese opening, causing a part meant to show off the new Sailor Senshi to have singers exclaiming the Inner Senshi's names for no apparent reason.
- The 4Kids One Piece dub Theme Tune Rap. They didn't make it any longer, so each addition to the cast made the lines involving the roll call more cluttered.
- Two of the Japanese themes, "Share the World" and "We Go!", feature title cards for the characters.
- Similarly the 4Kids dubbed seasons of Pokémon had the Pokerap. While technically never a title theme, it was a number of tunes played following an episode listing down all the Pokemon of the current region. The original Japanese edit eventually started making it's own variations.
- The theme song to the English dub of Hamtaro.
"Snoozer, Penelope, Panda, Howdy, Oxnard, Bijou, and Boss, let's go! zerSnoo, pePenelo, ssoB, daPan, dyHow, nardOx, jouBi, and Hamtaro!..."
- Both the original Japanese and English ending themes both have a variation. In the original Japanese version the characters' names had the first syllable placed at the end of their names.note For the English dub version, we have this:
- The opening to Ronin Warriors, American version.
- The second series of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman calls the five heroes in numbered order by their civilian names.
- The original ending theme to Getter Robo, Gattai Getter Robo had this.
- Smile Pretty Cure! had a part in its theme song where they say "Happy! Sunny! Peace! March! Beauty!" which are the names of the 5 main girls.
- Also, the Suite Pretty Cure ♪ theme song cleverly hides the words "Hibiki" and "Kanade" in its lyrics.
- The French version (but not the English version) does this twice during the chorus in the theme song to The Mysterious Cities of Gold:
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Esteban, Zia, Tao, les Cités d'or !
- The openings to both anime adaptations of Ryohgo Narita's works, Baccano! and Durarara!! respectively list every single major character in text during quick freezeframe closeups. The intro to Baccano! also contains one notable and intentional exclusion, as a train conductor who has a prominent shot in its opening at one point and is apparently cannon fodder early on turns out to also be very much alive and a main character as well.
- This happens in the intro to Fables of the Green Forest, the English dubbed version of ''Rocky Chuck the Mountain Rat (adapted from the Burgess Bedtime Stories).
- The Nextwave comic book actually had a theme song that gave a short blurb about each team member and the Big Bad. "Give us the Nextwave roll call!"
- Crossing over with Opening Narration. Most comic books about superhero teams will have a team lineup at the beginning displaying each character with their name and a brief description of their powers.
- One of the 1990s Bazooka Joe comics is a "rap" which roll-calls the entire cast.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Animal House has about 18 characters named in its theme song.
- "Nicest Kids in Town", theme song of the Corny Collins Show from Hairspray, has one of these introducing the Council Members.
- Teen Beach Movie has one during "Surf Crazy", meant to be the introduction song of the Movie Within a Movie Wet Side Story.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 ("Robot Roll Call!")
- Though Dr. Forrester, TV's Frank, and Pearl are name-checked during the Mike-era theme, the Mads are never mentioned by name in the Joel-era and Jonah-era themes.
- Imagination Movers
- Fraggle Rock: ("We're Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, Red!") It's noticeable that the fraggles say their names very fast, making it hard to remember.
- The Fresh Beat Band: "On guitar... Kiki! On keyboards... Shout! On drums... Mirena! And the real MC... Twist in the house!"
- "We're The Ghost Busters ('I'm Spencer! He's Tracy!' 'I'm Kong!')!..."
- The Mickey Mouse Club (all three versions). Not to mention Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
- Gilligan's Island ("...with Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire, and his wife...")
- Note that it originally left off the Professor and Mary Ann, who were referred to as "and the rest", until Bob Denver (Gilligan) forced the studio to change it.
- Thomas the Tank Engine has examples of this, but technically not as intros:
- The earliest series, between episodes, had the main theme play over a montage of characters with names on boards beside them.
- More recent series have the song 'Engine Roll Call' - although not an intro, it plays at the end of every episode.
- The 1970s kids' show ZOOM had one, preserved in the show's later 1999-2005 incarnation.
- Ozzie and Harriet ("Here's Ozzie! Here's Harriet!")
- Space Cases — originally aired as the closing theme in the first season but moved to opening theme in the second season and in syndication.
- Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp
- 1970s kids' show New Zoo Revue
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: The closing theme, "199 Hero Getter", goes through the name of each of the 35 Super Sentai teams.
- Gosei Sentai Dairanger mentions the names of the five heroes in the song lyrics.
- Power Rangers Samurai and Power Rangers Megaforce: Each Ranger calls their name out when their credit appears.
- The Aquabats! Super Show!:
With the MC Bat Commander (Commander!)
Crash McLarson (Crash!)
Ricky Fitness (Ricky!)
Eaglebones Falconhawk (Eaglebones!)
And Jimmy the Robot (Jimmy!)
Together they fight evil
- Bob The Builder (understandably for a kids' show) has the entire cast:
Scoop, Muck and Dizzy, and Roly too.Lofty and Wendy join the crew
- The theme to Pee-Wee's Playhouse does this at one point:
"Globey's spinning, Mr. Window's grinning, 'cause Pterri's flying by..."
- In the Christmas Special, Pee-Wee introduces all the puppet / claymation / etc. characters, followed by the regular human characters, and the special guest stars.
- Zoobilee Zoo
- The 1995-1996 themes for WWF Superstars would name the top wrestlers at the time in the intros, with changes based on who had joined and who had left.
"Diesel's cool, Undertaker
- For a time, the opening lines were,
Shawn Michaels heartbreaker
Bret Hart show 'em how
Uh oh here comes Vader now"
"Bret Hart, Undertaker
- After Kevin "Diesel" Nash, Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall and Sean "The 1-2-3 Kid" Waltman left for WCW in May 1996, the lyrics were changed.
Shawn Michaels heartbreaker
Owen Hart show 'em how
Uh oh here comes Vader now"
- The Banana Splits:
Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork, Fleagle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork!
- "It's A Typical Day," the opening number of Li'l Abner, has all the best-known denizens of Dogpatch introduce themselves.
- The Corny Collins Council gets one in "The Nicest Kids in Town" from Hairspray.
- The "Prologue" of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 pretty much introduces everyone appearing in the show, in the style of a cumulative list song akin to "The 12 Days of Christmas". It was necessitated since audiences had difficulty following the plot.
- The infamous DK Rap, as shown here:
- Kano. Liu Kang. Raiden. Johnny Cage. Scorpion. Sub-Zero. Sonya. MORTAL KOMBAT!
- Beyond all belief this is what plays when you fight Good King Moogle Mog XII in Final Fantasy XIV. Half way through the fight the BGM shifts and the troupe of moogles you fought before the boss will pull this trope with a little bit of Expository Theme Tune to top it all off by telling you in the song the kinds of things they will do to you.
- This trope is actually Older Than the NES. It was very common for arcade games to show the players a list of any enemies and obstacles along with their point values (if any). However, if we were to list every game that does this, we'd be here all day. Suffice it to say, it goes as far back as Space Invaders at least:
* Score advance table*
[UFO sprite] = ?
[top invader sprite] = 30 points
[middle invader spritenote ] = 20 points
[bottom invader sprite] = 10 points
- Pac-Man has a (somewhat) more traditional example
Character / Nickname[Red monster] Shadow / Blinky[Pink Monster] Speedy / Pinky[Light Blue Monster] Bashful / Inky[Orange Monster] Pokey / ClydenoteWith Blinky / Pinky / Inky / Sue / Starring Ms. Pac-Man
- "Namco Presents Mappy / Starring Mappy as Micro Police / Nyamconote as Boss the Big Bit / Mewkiesnote as Naughty Folks"
- Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 2 (U.S.) list the enemy characters in the end credits.
- The Donkey Kong Country trilogy for the Super NES has one during the true, in the case of the first game credits sequence of each game.
- Happens in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella here. Not an intro, though.
- Andy Weir did once write a cast song for his webcomic Casey and Andy, which was then performed by the band Moosebutter. Albeit only two minutes long, it mentions every character who had appeared in the comic so far, and even one who didn't yet at that point: The Conquistador.
- In Teen Girl Squad: "Cheerleader! So and So! What's Her Face! The Ugly One!"
- Homestar Runner: Though not actually used anywhere else, Strong Bad envisions such a song in the Strong Bad Email "theme song", which mentions Strong Bad, Strong Sad, Strong Mad, The Cheat, and Homestar Runner. In his own words:
Strong Bad: I'm sure viewership would triple if I had one of those crappy cartoon theme songs that bludgeons you over the head with the blunt end of the show's premise.
- In season 2 of Monster High the theme song has changed into a mix of Theme Tune Rap and this.
- DSBT InsaniT: Their names aren't said, but are displayed as each character appears in it.
- I Made America opens each episode by listing the Founding Fathers kidnapped from the past and brought to 2012 Chicago: "Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Washington, and John Adams!"
- Muppet Babies has one in which (except for Animal) the characters describe themselves, without saying their names.
- Memorably, the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; the 2003 series added one in the third season.
- The 2012 series does this, as well.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers is an example of an Opening Narration doing this.
- The Jetsons
"Meet George Jetson" / "His boy Elroy" / "Daughter Judy" / "Jane, his wife"(A book of TV theme lyrics adds "And Rosie the robot maid", but spoken rather than sung)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), another Opening Narration example ("Only three others share this secret - our friends the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, and Orko.").
- Naturally, its successor She-Ra: Princess of Power also did this.
- Warner Bros. Animation's comedy shows must have loved this trope; they did it with Tiny Toon Adventures, Taz-Mania, Animaniacs, Road Rovers, and both of the regular themes for Histeria!
"There's Porky Pig! (Th-th-th-the name's Porky Pig)And Daffy Duck! (You're dethpicable!)There's Tweety Bird! (I tawt I taw a puddy tat!)Bugs Bunny's luck! (Eh, what's up doc?)And Elmer Fudd! (Be vewy vewy quiet)Sylvester the cat! (Thufferin' Thuccotash)Speedy Gonzales! (Arriba, epah, yeeha!)And Sam in the hat!note (You snaggletooth varmint!)"
- Their previous primetime (later Saturday morning) anthology series (which had various different names over its 40-year run) had an intro during the 1984-1985 season that introduced a few of the characters this way along their trademark catchphrases:
- Although Freakazoid! didn't do this in its normal opening, the first episode did feature a segment entitled "Freakazoid and Friends!", which was sung to the tune of the Animaniacs theme (by that show's main voice actors no less) and listed off every character to appear in it (and even a few that didn't).
- The Winnie the Pooh featurettes
A donkey named Eeyore is his friendAnd Kanga, and little RoonoteThere's Rabbit, and Piglet, and there's OwlBit most of all, Winnie the Pooh
- My Friends Tigger & Pooh:
And if I need help on the way / Buster might save the day, or Piglet, Lumpy or Roo / Eeyore has a paw to lend / Rabbit's got an ear to bend / Now all we're missing is you!
- The X-Men Animated Adaptation had one of these with no lyrics.
- The Latin American dub, however, had a narrator telling each character's adapted-to-spanish name as they came on screen.
- "Starlight, Sweetheart, Melody, Bright Eyes, Patch and Clover. Bon Bon's making cookies, girls. Hurry up on over. My Little Pony, My Little Pony, My Little Pony Tales!..."
- The theme song for the G3 and G3.5 cartoons was also one of these. It became the subject of much ridicule (well, moreso than usual) when several characters in the G4 cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic shared names with the G3/G3.5 ponies, but had wildly different personalities (the linked video contrasts Rainbow Dash and Rainbow Dash, for example).
- Subverted in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic where the ponies are introduced by their elements, rather than by name (except in the Theme Tune Extended and in one toy commercial).
- There's one for Dethklok in the opening of Metalocalypse.
- Both the ending and the opening themes to The Powerpuff Girls. The opening lists the three girls as they appear on screen, while the ending has an expanded one that describes their personalities as well.
- This applied to Avatar: The Last Airbender's ˇThree Amigos! in the Opening Narration in the first season only but not afterwards, as the opening never changed as more characters were added.
- The Wild Thornberrys
- The Super Hero Squad Show. "Wolverine and Hulk are fierce, Doctor Doom ends up in tears/when Iron Man joins the fight! Falcon darts in from the sky, Silver Surfer by his side, The Mighty Thor's hammer has thunder's mi-iiiiight..."
- Defenders of the Earth
"Out of the sky, his rockets ignite! Jets into battle flying faster than light (Flash Gordon!)!""Lord of the jungle, the hero who stalks! The beasts call him brother, the Ghost who Walks (Phantom!)!""Master of magic spells and illusion, enemies grumble in fear and confusion (Mandrake!)!"His strength is a legend! His skills conquer all! Armed with his power, we never will fall (Lothar!note )!
- The Alvin Show from the early '60s.
- Also, in the 80's adaption: "We're the Chipmunks / Alvin, Simon, Theodore!"
- C.O.P.S. (the cartoon about future cops fighting future criminals) had a roll call end credits sequence.
- A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has a roll call in which the characters' names appear onscreen.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has a theme song containing subtle references to the four presumably most popular Avengers: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and The Mighty Thor. (While they appear onscreen in that order, the lyrics reference Hulk first, followed by Cap, Thor, and Iron Man.) Deleted lyrics reference Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Panther, and The Wasp, four superheroes who also became Avengers during the first season. The show's second season replaces this theme with an Opening Narration that lists off the "Big Four" Avengers by name, but not any of the other Avengers, despite there being more members shown at the end of the opening sequence.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! lists off the names of the 5 titular monkeys and Chiro.
- Zula Patrol
- Transformers Cybertron
- Team Umizoomi
- Half the 3-2-1 Penguins! theme song is the names of the penguins!
- Adventure Time. The regular theme only mentions Finn and Jake, but the Special Edition Titles for the mini-series "Stakes", "Islands" and "Elements" add characters relevant to their respective story arcs.
- "The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour" theme song from The Simpsons (specifically, "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase").
Marge:Remember me? My name is Marge,
The TV mom whose hair is large!(Maggie sucks her pacifier.)
Bart:Step back mom, it's Bart's turn now!
Eat my shorts! Don't have a cow!
- Homer doesn't get his own lyrics because he's too busy being scared by the "special ghost".
- Part of the Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme song is this, with each character acknowledging their name with "Ahoy!" as it's called out.
- Wild Animal Baby Explorers has this, with the characters' names being shouted out loud as the characters themselves appear on-screen. It was only introduced in later airings, though. The earlier episodes have the same opening theme and same animation in the title sequence, but the character names aren't shouted out loud.
- The Archie Show has a roll call that gets sung twice.
- "Archie, Reggie, Veronica, Betty...Jughead too! Archie's Weird Mysteries!"
- The animated El Chavo series has a variation in which the title sequence only shows the characters that appear that episode, similarly to the original show (itself an example) which announced which actors (and characters) were in that show's episode.
- Wacky Races introduces each of the racers in narration only; no singing.
- Steven Universe 's theme ends with this:
- That's why the people of this world believe inGarnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, and Steven!
- Gravity Falls shows the main characters showing off their personalities as their names hang in the air next to them; Dipper investigating, Mabel wearing eccentric clothing, and Stan being a cheapskate.
- Les Mondes Engloutis (AKA: Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea) does this in the theme song in the original French version (although Arkana is left out):
"...Dans toutes les strates et Les Mondes Engloutis, suis Spartakus, Bobnote , Rebecca..."
- "This is the story of Blinky Bill, and Flap and Nutsy too, and Wombo, Ruff, and Marcia, and Splodge the Kangaroo..."
- The third season subverts this a little: "Here's Blinky Bill and Nutsy and it's Flap who makes it three. And a mob of circus animals who Blinky helped set free."
- The U.S. theme song to Sky Dancers does this, but the not the international or Region 1 DVD theme songs.
- Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation does this with the "Flying My Colors" number near the beginning of the movie.note
- The theme song to The 7D has one.
- The Bots Master has a theme tune roll call rap.
- Beginning with the first, most incarnations of Hanna-Barbera's ''Super Friends' franchise do this.
- Bubble Guppies did this during its theme song.
- Though the theme song of Budgie The Little Helicopter is mainly about Budgie, it briefly goes over the other main characters.
- The Get Along Gang does thisnote , although some may have trouble figuring out what some of the other words are.
- The Roman Holidays:
Gus: You'll love Gus, and Laurie, Precocia too!Precocia: And big brother Hap Holiday!?note : And Brutus the Lion, the family cat.Gus: He'll eat you out of house and home as quick as that!
- Where's Huddles? plays with this trope:
"There lives a family down the street, the Huddles! The McCoys live right next door!"
- From the second season of Shirt Tales:
Digger: "It's a cinch!"Kip: "In a pinch..."Rick: "You call...""Pammy!" "Rick!" "Digger!" "Tyg!" "Kip!" "And Bogey!"All: "The Shirt Tales!"
- The first seasonnote opening had a non-spoken (or sung) version where they were each given rapid closeups.
- Turbo F.A.S.T features a theme tune rap
Turbo! He's got super speed!Whiplash! He jets to the lead!Skidmark! Propeller flow!Chet's safe, he'll take it slow!Smoove Move with them speakers baby!Burn burning that fire crazy!White Shadow, big with no fear!Now you know the team is here!
- The Marvel Superheroes has a theme song that simply describes them, instead of saying their names outright.
- The Brady Kids introduces the six kids by name (unlike the counterpart live-action series) along with the animal characters.
- "Bucky! Captain Bucky O'Hare! Mutants, aliens and toads beware! If you're looking for adventure, well this is it, with Jenny, Deadeye, Blinky, and Willy DuWitt..."
- The theme song for Kaeloo introduces all of its characters, but it has no lyrics.
- The theme song of Bump in the Night has main character Mr. Bumpy introduce himself in the first verse and the second verse introducing the supporting cast.
Squishington: Bump with Squishy!Bumpy: He's my very best pal!Molly Coddle: Bump with Molly!
- Both seasons of Pound Puppies (1980s) used this, but in different ways. The first season's opening theme was an instrumental that had a voice-over introduce the characters in the beginning, while the second season gave the opening theme lyrics and actually had the characters introduced in the song.
- The first season of Captain N: The Game Master has a sort of example:
(map of Videoland appears with various video game sound effects playing in the background)Narrator: Welcome to Videoland!Mega Man: Mega hi!"Simon Belmont":note Welcome to Castlevania! Yahoo! YA-HOO!!Kevin / Captain N: It's Kongoland!note
- This isn't used in the normal theme song played on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, but the extended version featured in the program's music album releases has this.
Prince Wednesday skips royally by / Miss Elena's waving hi / Won't you ride along with me? / Ride along / O the Owl's reading a book / Katerina's twirling, look! / Won't you ride along with me? / Ride along!
- The extended version of the theme for Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot released as a music video has this.
What do Cheer and Share and Oopsy do? / Bring smiles, give gifts and help you, too / Funshine's a fun one, Grumpy's blue, ooo-wee-ooo...
- "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, then he'll ask for a glass of milk... And then one thing will lead to another, and you never know what's next! Let's go to unexpected places, they'll leave a smile on our faces. With Moose, Pig, Cat and Dog, so come on, come along."
- "There's action! There's comedy! There's danger! There's Penny! There's Bad Luck Hula! There's plenty for everybody, on the Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show!"note
- Kuu Kuu Harajuku:
- Parodied here.
- Parodied with the Saturday Morning Watchmen Opening.
- On Taxi Jim is on a blind date with Marcia Wallace from The Bob Newhart Show, and sings her the lyrics he's made up for the show's theme: "Here comes Bob and Carol/His wife Emily really likes him/He's got five members in his group..."
- Spoofed in the opening number of The Drowsy Chaperone, "Fancy Dress," where all the main characters and their motivations are revealed in song, even a character who only shows up for one scene at the very end of the show.