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YMMV / Schoolhouse Rock

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  • Awesome Music: Many people who grew up watching the shorts consider many of the songs to be this. So much so that quite a number of them have been covered by popular artists and bands (for example, De La Soul sampled "Three Is The Magic Number" for their song "The Magic Number" off their 1989 album, Three Feet High And Rising). A tribute album was released in 1996, Schoolhouse Rock Rocks, which featured 15 cover tracks (plus the original intro) by artists such as Ween, Blind Melon, Moby, Better Than Ezra, Biz Markie, and The Lemonheads.
  • Dork Age: Depending on who you ask, any Schoolhouse Rock songs made in 1993 or later can count as part of this, though there's a fairly strong contingent of fans for whom the only tolerable Money Rock song is either "Dollars and Sense" or "Tyrannosaurus Debt", since budgeting and learning about America's national debt (and how it continues growing) are as relevant now as they were in the 1990s.
    • The 1987 Golden Book/ABC Kidavision videos with Cloris Leachman can be classified under this.
  • Ear Worm: Many songs, to varying extent. To quote "Lucky Seven Sampson"...
    You'll wake up tomorrow
    You'll be glad that I came
    Cause you'll be singing
    One of the songs that I sang!
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In "Unpack Your Adjectives", the bulky guy proves he's the brainy one by rattling off a definite integral, a type of formula you don't even see until after several weeks of calculus. It's completely accurate, and even gets simplified. Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus and an aversion of E = MC Hammer. Even better in that it's an advanced math concept in a Grammar Rock song.
    • Although the 13 colonies are added in random order in "The Preamble", the following states are added in the right order.(Except for West Virginia, which is never part of Virginia in the map, probably because Virginia would look weird if its shape changed.)
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Tyrannosaurus Debt", which gets harder and harder to listen to as the national debt rises year after year.
    • "Three-Ring Government" becomes this when you realize the main character's dream is to one day own a circus. Today, big names like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have gone out of business and the industry itself has come under intensified criticism for its longtime treatment of animals, all pointing towards a rather uncertain future for circuses as a whole.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Or Harsher, depending on your point of view, but given modern-day depictions of most politicians, the song "Three Ring Government"; back then, it compared the government to a circus on the basis that each had three parts. Now, people compare the government to a circus in the sense that they're both full of clowns. (Whether or not we agree is not to be discussed.)
    • One of the characters in "Walking on Wall Street", the kid selling newspapers, with his orange hoodie, round face, and wild red hair looks like a younger version of Wreck-It Ralph.
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    • There is also the image of the kid in "Verb: That's What's Happenin'" going to see a Super Hero movie with a big crowd. This short was made in 1974, years before Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve became a breakthrough smash hit and decades before the superhero genre became a dominant one for theatrical films.
  • Memetic Mutation: "DARN! You just lost the game!"
    • Some of the songs, such as "I'm Just a Bill" and "Conjuction Junction", have been popular sources for parody.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • "Figure Eight" can also come off as depressing and cold (as per the winter setting of the short).
      • "If you skate/Upon thin ice/You'd be wise/If you thought twice/Before you made another single move..." Those lines are accompanied by a boy skating a figure eight on thin ice, falling through and jumping back out nearly frozen to death.
      • The song as a whole has a very downer tone to it, which combined with the (mostly) fun and colorful imagery makes for some serious Soundtrack Dissonance.
    • The aliens and space setting in "Little Twelvetoes".
    • "Rufus Xaiver Sasparilla". Something about those bizarre body portions and Slasher Smile...
      • The idea of his sister and an aardvark being in love is a bit squicky.
    • "The Great American Melting Pot" has a lot of unintentionally cannibalistic imagery. Of particular note are the children diving into the melting pot as though it were a swimming pool, and the fact that Lady Liberty clearly has a cookbook.
    • "Them Not-So-Dry Bones" has the skeleton of one of the singers jump out of his body, leaving his skin a pile of apparently lifeless mush. That same skin is then tried on by a newer, taller skeleton. Who knew Schoolhouse Rock was capable of such borderline macabre imagery?
  • Painful Rhyme:
    • Some of their songs have a few like "Interplanet Janet", which uses girl:world, and "A Victim of Gravity", which uses cup:up.
    • The rhyme cup:up is only bad compared to the melody, but "Sufferin' til Suffrage" has the extremely painful rhyme suffrage:what age in the chorus.
    • The intro rhymes "history" with "mystery", which wouldn't be a painful rhyme, if it weren't for the fact that, in order to fit the meter, "history" is pronounced as "hiSTORy", while "mystery" is spoken like normal.
    • "The Shot Heard Round the World" uses dawn:begun, which doesn't work in any American dialect, not even the exaggerated Midwestern one the singer uses.
    • "Check's in the Mail" uses account:amount, which again isn't bad, except that it's the rhyme used in the second half of every verse.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Lynn Ahrens wrote and sang some songs for this show decades before becoming the lyricist of Ragtime, Once On This Island, Seussical, and Anastasia.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: "Sufferin' til Suffrage" started off with this: Now you have heard of Women's Rights/And how we've tried to reach new heights/If we're all created equal/That's us too!
  • Unfortunate Character Design: The mailman in "Check's in the Mail". His nose casts a very dark shadow on his face, which apart from being highly unnecessary also makes him look like Hitler.
  • Values Dissonance: Some ideas about American history and culture that were popular around the Bicentennial have since fallen out of favor and/or have been picked apart by political correctness. In particular:
    • "Elbow Room" is likely to leave a bad taste in peoples' mouths these days as the song is about the Manifest Destiny. It's incredibly oversimplified in that fails to mention any of the... let's just say questionable aspects of that time period.
    elizestr: Genocide never sounded so catchy.
    • "The Great American Melting Pot" can be this to some people. At the time such rhetoric was seen as progressive, but the "melting pot" concept has come under fire for being reactionary and endorsing assimilationism, while modern sensibilities generally favor multiculturalism.
    • "Fireworks" includes the rather outdated gag of a man literally chasing after a woman for her heart whenever the Pursuit of Happiness as cited by the Declaration of Independence is brought up.
  • Values Resonance:
    • The pleas for conserving natural resources in "The Energy Blues" are as relevant now in the 20-teens as they were in the 1970s (possibly because the need to do so hasn't faded from the public consciousness).
      • The rhetoric is somewhat dated, though, as the short was made during an energy crisis, whereas today's problem may not be solved so easily.
    • The "Tyrannosaurus Debt" song isn't that dated, considering concern about the economy and the U.S. owing money to other nations (with China being the biggest).
  • The Woobie: That "sad scrap of paper", the Bill in "I'm Just a Bill". One suspects that Congress passed him and the president signed him just to Throw the Dog a Bone.


Example of: