Should Monk have kept the original theme song?
There's an inside joke hidden in two Monk episodes referring to the absolute fan fury unleashed when Randy Newman's song replaced the original theme.
The bouncing guitars of the Monk theme song heard throughout the show’s first season became a surprise hit with viewers tuning in.
The song became so popular that the original Monk network USA posted a version of the song that fans could download and listen to even when the show wasn’t on air.
This original theme song was composed by Jeff Beal, who has earned Emmy nominations for compositions for hit TV shows for HBO and Netflix.
Playing the tune was Grant Geissman, a jazz guitarist and session musician who has recorded with Quincy Jones and Sheila E.
On TV, Geissman’s music has been featured on live shows like The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin, and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, as well as on more recent hit series like Boy Meets World and Dawson’s Creek.
But it was on Monk that he arguably found his biggest TV fanbase, with super-fans of the show downloading his original theme to save a version for themselves.
That’s why it caused quite the disruption when Monk producers out of nowhere swapped out Geissman and Beal’s song for a new theme song.
For the second season of Monk, it’s Randy Newman’s "It’s a Jungle Out There" that’s heard over the show’s opening credits.
Fans were so distraught by this decision that Monk producers couldn’t ignore their loud protests and wound up writing a bit into the show that made light of the theme song scandal.
In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the TV Star," Sarah Silverman makes her debut appearance as Marci Maven, an obsessive TV fan who loudly complains about her favorite TV show replacing its theme song.
Silverman would appear three times over the series run of Monk as Marci, so the inside joke doesn’t end when this episode ends.
According to IMDb, fans felt so passionately that the original theme song should be reinstated that they organized letter-writing campaigns to the network.
As a gift to these fans, at the end of "Mr. Monk and the TV Star," Adrian Monk makes a solemn promise to Marci that if he ever gets a TV show of his own, that he would never change the theme song. When this scene ends, the original theme song plays, and if you pay attention, you’ll hear this joke recur at the end of the episode "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan," which is the next time Marci appears.