Which TV-show intro was this?!
October 3, 2014 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Okay, so... it was a TV show in the US, in the '80s or early '90s. I'm fairly certain it was a sitcom. During the intro/ opening credits, there's a bit where one character is painting a wall or a door, and another character opens the door, and the first character rolls the paint roller over the other person's face. I can see this in my mind, but I cannot for the life of me figure out the show it came from.

The question came from the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook last night, and my husband and I spent a good hour watching various sitcom openings on YouTube trying to find it, with no luck. It is driving me insane. The show it is NOT:

-- Perfect Strangers (I would have sworn that was it, but apparently not)
--Full House
--Who's The Boss
--Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, etc.
--Growing Pains
--Family Ties
--Any of the Cosby shows or spinoffs
--Facts of Life
--Three's Company
--Eight Is Enough
--Charles In Charge
--Punky Brewster
posted by sarcasticah to Media & Arts (258 answers total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Honestly, if a group of librarians haven't found it yet, I have little hope... but so many people remember it! It must exist somewhere, right??)
posted by sarcasticah at 8:41 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I can see this too! I thought it might be Bosom Buddies, but that doesn't seem to be it.
posted by bondcliff at 8:47 AM on October 3, 2014


I know it was a show I watched regularly -- it HAD to be, for me to remember it so clearly. And it wasn't just a scene in an episode, I am positive of that.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:49 AM on October 3, 2014


Was it Murphy Brown? I vaguely remember one of the characters was some guy who was constantly painting her house.
posted by elf27 at 8:50 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Step by Step? I have that same memory and I watched A LOT of that show growing up.
posted by whitetigereyes at 8:51 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't find video of the opening credits for Murphy Brown anywhere.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:52 AM on October 3, 2014


I just watched Step by Step and Going Places (this felt like an Alan Ruck scene to me) and it's neither of those.
posted by jabes at 8:54 AM on October 3, 2014


According to TV Tropes, Home Improvement had a scene where "Brad gets so distracted looking up at Heidi on a ladder he doesn't realize he's accidentally putting house paint on Randy's face." I haven't found a video of this scene yet, or determined whether it was used in the credits for any season of the show. (You've been checking the credits for every season of each show, right?)
posted by mbrubeck at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yep. Spent WAY too long watching credits for every season of the various shows I could find. I didn't think it was a recent as Home Improvement.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:57 AM on October 3, 2014


Here's the scene from Home Improvement. It was never in the credits, though.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:00 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought it was Too Close for Comfort, but you can add that to your list of Nopes...
posted by thatone at 9:01 AM on October 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


For some reason Three's Company springs to mind. It's not in seasons 1-4, and it's not in 6, and I can't find any season 5 openings.

But I think it's John Ritter on one side of the door in the apartment, and Joyce DeWitt coming through the door.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:05 AM on October 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


I remember this, but all my immediate guesses have been ruled out.

...or have they? Remember, in those days, sitcoms usually updated the clips in their opening titles every year, AND often had a long version and a short version.

I'm 99% sure it's Three's Company. Or Laverne & Shirley. Or...
posted by Sys Rq at 9:06 AM on October 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't search video right now, but for some reason I'm thinking My Two Dads?
posted by hrj at 9:08 AM on October 3, 2014


Not My Two Dads. That had the gag where Evigan had painted a picture of Reiser stressing out, then Reiser stands next to it with the same expression.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:16 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was also thinking My Two Dads and was disappointed. Neither is it Small Wonder. I'm so positive that both people involved were men.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:20 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


but so many people remember it! It must exist somewhere, right??
I stand by what I said last time we couldn't find a mystery scene that “everyone remembers.” The mere suggestion that a scene exists can plant the seeds of a false memory. If you can't remember a specific time and place you saw something, you should question whether you really “remember” it at all.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


FYI, I just brought this to the IMDb "I Need to Know" board.

It's very familiar to me too. My instant thought was Perfect Strangers...Are we sure that they didn't change the intro at any point, and maybe you watched the wrong one? I'm at work at the moment and can't seek videos to confirm anything...
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Laverne and Shirley is what comes to mind for me. The problem really is that there were SO many versions of the opening sequences back then.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


One Day at a Time?
posted by amarynth at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing with Laverne & Shirley is at :26

No paint, just doors.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:25 AM on October 3, 2014


I think every sitcom during this time frame had this joke in it somewhere. The Brady Bunch did it.
posted by Melismata at 9:29 AM on October 3, 2014


I would have sworn it was Perfect Strangers, but I watched every version of the opening I could find last night.
posted by sarcasticah at 9:30 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Brady Bunch door/face/paint scene and the Home Improvement door/face/paint scene were both in Season 4, Episode 18 of their respective series. Intentional homage? Was all of Home Improvement actually a secret Brady Bunch remake? THE PLOT THICKENS.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:36 AM on October 3, 2014 [38 favorites]


Perfect Strangers came immediately to my mind too, FWIW.

Is it possible this scene wasn't used in the opening credits of a show, but maybe in some commercial for that show that was frequently aired at some point?
posted by KatlaDragon at 9:40 AM on October 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


FWIW, Three's Company is what immediately came to my mind, too.
posted by yoink at 9:42 AM on October 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is it the spinoff from Three's Company that was called Three's a Crowd?
posted by thegoldfish at 9:45 AM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Are you sure it wasn't Wesley from Mr Belvedere getting pancake mix dumped on him?
posted by discopolo at 9:46 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


You probably already realized this, but many of these shows had several different intros over the years. Just watching one doesn't necessarily rule the show out.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:48 AM on October 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh man I was so sure it was My Two Dads as well. Maybe Valerie/Hogan Family?
posted by poffin boffin at 9:50 AM on October 3, 2014


Actually now I kind of feel like it was Anthony and Suzanne from Designing Women, but it wasn't a intro, it was a scene in the actual show.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:52 AM on October 3, 2014


Ok wow if you have the time to sift through literally hundreds of intros it looks like you can do it here at ILoveTVIntros.com.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:00 AM on October 3, 2014 [12 favorites]


poffin boffin I demand you post that as an FPP
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:01 AM on October 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


no im too busy watching intros
posted by poffin boffin at 10:03 AM on October 3, 2014 [33 favorites]


Yeah, I've watched intros for multiple seasons of shows. And I remember it being in the opening credits.
posted by sarcasticah at 10:03 AM on October 3, 2014


I was on that site for SO LONG last night!!
posted by sarcasticah at 10:09 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like thatone, I was absolutely certain this was Jim J Bullock painting Ted Knight's face on Too Close For Comfort, but I can't prove it.
posted by mochapickle at 10:18 AM on October 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


Ugh this site is the WORST, every time I see a show listed I can perfectly picture the exact scene with the lead actors, but no, of course it only exists inside my head. ANGRY HISS.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2014 [10 favorites]


I am 99% sure this was Three's Company. But that was a lot of years and dead brain cells ago, so.

/off to frantically youtube
posted by pdb at 10:47 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like it was Lenny & Squiggy in an opening sequence for Laverne & Shirley. But I can't prove it.
posted by bedhead at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is driving me batty.

You're not thinking of this clip from Everybody Loves Raymond, are you?
posted by Falwless at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm almost positive this gag never appeared on Perfect Strangers, and even more positive it wasn't in the intro.
I'm also pretty sure Laverne and Shirley is not it; I definitely recall seeing this intro a lot, and I never really saw Laverne and Shirley, ever.

I do, though, agree with the Three's Company folks in here. I can totally see it in my head.
posted by still bill at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2014


Facts of Life! Not sure it was in the title sequence, but check out this video (the scene starts to happen at 46secs I believe).

In my mind it was Blair whose face got paint rolled, but it turns out to have been Jo.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ryXN-FyNMUw

Thanks for the 80s flashback. ;)
posted by Halo in reverse at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I still think that's not it. I have an image of someone coming to the door, painting person not paying attention, roller goes wide on to the other's face.

The Facts of Life scene was intentional - I think they were fighting while being forced to paint a room.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:56 AM on October 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


I agree with Chrystostom... I remember pretty well it being accidental rather than intentional.
posted by Falwless at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2014


Yeah, I am sure this was in the opening credits of some show. I keep thinking it was Who's the Boss but that's been eliminated already. This is maddening--I can picture everything but the actors' faces.
posted by synecdoche at 12:14 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's exactly it, Chystostom! And I remember it being the intro, with the jaunty theme music and all. (I don't think it was Three's Company because we never watched that when I was a kid.)
posted by sarcasticah at 12:14 PM on October 3, 2014


I have this same memory. I keep going to my Memory Palace to see if I can lift the fog from the faces in this scene. But every time I do the paint rollered face morphs into Mrs Roper with a green mudmask on. Now I am wondering if anything is real. :P
posted by ian1977 at 12:14 PM on October 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


When I read your description I thought 'Perfect Strangers' and so did my roommate. I looked at the PS intros on youtube but could only find the earlier versions with Balki and not Balki standing next to each other at the beginning; there was definitely a different version in later seasons so maybe it's that one but not on youtube?
posted by Partario at 12:17 PM on October 3, 2014


FWIW, I think this is Facts of Life as well.
posted by vivzan at 12:20 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I remember this too and I also thought "Perfect Strangers" right off the bat. Some thoughts - is it possible that it wasn't a sitcom? Possibly a light-hearted drama? Also, why do I keep thinking the guy getting painted had a cigarette in his mouth? Was this maybe a 70's era show?
posted by davebush at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2014


(fyi i made the FPP and linked back to this question)
posted by poffin boffin at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I did this google search ""paint roller" site:http://www.sitcomsonline.com/" and the only thing that came back was referencing the Facts of Life scene.
posted by ian1977 at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2014


If we can't help you, try the tip of my tongue subreddit, which is meant for this sort of maddening question. More eyes on it, at least.

[also, there is a comprehensive fan site for Perfect Strangers if you want to go further down the rabbit hole]
posted by desjardins at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


OK, I went down the rabbit hole, and I do not think it is Perfect Strangers. The site is amaaaaazingly detailed, and a search for "paint" does not bring up anything resembling the scene in question.
posted by desjardins at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2014


I also recall this with... almost clarity. Situational clarity that it was in the credits and it was as Chrysostom described, but not much beyond that. And my vote would be Three's Company. That was my initial thought and after refreshing my recollection by looking at its credits, I fits with the style. Then I went and refreshed my memory of Too Close for Comfort, and that now has my vote. It's got to be one of those two.
posted by dios at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2014


Well, nobody's mentioned Small Wonder yet.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can recall the....patina? of the scene and its definitely got that mid80s palette/lens effect to it in my minds eye.
posted by ian1977 at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think another way to figure this out is to make a list of every sitcom that was on for more than 1 season between the years of '83 and '88. It's going to be on that list.
posted by dios at 12:54 PM on October 3, 2014


OK, definitely not Perfect Strangers. I watched episode intros for every season, not in any of them.
posted by Partario at 12:55 PM on October 3, 2014


I haven't ventured down the rabbit hole of the TV intros site, so I don't know how they collect their clips, but I was wondering if there might be a difference between the opening credit sequences of this show in its original broadcast runs vs syndication that might somehow be confusing the search. The Wikipedia page for Full House seems to indicate that this might have been a thing that happened back in the day.
posted by KatlaDragon at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute...are we sure its a roller? Maybe its just a brush?
posted by ian1977 at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just had the same thought as ian1977. I absolutely know I've seen this--we've all seen this--but I am less certain it was a roller, now that the question has been raised.

Maybe it's time to broaden search terms?
posted by still bill at 1:12 PM on October 3, 2014


So far we have located two scenes with paintbrush and door (Brady Bunch, Home Improvement), one with a paint sprayer and door (Everybody Loves Raymond), and one with, I think, a roller but no door (Facts of Life).
posted by mbrubeck at 1:12 PM on October 3, 2014


This has now supplanted the previous big question in my life (is man a walrus?).
posted by ian1977 at 1:15 PM on October 3, 2014


FWIW, I'm seeing green or blue paint in my memory. And if I had to go with my gut, I'm going to say it was Three's Company. Supporting evidence for Three's Company is that the show revolved around the idea of the apartment, so it would be a fitting gag for the credits, the style of humor in the show sorta matches that kind of a joke, and I believe it was an adult painting AND an adult getting painted.
posted by RingerChopChop at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2014


But ringer...are you sure you aren't confusing a mudmasked Mrs Roper?
posted by ian1977 at 1:18 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is definitely mid-80s. It is in the style/vein of Three's Company, Too Close for Comfort, Small Wonder, Silver Spoon, etc. where there are rapid fire cuts then pauses when they are showing cast members who are in a scene and then self-referentially look at the camera. One of those cuts has the character painting on a door and a face comes through. And it definitely had that mid 80's style to it. So the stuff from the 90's (Home Improvement, Raymond, etc.) are red herrings.
posted by dios at 1:19 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The mud mask might be clouding it. It's a definite possibility.
posted by RingerChopChop at 1:20 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can almost see it, dios. The roller or brush is passing across the door, the door swings inward, the face is painted.

Honestly though I think it's the Facts of Life scene and we're all hard at work constructing false memories here.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2014


we're all hard at work constructing false memories here.


but if we work harder they will be real memories. And skynet will oblige us with a corresponding youtube.
posted by ian1977 at 1:23 PM on October 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


Oh man -- I really think it was Three's Company. This intro doesn't have it, but the gags are SO similar (pouring water out the window, dart on the forehead).
posted by RingerChopChop at 1:24 PM on October 3, 2014


...we're all hard at work constructing false memories here.

I'm quite worried we're doing just that; wouldn't have someone found it by now if it existed?!
posted by Falwless at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I remember this too. I don't think it's any version of Three's Company, although it does have a similar moment when Janet waters a plant in the window but ends up watering Chrissie.

On preview, I think we've covered all the different openings, no? And I don't think Mr. Roper would have let them paint the apartment.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:28 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


No but Mr Furley would have for sure.
posted by ian1977 at 1:29 PM on October 3, 2014


The Brady Bunch episode is on Hulu (the painting scene is at 14:41) and it involves green paint and happens exactly as prize bull octorok describes. But obviously it was never in the show's iconic opening credit sequence.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:29 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


world's worst video, but all I got. 6:00 second mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbWrShkmvEI
posted by vivzan at 1:29 PM on October 3, 2014


Yeah, it's not Mrs. Roper's mud mask, it's not the Facts of Life paint fight, it's not the Cheers Thanksgiving episode where's Vera got a pie in the face, it's not the Reiser painting from My Two Dads.

This exists. I know I have seen this.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2014


I kinda wonder if it was a full door and not like a weird half door thing. Like a kitchen entry way/half door sort of thing?
posted by ian1977 at 1:32 PM on October 3, 2014


Too Close for Comfort intros changed almost every year. I'm 99 percent sure it was Jim J Bullock and Ted Knight but can't find the intro for that season.
posted by rocket88 at 1:43 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like a kitchen entry way/half door sort of thing?

I THOUGHT THAT TOO but oh god the only farmhouse door I could remember was from Lambchop's Play Along and let me tell you how thrilled I was to have to listen to that fucking song again

spoiler alert NOT AT ALL
posted by poffin boffin at 1:56 PM on October 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


This site seems to describe all episodes of Perfect Strangers, including some different intros, if anyone wants to go through it. There's an email link to the guy who runs it, FWIW.
posted by dilettante at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2014


I THOUGHT THAT TOO

Oh! Was it the weird hole in the wall that went from the living room to the kitchen on Three's Company?
posted by ian1977 at 1:58 PM on October 3, 2014


A Dutch door also shows up on Mr. Ed and the Partridge Family.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2014


Episode 42

"The Kleptomaniac"

Janet is miffed upon discovering that her gold pen, a graduation present from her folks, is missing. Then, while Jack is perched on a ladder helping Roper paint the apartment exterior, he peers in his own bedroom window as Chrissy is taking his money from a drawer. Unaware that Chrissy is really borrowing cash for Mrs. Roper's C.O.D. delivery, Jack shares his bad news with Janet. While they are worrying that their roommate has developed kleptomania she walks in with a new purse and Mrs. Roper's shawl.


From this site...
posted by ian1977 at 2:08 PM on October 3, 2014


Same site...

Episode 60

"Jack the Ripper"

Jack hasn't won an argument in days. His Dean at school has ordered him to cook a dinner; Furley won't pay for the paint he used in the kitchen and the girls have picked out wallpaper for the bathroom. He gets help in the form of "assertiveness training." He returns a changed man and Janet wonders what she did by recommending the doctor. Jack is walking around the apartment barking and not being reasonable. When Furley comes down still insisting that he's not going to pay for the paint, a "barking" contest arises until he and Jack realize how silly they've been; especially after Jack learns that Furley, too, had taken the assertiveness training course! Jack recognizes that he should just be himself and not let people push him around.

posted by ian1977 at 2:12 PM on October 3, 2014


Are we sure it wasn't a kid's show, like one of the Nickelodeon ones? Because I feel like I've seen this, but not often, which to me would indicate it was on cable because I didn't have it and could only get it at friends' houses.

Not to, like, throw this thread into another spiral of an even bigger group of shows to sort through or anything.
posted by lesli212 at 2:31 PM on October 3, 2014


So googling trying to see if it was in fact Too Close for Comfort, this thread shows up as the 3rd result.
posted by dios at 2:32 PM on October 3, 2014


By the way, if this turns out to a group hallucination, I'm going to bilaterally stab my brain with q-tips until it apologizes for its trickery.
posted by dios at 2:35 PM on October 3, 2014 [7 favorites]


Because I feel like I've seen this, but not often, which to me would indicate it was on cable because I didn't have it and could only get it at friends' houses.

It does seem very much like something that YCDTOTV or TurkeyTV would have done, yes

sob
posted by poffin boffin at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2014


Are we sure it wasn't a kid's show,

When I asked my wife about this earlier on the phone, she said she thought it was a Saved by the Bell intro. I cursed her.
posted by dios at 2:38 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Boy meets world?
posted by Tevin at 2:45 PM on October 3, 2014


Is it a taped show before a studio audience with darker lighting than Full House?

I'm not sure if I'm just making this up.
posted by discopolo at 2:48 PM on October 3, 2014


I feel like it's probably a family sitcom from the early to mid 80s.
posted by discopolo at 2:49 PM on October 3, 2014


Oh and I just watched the Gimme A Break! opening and it's not that.
posted by discopolo at 2:50 PM on October 3, 2014


i absolutely remember this scene. it is in some kind of between doorway with blue paint. it's a sitcom from the early 90s or so. also, are you all checking the multiple versions of the intros? it wasn't the first version of Boy Meets World but there were a million. same for family matters, etc.
posted by Tevin at 2:51 PM on October 3, 2014


I watched all 1:45 of the Makin' It intro, and while there are gags involving mashed potatoes, whipped cream, and soft serve, no paint.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


I never even saw whatever this scene was and this is still driving me insane.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


There was also a paintbrush fight in the opening credits of Family Matters, but I don't think that's it. I remember the doorway.
posted by synecdoche at 3:18 PM on October 3, 2014


The Torkelsons
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 3:29 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Too Close for Comfort music doesn't match the visual for me, but I was sure it would be that.

Given the ubiquity of reruns, could it be something older? I had no idea some of the stuff I was watching in the 70s was as old as it was...
posted by you must supply a verb at 3:32 PM on October 3, 2014


ian1997, that sounds very familiar!!!
posted by vivzan at 3:33 PM on October 3, 2014


Now I'm really missing the 80s! Additional guesses:

Life Goes On (Fun fact: I know the theme song by heart and I haven't thought of this programme in ages.)

Dear John

Double Trouble

It's a Living

Empty Nest
 
Nurses

My Secret Identity

Out of This World‎

Other World‎

Punky Brewster

Fame!

Alien Nation

Eerie, Indiana‎



posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2014


Another "I immediately thought of Three's Company" from me...
posted by trillian at 4:07 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing that's driving me nuts is, I know it was something I watched regularly, so that rules out Three's Company, Too Close For Comfort, and really anything pre-80s. I seem to remember that the person with the paint roller (and it was a paint roller) had headphones on? And was sort of bopping along to music? Gaaaaaah.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:00 PM on October 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


sarcasticah, you're killing me here.

did you answer this already, I can't find it:

- gender?
- hair color?
- age of the characters?
- height?
-
posted by vivzan at 5:19 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is killing me, as I'm looking at one theme after another and coming across shows I haven't even thought about in twenty years. It's a Living, anyone?
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Could this have been a commercial, and not actually the intro to a show? Either a commercial made in a similar wacky style (complete with jingle 'theme song') OR maybe a local affiliate's commercial for the sitcom, using different popular clips but accompanied by familiar theme song?
posted by tomboko at 5:50 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be weird for it to be a regional or local stations ad, since so many people from all over the place remember it.

I want to say it's two women in the clip, but I can't be sure of that. I'm starting to wonder if we all just hallucinated it.
posted by sarcasticah at 6:18 PM on October 3, 2014


I can't verify it (can't find a clip) and it's not TV, but it kind of sounds like the opening of Three Men and A Baby.
posted by dogmom at 6:25 PM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


It could have been a syndicated ad, if the show in question were in syndication? Then multiple regions might have seen it.
posted by tomboko at 6:44 PM on October 3, 2014


Just chiming in to say that I definitely half-remember this also. I agree this would be from late -70's to early 80's. Will follow closely for resolution and will chime in again if my brain. Lights up an answer.
posted by maryrussell at 6:48 PM on October 3, 2014


I checked a bunch of more obscure ones over the last hour: Double Trouble, My Sister Sam, Kate & Allie, Just the Ten of Us, One Day at a Time, etc. I couldn't find it. I think if you go back through this thread though you'll find that the memory everyone shares keeps changing: it was two men early in the thread, later two women, etc.

I think this seems familiar because it's such a common gag and has probably been in a thousand local ads for a dozen different shows. But I'm skeptical there's a true original anywhere we could really find.
posted by gerryblog at 7:10 PM on October 3, 2014


i remember this. my first thought was perfect strangers, but no. my husband's was three's company, but no. interestingly there are 6 years between us which puts those shows in each of our tv watching sweet spots which makes me think group hallucination where we are all just putting our own references in.

i refuse to believe that, though! i remember it! before i read any of the thread, just by the question - i was like, yes, i've seen that, it's perfect strangers. then it that was ruled out.

i was only able to find one intro for hey dude and salute your shirts and it's not those.
posted by nadawi at 7:14 PM on October 3, 2014


oh, and i think the paint/dutch door gag happens in the movie "the money pit" with tom hanks and shelley long. my husband is sure the dutch door is in the intro we're all looking for.
posted by nadawi at 7:15 PM on October 3, 2014


Who's the Boss? Charles in Charge? Silver Spoons? Just throwing them out there...
posted by msali at 9:24 PM on October 3, 2014


Would it be Laverne and Shirley? Since you mention it is two women.
posted by thegoldfish at 9:53 PM on October 3, 2014


oh nvm I just saw that was already ruled out.
posted by thegoldfish at 9:54 PM on October 3, 2014


This is a super long shot but The Pink Panther actually came to mind. Especially the episode entitled "The Pink Phink."
posted by Sassyfras at 10:01 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was thinking maybe Kate and Allie but I don't think I can find an opening theme for it.
posted by discopolo at 10:18 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hate to open this can of worms, but is it possible that this has a different context, like maybe it was part of a SNL sketch, eg, Debbie Downer?
posted by Room 641-A at 2:22 AM on October 4, 2014


I started wondering last night if it was actually a popular commercial for something like McDonalds and let me tell you I did not sleep very well at all.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:42 AM on October 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think I remember this too. I remember the paintee being a woman. Have we fully ruled out One Day at a Time? Seems like something Schneider would do. How about Good Times? Maybe Bookman or JJ?
posted by triggerfinger at 9:52 AM on October 4, 2014


Couldn't have been SNL, I didn't even start watching that until college, and this would have been earlier. This is going to drive me to drink, I swear!
posted by sarcasticah at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2014


I believe it is mbrubeck's answer - The Brady Bunch. Did you watch that video? It's here at 14:45 (from the reddit thread) as well - that has to be it. And maybe they put it in an outro or a compilation or flashback of some sort. The paint, the wall and the door, and man (Greg) & woman (Alice). Accidental painting. It's all there.
posted by cashman at 12:14 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know this isn't it, but the Mad Painter on Sesame Street had issues with doors opening and closing when he was trying to paint the number 7.
posted by bink at 12:22 PM on October 4, 2014


It isn't the Brady Bunch one.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:27 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's what vexes me: I described this question to a friend (without bringing up any of the possibilities) and she said instantly, "Perfect Strangers!" How can so many of us have that response, instantaneously and separately, if it's a shared delusion?

So, someone's going to have to take one for the team and watch all 150 episodes.
posted by desjardins at 10:38 PM on October 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


WHY HAVE Y'ALL NOT FOUND THIS YET?

stupid interwebs, what are you good for if not this? Now I won't be able to sleep tonight.
posted by math at 4:43 AM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


In living color?
posted by eau79 at 6:44 AM on October 5, 2014


I have a strong memory of this being the opening for Charles in Charge, just for a later season (I'm specifically remembering Charles painting Buddy's face, or the opposite). I was only able to find one set of opening credits for the show, and it wasn't this one, but does this jog a memory for anybody else?
posted by taltalim at 6:51 AM on October 5, 2014


Maybe it's a double mint gun commercial?
posted by ian1977 at 7:04 AM on October 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


If Gilligan's Island was a sitcom I could see Gilligan doing this to the Skipper. I'm seeing this very much as something done by a Gilligan or a Monroe type character, where an older male character is always exasperated at something they've done.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:45 AM on October 5, 2014


Depending on locations and willingness of various paint-scene-seekers, it might be worth assembling an LA or NY-based research team to visit the Paley Center for Media and spend an afternoon watching original intros and otherwise scouring the collection for clues.
posted by KatlaDragon at 10:21 AM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Have you taken this to reddit? There's probably some subforum dedicated to sitcom intros.
posted by Partario at 10:27 AM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Someone did, yeah. Let's see how far this insane question will spread!
posted by sarcasticah at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2014


Has no one tweeted Bronson Pichot (@bronsonap)??
posted by tristeza at 5:11 PM on October 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Someone said Three Men and a Baby above... I second that I think this scene is in the opening of that! Steve Guttenberg's character painting the entranceway to their palatial apartment and I think it's Tom Selleck that gets painted?
posted by stefnet at 6:58 PM on October 5, 2014


I thought for sure I'd check back Monday morning and you people would have solved this mystery. You've let me down. All of you.

/sob
posted by Falwless at 7:15 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love how in 2014 I can find multiple versions of everything on a VHS tape leading up to the opening credits of Three Men and a Baby on YouTube, but not the actual credits themselves.
posted by stefnet at 7:19 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


isn't there a physical museum that archives all this stuff? let's take up a collection to send someone there.
posted by desjardins at 7:48 AM on October 6, 2014


The Paley Center. It's in NYC, so I delegate poffin boffin.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:11 AM on October 6, 2014


Ok - I rented the darn movie on Amazon. It's not the opening credits to Three Men and a Baby. I'll see later if it happens near the end (at work).
posted by stefnet at 8:26 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought about how in the '80s there were a lot of older shows that would air in the afternoons on UHF stations. Point being, it's not CPO Sharkey.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:02 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping I'm not the only one who hasn't seen Three Men and A Baby, because if the search ends there I'll be stuck trying to figure this out on my own.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:57 AM on October 6, 2014


IT'S NOT AT THE END EITHER. aghhhhhhghhghhh
posted by stefnet at 2:10 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really want this solved too please!!!! Someone!
posted by discopolo at 3:03 PM on October 6, 2014


no i don't like places where people are
posted by poffin boffin at 3:06 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


No one needs to run away from home to the Paley Center just yet; some of us who work at similar institutions are still working on it. It's just down to a hard grind...for instance, did you know that the credits for Three's Company not only change from season to season, but sometimes within a season? I sure do now.

Seasons 2 and 3 of Three's Company were particularly tantalizing, because after the main theme was finished, there was a little reprise without vocals that showed comic bits and pieces from previous episodes, and that changed between seasons. But no luck so far with this particular visual.

There are more seasons yet to check, but Three's-Company-wise I'm getting dubious. However, Perfect Strangers is on next week's agenda (although it'll be a lot harder, coming to my desk as randomly-chosen episodes from each season rather than in a tidy 'full series' DVD package).

Anyway, if and when anything shows up, we'll report back! (Unless someone else out there finds it first.)
posted by theatro at 11:19 AM on October 8, 2014 [28 favorites]


Kate & Allie?
Who's the Boss?
posted by jen14221 at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2014


Kate & Allie didn't have an opening title sequence. It just superimposed the credits over a cold open.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:42 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


OMG GUYS. If anyone is even still following this sage... the librarians at the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Moving Images Section are on the case. They have watched the opening credits of every Three's Company episode, and have requested later seasons of Perfect Strangers (because that was their first guess, too!) and Murphy Brown. I'll update when I hear more!!

(I didn't contact the LoC; someone in the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook did. Just for clarity.)
posted by sarcasticah at 4:47 PM on October 10, 2014 [69 favorites]


Any updates? I would still suggest checking Charles in Charge in the later seasons
posted by taltalim at 3:27 PM on October 23, 2014


At this point I think it's safe to assume this never featured in the credits of any popular sitcom. It's just a perfect sitcom-credit-gag, so when it gets described we can instantly picture it and think "yeah, I'm sure I saw something like that." It's like that experiment where people get told about an experience of being lost at the mall as a kid and immediately develop a set of false memories about it.
posted by yoink at 9:36 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's just a perfect sitcom-credit-gag

And yet...no one found this scene anywhere, in any context! Now I just want to find the gag!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:12 AM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


No updates yet from this corner, but it's still on our plate. Perfect Strangers has turned out to be more complicated than I had imagined. I checked from late seasons backward, and kept seeing only the standard, all-exteriors, Chicago-landmarky credits. So I was figuring that's all there was to it...until I got to the episode I picked at random from season 3. Then the credits are different, with more 'origin story', fewer landmarks, and then a solid section of visual gags from episodes. No painting, though.

But now it makes me wonder about 1) are the s3 credits all like that and do they all use the same set of gags, 2) does the 'set of visual gags' chunk show up in any other seasons maybe with different gags, as happened with Three's Company (see above), 3) how many more individual episodes do I need to check to feel I've done enough on Perfect Strangers in particular, and 4) a couple of the tapes with slates at the beginning were labeled 'international version', and how might THAT play into this.

TV, you guys. IT CAN BE SURPRISINGLY HARD.
posted by theatro at 1:55 PM on October 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm 90% sure it was Too Close For Comfort. Has that been thoroughly debunked yet?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:45 PM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ok which sitcom had a handyman in it? Because whatever one that is, that's the one with the paint roller scene in the opening credits. He wore a tool belt and had scruffy dark hair....
posted by silverstatue at 1:47 PM on October 30, 2014


Schneider, from One Day At A Time?
posted by Room 641-A at 2:30 PM on October 30, 2014


Because combing through one decade of television isn't enough...I just forwarded this a friend and he thinks that happened on the episode of I Love Lucy when they try to freshen up Fred and Ethel's apartment.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:08 PM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just went back and YouTubed the scene from Punky Brewster where they redecorated Punky's room. I thought maaaaaybe they paint-rolled the handyman, but they only paint-rolled the windows. Close. But no luck.

(And I just realized I've been wanting to sleep in a flower cart for 30+ years now.)
posted by mochapickle at 5:27 PM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Too Close for Comfort has not been thoroughly debunked yet, at least not in any systematic way, so I'll keep it on the list. YouTube credits have not helped, but there are seasons not up there.

Same with One Day At a Time. Schneider is a prime suspect, but the credits I've seen in more haphazard places like YouTube haven't had the thing, so I'll take a closer look when I can.

The I Love Lucy episode will be easy to get my hands on in the next delivery, so I'll check it out.

Why oh why aren't we all hazily remembering a scene where someone is stuffing their cheeks with chocolates coming down a conveyor belt?
posted by theatro at 6:41 AM on October 31, 2014 [7 favorites]


Hmm, Home Improvement hasn't come up yet.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:16 AM on October 31, 2014


Home Improvement was cited several times above.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:19 AM on October 31, 2014


theatro, you are the hero metafilter needs right now.
posted by desjardins at 12:56 PM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks, mbrubeck, it looks like my browser's search is broken. Weird. Too bad, it was so promising!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:10 PM on October 31, 2014


I keep checking back to see if this has been solved because I think about it several times a day.
To either jog some memories or muddy the waters, I seem to remember the "painter" being distracted by either turning and waving to someone off-screen or else lecherously watching girls walk past. I know it can't be both but there was definitely a distraction in my memory of it.
posted by rocket88 at 4:59 PM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Again, in the Home Improvement scene linked above the painter is a (pre-?)teen boy distracted by staring at a girl.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:18 PM on October 31, 2014


.I just forwarded this a friend and he thinks that happened on the episode of I Love Lucy when they try to freshen up Fred and Ethel's apartment.

FYI this is at approximately 20:20 of the "Redecorating the Mertzes' Apartment" episode. Watch it here.

I would say this is definitely NOT the item we're looking for. Fred moves Lucy's paint can and then stands with his head in the same place the paint can was. Lucy reaches her paintbrush into the paint can without looking and ends up painting all over Fred's head.

So, not like the setup described in the OP and also not likely fodder for an intro/credits, just due to the way it's played out.
posted by flug at 1:27 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another similar "I Love Lucy" moment is in season 2 episode 8 "Redecorating," where Lucy and Ethyl are wallpapering a room.

Watch it here starting about 13:45: Ethyl is holding a strip of wallpaper while Lucy brushes wallpaper paste onto it. Ethyl keeps moving the strip of wallpaper up until it runs out, but Lucy blithely continues brushing, covering Ethyl's face with globs of wallpaper paste.

It doesn't involve a door, so I doubt it's the one the OP is looking for, but definitely in the same genre . . .
posted by flug at 2:01 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen The Odd Couple mentioned. Could it be from a 70's show that you saw re-runs of?
posted by futz at 9:52 AM on November 2, 2014


I'm almost positive it was a Too Close for Comfort intro. Are you sure you found every intro to that show? They changed it yearly and I can recall the scene and the music vividly.
posted by mathowie at 9:28 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping to get a better look at Too Close for Comfort next week. The shows that don't come up as full-series DVD packages have to be requested as individual episodes, so I need to do a little "random" selection from each season first. I still have hope!
posted by theatro at 8:15 AM on November 6, 2014


Finally found it: It was Too Many Cooks.
posted by gerryblog at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2014 [19 favorites]


That's... uh... wow.
posted by mochapickle at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


The fact that they pulled on this trope for their intro-of-intros is vexing, however, especially since I still don't think there's any real original out there for us to found.
posted by gerryblog at 1:02 PM on November 6, 2014


It seems like the fact that Adult Swim *are* aware of this trope argues against the idea that there is some kind of false memory/collective delusion happening here.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:24 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's awesome. But the Too Many Cooks shot was just a direct imitation of the one from Facts of Life, right?
posted by mbrubeck at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2014


Speaking of which, we can rule out the version in Adam Scott's Too Close For Comfort remake.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2014


gerryblog: Finally found it: It was Too Many Cooks.
Goddamned Adult Swim and their idiot "It's funny and edgy to show people getting murdered" bullshit. Same thing that ruined Robot Chicken.

That said, I didn't actually see the "face-painting" scene we're all scratching our heads over in the damned thing. Also, the lead time would be too long for them to have seen this thread and include it in the final product just to screw with us, right?
posted by ob1quixote at 2:41 PM on November 6, 2014


That said, I didn't actually see the "face-painting" scene we're all scratching our heads over

It's at :34 and there's another one at 9:23. But it's just paintrolling someone's face -- there's no door scenario as mentioned in the OP.
posted by mochapickle at 2:49 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


mochapickle: It's at :34 and there's another one at 9:23.
Ah, the link was tagged to 0:55, and I didn't see it when I was scanning thumbnails. Thanks.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2014


It's already been mentioned once, but the opening to out of this world features a paint can and a ladder, though no roller.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:42 AM on November 7, 2014


It seems like the fact that Adult Swim *are* aware of this trope argues against the idea that there is some kind of false memory/collective delusion happening here

In neither case in the "Too Many Cooks" video is it a case of someone accidentally painting someone else's face because they've been distracted or what have you. It's just someone sticking a paint roller onto someone's face. I really don't think you can argue from that to the fact that the gag as described in the FPP actually featured in some sitcom intro sequence.
posted by yoink at 9:29 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, I'm saying it makes it less likely that we're all just imagining that it was in a sitcom intro sequence. And the more so, because the video is less "send up generic TV tropes" and more "send up tropes specifically associated with credit sequences."

Understood that the video is not *precisely* duplicating the purported scene. But I think it may be meaningful they thought to include a paint on the face bit.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:50 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it is most likely that somebody at Adult Swim came across this thread and included the scene as a result.
posted by synecdoche at 10:17 AM on November 7, 2014 [11 favorites]


No, I'm saying it makes it less likely that we're all just imagining that it was in a sitcom intro sequence.

I can see that's what you're saying, I just don't see how you're getting there. The Adult Swim video does not contain the gag described in the FPP and that everyone has been searching for. The accidental nature of the face painting, the distracted-painter and wrong-place-wrong-time victim are essential elements of the gag. That the Adult Swim video contains paint being applied to faces deliberately makes it pretty much irrelevant.
posted by yoink at 10:51 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


goddamnit i was hoping to come back to this thread with an answer but there is none and now I am fuming
posted by Tevin at 1:32 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am 99% positive this is from Too Close For Comfort. Jim J. Bullock paints over Ted Knight's face. THAT'S GOTTA BE IT!
posted by zardoz at 4:32 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Unless you're being sarcastic, the OP ruled out Too Close for Comfort: "The thing that's driving me nuts is, I know it was something I watched regularly, so that rules out Three's Company, Too Close For Comfort, and really anything pre-80s."
posted by cashman at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2014


A half hour ago I was completely convinced that it was The Monkees, but nope.
posted by billder at 7:17 PM on November 8, 2014


Is it possible that this is from a Nickelodeon show? lesli212 brought it up back on Oct. 3 but it's the only other Nick mention.

That would mean that I almost certainly did not see what the OP did, but then again I'm really seeing it in my head as something from Too Close For Comfort. If the OP ruled out that many popular 70s & 80s shows maybe they are in a younger demographic than me anyway.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:49 PM on November 8, 2014


Or is it possible that this was from a music video in high rotation on MTV during the 1980s? Just a random guess.
posted by billder at 10:56 PM on November 8, 2014


I think this is too late--a 90s show--and does not involve a roller, but, from Reddit' here is a scene from Home Improvement...
posted by synecdoche at 10:57 AM on November 9, 2014


Already debunked upthread synecdoche. It isn't Home Improvement.
posted by cashman at 2:36 PM on November 9, 2014


Rob Beschizza posting on Andy Baio's twitter thread on this topic adds this possibility--a bit of the paint fight from Facts of Life was used in their intro.

I don't think this is the one the OP is asking about due to mismatch on many details, but it definitely does involve much paint on faces and was from a sitcom intro, so there is that . . .
posted by flug at 10:29 AM on November 12, 2014


Andy Baio's twitter

Maybe some active twitter users can reach out to @realscottbaio, @JimJBullock, @MindyCohn, etc.

(I know the OP ruled out Charles in Charge but at this point I think it's fair to suggest that maybe everyone's memory is a little hazy about this!)
posted by Room 641-A at 11:45 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm another person who immediately thought "Perfect Strangers". It can't be a coincidence.
posted by donajo at 11:42 AM on November 13, 2014


First thing I thought of was this scene with the Animal and Shapiro. Wrong medium, wrong scenario, wrong kind of brush, but I felt compelled to join in.
posted by artlung at 1:02 PM on November 13, 2014


this thread is the cruel eagle tearing each day at the liver of my soul

why don't we have the answer yet
posted by poffin boffin at 11:08 AM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


(I suspect the next avenue of exploration should be the ads for VHS box sets that were on heavy rotation at the time. It seems plausible that one of these -- likely aired/viewed much more often than any one sitcom -- would get conflated with the memory of sitcom intros decades later.)
posted by nobody at 6:39 AM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, no luck yet, although the research has perforce been going pretty slow.

I also thought/hoped that the multiple separate people jumping immediately to "Perfect Strangers" meant something (my non-Mefite brother instantly said PERFECT STRANGERS in allcaps when I asked him), but by now I've watched the opening credits to at least one episode from every season, plus an extra one from season 3 because of its revamping and visual gags. No dice.

The "multiple people jump immediately" also made "Too Close for Comfort" sound likely, but then it was disqualified above because sarcasticah says it would definitely have been something she watched regularly. (I can still keep it in the bullpen just in case, since people's individual memories do not appear to be as accurate on this question as one might hope.)

We currently have some Murphy Brown-s (Murphys Brown?) on hand (although I don't think Murphy Brown had opening credits per se, just that classy understated appearance and disappearance of the title at the beginning of each episode's opening scene), and One Day At a Time as well, and we'll get on them when we can and keep you posted.
posted by theatro at 5:19 PM on November 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I just asked my non-MeFite wife this question, and with no prompting, she immediately said Perfect Strangers. When I told her that had been disqualified, she suggested One Day At A Time.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:07 PM on December 1, 2014


I just tweeted @bronsonap and @bpinchotonline.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:20 PM on December 1, 2014


It's probably not Perfect Strangers. desjardins is right. That Perfect Strangers site has incredible detail. Paragraphs and Paragraphs of dialogue alongside screenshots of each episode.
posted by cashman at 9:02 PM on December 1, 2014


Ok, I think I've got it. It is in fact Too Close for Comfort, but it's a slightly different gag. Sandra van Walkenberg (the brunette daughter) and maybe Jim J. Bullock and maybe that blonde sister are hanging wallpaper in a room. A ladder is involved. Ted Knight opens the door and either

a) gets his head wallpapered OR
b) gets wallpaper glue rollered on his face OR
c) a precariously placed bucket falls and splashes him.

Who's with me?

Oh shit, wait, maybe that's from Three's Company???
posted by zardoz at 5:41 PM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


DO YOU MEAN THIS???

As much as Monroe screws up, he is apparently a skilled redecorator. Henry is pleasantly surprised in the episode "A Matter of Degree", to find that Monroe actually wallpapered the nursery for Henry and Muriel's soon-to-be-born third child perfectly, with no creases on the walls or anything (though we don't actually get to see what it looks like); especially surprising considering Monroe accidentally slapped wallpaper on Monroe and Mr. Balaban (the owner of a local furniture store and friend to the family, who was visiting the house to give the elder Rushes furniture for the nursery) while he was taking the paste-covered wallpaper to the nursery. (TVTropes)
posted by Room 641-A at 5:54 PM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


In my head, it's Diff'rent Strokes, but I have no proof. Yet.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:48 PM on December 10, 2014


So is that it then? Confirmed mass hallucination/shared invention?
posted by cashman at 11:47 AM on February 17, 2015


I thought for sure we were going to nail this one down. In my mind, it will always be Too Close For Comfort, reality be damned.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:31 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, there's still more for me to check, although during busier times here (like right now) my progress grinds to a halt. I think so far I've mostly been checking slightly-older shows, so possibly when I get to the newer ones I'll have more luck--for instance, I haven't checked Too Close for Comfort yet.

However, there remain some unanswerables. For instance, are there any differences between the opening credit sequences on the tapes I have access to, which were submitted for Copyright registration, and the credit sequences as aired? No idea. Is my haphazard 'random' selection of episodes (usually checking one from each season, though in the case of a tantalizingly-close thing like Perfect Strangers season 3 where they put gags from episodes into the opening credits, I checked more than one) good enough? No idea, although I'm working on the assumption that if it really is something that so many people saw/remember, then it shouldn't be very rare to find (i.e., shouldn't be from only one particular unexceptional episode).

I haven't given up a faint level of hope yet, although I have had to settle into a livable research schedule, meaning slow, and meaning when other work allows. I know that absence of evidence doesn't mean evidence of absence, so it'll be hard to proclaim, you know, "this never happened"--but if I find myself out of shows to check and am feeling officially stumped, I'll report back. And if I do find anything that seems like a hit, I'll certainly say so! (If this thread is closed, I'll MetaTalk it or something.)
posted by theatro at 5:58 AM on February 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


it'll be hard to proclaim, you know, "this never happened"

I think at this point it's actually very safe to proclaim "this was never a part of a widely-aired, oft-repeated intro sequence on a major sitcom." If it had been there's almost no chance that it wouldn't have been found by now. Which also means that pretty much everyone in this thread (including me, initially) who said "yeah, I'm pretty sure I remember that!" was spontaneously creating a false memory--which is really interesting and suggestive. Someone should forward this thread to Elizabeth Loftus.
posted by yoink at 8:49 AM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


My money's still on this being a real thing that happened on a show that had different title sequences for each season (Too Close for Comfort did this), but where the DVD releases didn't include all of the original sequences.
If that's the case then verification can only come from someone's old VHS copies or from someone involved in the show who remembers it.
posted by rocket88 at 10:32 AM on February 19, 2015


My money's still on this being a real thing that happened on a show that had different title sequences for each season (Too Close for Comfort did this), but where the DVD releases didn't include all of the original sequences.

Even if that turned out to be true (which I highly doubt), it wouldn't explain the "Oh, I remember that too!" phenomenon in this thread. The majority of the people saying that in this thread still wouldn't have seen that one particular season of that one sitcom when it aired live.
posted by yoink at 10:47 AM on February 19, 2015


I don't know about that. Using Perfect Strangers as the most mentioned show in this thread, it was in the top 40 Nielsen-rated shows during most of its run, which means it reached 10-15 million households per week. It was on during the ABC TGIF block on Friday nights, so I'm guessing that there's a good chance that any given USian Mefite born between say, 1979 and 1989, was at home watching TV on Friday nights while the show was running.
posted by donajo at 11:22 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was so hoping this wasn't a collective delusion.
posted by cashman at 11:58 AM on July 21, 2015


how dare you bump this thread and give us hope, cashman
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:32 PM on July 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


you are history's greatest monster.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:33 PM on July 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I literally gasped with joy when I saw it in Recent Activity.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:45 PM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


MARK HIS FACE WITH THE PAINT ROLLER OF REPROBATION FOR GIVING US FALSE HOPE
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:08 PM on July 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


No joke: This question was the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning (I KNOW! Bonkers! ) and I was sure the update just now meant that a solution was found AND the whole brainwave thing was a sure sign that the universe was unfurling in its true and radiant glory just the way it should.

But nooooooo.
posted by mochapickle at 1:13 PM on July 21, 2015


[Sorry guys, you can't longboat an Ask Me thread, so further comments need to be answering the question, but I've put this on the sidebar and in Best Of, in case a last-minute hero can provide sweet closure for us all.]
posted by taz at 2:06 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


We need some organization to this hunt. I'll be back later with a spreadsheet. BUT NO YARN WALL! Only one trope at a time.
it does exist, I swear this goes back to Laurel & Hardy...
posted by mimi at 6:07 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could it be a Foo Fighters video or a Mentos commercial?

Now I have 'too many cooks' stuck in my head.
posted by xorry at 6:14 AM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just watched every intro I could think of, then watched A mentos commercial and the guy holding the paintbrush is *exactly* what I conjured when I read the question. Combined with the song, the jumble of childhood memories has been mixed up, and I have decided that this is what we all remember.
posted by bensherman at 9:37 AM on July 22, 2015


That is definitely not what I remember. I remember the thing in the post, which that is not.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:44 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit, somebody HAS to remember this.

Here's what else I remember:

* it's an opening to a TV show
* it's part of a montage where the 2 (?) female main characters are wearing overalls and have handkerchiefs around their heads because they're fixing up their new apartment (and the show is about two young women moving into their own place, yes?), when...
* the annoying neighbor who is some kind of humorous creepster opens the door and one of the female leads rolls paint over their face
* and everyone laughs.

It feels like Laverne and Shirley, but I guess it's not.

Come ON, people.
posted by kinetic at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember that too! But not with enough precision to offer a definitive answer, just more tantalizing clues.

I really feel in my bones that it's an alternate version of the Step by Step credits. I didn't grow up watching a lot of American sitcoms, so you can rule out most of the suggestions in this thread, but for some reason I was obsessed with Patrick Duffy. As per Kinetic's clues above, the two girls would be the oldest daughters. Creepster neighbour, check. Freeze frame laffs, check. Poor man's Brady Bunch vibe, check. But dammit, all their intros are set in a theme park!
posted by Freyja at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2015


Goddamnit, somebody HAS to remember this.

That's the problem, kinetic. Everybody does remember this--but different people's "I remember it so clearly!" descriptions are not really matching.

I feel like I dropped the ball, in a sense--my last comment, in February, came right before the traditional summer ramp-up here when it gets really busy, and I never got back to it. But I've hit several of the most likely suspects so far, and no joy.

For what it's worth, I've put in an order for five episodes of Too Close for Comfort, one from each season 1-5, which will come to my desk next Wednesday. (Weirdly, I haven't been able to find any episodes from its last season.)

Some of the aspects I don't have time or resources to check, though: if it was one single episode, rather than a repeated intro sequence; or if it was an intro sequence different to the ones on the tapes submitted for copyright registration. See, for instance, my previous caveats about the Perfect Strangers episodes.

Anyway, I'll report on Too Close For Comfort late next week!
posted by theatro at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


it's part of a montage where the 2 (?) female main characters are wearing overalls and have handkerchiefs around their heads
I bet you are thinking of the bit at 0:44 in this version of the Laverne & Shirley Show opening montage where the two female main characters are wearing overalls and have handkerchiefs around their heads. Laverne smears frosting (?) in Shirley’s face. The same show also had a door gag in the opening montage, already mentioned above.

The Laverne & Shirley opening was re-enacted in Wayne’s World, so it might seem familiar even to people who never watched the show.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:42 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Maybe it is that L&S opening, but I seem to recall painting and a guy who's leering in an acceptable (but not really) TV kind of way who gets his face run over with a roller and everyone laughs.
posted by kinetic at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2015


I missed this the first time around, but I totally remember it. I think, too, that the person painting bent down to put more paint on the roller, then painted that face after standing up and paint-rolling too quickly before realizing someone was standing in the doorway.

I also would have guessed it was Jm J. Bullock and Ted Knight. The person who got painted broke out into a very tight-lipped frown, standing there with a painted face.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:51 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Was it positively NOT Gimme a Break, with the Sam character painting Dolph Sweet? Because that looks right in my mind too.)
posted by mudpuppie at 4:53 PM on July 22, 2015


kinetic: “Maybe it is that L&S opening”
Definitely not. I just watched all the different versions from the various seasons. I really wanted it to be Lenny or Squiggy, but it's not. Still, it's funny how I remembered the scene of them kissing their hands and slapping the cardboard cutout of The Beatles but not that they had moved to California during those seasons.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:05 PM on July 22, 2015


mudpuppie: “Was it positively NOT Gimme a Break”
Not that I saw.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:14 PM on July 22, 2015


Oh, hello, my old friend.

I think at this point we really have to conclude that there is not some show opening so obscure that it hasn't been found yet, but so ubiquitous -- and so totally timeless -- that everyone here who thinks they saw it saw it. As I said above a thousand years ago, it's got to be a manufactured collective memory based upon the fact that this gag is so common and used in a ton of shows, and has probably been used for local ads. (Again, as I and others have mentioned, the memory is not actually even agreed upon. It keeps changing.) If there really were some true original, we would have found it.
posted by gerryblog at 8:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


And it's not the disappointingly cheap credits on The Ropers.
Has anyone in this show even ever seen a chicken?
posted by mimi at 9:03 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I do increasingly feel like the 'ubiquitous/timeless vague constructed memory' theory as discussed by gerryblog and others is the most likely answer, though I'll still look at a few more things if only for curiosity's sake.

I was discussing it with my brother last night. And as an example, consider One Day At A Time (checked those credits today with samples across all seasons, btw, and no dice). He and I used to watch that show, but not all the seasons.

If someone were today to come along and say, I have this vague memory of someone in a show's opening credits doing a snakey side-to-side dance step, I'd instantly say ONE DAY AT A TIME. Even though I didn't see the whole series, or (to my knowledge) saw the episodes more than once (old fashioned network TV). Because the seasons were long (thus I saw the credits many times), my brain was younger and plastic, and I imprinted on the show--I have a clear memory of Mackenzie Phillips doing a weird, snaky side-to-side dance.

When I go back and look at certain versions of the credits, I am correct about that (and there are other seasons in which it never happened--after she'd left the show, for instance, or the season where on the same lyric she did more of a Charleston step, so it didn't take every single season for the image to be memorable). But the dance is both less extended and less "snakey" than I had remembered; it exists, but doesn't quite match the increasingly snakier picture in my head.

What I kind of concluded from this is that if the paint image did exist in the opening credits of a mainstream TV show, even in a modified form, someone out there would have imprinted on it (even if not me) and have been able to identify the show more specifically. Even if it turned out to be, for example, wallpapering, or a brush instead of a roller, etc.

Not that nobody on TV ever paint-rolled over someone's face! But it's an old gag, very easy to imagine, and we've seen it in basic forms even within this thread (the Brady Bunch clip from Hulu linked above, for instance--I certainly remember seeing that back when Brady Bunch was in heavy syndicated rotation). It or something like it could have happened in the interior of some shows, but I doubt it happened in the opening credits (being therefore repeated a lot) or in a significant-enough way for everyone to actually be remembering the exact same thing.

I'd be happy to be proved wrong, of course. But this is taking so much spadework and has so few actual clues! That alone makes it seem less and less likely.
posted by theatro at 9:31 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I said somewhere above that someone should email this thread to Elizabeth Loftus (the person who has done the most to advance research into constructed memories. I think I actually will send it to her myself. If I hear anything back from her, I'll let you know. This seems like such a beautiful real-world example of the kinds of experiments she has done in implanting memories that I can't imagine she wouldn't find it interesting (unless it's just so exemplary that for her it's really a "no, d'uh?!" kind of thing).

One of the really interesting things about implanted memories (apart from the ease with which they can be manufactured) is the profound sense of certainty associated with them. People in this thread are really willing to swear on a stack of Bibles that they remember this sequence, but it's really compellingly clear by now that it didn't exist.
posted by yoink at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2015


Here's a spreadsheet!
posted by mimi at 11:07 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I too looked through youtube sitcom intros and did not find the scene.

It seems like something that would have fit in with a Benny Hill routine. Someone (Benny Hill?) is distracted by an attractive woman, and ends up painting over someone?
posted by Schmucko at 9:36 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just coming upon this thread thanks to the sidebar. One thing I note is that the OP doesn't specify the color of paint they picture. Some have mentioned green or blue paint, and some have talked about a split door.

FWIW, my memory (constructed?) first impression was white paint being rolled onto a white man's face. The painter doesn't surface in my mind, but the paintee had dark hair. The overall color scheme is light, and the door opens to the left*, swinging inside. There may have been wallpaper with a cream background and small pink flowers.

Maybe if people describe their first impression in detail it might jostle further recollection?

*putting the doorknob is on the right.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:14 AM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember this, too! I keep thinking it was from a later season of Too Close For Comfort, with Ted Knight being the paintee and JM Bulloch doing the painting. I wonder if production companies made new intros for syndication? I now feel we should organize mefite old-sitcom binge-watching teams to look for this scene.
posted by theplotchickens at 10:20 AM on July 26, 2015


The Murphy Brown thing is really bugging me now, because I had *such* a vivid image immediately pop into my head, of Candice Bergen's shocked-turning-to-outraged expression as she processed her paint-smeared state. So was there a scene in the show where painter dude brushed paint on her face, or did I instantly construct that whole scene on the mere mention of the name?
posted by tavella at 4:35 PM on July 26, 2015


All I can say about that, tavella, is that it's not in the Murphy Brown credits (which reliably remain that understated, news-show-type logo at the bottom of the screen during the first scene of each episode). Whether there was ever a single scene in the show where Murphy got painted, I can't say. Although it does seem a little off to me, tonally and characterizationally--that's not the sort of dynamic she and Elton (the painter) had, and the show's humor tended to be sharper, more verbal, more about wit than pratfalls. (Can't rule it out, of course! They did visual humor as well. It just feels rarer to me on that show, this sort of broad slapstick joke.)

I'll be able to check Too Close for Comfort on Thursday, I hope. I included the episode someone mentioned where they're wallpapering, which seems a possible analogy for painting.
posted by theatro at 9:47 AM on July 27, 2015


Has anyone looked into which cartoons have employed this particular gag?
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:57 AM on July 27, 2015


My partner has spent basically 36 hours immersed in the quest for this and I know he's spent some time exploring the possibilities of cartoons. Also of commercials - he feels like this could be a bubble gum commercial. So far no luck in either realm.

I am still Team Perfect Strangers even though I can find no evidence of it, and he is Team Too Close for Comfort even though he's watched every version of the intro available on YouTube, and I'm afraid our relationship may not survive this AskMe thread.
posted by Stacey at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is like that scene in The Exorcist where Father Karras is talking to the devil through Regan and Regan takes the form of his dead, elderly mother who asks, "Dimi, why you do this to me?" in her thick, Italian accent, because every time this pops up in my recent activity I think "Thread, why you do this to me?"

I mentioned this earlier, but someone with an active Twitter account (ie, not me) should ask Jim J Bullock if it was Too Close For Comfort.

#TeamTCFC
posted by Room 641-A at 10:22 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kid's Incorporated?
posted by sio42 at 9:41 AM on July 28, 2015


Could it have been from one of those show-within-a-show live action things, like the Bloodhound Gang on 3-2-1 Contact or a similar kids' show that has discrete segments?
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:56 PM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


OP, is it possible this is from a closing credit?

I just checked seasons 1-2-3-4-5-9 of Alice. They are all different -- different opening montages (and new theme song version!) and different closing credit montages. I checked a few One Day At A Time closings and it could be one of those as far as format goes.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:47 PM on July 28, 2015


Somebody that is not me needs to comb through all of the episodes of "Three's a Crowd" and "The Lucy Show."
posted by NoMich at 6:56 AM on July 29, 2015


theatro, yeah, I knew it wasn't in the credits. But no one else remembers the scene, and googling around doesn't show me any screencaps or mention, so I suspect that indeed, it was generated wholesale. Memory is weird, man.
posted by tavella at 12:52 PM on July 29, 2015


Tavella, yeah, agreed: SO WEIRD. I am one of the people who (thought I) had a pretty good memory of it being Perfect Strangers (white paint, Larry's face, open mouthed). And yet...apparently not!
posted by theatro at 3:35 PM on July 29, 2015


Latest report is nothing but nopes, I'm afraid. Such a shame, because it seems like Too Close for Comfort was a fallback position for everyone stymied by the failure of Perfect Strangers. Sorry about that!

I watched:

* Too Close for Comfort, opening credits of episodes selected randomly from late in each season: nope.

* Too Close for Comfort, episode "A Matter of Degree" where Monroe puts up wallpaper: nope.
Monroe applies the wallpaper paste to the paper on a flat table using a hand brush. The repeated gag here is that he gets a strip of paper all sticky, then accidentally pastes it to someone else (once Henry, once a guest character), so that the other person is covered in a big rectangle of flowery wallpaper. When Monroe peels the paper off, the victim is not all gooped up; with both Henry and the guest character, there are just two small blotches of white paste on forehead and nose, which other characters fuss with dabbing off.

* Three's Company, episodes mentioned above including paint and wallpaper:
episode 3x11: Mr. Roper has a ladder outside leaning against the building. At one point he is ordering Jack to pull a rope to hoist a small bucket of paint, and the bucket catches on the gable and tips, spilling pink paint down onto Roper's hat and shoulders. His face stays clear.
episode 4x05: wallpaper is only involved in the episode in a book of samples, which they argue over.

Re: closing credits, the OP (if they're still around) would need to address that. If asked for my opinion, I'd say that I at least never paid much attention to closing credits back then; closing credits were the time to turn the TV off and move along; or, if waiting for the next show, they were for snacks. So I don't know how collectively-memorable they were.

In short: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by theatro at 1:31 PM on July 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Though I guess my created scene makes sense with how visual memory was explained when I was taking psych courses. That you don't store a picture of a particular window, instead you have a concept of window, to which you attach various qualities, and perhaps specific details. And then when picturing it, your brain creates an image from "window, sliding, large, peeling white paint". So I have a skeleton of the scene stored, because it has appeared so many times, and on attaching Murphy Brown to it, my brain was immediately able to create the image of such a scene.
posted by tavella at 2:49 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


More data points from my partner who is still obsessed with trying to figure this out:

The face-paint gag occurs in this Family Guy spoof of an 80s montage, about halfway through, which argues for it being a gag that did exist somewhere, at some point, for Seth MacFarlane to be riffing on it.

But the montage itself appears to be at least partly a reference to a montage in Revenge of the Nerds, which from what I can find on the intertubes does not seem to have this specific painting-the-face gag in it. Might be pulled in from some other of the many 80s montages in the world, though. So now he's off on a tangent trying to figure out if it could be in a montage in some movie or TV show rather than a credit sequence.
posted by Stacey at 8:25 AM on August 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


theatro: "closing credits were the time to turn the TV off and move along; or, if waiting for the next show, they were for snacks"

Closing credits of the show that came on before Perfect Strangers/Threes Company/Laverne and Shirley? Everyone associates it with the show they watched (because they saw it while waiting for it to come up) and not whatever the show is which they didn't watch.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on September 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


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