You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

I was talking to a friend not so long ago. She had been down in the dumps lately, going through a bit of a rough patch, and so I gave her a bit of sage advice. “Just take it one day at a time,” I said, and followed that up with a sorta-funny comment in which I said, “I’m not talking about the sitcom about a divorced mother and her two teenage daughters who live in an apartment building with a womanizing superintendent named Schneider.” She laughed – because we’re the same age and have a shared fondness for late 70s/early 80s sitcoms – but then an amazing realization struck me as the opening theme from One Day At A Time rattled around in my brain: television theme songs – particularly sitcoms – are excellent sources for advice on a wide range of topics that you can relate to everyday life.

Did Schneider ever actually FIX anything? (Image courtesy of

This is it. This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it. This is it
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time, One day at a time.

Right? That’s wisdom there. And it’s catchy, too. We only get one ride on this merry-go-round we call Life, so we might as well make the most of it and enjoy ourselves. I don’t think you’d get better advice if you paid $300 an hour for a counseling session with the most esteemed psychologist in the world. This kinda makes me think that a cable subscription – with access to Nick At Nite’s TV Land – may be the best investment anybody can make.

The more classic sitcom theme songs I thought of, the more advice I was able to gather from them. These songwriters were geniuses! They really had their pulse on society – the common problems Americans were facing – and knew exactly how to deal with them. Want further proof? You’ve got it! Dealing with a lot of crap? Need a reminder that life is full of both ups and downs?

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

I’ll bet Mrs. Garrett doled out those very words to Tootie and Natalie. (But not Jo. She was pretty headstrong). Know somebody who’s got a lot of stress in their life and having trouble coping? Let ’em know…

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Here’s one I’m taking to heart these days. Got a pal who’s out of work? Want them to stay positive? This is the ultimate making-lemonade-out-of-lemons reminder:

Keepin’ your head above water
Making a wave when you can

Temporary lay offs
Good Times

Ain’t we lucky we got ’em?

Don't worry, life is dyn-o-mite! (Image courtesy of


I suddenly feel fortunate to be unemployed! I’ll never despair, either, because I know that…

There’s a time for love and a time for living.
You take a chance and face the wind.
An open road and a road that’s hidden
A brand new life around the bend.

It worked for Tony Danza and Judith Light, so why not me? If you know somebody who does have a job but is complaining that he’ll never get ahead, just tell him…

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’
Just to get up that hill.

Sure, it takes a lot of hard work to succeed, but with a little perseverance you, too, might wind up in a deluxe apartment in the sky! Economy’s got you in the dumps? You and the missus need to take in a female roommate? Don’t worry…

Come and dance on on our floor……
Take a step that is new…..
We’ve a loveable space that needs your face,
Three’s company too.

You’ll see that life is a frolic and laughter is calling for you…

Advice isn’t limited to the big problems in life, either. Wondering what to serve for dinner? There’s a suggestion for that, too!

Tossed salads and scrambled eggs.

Let’s say you know somebody whose life is just flat-out miserable. There isn’t one good thing happening, and he’s at his wit’s end. Simply remind him not to despair, because despite everything else, at the very least he’s got friends…

So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.

I’ll bet that cheered him up!

See what I mean? No matter what sort of curveball life throws in your direction, if you turn on your TV and wait long enough, your problems will melt away, thanks to the glorious, noble, intelligent, and wise folks who write television sitcom theme songs. They’re like a cross between Plato, Freud, and Stephen Covey.

With a dash of some greeting card writer thrown in for good measure.

Hey, I’m an optimistic person. Maybe NBC needs a new sitcom theme song writer for next season?


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

17 thoughts on “You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

  1. Mark, words of wisdom from me, today. No thanks needed. Really.

    Laverne & Shirley Theme Song

    “Making Our Dreams Come True” by Norman Gimbel

    One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
    Sclemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated.
    We’re gonna do it!
    Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
    Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
    We’re gonna make our dreams come true.
    Doin’ it our way.
    Nothin’s gonna turn us back now,
    Straight ahead and on the track now.
    We’re gonna make our dreams come true,
    Doin’ it our way.
    There is nothing we won’t try,
    Never heard the word impossible.
    This time there’s no stopping us.
    We’re gonna do it.
    On your mark, get set, and go now,
    Got a dream and we just know now,
    We’re gonna make our dream come true.
    And we’ll do it our way, yes our way.
    Make all our dreams come true,
    And do it our way, yes our way,
    Make all our dreams come true
    For me and you.

    see? all better.


  2. I only knew of two of those TV show theme songs…. and only because my mom MADE me watch Facts of Life with her. I knew the other because, well, Friends is the best show ever. 🙂


  3. Hey Mark!

    Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for dropping by my blog earlier today. Nice to meet ya.

    This is a BRILLIANT post!

    I love all the references you used to each one of these shows, which btw, I use to watch!

    And I like your sage advice…“Just take it one day at a time.”

    Because you’re absolutely right!


    1. No problem – I’m on the lookout for interesting blogs to read! Found you through Blog Catalog. Thanks for the feedback here! These are the sitcoms I grew up with. I’d have included Seinfeld too but, you know, it’s hard to do that when the theme songs are instrumentals. Ha.


  4. Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours
    With a little understanding
    You can find the perfect blend
    Neighbours…should be there for one another
    That’s when good neighbours become good friends
    Ooh Neighbours, should be there for one another
    That’s when good neighbours become good friends.

    I’m not sure if this is helpful, but thought an iconic Aussie soap song should be included.


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