The Idiot Jukebox

Do the names Robin Sparkles, Day Man or "Lazy Scranton" mean anything to you? If so, you should have no problem in this game, led by house musician Jonathan Coulton. He sings some well-known—and much-beloved—songs performed by TV show characters, though none are the shows' theme songs.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR and WYNC. I'm Ophira Eisenberg. Coming up, we'll meet some characters in search of their author. Plus, we'll put the writer Tom Ruprecht in the puzzle hot seat. But let's welcome our next two contestants, Ben Kopish and Dominic Clarke.

(APPLAUSE)

BEN KOPISH: Hi there.

EISENBERG: Hi. What I do know about both of you is that you're both television junkies.

KOPISH: That's correct. Yep.

EISENBERG: OK. So, Ben, what's the last series you binge watched?

KOPISH: There are about six at a time, but...

EISENBERG: Really?

KOPISH: Yeah. My girlfriend and I recently caught up on "Breaking Bad." I was all caught up but I rewatched it with her.

EISENBERG: I understand.

KOPISH: And the - yeah.

EISENBERG: That's very sweet.

KOPISH: Exactly.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Dominic, how about you?

DOMINIC CLARKE: "Orange is the New Black."

EISENBERG: "Orange is the New Black."

CLARKE: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Brilliant. This game is called Idiot Jukebox. It's a music game, sort of, I take it. Right, Jonathan?

JONATHAN COULTON: Yes. Yes, that's right. I'm going to sing a few tunes that have famously appeared on television shows but were not the theme songs to those shows. These were songs that were performed by characters on the program. All you have to do is tell us the name of the show. For example...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I THINK I LOVE YOU")

COULTON: (singing) I think I love you. So what am I so afraid of? I'm afraid that I'm sure of a love there is no cure for."

Of course, that was "I Think I Love You" performed by David Cassidy in the sitcom "The Partridge Family." So ring in when you know the TV show. Yes?

KOPISH: Yes. I'm a big Cassidy fan, so.

COULTON: Oh, who isn't?

KOPISH: Do that one again and I'll get it right.

COULTON: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Feel like that would be unfair. So just ring in when you know the TV show that spawned each song. The winner of this round will move on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. Ready?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMELLY CAT")

COULTON: (singing) Smelly cat, smelly cat. What are they feeding you? Smelly cat, smelly cat. It's not your fault.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

KOPISH: "Friends."

COULTON: "Friends" is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I feel like both of you thought that was a softball. You're both like really?

COULTON: It's just a little warm-up question, that's all.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LUMBER JACK")

COULTON: (singing) I'm a lumber jack and I'm OK. I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lavatory. Wednesdays I go shopping and have buttered scones for tea.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

KOPISH: "Monty Python's Flying Circus."

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

COULTON: (singing) Day man, I'm a fighter of the night, man. Ah. Champion of the sun. Ah-ha-ha. You're a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

KOPISH: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

COULTON: It sure is.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah. Go, bro.

EISENBERG: A big shoutout for that song.

COULTON: Yeah. Everyone likes that one.

EISENBERG: Everybody loves it. That's a superhero, right?

COULTON: Uh, Day Man. Yes.

EISENBERG: Day Man. I like "Afternoon Nap Guy."

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Champion of day drinking.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

COULTON: (singing) Believe it or not, George isn't at home. Please leave a message at the beep. I must be out or I'd pick up the phone. Where could I be? Believe it or not, I'm not home.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

KOPISH: This actually used to be my outgoing message.

(LAUGHTER)

KOPISH: I was thinking about changing my name, which is really weird, because I loved it so much. "Seinfeld."

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You were thinking of changing your name to George Costanza; is that right?

KOPISH: Just the George part. I just - Costanza is too hard to spell. I have enough difficulty as it is, so.

EISENBERG: With Ben? Yeah.

KOPISH: Just overall.

EISENBERG: That's amazing.

KOPISH: One small change at a time. That's all I really need.

COULTON: Amen, brother.

KOPISH: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

COULTON: (singing) Come on, Jessica. Come on, Tori. Let's go to the mall. You won't be sorry. Put on your jelly bracelets and your cool graffiti coat. At the mall having fun is what it's all about. Haven't done my homework yet. You know how my parents get. Let's go to the mall today.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

KOPISH: If I get this right I'm going to feel really bad about my life. "How I Met Your Mother"?

COULTON: Oh, congratulations. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

KOPISH: Thank you. I need a support group now.

COULTON: It's nothing to be ashamed of.

KOPISH: I should go outside.

COULTON: You should at least put your TV out there for a while.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: OK. This is your last clue.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

COULTON: (singing) When it's time to change then it's time to change. Don't fight the fact. Come along for the ride. Don't you see when it's time to change you've got to rearrange who you are and what you're going to be. Sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Sha-na-na-na-na.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben is shaking his head, he's so ashamed.

EISENBERG: He's mad.

KOPISH: I, oh, "Brady Bunch."

COULTON: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

KOPISH: Hi, Mom and Dad. I'd just like to say I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: John Chaneski, which contestant should be most ashamed of themselves?

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I'm afraid I've got some bad news for Ben. Sorry, Ben, you won that game handily.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Well done. Dominic, thank you so much. Ben, you'll be moving on to our final round at the end of the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I LOVE LUCY")

DESI ARNAZ: (singing) ...because I love Lucy. Yes, I love Lucy and Lucy loves me.

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