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Meet The Man Behind The Music On All Your Favorite Movies And TV Shows

The dude was in Devo AND wrote the theme song for the Rugrats!

Meet Mark Mothersbaugh.

He’s one of the leading music composers in America, which means he writes original music for movies and television. He’s also written some jams for video games (The Sims 2 comes to mind,) but his main bag is children’s television and, apparently, Wes Anderson films.

He was in DEVO!

The “Whip It… Whip It Good!” band. Weird, right?

You remember Devo.

Yup, that band.

He’s the music guy behind all your favorite shows!

The man wears many hats. Only some of them oddly shaped and red.

Here’s a picture of him with a pug that looks exactly like him.

At this point, he should seem weirdly adorable / totally lovable to you. Just wait until you hear what he has composed!

1. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986)

Mark Mothersbaugh co-wrote the totally bizarre Pee-Wee’s Playhouse theme song with Pee-Wee (Paul Reubens) himself! It was recorded by Cyndi Lauper which is equally as bizarre and totally awesome. What was that room like?!

2. Rugrats (1991)

The instrumental theme song to end all instrumental theme songs. It’s also really fun to sing acapella (you’ve done it, admit it) and is probably the number one reason why we all still have a weird secret desire to become master xylophonists.

3. Super Mario World (1991)

The TV show guys, the TV show. Remember the TV show? It came around the time of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? This theme has weird chants and piping computerized sounds, basically, like, what Super Mario should sound like when it’s on your television.

4. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Mothersbaugh wrote the score for Dumb and Dumber, possibly the funniest thing to happen in 1994. But like, think about how less funny it would be without the music. Seriously. Think about it.

5. Halloweentown (1998)

With the kooky (and Disney-created) storyline of this film, you’d think Mark wrote the screenplay, too.

6. Rushmore (1998)

The beginning of Mothersbaugh’s relationship with Wes Anderson and those cult(ish) classics. Weird, right? It’s (mostly) either children’s television or arty independent films.

8. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

And on to dark comedies! Wes Anderson was the gateway drug, Kristen Dunst the medication. Drop Dead Gorgeous is largely the odd man out on this list but, like, how cool is it that Mark was able to diversify?

9. Rocket Power (1999)

I still know every word to this theme song. The kids on the Rocket Power were super active and excelled at literally everything, writing the theme song as a doctrine (♪ We are riders on a mission ♪) was totally genius.

Do you think he also contributed to the script? I could totally see Devo doing this strange handshake-tickle thing.

10. Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000)

After my time, but still adorable.

11. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Moving away from the (almost purely) synthesized music of his composing past, Mark plays with classical instrumentation in The Royal Tenenbaums, plucky stringed instruments. It’s called artistic growth, guys.

12. Even Stevens (2003)

And yet, his hyperactive musical drive couldn’t steer clear of the Disney Channel… that abruptly.

13. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

A match made in underwater heaven.

14. Catfish (2010)

The most millennial movie of all time meets the most influential music composer of that generation’s childhood. The math checks out.

15. Enlightened (2011)

With the growing popularity of mature TV dramas, something in that immense working brain of Mothersbaughs’ must have told him to switch gears. Collaborating with fellow composer Carter Burwell, Mark has able to create sonic moments of cinematic brilliance… for prime time television.

16. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

More Wes Anderson, more children in cinematic masterpieces doing adult things, as paired by a killer original soundtrack. Can you do no wrong, Mark?

17. The Carrie Diaries (2012)

The show with the best ’80s soundtrack since, well, the ’80s, also happens to have the Mothersbaugh touch: a delightfully feminine and young theme song. This ol’ dog is nothing BUT new tricks. It also doesn’t hurt that Devo owned the early ’80s.

It’s only a matter of time before Mark Mothersbaugh takes over the world.

Love you, Mark. Keep teaching us how to listen (while we watch!)

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