1. Meet They Might Be Giants.
They’re a staple weirdo band founded by John Linell and John Flansburgh, and they’re kind of the best.
2. You might know them as the guys behind “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).”
Remember annoying the shit out of your parents by singing this song from Tiny Toons over and over?
3. As well as the shape-centric jam “Particle Man.”
Also a Tiny Toons staple, and the perfect combination of inspired accordion interludes and perfectly ’90s-esque flat, nasal vocals.
4. And of course you’re familiar with the Malcolm in the Middle theme song, yes?
Also known as one of the best on TV? Yeah, that was TMBG, and they won two Grammys for it.
5. But their as-unseen-on-TV albums are where the real magic happens.
Like 1990’s Flood, which is arguably their best record. Before you mentally exile this band because you think they’re a bunch of dorks unbefitting of a total cool guy coolster like you, listen to “Birdhouse in Your Soul” and try to tell me it’s not an awesome fucking song.
6. And if you’re a longtime Giants fan, you understand how important this song is.
The period in your life where you played this on a constant loop might have been ten years ago, or it might be now. Because some of us always kind of feel like we’re alone at the ‘64 World’s Fair.
7. They dedicated an ENTIRE ALBUM (and DVD!) to the wonders of science.
Edutaintional! Some track titles from this l’il cutie: “Meet the Elements,” “My Brother the Ape,” and “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?” I DON’T EVEN CARE THAT THIS IS AN ALBUM FOR CHILDREN. I LOVE IT. SCIENCE IS REAL.
8. And you know you’ve got a ton of love for the hella catchy “Dr. Worm.”
Added bonus: The illustrations in this video were done by Kaz, the artist behind the incredible, sleazy, long-running comic strip Underworld.
9. They were also the pioneers of this cool concept.
Dial-A-Song was a really cool project the two Johns did in the 1980s. When you called the number, which was advertised in alternative newspapers, an answering machine would play you a selection of over 500 songs, plus other weird asides. UGH, TOO COOL, STARTING A PETITION TO BRING BACK DIAL-A-SONG.
10. Anyway, if these faces aren’t representative of exactly the kind of dude you wanted to bone in college, I don’t understand you like I thought I did.
And it’s not just a sex thing, either, although that turtleneck should probably stay on the floor where it belongs. I’m picturing naked accordion lessons, scads of rented videos, and a general sense of biology-major-type romantic bliss.
11. I MEAN JUST LOOK AT FLANSY.
AKA John Flansburgh, AKA spiritual boyfriend #1 who would totally let you borrow those suspenders.
12. And it’s more or less impossible not to have a crush on <3 John Linnell. <3
Sorry, man, but he’s too cute for life. And People magazine agrees! He was named one of the most beautiful people of 1998 in an online poll, placing just above Sarah Michelle Gellar. He then wrote a charmingly self-effacing response in the New York Times, cementing him as spiritual boyfriend #2.
13. Anyway, as if they needed to be cooler, they’re also best friends with Homestar Runner. So good.
Not only did they write the music for Strong Sad’s experimental film, they also regularly collaborated with the creators of everyone’s favorite animated web series throughout the 2000s. A marriage made in heaven.
14. And they’re obviously incredibly smart guys.
Their band name is a reference to Don Quixote and their lyrics include references to history, science, math, and basically everything else you were too dumb to remember in high school.
15. So, naysayers, kindly excuse yourselves.
We’re too busy appreciating JL’s masterful accordion prowess to hear you, anyway.
16. Because all told, the dudes of TMBG are two brilliant, talented people who always look like they’re having the best time ever.
They Might Be Giants has been bringing joy into the world since 1986. That’s nearly thirty years of their clever, joyous, and unselfconsciously unique magic, and it’s clear that they’ve enjoyed it immensely. And we definitely have too.
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