Schoolhouse Rock, the Foundation of This Country

schoolhouse rock

The idea for the show first occurred to David B. McCall, then president of McCaffrey and McCall Advertising, while he was on vacation with his family at a dude ranch in Wyoming. His son was struggling with learning the multiplication tables but, as McCall noticed, had no trouble at all memorizing Rolling Stones lyrics.

Here is, perhaps, my pettiest enthusiasm of all: I adore Schoolhouse Rock. It is the thread that has kept education in this country from going to shit and if you disagree with me I will fight you on it. My mom watched it — -albeit far more casually — -when she was growing up in the 70s, and when it resurged in 1993, she got my family back into it. I would rent the CDs and the giant anniversary special VHS collection from the library whenever I got the chance, playing each over and over, committing every song to memory (HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN INTERJECTION IS WITHOUT SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK?????? I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW ELSE YOU’D REMEMBER WITHOUT SAYING “IN-TER-JECTION! SHOWS EXCITEMENT! OR EMOTION! It’s generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling’s not as strong!!” like who are you some sort of genius), and learning so much. I’m convinced Schoolhouse Rock added 500 points to my SAT score. It is the dopeness. Mental Floss has a roundup of 15 things you didn’t know about the series, but here’s a 16th: NO ONE LOVED IT MORE THAN ME.

I present to you, in order, the best Schoolhouse Rock songs. We can discuss this further in the comments, but if you come at me with something basic like “I’m Just a Bill” or “Conjunction Junction” I will SO DISAPPOINTED in you.

10. Interplanet Janet

: Janet thought everyone on Earth looked weird, which, lol, she was totally right.
9. The Four-Legged Zoo: I remember listening to this song and hearing the word “quadruped” and thinking, Oh, fuck yes. I am going to impress the shit out of some people later. I used it all the time.
8. Electricity, Electricity: I don’t understand where electricity comes from, and neither does the song, but it’s incredibly fun to sing along to.
7. Mother Necessity: This is basically the patriarchy in song form — we run through a Hall of Fame of white male inventors — but I am pretty sure that knowing that Marconi invented the radio got me a lollipop at some point.
6. Three is a Magic Number: This was pretty creepy, but, by God, I could recite my timestables in the grooviest way possible.
5. I Got Six: It had a black kid! Of course I liked this!
4. The Telegraph Line: I discovered this in high school and it helped me more than I’m willing to publicly admit.
3. Rufus Xavier Sasparilla: This entire song, title especially was a mouthful, and when I memorized all of it, I felt as if I’d mastered something.
2. Verb! That’s What’s Happening: It had a black kid, and a BLACK SUPERHERO. Are you kidding me???
1. Interjections!: Getting to yell “YOW, THAT’S NOT FAIR, GIVING A GUY A SHOT DOWN THERE!” is one of the most cherished memories of my life.