This month, I'm taking Popular Culture in Media as a humanities class, something I'm really excited about. Here's my essay I wrote for class.
Select a recent popular culture media creation (film, TV, electronic game, recording) that reuses actual parts of an older popular culture media recording in a substantial way. The media creation can be a recording, a TV show, a film, or a game. The actual earlier media recording must be reused relatively substantially in the newer media creation. To fit this requirement they must reuse all of part of the actual older media creation.
This essay will discuss the repurposing of the Munster’s Theme song as a sample in the song “Uma Thurman” by the alternative rock group, Fall Out Boy. Often times people repurpose content because they know that it’s already successful. By using a bit of the music that is already known to be catchy, the producers can help insure that this song will also be catchy. As well, songs especially, but other types of media as well, evoke feelings and can cause you to think of something else entirely, unrelated to the song. This particular reason really applies to “Uma Thurman.” (Vega, 2017)
of a “60s surf-rock vibe“ (Daw, 2015). Marshall worked on plenty of other television shows, creating the musical scores and themes. Outside of composing, he was also a conductor and guitarist. (Jack Marshall, 2017)
pop culture who were quirky, but that made [Pete] only crush on them harder” (Davidson, 2015). The actress’ did give her blessing to use her name in the song (Uma Thurman on 'Burnt,'..., 2015). It’s become popular to use old songs as samples in new songs, this is probably part of the appeal. The song is also very catchy. As well, the topic of the song is relevant because it’s becoming more mainstream to not just be basic. Quirckiness is encouraged, if that’s who you actually are.
A section of the Munster’s theme song was sampled for the Fall Out Boy song and plays at the end of the chorus. The music was composed separate from the lyrics and because of people’s reactions to it, it was combined. When it was played for people, many people said that it reminded them (or some people even thought that it was) the song by Dick Dale that was used in the film Pulp Fiction, "Misirlou." "Misirlou" has a definite 60’s surfer rock, like most of Dick Dale’s songs (Dick Dale and His Del-Tone…, 2014). Because people began associating/mistaking the Munsters theme with Pulp Fiction, Pete Wentz, thought it would pair well with a song entitled Uma Thurman, who starred in Pulp Fiction (Nassiff, 2015). The chorus of the song states, “She wants to dance like Uma Thurman,” which is a reference to the scene in Pulp Fiction, where Thurman’s character dances with John Travolta's character (Wentz, 2015. Tarantino, 1995). I do think that the use of the older element was successful in this song. Since I am a huge fan of Pulp Fiction, I knew that it wasn’t the Dick Dale song used in that film. It does, however, really give off a similar vibe. Music is a huge part of Quentin Tarantino films, at least for me. Without fail, “Stuck in the Middle With You” always reminds me of Reservoir Dogs, anytime that song comes on (Tarantino, 1992). Surf Rock reminds me of Pulp Fiction. Nothing in the song explicitly says Pulp Fiction, Mia Wallace (Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction), Kill Bill, or The Bride (Thurman’s character in Kill Bill). However, making references to these films’ plots, having this sample, and naming it “Uma Thurman,” we are able to draw the meaning and this makes it successful. Overall, the old element is pretty important to the song. It helps connect elements without having to spell them out and puts the listener in the right mindset.
As you can see, “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy is a great example of repurposing popular culture, with its sample of the Munster theme song. The song is about quirky girls, which the show, The Munsters, was often described the same way. In this way, the sample fits in the song and is one of the ways popular culture is successfully repurposed, sharing similar themes. When people heard the Munster’s theme within this song, not in the context of the show, people associated it with Pulp Fiction because of the surfer rock music. This is also a good use of repurposed popular culture. The use of this sample within the Fall Out Boy song, builds upon something we already know from popular culture.
Vega, J. [Jamie Vega]. (2017, August 2). PCM GoToTraining Week 1 [Video File].
Davidson, A. (2015, August 11). Listen to Fall Out Boy's ode to Uma Thurman.
Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://www.digitalspy.com/music/news/
Daw, R. (2015, January 12). Fall Out Boy's New Song "Uma Thurman" Blends
Handclaps, The 'Munsters' Theme & An Undeniable Chorus: Listen. Retrieved
October 24, 2017, from https://www.idolator.com/7576582/fall-out-boy
The Munsters (TV Series 1964–1966). (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from
Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, 'Misirlou'. (2014, May 21). Retrieved October 24, 2017,
Jack Marshall. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from
Marshall, J. (1966). The Munsters’ Theme [Recorded by Jack Marshall]. Hollywood,
Nassiff, T. (2015, February 02). Fall Out Boy Talk New Single "Uma Thurman,"
'Munsters' Sample. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from https://www.fuse.tv/
Tarantino, Q. (Director). (1992). Reservoir Dogs [Motion picture]. Los Angeles,
Tarantino, Q. (Director). (1995). Pulp Fiction [Motion picture]. Los Angeles,
California: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy on WhoSampled. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from
Uma Thurman on 'Burnt,'efforts to save rhinos, Fall Out Boy tribute. (2015, October 26).
Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.today.com/video/uma-thurman
Wentz, P. (2015). Uma Thurman [Recorded by Fall Out Boy]. On American Beauty,
American Psycho [CD]. New York City, New York: Island Records.