Pop culture punchline: ''Afternoon Delight'' -- ''Ugly Betty,'' ''Anchorman,'' and ''Arrested Development'' have all used Starland Vocal Band's song for a gag

By Jeff Jensen
Updated October 12, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Afternoon Delight.” You laughed, didn’t you? Hollywood gets the joke too, which may explain why the cheery 1976 chart-topper by Starland Vocal Band keeps popping up — most recently in Ugly Betty‘s Oct. 3 episode, in which Betty finally learns the meaning behind the dig-it-in-the-daytime ditty. Starland singer Jon Carroll was watching: ”I turned to my wife and said, ‘Yep. Yet another one.”’ Indeed, in the past decade, movies and shows like Good Will Hunting, Anchorman, Starsky & Hutch, and Arrested Development have milked the earnest tune for laughs. Carroll (whose most recent solo album was 2006’s Love Returns) and ”Delight” songwriter Bill Danoff (who also co-penned John Denver’s ”Take Me Home, Country Roads”) have a relatively good sense of humor about it all — even that 1995 Simpsons episode in which Homer regrets getting a Starland Vocal Band tattoo. Says Danoff: ”This Goth guy came up to me and said, ‘Dude! You got dissed by a fictional character! So cool!’ I had never thought about it that way, but I guess so!”