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Silver Platters

October 22nd, 2017 by

Though the Brady children had not been adverse to singing on the show, even trying to make a record to cash in on the whole family music group concept, they had not entered a talent contest. At the start of the show, Jan had entered into a department store, and was paying for engraving done on a gift the children had purchased for their parents. A silver platter with the names of all the Brady children engraved on it. Turns out the engraving was 87¢ a letter, not 87¢ entirely. Considering the amount of money Jan was unable to pay for the platter. The man offered to hold the platter for her until the end of the week.

Jan was embarrassed and could not go to her parents for the money, because it would spoil the surprise. The Brady children were all tapped out of money, and so could not muster the funds to pay for the platter. Rather than go to their parents, the Brady children came up with a way to win the money. There was a talent show on the local television network, and it paid enough for the children to go and by the platter.

The children came up with a song, and dance routine, then began rehearsing after school. Alice caught them in the carport, but the children immediately rushed to feigning that they were cleaning. Though suspicious, Alice shrugged it off as another zany Brady thing.

At the television studio, the children auditioned and won a spot in the talent show. They did not have any costumes. The show manager was gracious and offered to let them use something the studio had around. All the children had to do was arrive an hour before the show, and the wardrobe department would set them up. The Saturday of the show, the children claimed they were going to a football game in order to leave early. Then the children got to the studio, and changed into their costumes.

Alice was dusting the family room, and turned on the television, as Patty’s Prancing Poodles left the stage. The show host announced the next act, The Silver Platters. Alice was stunned to see the Brady children come out into the studio and begin the song and dance routine. Alice ran to get Mike and Carol, screaming “Mr. & Mrs. Brady”. Mike and Carol happened to be having coffee in the kitchen, and when Alice announced their children were on television, they ran into the family room to watch. The camera cut between the Brady children singing in the studio, and Mike, Carol, and Alice watching on television. After the performance, the show host asked why the children were on the show. After a brief explanation, the children left to go back stage.

The announcement of the winner followed a brief interlude, commercial break. When it was announced that Patty’s Prancing Poodles won, Alice was perturbed, and switched off the television vowing to never watch that station again. Mike and Carol went to go purchase the platter.



The children arrived home dejected. Mike and Carol showed them the platter, and confessed to having seen the show. Also, the sales clerk had called, talked to Mike, and explained what happened. Jan was repentant and promise to pay the money back. Then Bobby joked about how the dog act beat them out. Bobby made dog noises and simulated begging. End of episode.

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Blog About Nothing

October 18th, 2017 by

jerry

Seinfeld ended nearly two decades ago, after a stuttered start, it went on to become one of the most talked about, as well as most watched shows, and end up syndication gold. Now it might as well go on the television channels that play shows my parents remember fondly.

You know you are getting old when people whom are half your age look at you oddly for quoting a show they have never seen. Some might know a few quotes, even the show those quotes originated from, but those young people have not seen the show.

To try and describe Seinfeld, and the insanity of the show that was essentially episodes mined from the lives of the writers, is like trying to describe melting ice to eskimos. Today’s generation of TV viewers have grown up in a wasteland of brain dead whininess on television, with unfunny jokes, it is sad.

Granted the 1990s was not the bygone era of television. It was not the golden age where people had to have talent, and were drawn from the pools of vaudeville or broadway. Seinfeld was in an era where television was firmly established, and many actors aspired to act in television shows. Situation comedies went from the old family types that were sweet to now abrasive types, like Rosanne. Seinfeld was pure comedy. The situations were sometimes ones everyone watching might have experienced, except the characters in the situation were so over the top, and the reactions exaggerated, it was funny.

Seinfeld took these nothing type occurrences and generated them into observational comedy. That comedy was then translated into his show. The bizarre, exaggerated natures of the characters often made the sometimes mundane, and what could logically be resolved into hilarious comedy.

Not too many people experienced a viewing from an operating theater, and accidentally dropped a junior mint into the person on the table, but there were other events. How many times have people gone into a restaurant and waited forever, only to see someone who walks in at the moment get a table immediately? Meeting a girlfriend’s or former girlfriend’s father?

cast

Kramer with his exaggerated physical reactions, and almost uncaring application of outlandish solutions. In order to get a coat back that he believed had magic properties, he ropes Elaine into playing the daughter of a man in jail, and he is her boyfriend. In order to get a statue back for George from a thief, Kramer poses as a detective.

Elaine was the attractive, but malicious female of the group. The femme fatale who would seduce men, then destroy them. She also seemed to have a fond distain for Jerry, George, and Kramer.

George was the hot head who overreacted to what he perceived as the slightest slight. He was the opinionated jerk who would not change, even when there was evidence to the contrary.

Jerry was the detached observer, whom did not want to take action on anything for fear of contaminating the event. If he was not the detached observer, he was the catalyst for something greater, sometimes saying things that would spur his companions into doing stupidity for a laugh.

The four went through nine seasons of nothing. The first foreshortened season was an experiment. It seemed like the creators were trying to find the voice, and fine tune the dynamics. The second season seemed to stutter and eventually move forward. By season three the show was now fine tuned, and the real fun began.

bizarro

The creators were self aware enough to parody their own show. Creating the television show about nothing that Jerry would create with George. The Bizarro Jerry episode where Elaine would become friends with a man she breaks up with who was the exact opposite of Jerry, and his two friends were exact opposites of George and Kramer. Kevin, Feldman and Gene meet their counterparts, Elaine is torn. Knowing that Jerry and company are not good people, she opts to hang with Kevin and company. Except, Elaine being Elaine falls into the habits that Jerry just accepted. This upsets Kevin and his friends, who excommunicate her from the group.

The day of the final Seinfeld episode, Frank Sinatra died. The ambulance drivers stated they had a very easy time getting Frank to the hospital, the streets were vacant, because everyone was inside watching the final Seinfeld episode.

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Best Motivated Safe

October 15th, 2017 by

suds

There was a lot of inside prop comedy within the Brady Bunch. Actually it helped at least keep continuity in what was often a very scattered continuity show. Tiger was a strong part of the continuity of the show for about a season. Then his dog house just remained in the backyard.

Usually the prop continuity was something taken from a show. The Driscoll’s Toy Store Box that was a permanent fixture in the carport after Peter’s heroic episode is a good example. After the episode, whenever the car pulled up or there was activity in the carport, the box was visible. Even in the final season, when Bobby beat Mike’s boss in pool, the box was visible.

skip

A box of Safe Laundry Detergent was another prop that remained visible within the Brady House, whenever there was a necessary laundry gag or someone was in the laundry room. With six children, Alice would be necessary to do laundry alone. The Safe Laundry Detergent box became a fixture after the Brady’s were approached to do a commercial.

The episode starts with the Brady family at the grocery store, Bobby is playing with the automatic doors, is chastised by Carol, then as the family treks across the parking lot to the station wagon, they are stalked by a man who is looking at them through his hands. Turns out that the man is a commercial director, and he was looking for an All American Family to be in his next commercial. Skip Farnum approaches the family, and talks to Carol. The children are excited, but Carol takes the business card and states she will talk it over with Mike.

kids

Mike always has connections, you would not think an architect is well connected, but Mike has connections, and after discussing the commercial with Carol, they decide to invite Skip Farnum into their house. After checking out the Brady House, Skip Farnum is one hundred percent positive, the Brady family is perfect for the commercial. Skip Farnum even loves Alice. The Brady’s agree to do the commercial after Mike has a lawyer go over the contract.

Then the catch happens. Since the Brady’s are good people, and feel that they should believe in the product they sell, Mike asks Carol which laundry detergent she uses. After going through a litany of laundry detergents, it turns out Carol does not use Safe, she actually uses Best, because Safe could not handle the Brady dirt. Mike decides to call Skip Farnum and explain that the deal is off. The children are disappointed.

best

Except, the fact that Carol did not use Safe anymore did not matter. Skip Farnum explained to Mr. Brady that the Safe the Brady family will be filming the commercial for is a new and improved Safe. Wanting to believe in the product they will be promoting, Mike and Carol decide to have a wash off. The Brady children will dirty up their clothing, then Alice will do one load of laundry in Best, which the Brady household finds is the best, and another load in Safe. If Safe is better, the Brady’s will do the commercial. Unfortunately Alice forgot to write down which pile of laundry was done in Safe, and which pile was done in Best. So the Brady children have to rinse and repeat the whole dirty up clothing. It turns out that the new and improved Safe is the better laundry detergent, and the Brady Bunch will do the commercial.

This is where things go sideways in the Brady world. Now Mike and Carol want to do a good job in the commercial, so they have a friend’s sister, an actress named Myrna, coach them. Myrna is a Stanislavski school motivational actress. What is the character’s motivation? While Mike and Carol listen to Myrna, and rehearse, Alice and the children overhear, and decide to be motivated as well.

myrna

Commercial day is an exciting time at the Brady house. Camera crews are setting up, Skip Farnum is prepared for a wonderful wholesome commercial, and totally blindsided by the train wreck that happens. Skip Farnum calls action, Carol is doing her house mother thing, Mike enters, he and Carol overplay their parts, and Skip Farnum freaks out. Setting aside the scene, Skip Farnum decides to bring in Alice. Alice enters as if she is going to a royal ball, not dressed in her normal housekeeper uniform, and dances around with the laundry. Skip Farnum freaks out. Skip Farnum then decides to bring in the children, whom rather than being just dirty, look like they crawled through a swamp. The whole running gag through out the entire event, and main word used, “motivated”. Skip Farnum calls off the entire commercial. As the crew is packing up to leave, the ironic punchline is delivered. Skip Farnum recalls to his main cameraman a horrible actress he worked with. As Skip Farnum stammers through the name, the cameraman says, Myrna. Both men exit, with Carol and Mike looking at each other in disbelief.



The final scene has a delivery truck back into the Brady yard and deliver a years supply of Safe laundry detergent as payment for the work done. Carol and Alice look at the invoice and letter at first with disbelief, then good humor. After that, a Safe laundry soap box was present in every laundry gag done on the show.

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Grand Canyon

October 11th, 2017 by

canyon

Before the Hawaiian vacation epic, there was the Grand Canyon. Mike had some time off from the architectural firm he worked for, and wanted to take his family on vacation. Mike was a dedicated architect, putting up with impossible clients, and not really taking vacations, unless the company made it a working vacation. But this time was different. A repeat of a camping trip from season 1 was probably not going to fly with viewers. So, why not have a more epic camping trip? It was the first three part cliffhanger serial for the Brady Bunch, and it brought the Brady family to the natural wonder of the world called the Grand Canyon.

Mike rented a camping trailer to tow behind the Brady station wagon, and provide the women with more comfortable quarters to be in, unlike the last camping expedition. Though the women would prove to be more experienced campers this time. Thanks to Marcia joining the Greg’s scouting troop, and overall experience.

car

The trip to the Grand Canyon was going to take two days, with the family stopping at a camp ground along the way. While filling up with gas, the attendant told the family about a ghost town up the road. Since it was on the way, and they could camp in the ghost town just as easily as a camp ground, Mike decided to take the family there.

The town itself was a dilapidated western town from turn of the century, 19th to 20th century, and it was not really haunted. Actually haunted by a miner. Jim Backus made his first appearance on the Brady Bunch as the grizzled old miner who thought the Brady’s were claim jumpers. Why is it the Brady’s, the most wholesome American family mistaken for a bunch of thieves? Really, if you saw the family, gang of grifters is not the first perception, unless you really are unhinged. Jim would return as Mike’s boss two seasons later, and get fleeced by Bobby at pool.

As the Brady children played amongst the ruins, the miner observed, then stole some fried chicken. When the family was fed and cleaning up, the miner appeared with his mule, then tricked the family into following him around the town. When they went to view Jessie James’ signature in a wall in the jail, the miner locked the family up and drove off in their car. End of episode.

jail

After a recap, the second episode starts with the Brady’s attempting to escape the jail. They manage to knock a key off the peg, and escape. While Mike and Peter walk to the road, the rest of the group spreads out to find some way to communicate to the world. Mike and Peter return with the miner, who had went to file his claim, and returned. The family loaded up, and drove off. Very forgiving of them. When the family arrived at the Grand Canyon, they took a mule train down to the bottom of the canyon. Bobby and Cindy being the precocious children wandered off, saw a young Indian (Native American) boy. They chased after him, and became lost. As darkness fell, the Brady camp became worried and mounted a search. The episode ends showing Bobby and Cindy huddled together to keep warm.

A recap of the last two episodes yields to the Indian boy helping Bobby and Cindy find their parents in return they will bring him food. Mike finds Bobby and Cindy, and all head back to camp for beans and franks. Bobby and Cindy hide the food in a flashlight, and then sneak out at night. Mike catches them with the Indian boy, and they return to the camp. The boy explains his grandfather is a traditionalist, while he wants to be an astronaut, so he is running away. After Mike dispenses some Brady wisdom, they decide to sleep on it.

natives

The next morning, the Indian boy is gone. The Brady’s quickly organize a search party. Alice comes upon the boy’s grandfather in full Indian regalia, and he presumes she is Mrs. Brady. Then the boy appears, and Alice realizes who the man is. She brings them to camp, and in campy, hackneyed comic Native American, the grandfather thinks Mr. Brady has two squaws. After explaining that he understand’s his grandson’s dreams, and thanking them for returning the boy, he invites them to join the tribe. During the ceremony, each Brady get’s an Indian name. No cake was served.

The seventies were not so mired in political correctness. To some extent it is comical now to view how Hollywood portrayed people of Native American culture in such backwards and cartoony ways. In this way the Brady Bunch was mired somewhat in it’s time.

At least they did not have Cousin Oliver yet.

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Shows Commercials Movies

October 8th, 2017 by

Though The Brady Bunch launched numerous spinoffs, sequels, and movies, the Brady Bunch had numerous appearances on the small screen and even big screen within the show. The children discovering family groups were big, decided to perform several times on variety shows for prizes. One show performing as the Silver Platters to hopefully win the money to pay for their parent’s anniversary gift. Bobby and Cindy had a dust up about appearing on a television quiz show.

safe

One of the major events that struck the Brady House transpired when a producer/director decided to cast the Brady family in a commercial for laundry detergent. The Brady’s go over the script, and contract, Mike has a few questions. One of the major questions is, does the Brady Bunch use the product advertised or believe in it? Carol had stated they had stopped using the product Safe Laundry Detergent, because it did not do a good job at cleaning. After talking to the producer/director he brings up the point that, the Brady’s have not used the New & Improved Safe Laundry Detergent. The Brady’s do a wash test, and it turns out, Safe is the preferred detergent, and the family decides to do the commercial.

Then hilarity ensues as the family begins to learn method acting, and over acts the parts. The producer/director decides to cancel the whole thing, and ironically mentions, with disgust, the name of the actress, whom the Brady’s had learned from. In the closing scene, a large truck pulls up, and drops off a years supply of laundry detergent as payment for the work the Brady’s did. Like the Driscoll’s Toy Store Box in the carport, this commercial would lead to a Safe Laundry Detergent Box appearing in the laundry room for every Brady show after.

ice cream

Then there was Bobby, always competitive Bobby. He could not win anything, then one day, while feeling sorry for himself, he was watching a kid’s show, Cartoon King. There was an ice cream eating contest. Bobby could really eat ice cream. Since that was all Bobby wanted was to win something, this was a lock. To win the golden spoon would justify Bobby’s existence. Bobby’s perpetual desire to win at something would eventually lose him the use of his legs, but that is for later. Bobby went on the television show, after several false starts, because the Cartoon King wanted to add whipped cream to the tops of the ice cream, and various other gags, Bobby buried his face into the ice cream. After thirty seconds, Bobby emerged a loser. But, the family would not let Bobby remain down on himself, and held a surprise party, with cake, and ice cream.

Bobby would lose an opportunity to be on television again. This time to his younger sister Cindy. Both siblings had tried out for a quiz show at school, and were picked to go further in the audition process. Bobby was overconfident, did not study, and thus did not make it. Cindy, studied hard, and succeeded in getting onto the quiz show. Then she froze with a stare that showed true horror, and her team lost the show. At least Cindy did not lose the use of her legs.

ice cream

Even though Greg would produce a home movie for a history class presentation, and have numerous run ins at the drive in movies with events brought on by Bobby, it would be Cousin Oliver whom would get the Brady Bunch into a movie as extras. Though Oliver’s arrival was filled with perpetual bad luck due to his over enthusiastic nature, because he was with the Brady’s entering a movie studio for a tour, and he was the last in the group, he was the studio’s one millionth visitor. Because of this, Cousin Oliver and the Brady Bunch became extras in a 1920s type movie. Which collapsed into a major pie fight. Cakes would have been more hilarious.

The major television event that a Brady would star in, was a labor day racing event. Bobby, now an adult, had begun to compete professionally as a race car driver. He had dropped out of graduate school, and joined a race team, becoming skilled enough to win a position in a major race. If he won that major race, his career as a race car driver would be assured. Then tragedy struck. Bobby spun out, and was struck by another car. Bobby ended up paralyzed from the waste down. Though not permanently according to doctors, it would be a while before he could walk again.

Cindy upon graduating college became a morning DJ and show hostess for a local radio station. She was doing a live broadcast of the race, when Bobby was hurt.

After these events, Mike did appear on television when he launched his political career as a city counsel man. That is where the story ends.

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