Tale Of Two Families

January 24th, 2018 by

When I was growing up, in the jurassic era of television, when there were only a handful of channels to choose from, there were the off channels that played syndicated shows that had just ended or had been running so long, season 1 was considered old. Channel 18 and Channel 24, were the two channels that played a lot of syndicated shows. Two shows that were wonderful to watch back in the mid-1970’’s were the Brady Bunch, which I have written extensively about, and the Partridge Family.

The Brady Bunch was sort of timeless. Though the clothing was definitely 1960s and 70s, as was the hair styles, the stories focused on the children and family without getting into the whole counter culture of the time. The most political episode was Marcia trying to prove women were equal to men by joining Greg’s scouting troop. The sibling rivalry between Marcia and Greg was always geared to Greg losing. Even though the show was from the 1960s-70s era, much of the so called hokey messages and wisdom is relevant today. This is why it has been a more popular show, due to the timeless nature.

The Partridge Family is very much stuck in it’s time. When the show did not revolve around the social issues of the time, it was actually very entertaining. The Partridge Family actually portrayed Danny as being a money grubbing conservative, but treated him in a very even handed manner. Danny at times was the level head who succeeded to solve problems. Because the Partridge Family is stuck in it’s time frame, many of the social issues are no longer relevant and no one can identify with them. Draft? Our country has not had a draft in decades. Because the Partridge Family was a half hour sitcom, it dealt with the more serious situations with a heavy light heartedness and comical feel that made them almost silly. Then everything was resolved quickly. Which did not really do any favors to the issues.

When I sat down to watch the complete collection of Brady Bunch, I was immediately drawn in. I would watch at least four shows a night. I enjoyed some episodes more than others, but overall, the basic story and plot format kept the message taught very basic. As stated, it was all focused on the children and family, so a lot of family values came through. The Brady Bunch was novel for it’s time in that it was a story about a blended family. The first year dealt with the growing pains of the blended family. The boys and girls viewed each other in a more adversarial way. Both boys and girls viewed their respective parents as bending over backwards for the opposing children. Ultimately that all fell away and in each season the children became more like biological brothers and sisters. The blended family part was sometimes overlooked when Carol or Mike took what might be considered a biological pride in something the boy or girl child would do well.

When I sat down to watch the complete collection of the Partridge Family, there was the same sort of nostalgia exuberance I had for the Brady Bunch, but that quickly faded when the shows became focused on the politics of the time. Granted Kieth and Laurie were in high school at the time, so thusly more likely to encounter politics. Laurie was the hippy chick more prone to be drawn into a social issue and side with those viewed as victims than think. As stated the Partridge Family was a sitcom and tried to deal with the situations in a comic way, which at times made a joke of some serious issues.

At some points I found the episodes of the Partridge Family hard to watch, and wondered why I loved the show as a child. I guess a lot of the overtly political messages had no meaning to me then, so I just enjoyed the basic comedy and music. Oddly the political messages have no real meaning today.

I guess when you write a sitcom, the questions of whether to deal with social issues or try to keep to broader issues or keep focus have to be answered before writing. Seinfeld was another timeless sitcom that did not deal with overtly political messages.

Thanks for stopping by.



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