I was not a latchkey kid in the 1970’s, but for some reason, my brothers and sisters and I watched A LOT of after school television. Gilligan’s Island, Brady Bunch, Hogan’s Heroes, Bewitched, 321 Contact. The list goes on and on.
I am not sure why Mom let us just zone out watching TV … she was home after all and she was also known for making us play outside from dawn till dusk.
My kids don’t watch much TV and most everything we get is on-demand via Netflix or recorded on TiVo. They are starting to transition out of “all-cartoons-all-the-time” phase of their younger years and enjoying more live action, real human entertainment.
What’s their latest fascination? Much to my delight, it is “The Brady Bunch!”
We watched the first couple episodes on Youtube. The quality was terrible, so I invested in the complete box set (about $51, and includes the movies!) YOU MUST KNOW: It comes in a green shag “carpeting” cover!! It’s awesome! My daughter keeps rubbing it on her face.
If you don’t want to buy the set, all seasons of “The Brady Bunch” are available on Vudu. We didn’t have Vudu, and I couldn’t see paying for it just to get the Bradys.
Why We (Still) Love the Bradys
Do you remember the first episode of the “The Brady Bunch”, which is Carol and Mike’s wedding? In which Tiger the dog chases Fluffy the cat, and Mike ends up under the wedding cake?
Why do we remember this show so well?
As I was watching the show (we watched on thru the second episode “Dear Libby”), I kept thinking “Why is this show so memorable?” “Why are my kids responding to it so excitedly?”
I think that first of all, the acting in the show — particularly by the children — is very natural. Also, their characters are generally kind to each other, but not fakey. They are siblings and act that way, barging into each other’s room, ripping holes in their clothes, and calling each other names (like ‘dummy’ or ‘stupid’).
Modeling the World as It Is(-ish)
The thing I do NOT miss with the Bradys is “The kids are in charge” feeling of new youth television shows. The parents are highly visible in shows like The Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, Family Ties, Eight is Enough and other 1970’s and 80’s television.
In older programs, parents and other adults are the ones kids turn to for guidance to solve problems.
My kids have a lot of new shows they like — The Elephant Princess, My Babysitter’s a Vampire, Phineas & Ferb. The one consistent thing in all of them is absentee parents or “bad guy” adults. Storylines that follow kids doing things OUTSIDE the confines of family and parental boundaries and facing off with adult bad guys.
With the Bradys, kids experience the chance to observe a real sense of LOVE underpinning tribulations of family life. Mike and Carol as happy newlyweds, and the stability they provide — along with their third arm, Alice — allows for problems to come up and to be handled. The stories are funny and unexpected, but also just center around regular family life in sunny California.
The Bradys may be a sort of family fantasy world, but it is always being hit with anxiety, arguing, trouble, upset and worry. At the end of the day, however, they are a family. And that is what holds and binds them together.
One of the things my kids and I really enjoy is the chaos of the six kids. We have four kids, so the Bradys’ comings and goings are familiar!
I know I’m always looking for quality entertainment for my kids, and especially something I can enjoy with them! I am on the edge of my seat to see Marcia swoon over Davey Jones again, to see Jan ride her bike into the family photo, to hear the Silver Platters sing “It’s Time Change” again, with my kids.