The Brady Bunch Project

Here’s the story . . .

It all started the other night when my sons were on some sort of a roll, telling me all the reasons why Barney and Friends is the worst show that has ever been on tv.

And it occurred to me as I was tuning them out: my poor kids really do not have any splendidly bad television programming to enjoy. There is some splendid television right now, and there is bad television, but nothing splendidly bad. Nothing that’s so inane that you enjoy every minute of your viewing, mocking the weak plot, the crappy characters, the cringe-inducing lines, the tacky outfits and poor special effects. And yet, you secretly find that you cannot miss an episode.

The king of this genre is of course, The Brady Bunch. I used to know every episode by heart, and am still undefeated in the little game I play entitled, “Guess the Episode.” Yes, I know everyone else plays that game too, but I like to think I invented it, and I really was unbeatable. I could usually tell you the episode in the opening shot. I had a complex formula that never let me down. Some people have special abilities. I am one of them.

Sadly, television evolved, and The Brady Bunch rerun onslaught was replaced by Full House reruns. Which were shortly replaced in the lives of our youth by original programming on Disney and Nickelodeon. Sad. So, so . . .  sad. And, for better or worse, I evolved as well. I graduated college, started working full-time, got married, had kids, bought a house, got a dog – all that stuff. My time for sitting in front of the tv was over. It’s probably been 10 years at least since I’ve seen a Brady Bunch episode. I cannot believe it as I type it. I found out not too long ago that some new channel on my dish was running The Brady Bunch, and I set my DVR to groovy (Yes, I know it’s on DVD, and maybe one day I’ll go out and buy it).

And so, the other night, I pulled up a random Brady episode on the DVR. As luck would have it, the episode was Adios Johnny Bravo. My older son left the room, on to what he considers better things. My 8-year-old, however, remained in the room, transfixed. OK, maybe not transfixed, but he was watching nonetheless. And it was fun. And it occurred to me – there really are no sitcoms on tv that I can think of that the whole family can watch without causing me to have to answer awkward questions or abruptly change the channel. I love the raunchy stuff – don’t think that I don’t – but it would be nice of there was something funny that we could all watch and laugh about together.  

This is where my project begins. It’s an ambitious effort: re-watching The Brady Bunch with my 8-year-old son, who has a sense of humor very similar to my own, but is still young enough to perhaps not fully grasp that this is not exactly Emmy award-winning material. I’m excited to see where this goes, and can’t wait to relive this part of my youth through his eyes – and through the fog of my own early onset senility.

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