We interrupt this blog to bring you a Brady Bunch Holiday Spectacular. Before Roseanne made Halloween a holiday to celebrate on TV, there were the Bradys. Well, not really. But they did do a couple of “scary” episodes, and today, in the spirit of the season, we bring you “Fright Night.” I didn’t plan on watching this one, but as we flipped through, my son spotted it and got excited, “Ooh! Ooh! Fright Night! I want that one!” He was looking forward to some Brady gore, and I was looking forward to seeing his reaction to a lack of Brady gore.
Fright Night opens with Carol and Mike in the den, or what we in the 2010’s call “the TV room.” In what I view as the only truly scary moment of the episode, Carol is sculpting a bust of Mike. She’s wearing an over-the-top groovy smock, and a ponytail, which is really funny to see with that flip-do of hers. Next we see the girls in bed, fast asleep until creepy noises emanate from the attic, waking Cindy and Jan. They look out of the window to see a ghost in the trees! Both scream in horror, waking Marcia and the parents, who inspect the attic and find the window open. On their way to bed, Mike and Carol hear the boys laughing in their room, and say to each other, “there’s our ghost,” but then choose to do nothing and go to bed instead. And then they’re surprised when there’s shenanegans the next night. Hello! Anyway, Marcia suspects the boys and that night the girls make a bet with the boys that they won’t sleep in the attic all night. The boys are dumb enough not to see through the girls’ fake fright and take them up on this offer. Alice sets them up in the basement, and soon, the boys hear Jan moaning and sobbing from the attic trunk. Soon afterward, a cellophane “ghost” emerges from the trunk and Bobby wets his pants. We don’t see that, but I know he did. Mike and Carol make the kids promise they will not scare each other anymore, saying someone could get hurt (this is a brilliant use of what professional writers call “foreshadowing”). In a conversation with Greg and Marcia, Alice reveals that she isn’t afraid of anything, including the “warewoofs” that Marcia mentions. This is all it takes for Greg to get his trial lawyer on and declare they can terrorize Alice because they only promised not to scare each other and they didn’t say anything about Alice. The kids then hatch a plan to scare Alice, and they’re so mean to the poor woman. All the adults leave the house, and the kids set up a screaming ghost that flies down the stairs by cutting holes in Carol’s bed sheets and nailing fishline to the walls. Yeah, Mom and Dad will never find out. And it would have worked too, except that Mike and Carol return home first and set off the trap. As Mike moves to turn on the lights, Alice returns home and gets spooked at nothing and destroys the bust of Mike that Carol labored over by smashing it with her purse. I want to know what she carries in that thing – her live savings in nickels perhaps? The kids learn a lesson about pranks and hurting people, they get grounded, and everyone has a good laugh. Queue closing theme and individual squares of the Brady’s laughing in front of the blue screen popping up at random as we fade out.
While my boy doesn’t ask to watch the Brady’s, he doesn’t protest either. Once it’s on, he will sit transfixed. I imagine this was me after school in 1978 as well. He, like me back then, seems resigned to it. He seems to get the lame beauty of The Brady Bunch. This pleases me. While we watched the show, my son said he would “punch that ghost” that appeared in the yard. As Alice settled the boys into the attic, my son perked up. He said, “I think the girls might’ve done something!” You could hear the anticipation in his voice. When the cellophane ghost emerged, he looked disappointed and said, “I can totally tell that’s made of plastic.” When the episode ended I asked him, “So, was it scary.” He gave me probably the best eyeroll and “bitchplease” look of his life. I asked if it was funny and he said, “Nope. Can I play Dead Rising 2 now?”
Revelations of Mine:
- Cindy even sleeps in braids and curls. I imagine hers was the most painful pre-show make-up and wardrobe session of the cast.
- The girls wear very sensible shoes at all times. Never noticed the shoes before.
- Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?
Most humiliating moment for Alice in this episode: either being dumb enough to smash a statue in fright, or when Sam called and she said she wanted to see a movie at the drive-in that they’ve already seen. Ugh. I just don’t want to think about that.
Next time, we return to our previously scheduled episode, “The Drummer Boy.”