Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour Episode 1.9

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

This week, The Brady Bunch Hour comes to a close and with it, I gain my freedom from having to watch any more pitch perfect but incredibly boring performances from Florence Henderson.

Episode 1.9

(Directed by Jack Regas, originally aired on May 25th, 1977)

Two things happened on May 25th, 1977.

First of all, a film called Star Wars opened in theaters across the country.

Secondly, on ABC, The Brady Bunch Hour aired for the final time.

The final episode begins in the same way as all of the previous episodes.  The Kroftettes do a kickline before driving into the pool and the audience applauds while the announcer reads off the names of the Bradys and announces that tonight’s special guest stars include Paul Williams, Rip Taylor, Lynn Anderson (who was a country-western singer), and Ann B. Davis.

Dressed in blue, The Bradys come out and perform a song called I’ve Got Love, which was written for a Broadway musical called PurliePurlie was a show about a black preacher living in the South during the Jim Crow era so you have to wonder how exactly the song relates to anything having to do with The Brady Bunch.  As led by Florence Henderson, the Bunch turns the song into an “up with people”-style anthem.  The Kroftettes meanwhile swim around with a punch of plastic hearts.

The song ends and, as the rest of their family struggles to catch their breath, Carol welcomes everyone to the show.

“I love love!” Carol announces.

The banter starts and the joke this time is that Carol enjoyed the song so much that she just won’t stop singing even while the rest of the family is trying to talk.  This gets annoying pretty quickly because we’ve all had a relative like Carol, that person who can carry a tune and who goes out of their way to make sure that no one ever forgets it.  Reportedly, one of the main reasons that Florence Henderson agreed to do The Brady Bunch Hour was because she wanted to transform herself into a Barbra Streisand-style singer and the producers agreed to allow her to do a solo in every episode.  Henderson did not have a bad voice but she still had a tendency to oversell every song that she sang, performing in an over-rehearsed manner that revealed little real personality.  During the last few episodes, a desperation creeped into Henderson’s performances, as if she felt that she alone could save the show by singing the Heck out of every song that she got.

After a minimum amount of banter (in which not a word is said about this being the final episode of the series), we cut to Carol and the kids performing a song called We’ve Got Us in front of a cardboard city skyline.  For some reason, everyone’s dressed for golf.

At one point, the Brady daughters carry Carol across the stage while Carol sings.  The audience applauds but Cindy looks like she’s struggling not to lose her grip on Carol’s ankles.

Peter and Bobby then carry Greg out on their shoulders while Greg sings.  At one point, they nearly drop Greg and Greg’s reaction (his singing voice goes up several octaves) would seem to indicate that this was not at all planned.

After the rest of the Bunch marches off stage, Peter sneaks back and discovers that Mr. Merrill (played, of course, by Rip Taylor) is sleeping on a park bench.  Mr. Merrill gets upset when Peter tries to move a trashcan because that is apparently where Mr. Merill keeps all of his stuff.  Peter finds a slinky in the trashcan and Mr. Merrill announces, “Haven’t you ever seen Palm Springs?”  Peter also finds a bottle of liquor in the the trashcan.  Mr. Merrill explains that it’s “Beethoven’s fifth.”  Peter and Jackie proceed to perform Me and My Shadow and it’s just as painful as it sounds.

The show goes to commercial.  When it comes back, Fake Jan announces that the next guest is “my favorite female recording star, Lynn Anderson.”  Fake Jan spends so much time praising Lynn that Greg comes out and tells Fake Jan that giving Lynn too much of a big build-up will make Lynn nervous.  “Ladies and gentleman,” Fake Jan says, “a singer who’s not too bad, Lynn Anderson!”  (To give credit where credit is due, I laughed.)  Lynn Anderson comes out and sings a song called Right Time Of The Night and Fake Jan was right.  She’s not too bad.

As Lynn finishes up the song, Fake Jan announces that Lynn is the best.  “You just can’t say stuff like that on TV,” Greg says, sounding a bit like a jerk, if we’re going to be honest.  Fake Jan demands that Greg tell her one person who sings as well as Lynn Anderson, who looks as good as Lynn Anderson, who has more hit records than Lynn Anderson, and who has beautiful blonde hair like Lynn Anderson.

“Paul Williams,” Greg says.  “Great musician, but he’s a troublemaker …. remember when he came by the house?”

“Oh yeah,” Fake Jan says, “that was trouble.”

It’s flashback time!

We cut to the Brady Compound, where Alice is attempting to break up with Rip Taylor’s Jackie Merrill.  Carol interrupts their fight to tell Alice to go clean another part of the house.  Alice agrees to go on a date with Jackie, mostly to get him to go away.  After Merrill leaves, Carol announces that Paul Williams is coming over.  Marcia enters the living room, dressed in overalls because Paul Williams is into simple things, “like how people feel inside.”

Carol says…. I am not making this up …. Carol says, “Oh.  Well, maybe you should swallow him, then.”


Greg enters the living room and starts leaving copies of his songs all over the living room.  Marcia makes fun of his lyrics.  Greg tells her, “Watch your mouth.”


Anyway, Marcia runs off crying.  Mike enters the living room, looking confused.  Carol explains that Paul Williams is only coming over to discuss what he’s going to do on the show.  He doesn’t want to see Greg’s music or hang out with Marcia.  A disgruntled Greg collects all of his lyrics.  Finally, after Greg leaves the living room, Paul Williams rings the doorbell.

Paul tells Mike that he’s a “big fan of yours.”  The audience laughs because Paul Williams is short.  However, it turns out that Paul Williams is an even bigger fan of Carol’s.  As Paul flirts shamelessly with Carol, Mike leaves to get the kids.  Mike and the kids re-enter the living room just in time to hear Paul announce that he’s in love with Carol.  The show cuts to commercial.

When the show returns, Mike is standing on stage, by himself.  He’s wearing another one of his turtlenecks.  “Welcome back to the second half of my family’s favorite show,” Mike tells us.  Mike makes fun of Paul for being short and then shows us what happened at the Brady compound.

What happened?, you may ask.  Well, Mike tells Paul that he doesn’t appreciate Paul loving his wife.  Bobby asks if Mike is going to punch out Paul but Carol says that Mike doesn’t punch people out.  “Good,” Paul says, “anyone over 5’5 punching me is assault with a deadly weapon.”  (Because Paul Williams is short, get it?)  Cindy asks Paul why he’s in love with Carol, as if even she can’t believe it.  Paul says that Carol is “one foxy lady.”  Mike promptly sends the children out of the living room and then starts yelling at Paul (or, at the very least, his voice goes up an octave or two as he expresses his annoyance).

Paul apologizes and then says that he has a compulsive personality “because I’m short,” and that occasionally, he does something compulsive like declare his love for Carol Brady.  Paul then suggest that he and Carol could get married on the show.  After Carol turns him down, Paul explains that he only came on the show so he could meet Carol.  He then Carol a broach that once belonged to his grandmother.  “She was a very foxy lady too,” Paul says, “Short but foxy.”  Paul leaves.

“What a sweet man,” Carol says, looking at the brooch.

“He’s a loon!” Mike declares.

Before Mike can say anything else insensitive about the man who just opened up his mental health on national television, Fake Jan comes running in with Lynn Anderson.  Lynn mentions that Paul Williams is in love with her and then holds up a brooch that Paul gave her.  “It was his grandmother’s!”

We cut to the pool, where Peter has decided to outsmart Greg by getting in the pool himself.  Greg swears that he wasn’t planning on pushing Peter in the pool this week.  Peter climbs out of the pool and announces that Paul Williams is the next musical guest.  “He’s so short,” Peter says, “he needs a ladder to get into a good mood.”  Paul comes out and shoves both Greg and Peter in the pool.

Paul then sings The Hell Of It, a song that he wrote for Brian DePalma’s Phantom of Paradise.  While he sings, thunder rumbles on the soundtrack, the Kroftettes perform in the pool, and the lights in the studio flash on and off.  It’s actually surprisingly good for The Brady Bunch Hour but you have to wonder how the show’s target audience felt about a song that was sung from the point of view of someone who had just sold his soul to the Devil.

We then cut to a country road, where Carol sings a country song called Born To Say Goodbye.  She’s no Lynn Anderson, that’s for sure.  Still, listening to the lyrics, you have to wonder if she sang this knowing that the show was about to end.  Despite the fact that no one on the show has mentioned anything about this being the final episode, one would have to think that the Bunch had some sort of knowledge that things weren’t looking good for the show’s future.

We then cut to a comedy skit, in which Paul Williams tells us that the member of the Brady Bunch will be recreating the voyage of Columbus.  At one point, Williams flubs his lines but keeps going.  According to Wikipedia, several members of the cast and crew have said that Paul Williams was drunk while filming The Brady Bunch Hour and that is definitely the vibe that comes through.  Anyway, the skit is actually about what was going on with Columbus’s family while Christopher was out exploring and it’s called  The Columbus Bunch.  The members of the Bunch all speak with exagerrated Italian accents.  It’s annoying as Heckfire.  The skit goes on forever and as I watched it, I actually found myself thinking of the terrible fantasy sequences that used to appear on Saved By The Bell.  It’s painful and the fact that everyone involved seems to be trying so hard makes it even more painful.

It’s time for the final finale of The Brady Bunch Hour!  This week, there’s no banter before the finale.  Instead, the Bunch appears on stage, wearing white suits.  Mike says “The finale this week is….” and I honestly can’t understand what it is that he says next.  It sounds like he says, “The finale this week is done,” but that wouldn’t make any sense.  All I know is that the members of the Bunch desperately run off stage, as they do at the start of every finale.  Again, I’m not sure why anyone thought it was a good idea to show the Bunch as being totally scatter-brained and incapable of the least bit of professionalism but whatever.  The show’s almost over.

As for the finale, it’s all about music.

The Krofetettes dance while Bobby, looking like Satan’s stepchild, plays a ragtime tune on the piano.

Mike and Carol sing a few bars from the hottest song of 1950, Music!  Music!  Music!

Marcia sings Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma, which was a song by Melanie, the folk singer who appeared on an earlier episode.

Carol, who is literally sitting in front of a poster that reads Easy Listening, performs 1962’s The Sweetest Sounds, a song that was previously covered by Barbra Streisand.

Greg sings a song called Music Is My Life.  Greg’s voice isn’t terrible but it’s awfully generic.  He might need to get a different life, especially considering that this is the final episode.

Geri Reischl, who is so talented that she deserves to be referred to by her real name (and not Fake Jan) for this performance, comes out and sings Hey Mister Melody and once again shows that she was way too musically talented for this show.  She and Florence Henderson had the best voices of the cast but, unlike the overly rehearsed Henderson, Geri actually brought some spontaneity to her performances.

Rip Taylor and a miserable-looking Ann B. Davis perform The Music Goes Round and Round.

Paul Williams and Lynn Anderson perform an Old Fashioned Love Song.  One can almost sense Florence Henderson fuming off-stage over Lynn getting to be the one who performed with Paul Williams.

The Brady kids come out and sing Piano Man with the all the good-natured cheer of a church youth group.

The finale ends with the entire cast doing an unenthusiastic version of I Believe In Music.  Paul Williams dances with Florence Henderson while a manic Rip Taylor throws confetti all over the stage.

After a commercial break, the Bunch comes out to say goodnight.

“Remember last week when I said, ‘I guess this bring us to the end of tonight’s show?” Carol says.

Yes, we do.  Carol, is there something you need to share with the audience about the show’s future?

“Well, I’m saying it again this week,” Carol says, “I guess this brings us to the end of tonight’s show.”

Mike tell Carol that she should come up with something new to close the show and Carol does a stuttering impersonation of Porky the Pig and that’s when I nearly threw a shoe at the screen.  Fortunately, I was distracted by Cindy saying, “And don’t worry about Paul Williams, he’s not really crazy.”  Everyone says goodnight and the show ends….

….and never returns!

So, The Brady Bunch Hour has come to an end and what have we learned from these reviews?  Cocaine was very popular in the 70s.

Next week, we start a new show!  Here’s a preview:

Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour Episode 1.8

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

This week, the Brady Bunch celebrates disco!  This, by the way, was the very first episode of The Brady Bunch Hour that I ever came across on YouTube.  It was such a bizarre 70s time capsule that I knew that, someday, I would have to watch and review every episode of the series.

So, let’s get to it!

Episode 1.8 

(Dir by Jack Regas, originally aired on April 25th, 1977)

As always, things begin with the Kroftettes doing a kickline before diving into the pool.  The announcer introduces the members of the Brady Bunch and tells us that tonight’s guest stars include Rip Taylor, Ann B. Davis, The What’s Happening Kids, and Rick Dees.

The Bradys come out and sing Get Ready, a song that was only 11 years old when it showed up on this show.  (That’s definitely an improvement on the songs from the 1920s that the Bradys were originally singing on the show.)  It must be said that the Bradys actually perform the song with some energy.  None of them appear to be able to carry a consistent tune but at least they’re trying to come across as if they’re excited to be there.  That said, it’s also hard not to notice that both Robert Reed and Florence Henderson have a distracting habit of looking straight at the camera while performing and the Brady kids all tend to look down at their feet whenever they have to dance.

Greg gets a solo in the song while Carol gets to chant, “That’s right.”  From what I’ve read about the series, Florence Henderson apparently signed onto the show specifically because she thought it would lead to her becoming a Barbra Streisand-style star and it must be said that she delivers “That’s right,” with so much intensity that she sometimes seems as if she’s about to attack the cameraman.  Indeed, all of the Bradys have so much energy that the performance comes across as almost desperate.  It’s like when you’re appearing in a play and the first act doesn’t go well so, at the start of the second act, everyone starts enunciating a little more harshly and barking out their lines in attempt to get the energy flowing again.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing but you still get the feeling that someone backstage told the Bradys to step it up or face cancellation.

Following some Kroftette water ballet, we get the usual bit of Brady banter.  Carol enthusiastically welcomes “America” and tells us to “get ready because here we come!”

Mike adds, “Welcome back to another Brady Bunch Hour!” but it’s hard not to notice that Mike is so out-of-breath following that performance that it appears he might faint at any moment.

“60 minutes of songs and swimming with America’s wettest family,” Greg says with a big smile that suggests he knows exactly what he’s saying.

The family explains that the Kroftettes both sing and swim.  Mike says that he didn’t realize that the swimmers and the dancers were the same people.  The Kroftettes are in the pool so we don’t get to see how they react to all of this.  I’d like to think that they all held up their middle fingers in solidarity.  Power to the dancers!

“I never met a music cue I didn’t like!” Carol announces and the family starts dancing again as Mike struggles to catch his breath.

We then cut to an absolutely terrifying image.  Carol is wearing baggy pats, carrying a cane, and there’s a jaunty hat on her head.  She sings Walk Right In and is eventually joined by the other Bradys, who are all dressed in the same style.  They do an elaborate, vaudeville-style dance to Walk Right In, a song that was originally recorded in 1929.

After the performance finally wraps up, Carol tells Mike that she found her old high school yearbook.  Mike, who is once again visibly out-of-breath, tries to feign interest.  (Carol shows him a picture of her as a cheerleader.  “I recognize those pom poms!” Mike replies, in a tone that suggests that the joke may have gone straight over Robert Reed’s head.)  Carol wonders if their kids enjoy school as much as they did.  Mike mentions that Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy have it tough because they have to go to school on the set.

We then cut to Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy, all sitting in a classroom and looking bored.  Jan says she’s sick of school and considering that Rip Taylor is their substitute teacher, who can blame her?  (Actually, considering that Rip says he’s going to teach them movie trivia, it seems like he might be the coolest teacher ever!)  Suddenly, the kids from What’s Happening!!! come into the classroom and explain that they’re now in the class.  Then, Patty Maloney, an actress with dwarfism, comes into the classroom, pursued by a police officer who assumes that Patty is a student despite the fact that Patty was nearly 40 when she appeared on this show.  Cindy explains to the officer that Patty is an actress and not a Brady.

We then cut to Greg, who happily explains that he’s not singing this week.  The audience applauds.  Greg jokes that he’s not going to get mad because he’s excited about introducing one of his favorite people.  The audience applauds.  “Will you shut up!?” Greg snaps and, to his credit, Barry Williams actually wrings some laughs out of Greg’s growing frustration.  Finally, Greg introduces Alice the Maid, who proceeds to sing Thank God I’m A Country Girl while dancing with someone wearing a gigantic cowboy outfit.

It’s weeeeeeeeeeird.

It gets weirder.

After the song, a visibly out-of-breath Alice thanks everyone and says that she figured it was just her turn to take a try at singing.  Alice catches her breath long enough to tell us that something big happened at the Brady Compound.

What happened is that Peter, Jan, Cindy, and Bobby invited the What’s Happening!!! Kids to the come home with them after school and they promised their friends a guest role on the show.  They discuss doing a skit about a magic potion.  Fred “ReRun” Berry pretends to drink a magic potion and starts to dramatically twitch, while Fake Jan watches with a nervous look on her face.  ReRun the announces that he …. WANTS TO BE O.J. SIMPSON!  ReRun starts running around the living room and jumping over the furniture.  Fake Jan drinks her fake potion and starts to sing The Sound of Music.  Peter suggests that he would drink his potion and become a waterfall.  This all goes on for so long that it’s hard not to wonder just what exactly is in those imaginary potions.

Mike and Carol finally get home and demand to know why the kids from What’s Happening!!! are in the living room.  Fake Jan explains that the Brady kids invited the What’s Happening!!! kids to be on their show.  Mike and Carol look worried and then say that it’s time for the What’s Happening!!! kids to go home.  Mike leaves to drive the guests back to their studio.  Carol order the Brady kids to sit on the couch and sternly tells them that there’s no room for the What’s Happening!!! kids on this week’s show but that she would have totally voted for Obama a third time if she could have.  (Seriously, it’s kind of hard not to notice that Mike and Carol had no problem with Rip Taylor, Rich Little, Lee Majors, and Farrah Fawcett all dropping by the house unannounced but they freaked out as soon as they say saw the What’s Happening!!! kids in their living room.)  Carol tells Peter that he’s going to have to “tell the What’s Happening!!! kids that they can’t be on the show.”

The show goes to commercial.  When it comes back, Carol and a coked-up Marcia are standing on stage.

“Hi,” Marcia says, “stay tuned for the second half of the Brady Bunch Hour.”

“Excuse me, Marcia,” Carol says, “this is the second half of the Brady Bunch Hour.”

“That’s good, this is going to be much better than the first half,” Marcia says, before dismissing the first half as being sad.

“Marcia’s a part of the now generation,” Carol explains, “They’re always honest and always tacky.”

Why was so much of the humor on the Brady Bunch Hour based around the kids being condescendingly corrected their parents?  Carol, for her part, seems to be taking tonight’s show extremely seriously.  Maybe she’s still nervous about the What’s Happening!!! kids living in the same neighborhood as her family.

Speaking of which, Marcia says that she feels sorry for the What’s Happening!!! kids.  Carol blames it all on Peter and then tells us to just watch so that we can see what happened when Peter told them they couldn’t be on the show.

It turns out that Peter summoned the What’s Happening!!! Kids to the Brady Compound so he could tell them they couldn’t be on the show.  The What’s Happening!!! Kids show up and show off their impersonations of the Bradys.  Cindy is shocked by how boring the imitation of her is.  Peter finally tells them that they can’t be on the show.  That What’s Happening!!! Kids are not amused, declaring that this is the “Same old story!” that they always have to deal with whenever they want to appear on someone else’s show.  Guilt-stricken, Peter announces that he’ll find a way get the What’s Happening!!! Kids on the show.

We then cut to the main stage, where Greg is taunting Peter about how he’s going to get pushed in the pool.  The What’s Happening!!! kids come out and Peter announces that Greg is going to be pushing all of them into the pool.  (If Peter was smart, he would have just had the What’s Happening!!! Kids push Greg in the pool.)  The What’s Happening!!! Kids respond by shoving Peter in the pool and then introduce “Mr. Disco, Rick Dees!”  Rick Dees, who was best-known for a song called Disco Duck, performs a song called Disco Gorilla.

We then cut to Mr. Merill, who now wants to be called Mr. Merillo, opening up his own pizza place.  Bobby apparently now works for him as a pianist but Mr. Merrillo also expects him to help serve the customers.  Mike and Carol come by the restaurant and Carol yells that she came to Merillo’s to see Bobby play and not to watch him serve pizza.

Bobby starts to play the piano but Patty Maloney and a construction worker come into the restaurant and start to have a loud conversation.  Carol demands that Mr. Merrillo tell them to be quiet so that she can hear Bobby.  (Is it just me or is Carol kind of being the absolute worst this week?)  Mr. Merillo refuses to say anything so Carol demands that Mike do something.  Mike says that the construction worker is too big for him to deal with so Carol confronts them herself.  It all leads to a huge food fight which …. ugh.  I feel bad for whoever had to clean up the stage after this scene.

Having gotten a pizza dumped over their heads, Patty Maloney and the Construction Worker leave.  Than the Brady kids shows up.  Carol brags about how she and Mike put two blue collar workers in their place.  (For all of her complaining about not being able to hear Bobby play, Carol hasn’t stopped talking since entering the restaurant.)  A biker (played by Bruce Vilanch) also shows up.  He tells Mike and Carol to shut up so he can hear the piano.  Mike then picks a fight with the biker, even though the biker actually want to hear Bobby play the piano.

Anyway, this goes on for seven minutes and it’s followed by Carol oversinging a song called This Masquerade.  This Masquerade was only five years old when it showed up on The Brady Bunch Hour.  As always, Florence Henderson has a good voice but there’s something a bit too studied about her performance.  There’s no personality to her version of the song.  It’s a bit dull.

It’s time for the finale!  But only Mike and Carol are on stage.  Carol explains that the kids aren’t out there because they wanted to save all their energy for the disco-themed finale.  Mike is shocked, wondering how the kids think that Mike and Carol are going to have enough energy for the finale.

“They think that we can have six of them, there’s just no end to our energy,” Carol says, “They think we’re bionic.”

“Maybe they’re right,” Mike says.

“Maybe they’re wrong,” Carol replies.

Uhmmm …. what?  Is Carol saying that she and Mike don’t have the energy for the finale?  Or is she claiming that she and Mike are bionic?

Anyway, it’s time for the disco finale and again, you have to see this for yourself:

Cocaine was very popular in 1977.

Technically, this was not a good episode but it was still oddly fascinating.  It represented not only everything that didn’t work about The Brady Bunch Hour but it also represents everything that makes it impossible not to watch this very odd show.  Everything about it is so wrong that it becomes undeniably entertaining to see just how much stranger things could get.

Next week, everyone will struggle to catch their breath as the Brady Bunch Hour comes to an end!

Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour Episode 1.7

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

This week, Marcia’s getting married!

Episode 1.7

(Dir by Jack Regas, originally aired on April 4th, 1977)

We open, as always, with the Kroftettes doing a line dance in front of the pool.  The announcer introduces the Brady Bunch and informs us that this week’s guest stars include Rip Taylor, Redd Foxx and The Ohio Players.  The audience goes wild.

The Brady Bunch comes out, all dressed in red.  They sing a song called Celebrate.  It’s not the Celebrate Good Times Come On song.  Instead, the lyrics are like, “I want to celebrate another good day blah blah blah.”  According to Wikipedia, this song was originally recorded in 1968 by Three Dog Night.  So, this song was only nine years old when the Bradys performed it.  Considering that the Bradys usually performed the greatest hits of the 20s and 30s, that’s actually kind of amazing.  That said, the family is so off-key and look so nervous while going through their very simple dance moves, you’ll want to celebrate when the song ends.

Of course, you may want to reconsider that reaction when you realize that the end of the song leads to the Bradys bantering.  Cindy, proving herself once again to be the dumbest member of the family, asks, “What are we celebrating!?” with all the frantic energy of someone trying to figure out how to disarm a bomb.

“We’re back with another Brady Bunch hour!” Carol declares.

“YEAH!” the Brady Bunch children yell.

Mike announces that their special guest star tonight is “one of our daughter’s favorites, the star of Welcome Back Kotter–” TRAVOLTA? — “Robert Hegyes!”  Oh.  Well, he’s probably cool too.  I’ve never seen Welcome Back Kotter.  Fake Jan announces that the Ohio Players will be providing music.  Peter says that “our good friend, Rip Taylor!” is in the studio.  Greg announces that the Kroftettes and the Water Follies are going to be on the show.  (They’re on the show every week, Greg.)

Suddenly, the notoriously profane nightclub comic, Redd Foxx, wanders out on stage and announces that he is going to have his own variety show, “right here on ABC.”  Redd says that he’s going to hang around and watch everyone so that he can get ideas for “The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour.”  Redd leaves the stage fairly quickly and I don’t blame him.

After we return from commercial, the Bradys sing If They Could See Me Now while dressed up as a wind-up dolls, complete with big keys sticking out of their backs.

Rip Taylor and Ann B. Davis come out on stage and start to awkwardly trade jokes about whether or not Rip was ever a young man.  (Apparently, Ann B. Davis was very religious and Rip Taylor was very ribald and, as a result, Ann only spoke to Rip when they were onstage together.)  The skit is interrupted by Redd Foxx, who comes out, insults Rip Taylor’s sideburns, and tells them to just go to the flashback showing what happened earlier this week.

We cut to the Brady Compound.  Cindy and Bobby are arguing because, while they were out roller skating, Cindy met a guy but Bobby thinks the guy is a creep. Bobby told the guy to back off and then says he can’t understand why anyone would want to talk to Cindy or why Cindy would want to talk to them.

“Our little girl is becoming a woman,” Mike says, in a line that is not at all creepy.

Alice the Maid enters the living room and refuses to tell Mike where she’s been for the past few hours.  Mike finds it amusing that his mad thinks that she can have a personal life.  It turns out that she was hanging out with Jackie Merrill.  Apparently, she and Jackie are a couple now, despite the fact that Jackie is Rip Taylor.  Whatever happened to Sam the Butcher?  For that matter, why is Alice even in Hollywood?  Just because Mike decided to ruin his children’s lives by producing a variety show, does that mean Alice’s life has to be ruined as well?

Fake Jan comes into the living room and complains that she doesn’t have a boyfriend to drive her around.  Her parents tell her to stop crying and accept that she’s the middle child.

Greg comes in the living room and worries that Marcia is acting a little weird.  He mentions that Marcia is going out with some new guy, which takes Mike and Carol by surprise.  Marcia finally enters the living room and announces that she wants her parents to meet her new boyfriend.  She explains that he’s totally soulful and vulnerable and poetic.

“It’s either got to be Walter Cronkite or David Bowie,” Carol says.

Nope, it’s Winston Beaumont, played by tonight’s special guest star, Robert Hegyes.

After Winston flashes a peace sign and elaborately shakes everyone’s hands, Marcia announces that she and Winston are engaged.

“Whoa!” the audience says in unison.

We then cut to a cemetery, where Greg, Fake Jan, and Marcia sing Southern Nights.  It’s actually a good song for Greg and Marcia’s limited vocal range.  That said, Fake Jan’s voice is so good that it serves to remind the viewer of how vocally limited everyone else on the show (except for Florence Henderson) actually was.

We cut to Cindy asking Peter if he thinks that she’s pretty.  Peter tells her that she’s totally awesome and that he would totally go out with her if she was a little older and if she wasn’t his sister.  Technically, Cindy is only his stepsister but still …. ick!  Redd Foxx comes out and asks how things are going with Winston.  “Watch this!” Peter says.

Cut to the Brady Compound, where Mike and Carol ask Marcia and Winston what they mean by engaged.  Marcia says they’re going to get married.  Winston says Marcia is totally outrageous.  “Hate is a four-letter word, man,” Winston says.  And it’s true!  Greg sits in the corner of the living room and stews.  I guess it makes sense that Greg would be angry.  Greg couldn’t even handle moving out of the house for two days and now, Marcia is getting married!

Mike says that he and Carol need to think all of this over.  You can think about it all you want, Mike.  Marcia’s over eighteen and can marry anyone she wants.  Winston and Greg leave the living room and Mike tells Marcia that she’s not getting married.  “I don’t want him to be my son-in-law,” Mike says.  Marcia announces that she’s going to marry Winston whether they like it or not.  “Whoa!” the audience says.

The next day, at the breakfast table, Alice tells Mike and Carol that sometimes, it’s hard to understand what people see in each other.  Carol, in typical Brady fashion, responds to Alice’s attempted kindness by giving her a hard time about dating Mr. Merrill.  On cue, Mr. Merrill stops by to see Alice and, misinterpreting the conversation, accuses Carol and Mike of trying to break up him and Alice.  This leads to three minutes of Rip Taylor shouting, which somehow also leads to Mike and Carol deciding that they need to get to know their future son-in-law.  Mercifully, the scene ends and the show goes to commercial.  Since this show aired in 1977, it was probably a disco-themed car commercial starring California Governor Jerry Brown and the future king of England.

“And Jerry, it’s got more torque and handling than the average truck.  Now, let’s boogie!”

We return to Mike and Carol standing on stage and introducing the second half of the show.

“In case you just joined us….” Carol starts.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!  You’re half-an-hour late!” Mike snaps.

Redd Foxx walks out on stage and asks Mike why he doesn’t like Winston.

“Would you like your daughter to marry a mellow cat!?” Mike demands.

This is a weird episode.

Anyway, we then cut to the Brady Compound, where Greg is whining that Winston refuses to play beach volleyball because “he says sand has feelings!”  It turns out that the entire family, except for Marcia and Peter, dislikes Winston.  Marcia, of course, loves Winston because he’s her man.  Peter likes Winston because Winston is apparently a baseball fan.  Peter evens tells Marcia about how Winston was talking to a girl in “a tiny bikini” about baseball.

(Random sidenote: Winston should meet my sister!)

Marcia realizes that she and Winston have never discussed baseball.  She also says that she just now noticed that Winston seems to agree with everything that he hears.  She accuses him on being a phony.  “I’m Marcia,” she snaps, “but who are you?”  (Actually, you’re Maureen McCormick and you’re on a show pretending to be a part of an imaginary family.)  Marcia dumps Winston so I guess that storyline magically resolved itself.

The show cuts to Greg and Peter standing by the pool.  Peter tells Greg to just get it over with and push him into the pool.  Peter seems to be so traumatized by the whole pool thing that it’s hard not to feel that Greg is one of the world’s greatest monsters.  Peter ends up jumping into the pool himself, just to get it over with.  Redd Foxx comes out and announces that he will be stealing the pool gag for his show but instead, it’s going to be a pool table.  Redd then says, “I take care of my brothers,” before shoving Greg in the pool.

Redd introduces a band called The Ohio Players.  The Ohio Players are best-known for a song called Love Rollercoaster but, on this show, they perform a song called Fire, which I immediately recognized as the theme song from Hell’s Kitchen.

We then cut to Florence Henderson singing her song of the week.  This time, she sings How Lucky Can You Get? from Funny Lady.  It’s not a bad performance.  Florence could sing and this song is a good one for her somewhat overdramatic style.  That said, Florence Henderson is no Ohio Player.

Redd Foxx comes out on stage and says, “Don’t tell the Bradys but I’m going to split now.”  I don’t blame you, Redd.  Redd admits that he’s not sure if he can do a Brady-style of show.  “I can’t smile all the time,” Redd says.  Redd also says he’s not sure if he can handle having six white folks on his show.  Redd goes on to say that he can’t do any silly stories on his show, “like that thing about Marcia wanting to marry that dude.”  Redd assures the audience, “The Redd Foxx isn’t going to look like the Brady Bunch Hour” and then walks off stage.

(According to the imbd, The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour was renamed Redd Foxx and aired in September of 1977.  One more episode followed in 1978 and then the show was canceled.  Among Redd’s guests were comedian Andy Kaufman and anti-gay rights activist Anita Bryant.)

It’s time for the finale!  The Bradys stand on stage, holding flowers.  Greg bitches that Marcia got a dozen roses while he got one crummy carnation.  (Gee, I can’t imagine why Redd Foxx didn’t want to stick around for this.)  Peter points out that he doesn’t even have a flower.  “I’ve got a crummy onion!”  Carol explains that he’s actually holding tulip bulb and Peter asks if Thomas Edison invited the tulip and WILL YOU GUYS JUST START THE GOT DANG FINALE!?

The finale music starts and the Bradys run off the stage in a panic.

Check out the finale for yourself!  Some things just need to be seen.

This episode was actually not as painful as some of the previous ones, as the Brady banter was kept to a minimum and the Ohio Players performance of Fire definitely livened things up.  The Bradys are still pretty annoying but at least Redd Foxx was there to assure us that he found them to be annoying too.  Interestingly enough, the idea of Marcia Brady marrying a free-spirited mellow dude was reused in The Brady Brides.  So, even though The Brady Bunch Hour has been deemed non-canonical by most Brady scholars (*snicker*), perhaps this show did have some influence on the Bunch’s future after all.

Next week, it’s the episode I’ve been waiting for.  It’s …. DISCO NIGHT!

Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour Episode 1.6

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

Oh, we’re doing this again.



Episode 1.6

(Dir by Jack Regas, Originally aired on March 28th, 1977)

As always, we open with the Kroftettes doing a kick line and then jumping into the pool as the announcer warns us all that we’re about the spend an hour with The Brady Bunch, Rip Taylor, Rich Little, and Edgar Bergen.

The audience goes crazy as the Bradys run out on to perform their opening number and why shouldn’t the audience be excited?  For once, the Bunch is performing a song that was written after the Great Depression.  In fact, I’ve Got The Music In Me was only 3 years old when the Brady Bunch performed it.  Wisely, Fake Jan gets to sing the majority of the song while the rest of the Bradys just focus on the chorus.  While the other members of the cast stare directly at the camera and struggle to remember one of the simplest choruses ever written, Geri Reischl shows off why she was the only Brady kid to have a truly successful musical career after this show ended.

The Kroftettes smile as they perform this week’s water ballet.  The pool is full of balloons.  Somehow, the underwater Krotettes manage to smile and hold their breath at the same time.  Still, as the song ends, we get one of the show’s trademark close-ups of all of the Bradys gasping for breath, just so we know who really had to work hard on this show.

It’s time for the opening banter!  Greg thinks that the Bradys should make a movie.  Carol suggests that they make a movie called Greg Doesn’t Live Here AnymoreUhmm, Carol, you tried that a few weeks ago.  Remember?  Greg moved out for 16 hours and everyone had a nervous breakdown.

We then cut to a production number so hideous that I can’t even get a decent screenshot of it.

The Bradys are all dressed up as scarecrows and, along with someone dressed up like a crow, they do a square dance while singing Consider Yourself.  Consider Yourself is a song from Oliver!, which is a music that is based on Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist.  How exactly one associates Oliver! with a bunch of scarecrows dancing with a crow, I’m not sure.  Cocaine was very popular in the 70s and that sun in the sky looks like it probably just took a snort from the moon’s coke spoon.

As the song ends, Bobby, Cindy, and Fake Jan announce that their next guest will be ventriloquist Edgar Bergen.  They then argue about whether or not Bobby should have introduced Bergen’s dummy, Charlie McCarthy, as well.  Edgar comes out and tells the Brady kids about how ventriloquism works.  He says that his job involves using a dummy.  “In our house, our dummy is Bobby,” Cindy says.  That’s kind of mean, especially coming from Cindy who isn’t exactly going to be joining the Honor Society anytime soon.

Finally, Edgar brings out his dummy and they discuss pizza.  “I don’t like those EYE-talian dishes,” the dummy says.


Speaking of dummies, we then cut to Rip Taylor who says that he was was supposed to introduce impressionist Rich Little but he can’t because there was an accident at rehearsals yesterday.  We then get a flashback of Rich Little attempting to impersonate a swimmer by jumping into the pool.  Underwater, Rich Little’s stunt double collides with Cindy and — oh no! — Rich Little has amnesia.

(In the 70s, Rich Little was one of the original cast members of Orson Welles’s The Other Side of The Wind.  Despite having a key supporting role, Little reportedly left the production rather abruptly.  I sincerely hope that he didn’t leave because he got offered The Brady Bunch Hour.  That said, Peter Bogdonavich replaced Little on Welles’s film and gave an excellent performance as Brooks Otterlake.)

At the Brady Compound, Cindy feels bad for giving Rich Little amnesia and really, she should.  STUPID CINDY!  Things get even more awkward with Rich Little’s wife calls and asks how her husband is doing and Carol just can’t bring herself to admit that Rich has amnesia.  Rich eventually shows up in the living room and tries to remember who he is by doing a series of imitations of people who he claims not to remember.

“What are we going to do!?” Carol wails.

“Frankly my dear,” Rich replies, “I don’t give a damn.”

Cut to Edgar Bergen and a dummy welcoming us to the second half of the Brady Bunch Hour.  “These people don’t care about our problems,” Edgar says, “They want to know what happened to Rich Little.”  Damn straight, Edgar.

At the Brady Compound, Alice tells Carol and Mike that Rich is asleep and they both hope that he’ll wake up as Rich.  Cindy then comes in, still whining about how she’s responsible for Rich losing his memory.  Carol tells her that, “This could have happened to anyone.”  Stop lying, Carol.  This literally could not have happened to anyone.

Rich wakes up and announces that he now remembers that he’s one of the Brady kids.  Unfortunately, it turns out that he thinks that he’s the youngest and therefore most immature of all the Bradys.  Of course, Rip Taylor shows up and explains that he’s also a psychologist and he can help Rich gets his memory back.  What’s odd is that Rip is playing his character, Jackie Merrill, in this scene but he previously appeared as himself when he told us that Rich got amnesia at rehearsals.  Seriously, not even the show could keep straight what was going on.

Anyway, Rich jumps into the ocean and bumps into Rip Taylor and he gets his memory back.  Gee, I’m glad that worked out.

We then cut to Peter begging Greg not to toss him into the pool this week because he has a crush on this week’s musical guest.  Mike shows up and says the weekly pool thing is getting boring and if there’s anything Mike knows, it’s how to be boring.  Greg and Peter work together to throw Mike in the pool.  Mike looks pretty mad so I guess we know which two sons are going to end up getting beaten once filming on the episode is wrapped.

A folk singer named Melanie comes out and sings a song in front of the pool.

Screenshots From Hell

Carol comes out and sings a song called Beautiful Noise.  Beautiful Noise was only a year old when it appeared on The Brady Bunch Hour.  Did someone at the show finally get the memo that trying to make The Brady Bunch look cool by having them sing showtunes from 1920s wasn’t working?  As for the song itself, Florence Henderson has a good voice but she still oversings it.  In all fairness, it’s hard to blame her for that.  That was just her style of singing and it’s not her fault that she was often given songs that really weren’t right for her.

Next up is a weird skit where Ann B. Davis plays Apple Annie, a woman in the 40s who, one day, is given a wooden puppet named Pinocchio who dreams of being a real boy.  Christopher Knight plays the puppet while Florence Henderson provides the voice of the fairy godmother who promises that he will someday become a real boy.  Then Rip Taylor shows up as a director who wants to turn Pinocchio into a star.  Maureen McCormick and and Barry Williams play Pinocchio’s co-stars and somehow, it all ends with everyone singing Ease On Down The Road from The Wiz.  This skit goes on forever and it’s painfully unfunny.  Cocaine was very popular in the 70s.

We then cut Greg, Peter, and Marcia talking about how Peter never knows what the finale is going to be.  This time, Peter swears he knows what the finale is but then he admits that he doesn’t know what the finale is.  Greg says, “You never what the finale is,” and OH MY GOD, MAKE IT STOP!

Carol and Mike come out.  “Hi, kids are you ready for the finale?”

“I don’t know what the finale is,” Peter replies.

“You never what the finale is,” Mike says….


Anyway, Carol says that the finale is songs about the movies and then everyone scurries off stage.  I will never understand why this show always thought it was a good idea to start every finale with everyone running off stage in a panic.

Mike and Carol get things started by singing That’s Entertainment!  There’s nothing more hip than that, right?

Speaking of hip, here comes Greg to sing Pinball Wizard!  Greg pays homage to Elton John by wearing big sunglasses.

Carol oversings For All We Know, from the 1970 films Lovers and Other Strangers.

The Kroftettes stand around while The Pink Panther theme plays.

The Brady Kids sing Live and Let Die with all of the wholesome enthusiasm of a church youth group.

Yes, they’re singing Live and Let Die.

Rip Taylor sings that annoying Superblahblahblah song from Mary Poppins.

Melanie, looking as if she realizes her career will never recover, sings Over The Rainbow.

And then the entire cast comes out to reprise That’s Entertainment!

And that’s it!  This episode actually had potential.  Rich Little thinking that he was a Brady Kid could have actually been funny but, in the end, the show didn’t really do much with it.  The show tried to liven things up with some songs that had been written after the 20s but the Bradys were so naturally square that it didn’t really make much difference.

Next week: Marcia gets engaged!  Awwwwwww!

Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour 1.5

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

This week, Mike and Carol Brady wonder if they truly love each other.

Episode 1.5

(Directed by Jack Regas, originally aired on March 21st, 1977)

As always, we start with the Kroftettes dancing while the audience cheers.  The announcer recites the names of our stars.  Don’t Florence Henderson and Robert Reed look happy?  Little do they suspect what’s about to happen to the marriage of Mike and Carol Brady!

Proving once again that they have their fingers on the pulse of the culture, the Bradys come out and perform Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo’ Bye), a song that was all the rage in 1922.  This song was already 55 years old when it was performed on this show.  Fortunately, the Kroftettes entertain the audience with some water ballet in an attempt to keep anyone from wondering why the Brady kids were so enthusiastic about singing a song that was even older than their parents.

After they finish singing, all of the Brady kids joke about how Mike can’t sing.  “I can carry a tune!” Mike objects.  Carol and the kids laugh at him.  Poor Mike!  Oblivious to how much Mike is suffering, Carol announces that tonight’s guest star is, “The always unpredictable Charo!”  Cindy says that they’ll also be joined by “the far out Hudson Brothers!”  It falls to poor Marcia to inform everyone that Rip Taylor will also be on tonight’s episode.

We then cut to Rip Taylor, who excitedly tells the audience that he’s so excited because there’s a mystery guest tonight!  He puts on a sleep mask before calling out for the mystery guest because he wants to be truly surprised.  The problem with this is that we already know who the guests are because the Bradys told us who tonight’s guests are going to be.  We know the mystery guest is not going to be Rip Taylor because he’s the one telling us about the mystery guest.  We know it’s not going to be The Hudson Brothers because Rip said “guest” and not “guests.”  So, that only leaves Charo as a possibility.

Out comes Charo.  Rip is so excited!  “I love Spanish women!” Rip exclaims.  After some pointless banter, Charo grabs a guitar, sits down on a stool, and plays a surprisingly good version of Malagueña.

We then cut to Marcia, who informs us that Mike actually got his feelings hurt after his kids humiliated him about his singing on national television.  Marcia explains that Mike was determined to show that he really could carry a tune.  “Little did he know how much trouble it would get him into,” Marcia says.  Uh-oh!

Flashback time!  At the Brady Compound, all of the Brady kids and Alice are practicing their singing and their dance moves.  They are observed by Mike, who is wearing a turtleneck that makes him look like he’s just returned from recording a commentary for NPR.  Mike announces that he’s planning on singing on the show.  Everyone struggles to find a new way to inform Mike that he can’t sing.  Carol mentions that no one can be good at everything.  “I can’t play tennis,” Carol says.  Even Rip Taylor drops by unannounced and, after singing a bit of Singin’ In The Rain, he reminds everyone that Mike can’t sing.  Needless to say, Mike is not happy to hear any of this.  Never tell a man in a turtleneck and a camel hair blazer that he can’t sing.

Mike leaves the house and heads to the set, where he tries to play a guitar.  This immediately attracts Charo who jokes about Mike’s plan to perform a song on the next show.

“I’ll level with you, Charo,” Mike gravely says, “this isn’t a joke.  I want to sing this song but nobody in my family will accompany me …. I don’t think they want to be too close to me when I sing.”

Realizing that Mike has the worst family in the world, Charo agrees to help him.  Yay, Charo!  Seriously, Mike takes himself way too seriously but his family really is the worst.  “We will make beautiful music together!” Charo announces, little aware that Rip Taylor and Carol Brady happen to be standing right behind them.

Yes, this is a terrible screenshot but it’s as good as it’s going to get on YouTube.

Cut to Carol, standing alone on stage and oversinging Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.  Seriously, though, how hard is it to apologize to Mike for rather cruelly making fun of his bad singing?  I mean, it’s not like Carol is apologizing for cheating on him or embezzling money or anything like that.  All she has to do is say, “Hey, Mike — sorry I laughed at you when you said you wanted to sing.”  If she can’t even apologize for that, then maybe Carol deserves to lose her man to Charo.

Looking like two demonic cult children, Cindy and Bobby come out and welcome us to the second half of the show.

“Mom was really worried about Dad and Charo,” Bobby says.

Cindy repeats, “Mom was really worried about Dad and Charo.”

That’s right — Cindy is now repeating everything that Bobby says, word-for-word.  That’s like not creepy at all.

At the Brady Compound, Carol tells Alice that she saw Mike and Charo singing together and now Mike wants Charo to come have dinner with the family.  Carol is really upset and worried that she’s going to lose Mike.  “I’m a bad wife and a lousy cook!” Carol says.  Wow, Carol, it sounds like maybe he should leave you.

After Carol leaves the kitchen, Greg, Marcia, and Peter come in.  Peter is impressed that his father is having an affair with Charo while Marcia, who is wearing a hat that makes her looks like she should be one of Tony Montana’s bodyguards, says that Mike is just not the type to cheat.

We then cut to the dinner with Charo.  Charo is sitting on the couch with Mike while the rest of the family awkwardly stares at them.  Charo says that she likes “hot stuff” and Carol gives her a death glare before ordering all the kids to go walk on the beach at night.  After the kids leave, Carol threatens to kill Charo and shouts, “IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT, MIKE!?”

Carol runs outside.  After telling Charo that they better hold off on their duet, Mike goes outside and tells Carol that he understands that she was just jealous.

“Of course I’m jealous,” Carol says, “you’re a very handsome man and she’s Charo!”

Carol finally apologizes for making fun of Mike’s singing.  Was that so hard, Carol?  We then cut to Mike singing I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face and oh my God, his voice really is terrible.  The kids weren’t kidding when they said Mike couldn’t carry a tune.  Why did Carol allow him to do this!?

Sorry, Mike!

With all of that resolved, it’s time for the Bradys to once again prove their cultural relevance by singing Strike Up The Band, which was the most popular song of 1927.  They also perform Seventy-Six Trombones, which was only 20 years old when this episode originally aired.

We then cut to a comedic skit, featuring Charo as “Sissyrella” and Rip Taylor as her stepsister.  Sissyrella and her step sister live on a farm.  Sissyrella gets upset when she’s told that she can’t go to the hoedown.  Alice the Maid appears as Sissyrella’s fairy god mother.  The Fairy Godmother not only gives Sissyrella a nice jumpsuit to replace her farm clothes but she also announces that Sissyrella is going to go to the hoedown.  (It’s hard to describe any of this without making it sound like some sort of bad 70s porno film.)

The Hoedown is being held at a saloon.  Marcia plays a madam who flirts with a cowboy in white who is played by her stepbrother, Peter.

Meanwhile, Greg plays Black Bart, the Rhinestone Cowboy.

Sissyrella shows up and both Peter and Greg announce that they love her.  “Boys, boys,” Marcia says, “what about me?”  Well, Marcia, you’re like their stepsister so it’s not illegal but it is kind of icky.

Unfortunately, the clock hits six and Sissyrella has to get back to the barn.  However, as she runs off, Peter manages to grab Sissyrella’s boot.  Sissyrella, now once again dressed as a farmhand, come back on stage to get her boot.  Peter suggests that he and Sissyrella should ride off into the sunset together.  So, 16 year-old Peter marries 40-something Charo and the audiences goes crazy.

We then cut to Peter and Greg standing on stage.  Peter worries that Greg is going to push him into the pool.  Greg promises not to.  Greg then introduces the Hudson Brothers before pushing Peter into the pool.  Fortunately, Peter does not break his neck when he hits the water but you know it’s going to happen someday.  Maybe Mike should take a break from his affair with Charo to tell Greg and Peter the basics of swimming pool safety.

The Hudson Brothers — one of whom is the biological father of Kate Hudson, though Kate has always said that she considers Kurt Russell to be her actual father — perform Disco Queen while the Kroftettes do their thing in the pool.  It’s actually a nice break from whatever the Hell we’ve been watching for the past 40 minutes.

Now, it’s time for the finale!  This week, it’s songs about places!  As always the family introduces the finale together and then they somewhat frantically run off stage as the performance starts.  I’m not sure why this show thought it was a good idea to always show us how panicked the family was before performing and how out-of-breath they were after performing.  It really does make seem as if the show is detrimental to both their physical and mental well-being.

Mike and Carol sing a bit from Chicago (That Toodlin’ Town).  Not mentioned in their performance is Chicago’s long history of political corruption and organized crime.

Marcia sings a bit from California Dreaming, but does not mention the wildfires, the earthquakes, or the serial killers.

Carol sings Back Home Again In Indiana, but fails to mention all of the young people who suffered life-threatening injuries while playing basketball on Hang Time.

Marcia, Jan, and Cindy sing Do You Know the Way to San Jose, without mentioning the threat that Big Tech poses to human freedom.  Admittedly, that probably wasn’t as much of a concern in 1977 as it is today.  Still…

Robert Reed and Florence Henderson perform The Theme From San Francisco but somehow, they forget to mention Jim Jones and the People’s Temple.

Barry Williams and The Hudson Brothers perform a song called Philadelphia Freedom but somehow, they fail to mention the time that a bunch of Eagles fans tried to kill Santa Claus.

Ann B. Davis and Rip Taylor perform Big D, a song about Dallas.  Yay!

The entire family then performs America and United We Stand.  They’re lucky they were performing in America, where everyone has the right to be off-key.

And the show ends, with Carol announcing that tonight’s show was very special to her for many reasons.  For instance, her marriage didn’t fall apart.  Yay!  Probably the most positive thing that I can say about this episode is that Charo actually proved herself to be a far better musician and singer than I was expecting.  The worst thing that I can say is that the Sissyrella skit went on way too long.  The important thing is that, after 48 minutes, the episode ended.

Next week, Rich Little thinks that he’s a member of the Brady family!  Poor guy.

Retro Television Review: The Brady Bunch Hour Episode 1.4

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

Ugh.  What fresh Hell is this?

Episode 1.4

(Dir by Jack Regas, Originally aired on March 4th, 1977)

“It’s the Brady Bunch Hour!” the announcer shouts as the Kroftettes dance at the pool.

As opposed to the previous three episodes, the audience’s applause sounds a bit deflated, as if they know what’s waiting for them.

The Bradys come out and perform (Keep Your) Sunny Side Up, from the hit 1929 musical Sunny Side Up.  If you’ve never heard of this song before, don’t worry.  Up until I watched this episode, I had never heard it either.  And judging from their performance of the song, I would be willing to guess that Bradys hadn’t heard it until maybe an hour before performing it.

While the Bradys sing, the Kroftettes perform water ballet.  For some reason, someone decided it would be a good idea to film the Kroftettes emerging from the water in slow motion, which kind of makes it look like they’re sea beasts emerging from the ocean to kill the Bradys.  Not that the Bradys notice, of course.  They’re too busy trying to remember the lyrics to Keep The Sunny Side Up.  Trying to keep up the family’s flagging energy,  Florence Henderson sings with a lot of intensity.  The kids look embarrassed and who can blame them?  I doubt singing a song from 1929 was one of the selling points when the Kroft Brothers approached them to do this show.  As Mike Brady, Robert Reed has a silly grin on his face.  He’s obviously having the time of his life.  When the song finally ends, Reed is noticeably out of breath.  For whatever reason, The Brady Bunch Hour loved to show the audience the Bradys struggling to catch their breath after every performance.  I guess we were supposed to say, “They worked really hard!” but instead, it leaves the impression that the show is actually killing its cast.

Anyway, the song finally ends and we spend some time with the kids bantering.  Greg is noticeably upset about his siblings being so immature.  An argument breaks out.  Carol yells at everyone to hold it down.  It’s like being forced to watch someone else’s terrible Thanksgiving dinner.  Carol and Mike announce the guests for the show are going to be Vincent Price and Rip Taylor.  Greg gets mad because he wanted to introduce the guests.  IT NEVER ENDS!

Finally, we go to commercial break.  When the show returns, The Brady Bunch is singing It’s Not Where You Start from the 1973 Broadway musical, Seesaw.  Again, you have to wonder if this was really the music that everyone was listening to in 1977.  I mean, this was the same year that Saturday Night Fever came out.  This was the year of Star Wars.  I just doubt there was a nationwide demand for a show featuring Robert Reed singing Broadway show tunes.  Again, this performance ends with close-ups of Robert Reed and Florence Henderson gasping for breath.  Obviously, performing requires a lot of physical exertion but Reed gasps like he’s got a pack-a-day smoking habit.  Carol explains that they just sang this song because it reflected an experience that they had with Greg earlier in the week.  What a weird way to introduce a flashback.

We cut to the Brady compound, where Greg is in the living room, attempting to write a song, strumming his guitar, and getting annoyed with the family.  In Greg’s defense, his family is loud and annoying but, at the same time, is there no other room in the house where Greg could have worked.  Anyway, Greg announces that he’s going to have to get his own place.  Seeing as how Greg is in his 20s …. well, yes, he does.  There’s really no reason why Greg (and for that matter, Marcia) should still be living in the Brady House and having to ask his stepmother for permission to stay out late.

Anyway, Mike and Carol attempt to have a serious conversation with Greg about his desire to move out so, of course, Rip Taylor shows up as Jackie Merrill, the landlord.  It turns out that Jackie has a place that Greg can rent.  “It’s funky but not junky!” Jackie announces.  Mike orders Jackie to leave.  “I see Papa Bear is cranky!” Jackie replies.  “Dad,” Greg announces, “I love you …. but I’m not your BOY anymore!”


We then cut to Marcia Brady, saying that everyone at the Brady House was really sad about Greg wanting to leave.  And then from there, we cut to Jackie showing Greg his new apartment.

Someone knocks on the door and demands to be let in.  And …. hey!  WHAT’S VINCENT PRICE DOING HERE!?

Vincent asks Jackie and Greg if they’re dead.  When he discover that they’re alive, Vincent explains that he’s a ghost hunter and Greg’s apartment is haunted by “Stella Beaumont, among others.”  Vincent explains that Greg looks a lot like Stella’s great grandson, Dinky, who died when he fell off of Greg’s new couch.  Vincent Price has a lot of fun hamming it up but you probably already guessed that.

While Greg worries about ghosts, his family sits around the house and worries about him.  Greg calls Carol so that he can give the family his new phone number.  Carol starts to cry.  “Say hello to everyone for me,” Greg says.  Uhmm …. did Greg move to another country?  Aren’t they all in Hollywood and still doing a variety show together?  Why are they acting like they’re never going to see him again?  Did Vincent Price talk to them?

Anyway, we then cut to Carol singing Traces while Greg sings All By Myself.  As usual, Florence Henderson knocks the song out of the park.  Barry Williams, however, struggles a bit as All By Myself is a terrible fit for his rather limited vocal range.  Don’t get me wrong.  Barry Williams has a perfectly pleasant singing voice but when he tries to hit those emotional high notes, it’s just cringe city.

Mike Brady welcomes us to “the second half of the Brady Bunch hour …. minus one.”  Mike doesn’t seem to be too upset about Greg moving out.  It’s interesting that Greg’s stepmother seems to be more emotionally invested in him than his own father.

We then cut to Carol and Greg in their living room, talking about how all of their children will have soon moved out.  Carol is upset that Greg is not answering the phone at his new apartment.  Mike tells her that it’s good that Greg is out and having fun.  Suddenly, Greg rings the doorbell and says that he was just in the neighborhood.  Greg then confesses that he owes Carol and Mike an apology for moving out without telling them and he also explains that he hates his new apartment.  Greg says that he wants to come back and live in his old house.  I guess Mr. Merrill forgot to have him sign a lease.

We cut to Peter saying that we’ve reached the part of the show where Greg always pushes him into the pool.  But this week, Peter says, he’s going to do the pushing.  Peter sneaks up on Greg but, just as Peter is about give him a shove, Greg moves slightly to the left and — yep, Peter falls in the pool!  It’s kind of sad that this recurring bit is the only part of The Brady Bunch Hour that I ever find myself looking forward to.  Greg then introduces a giant creature named H.R. Puff-in-Stuff, who proceeds to “lip-synch” to an Elton John song called Celebration.

Alice the Maid comes out on stage and explains that “Well, Greg’s back now,” and the family is going to throw a party for him.  But first, it’s time for Marcia to sing Time In A Bottle.  Much as with Barry Williams, it’s not that Maureen McCormick has a bad voice.  She has a perfectly pleasant voice.  But she’s singing a song that’s way outside of her range.  Plus, someone decided that she should wear her hair up for her performance, which was not a good look for her.  Maureen McCormick had really pretty hair so why would you hide that?

We then cut to Jackie Merrill, delivering a Tennessee Williams-style monologue about how he was only doing his job when he gave Greg that terrible apartment.  The Bradys then throw a party for Greg.  Bobby gets a cake smashed in his face.  Bleh.  I hate that gag, it’s so messy.  Is this over yet?

Actually, it is almost over.  The Bradys perform the finale, a medley of songs about being happy, including the Happy Days theme song.

This episode was kind of annoying but at least it had Vincent Price.  Plus, that bit with the dancing monster was enjoyably weird.  I don’t blame Greg for wanting to get out of there.

Hey, there’s only five more episodes of this show left.  Yay!

Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour 1.3

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

Join me as I watched episode 3 of …. *shudder* …. The Brady Bunch Hour!

Episode 1.3

(Dir by Jack Regas, originally aired on February 27th, 1977)

As always, the episode opens with pictures of the Bradys being flashed across a screen as the announcer shouts out everyone’s names.  One thing I immediately notice is that Christopher Knight is now referred to as being “Chris Knight,” which sounds less like the name of the actor who played Peter Brady and more like the secret of identity of a cheesy super hero.  The crowd goes crazy for each Brady but they really go nuts when the announcer reveals that tonight’s special guest star will be Milton Berle.

That’s right, Milton Berle.  I honestly have to imagine that, even in the 70s, Milton Berle probably seemed like a rather quaint guest star.  The Bradys were hardly on the cutting edge of …. well, anything.  But, even for them, Milton Berle feels a little bit past his prime.

The Bradys come out and sing Hooray for Hollywood, which I’m sure was the song that all the kids were listening to in 1977.

Having finished singing, the Bradys banter.  Everyone gets super excited when Carol says that their special guest is the “one and only Milton Berle!”  And then it’s time for the family to once again sing Hooray for Hollywood.  Hollywood may be a great thing but another great thing is being able to carry a tune and, unfortunately, that’s something that half of the Bradys apparently never managed to master.

(It’s okay, I can’t sing either.)

Obviously looking to punish the viewers even further, Hooray for Hollywood is followed by Mike, Carol, Greg, Marcia, and Pete singing Make ‘Em Laugh.  Is tonight’s theme Broadway songs that are largely adored by people who have never actually seen a Broadway show?  Alice and Rip Taylor — who I guess is still playing the Bradys landlord, Jackie Merrill — come out on stage after the performance and sing their own version of Make ‘Em Laugh.  From the start of the performance, it’s pretty clear that Ann B. Davis would rather be anywhere other than sharing a stage with Rip Taylor.  It’s actually painful to watch as two mismatched performers, neither one of whom appears to like the other, sing a song about making the audience laugh.

Mercifully, we then cut to Peter Brady.  Because of the way the scene is lit, my first thought upon seeing Peter is that he’s going to confess to killing a bunch of co-eds.

Instead, Peter explains that it’s time for him to do a song but no one in his family wants to introduce him.  Wow, Peter!  Your family sucks!  Fortunately, a weird little puppet shows up and duets with Peter on Sing.  It’s weird, dude.

We cut to Bobby, who complains that his family doesn’t know what’s funny.  “This is funny,” Bobby says, before getting hit in the face with a pie.  The audience agrees.  Personally, I hate the whole pie-smashing thing because I know it’s probably a mess to clean up afterwards.

We go to the Brady House, where Alice is talking on a CB radio that has been set up in the kitchen.  Mr. Merrill is in the kitchen for some reason.  Carol, Mike, and Bobby come into the kitchen.  Bobby thinks that the show isn’t funny enough.  Mike and Carol think that Bobby is being a brat.  “Compared to us,” Bobby says, “Donnie and Marie are Cheech and Chong!”  Mike argues that they do more than comedy but he says that he’ll consider Bobby’s suggestions.  Who died and made Mike the producer of the show?

After Carol, Alice, and Mike leave, the CB radio comes to life.  It’s Milton Berle looking for someone to talk to!  Bobby and Mr. Merrill talk to Berle.  Berle insults Bobby, saying that he sounds like he belongs on Sesame Street.  Bobby tells Berle that he’s funny and asks him if he wants to be a on a TV show.  “A TV show?  WHERE!?  WHERE!?”  Berle shouts in reply and I’ll admit that I actually did kind of laugh at that.

We go to commercial and, when we return, Rip Taylor welcomes us to the second half of the show.  We then cut to Bobby and the Brady kids waiting for Milton Berle to show up at the house.  They wonder why he’s late.  “Maybe he’s watching The Partridge Family,” says Cindy.  “Maybe he saw our show!” Bobby replies.  When did Bobby become the smartest member of the family?

Anyway, Milton eventually rings the doorbell and enters the house, smoking a cigar.

It quickly becomes obvious that Milton Berle doesn’t know who the Bradys are and the Brady kids aren’t sure who Milton is.  Fortunately, Carol and Mike return home and Carol explains that Milton Berle is a television pioneer and “the funniest man in the world.”

“Mr. Berle,” Mike says, “why are you here?”

“Bad luck, I guess,” Berle replies and again, I will admit that I laughed because Berle obviously meant every word.

Bobby says that Milton can make the show funnier.  When Mike says that they don’t need the show to be funnier, Milton gets angry and says that he’s going to write for the show just to make Mike look bad.  I’m really starting to like Milton Berle.  Milton agrees to take over but he says that the family has to understand that they are to do everything that he says.  He’s in charge now, not Mike.  It’s about time!

Milton’s first act is to try to teach Peter how to enunciate.  When Peter struggles, Milton Berle SLAPS him.  Then he attempts to show Greg how to walk like a television star.

We cut to commercial.  When we return, the announcer tells us that we are now watching “The Milton Berle Brady Bunch Hour, created by Milton Berle, produced by Milton Berle, written by Milton Berle….” You get the idea.  The Bradys, who are now all wearing silly costumes, come out and sing Hooray for Hollywood again.  Mike is not happy with his outfit.

Milton comes out on stage and yells at the Bradys to “sell the comedy.”  The kids tells a few old vaudeville jokes.  Milton runs out on stage with a fake plant and refers to Carol as being “Mrs. Bunch.”  Mike complains about having to wear makeup.  “What do you do when you and your wife have a fight?” Milton asks.  “We make up,” Mike says, which leads to him being attacked by a makeup artist.  Realizing that things aren’t going well, Milton resigns and apologizes.  Okay, I guess that’s the end of that.  It’s typical of this show that the one successful skit ends on a totally random note.

We go to commercial and when we return, Greg and Peter are standing next to the pool.  Greg says that Peter is nervous because this is the part of the show where he always gets shoved into the pool.  Considering the fact that Peter could die if he hits the water the wrong way, he has every right to be nervous.  Greg says that, this week, he’ll let Peter push him in.  Peter doesn’t believe him and jumps in the pool to escape his cruel older brother.

This is followed by Tina Turner who …. wait.  What?  The stupid pool gag is followed by TINA TURNER!?  What a weird show!  Needless to say, Tina’s great but it’s still hard not to feel that the Bradys shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near her.  As a general rule, if you’re a singer who can’t carry a tune and who can’t dance and who is visibly uncomfortable performing on stage, don’t put yourself in a position to be compared directly to Tina Turner.

After Tina performs, we cut to more Brady nonsense as Carol, Mike, and Bobby inform Milton Berle that he’s been fired from the show.  Wait a minute?  What?  I thought Milton made a big deal about stepping down as producer?  I guess I must have misinterpreted that previous scene but honestly, I refuse to go back and rewatch it.  If the show’s writers and performers couldn’t make this stuff clear, that’s on them.

“You’re giving me the pink slip?” Milton asks.

“We’re giving you all the costumes back,” Bobby says.  The audiences goes nuts.

(By the way, I’m wearing a pink slip right now.)

With Milton gone (again), Carol comes out and sings Evergreen, the theme from A Star is Born.  It’s a good song for her voice and I actually enjoyed listening to her version.

It’s time for the big finale!  All the songs are about stars.  I can’t even begin to describe it.  Just watch, if you dare.

To my surprise, this episode was not terrible.  Milton Berle’s obvious disdain for the family generated some laughs and Tina Turner’s performance was a definite highlight.  Even Florence Henderson’s musical performance was effective.  It was hardly perfect and both the opening and the finale reminded me of how tone deaf most of the Bradys were but still, this episode was probably about as good as anyone could expect from The Brady Bunch Hour.

God knows what’s waiting for us next week.

Retro Television Reviews: The Brady Bunch Hour 1.2

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977.  All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!

Following the rating success of the pilot for the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, ABC decided to bite the bullet and the Bradys returned to the airwaves!

*Deep sigh*

Okay, let’s do this….

Episode 1.2 

(Originally aired on January 23, 1977, Dir by Jack Regas)

I’ve discovered that the dancers who performed on each episode of The Brady Bunch Hour were known as the Kroftettes.  (The show as produced by Sid and Marty Kroft and there is definitely nothing creepy about naming your performers after yourself.)  The second episode of the Brady Bunch Hour opened with the Kroftettes dressed in red, white, and blue and carrying small drums.  It would be a perfect look for the 4th of July but this episode aired in January.

The dancers eventually move off stage and the audience goes crazy as the announcer informs them that tonight’s episode not only stars the Bradys but also Lee Majors, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Rip Taylor, Ann B. Davis, and …. Kaptian Kool and the Kong!  Well, who wouldn’t be excited by the Kong?  The Kong was apparently a musical group.  With a name like that, you would hope they would at least have the decency to dress up like gorillas but instead, they appear to have just been a typical 70s prog rock outfit.

The Bradys come out on stage and start awkwardly singing a rock version of Yankee Doodle Dandy.  The YouTube screenshot below isn’t the best but I think it gives you some idea of what this performance is like:

“Yankee Doodle …. Keep it up!” the family chants as the Kroftettes splash about in the pool.  The audience loves it.

With the song completed, the Brady Bunch introduce themselves.  Greg spends too long talking about himself and is sharply reprimanded by Carol.  Cindy explains that it is now 1977.  Thanks, Cindy!  Fake Jan smiles and tries not to cry as she jokes around with her new family.  Mike Brady explains that the Bunch has a new house.  “We have a terrific new show!” Mike says.  Sure you do, Mike.  Carol explains that the show will only be airing once a month.  “We’re only a few minutes in and we’ve already been canceled!?” Mike says.

After a reprise of Yankee Doodle Dandy, the show mercifully breaks for commercial.  When the show returns, the Bradys are stepping into their new home and discovering that they have no furniture!  The movers ran off with it!  Luckily, Alice the Maid randomly shows up with a bunch of sleeping bags.

“Well, Mike,” Carol says, “what do we do now?”

“The only thing we can do,” Mike replies, “is hit the sack.”

Every member of the Bunch hits their sleeping bag.  9 minutes in and this show is already giving me a migraine.

Fortunately, the moving man shows up.  Unfortunately, the moving man is played by a very 70s comedian named Rip Taylor.

Rip Taylor is playing Mr, Merrill.  Merrill refuses to take any blame for being late with the furniture.  Carol suggests that Mr. Merrill come back tomorrow.  Do they want their furniture or not?  Well, it really doesn’t matter because it turns out that Mr. Merrill has some other family’s furniture in his truck and the Brady furniture is still missing.  Mr. Merrill promises to have their furniture tomorrow.  “Let’s hit the sack,” Mike says and everyone hits their sleep bag and ….. ARRRRRRRGHHHHH!

Where was I?

Anyway, the Bradys then sing Razzle Dazzle from Chicago, with all the skill of a small town community theater chorus.

Back at the Brady House, Alice scolds Marcia for hoarding all of her dolls.  Alice tells her that everyone is having to give things up.  Uhmmm …. they’re just dolls, Alice.  And really, why is Alice giving Marcia orders?  Marcia imagines Alice as the Wicked Witch of the West and then imagines herself as Dorothy and performing Car Wash with her brothers and Rip Taylor …. wait, what?  Just watch for yourself.

Hey, who doesn’t love cocaine?

Fake Jan and Peter appear and explain that the Bradys eventually got their furniture.  “Look at what happened!” Peter says.  We cut to the family watching Mike hang an ugly painting over the fireplace.  Mike orders everyone to go to bed at 8 pm.  Greg objects and Mike threatens to kill him.

Alice explains that Mike wants the kids to go to bed so that he and Carol can make love in the living room.  No sooner have the children (and the maid) left than Rip Taylor shows up again and explains that he’s also the Bunch’s landlord.  He says that a lovely couple is going to be staying with the Bradys over the weekend.  Enter Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett!  Lee is not amused to discover that Rip Taylor has double-booked the house. “Don’t hit me, you bionic bully!” Rip Taylor shouts.  When Lee explains that his other house is being fumigated, Carol says that Lee and Farrah are “welcome to stay here with us.”  RUN, LEE AND FARRAH!  RUN!

After a commercial break, Carol welcomes the audience back to the second half of the show.  Oh my God, there’s another 30 minutes of this?  “I like that we can show you the way we really are at home,” Carol says.

Back at home, the Brady kids are getting their breakfast and are stunned to discover Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett asleep on the living room couches.  (Yes, they have separate couches.)  When Farrah and Lee wake up, Greg awkwardly asks for an autograph.  “I don’t carry a pen in my pajamas,” Lee explains.  Alice comes in and is struck speechless.

Cut to Marcia, explaining that “one of the great things about having our own show is that we get to showcase the individual talents of our family.”  Marcia introduced Fake Jan, who performs Your Song.  It’s the highlight of the episode because Geri Reischl, not being an original Brady, can actually sing.

Fake Jan is followed by Carol who sings Send In The Clowns, which is the type of song that is perfectly designed to bring out the worst tendencies in even the most talented of singers.  That certainly happens to Florence Henderson, who has a great voice but who also totally overdoes the bathos in her performance.

Greg catches Peter flirting with a Kroftette.  Greg shoves Peter in the pool.  Kaptain Kool and the Kong come out and perform a song called Names.  It’s not a bad song but I have to admit that I’m more worried about the possibility of Peter breaking his neck the next time his older brother throws him in the pool without warning.

It’s time for the finale and Mike asks Carol why the stage is decorated with hearts.  “It’s not Valentine’s Day,” Mike says, as if he and his family didn’t open this show by celebrating Independence Day in January.  Carol explains that the theme of the finale is “Young and Old.”  “Young and Old hearts?” Mike asks.  DAMMIT, MIKE, JUST SHUT UP AND SING!

Anyway, much as with the Wizard of Oz/Car Wash thing, this is one of those things that can’t really be described.  But it can be watched:

And then, thank God, it ends!

A huge flaw with this show is that the Bradys keep telling us how much they love being a family but we know they’re not a family.  We know this because they brought in a substitute Jan.  As such, the sentimental moments fall flat.  “We’re so proud of our sister,” the kids say before Jan comes out to sing but seriously, we know that’s not Jan.  I would much rather listen to Geri Reischl sing than any other member of the Bunch but it doesn’t change the fact that we know that’s not their sister.

Another flaw is that there’s not really any point to the show, other than the Bradys have somehow managed to get their own variety show.  The whole thing with Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett is perfect example of this show’s approach to storytelling.  Lee and Farrah show up at the house unannounced but it’s fine because the Bradys live in a world with zero conflict.  Lee and Farrah show up.  The kids are shocked.  Alice is shocked.  And …. well, that’s it!  So much for that plotline.

Oh well.  Only 7 episodes left!

Film Review: Chatterbox! (1977, dir. Tom DeSimone)


I’ve known about this movie for awhile now because of The Cinema Snob. I knew it was one of at least four talking vagina movies from the 1970s. MGM Impact even had a warning on it that said “Impact elements of action include: Talking Vagina Tv”. None of that really prepared me for actually watching this movie. And they should have added the boom mic as an action element in this movie. That sucker pops in all the time, and at really odd times in odd places. Well, since the movie jumps right to it, let’s jump right to it. Penelope (Candice Rialson) is lying in bed with her boyfriend when chimes ring and a voice starts talking saying it wasn’t happy with the sex it just received. Then we learn what’s making the noise.


It takes the characters way too long in this movie to realize it’s her vagina talking. Even though the sound is coming from a different place, it’s not Penelope’s voice, and sometimes people are looking directly at her face when it happens. Her boyfriend isn’t happy with the pussy talk and storms off.

Penelope works at a beauty parlor and here comes the attack of the boom mic.


It’s Rip Taylor doing a flamboyant gay stereotype. I think the boom mic could have picked him up just fine out of frame. It really looks like it’s going to hit him on the head. Oh, but it gets better. Penelope decides to confide in a friend about her little problem.


Yep, the boom mic is below them as if Candice Rialson’s vagina is actually going to speak and the microphone needs to be there to pick it up. The boom mic also swings back and forth between the two actresses during this scene staying visible most of the time.

Now a customer comes into the place and because it’s the 1970s, Penelope is wearing this.


Penelope’s vagina starts talking, so she runs into the back room. The vagina apparently has eyes too since it knew the lady was a lesbian and was checking her out. You know one thing leads to another at beauty parlors and before you know it, this happens.


Of course Rip Taylor comes in and breaks things up.


Penelope decides to see a psychiatrist about her problem and it turns out the vagina can not just talk and apparently see, but can sing too. He immediately decides to exploit the talking vagina for money and books her on a show. This is as much as I can show without resorting to black boxes.


Then we get a ridiculous scene where she gets pulled over by a cop and the talking vagina gets her arrested. She is then bailed out by the boyfriend from the beginning of the film. Seriously, the only reason I can think of that the scene exists is to remind us that the boyfriend is still a character in this movie. The boyfriend storms off, but the psychiatrist/agent takes her out and walks with her through a park. This is when the film tries to give some meaning to this talking vagina situation. He says that it’s her otherwise anonymous organ crying out to have attention paid to it. Sadly, this is leading to an ending that makes no sense. Also, they have named the vagina Virginia.

Penelope listens to the doc and Virginia so she decides to walk the street dressed like this.


And wouldn’t you know it. It attracts some unwanted attention. Go figure! Of course it does lead to her being rescued by a bunch of jocks. Yep! Just yep.

The next morning she gets a call that Virginia and her have been booked on another show. And there you go.


Did I mention this movie is quite the experience to watch. Now she has become a huge star and you can tell because of the newspaper and magazine montage. This includes such classics as the headlines “Odds Go Down On Virginia” and “Police Close Virginia’s Opening”. Then, well, I expected to see plenty of Turkish Supermen, but I never expected to see the ‘S’ there.


Things get even wackier when Penelope’s mother shows up and gets in on the act. There’s also a really stupid restaurant scene with bad jokes. Then Penelope decides to try and patch things up with the boyfriend. They even make it so far as the bed before Virginia pisses him off and he’s out the door again.

Now she goes on a version of The Dating Game called The Mating Game. This scene and the sequence that follows only exist because the writers must have thought the talking vagina alone wasn’t funny enough so this needed to happen.


Yep! She gets dressed up like a princess and he walks in dressed in full armor. He even lays down on the bed with her that way. The next morning he tells her he can’t see her anymore via a fortune cookie. No joke. He says all of his fortune cookies say goodbye. This is followed by more coming to fame stuff including Hollywood Walk of Fame stars and concrete feet. Then she’s going to be in a movie directed by a guy who wants people to know his movie isn’t “just the first film to star a real cunt.” I do love that considering the number of times the boom mic pops into frame in the movie itself, we can actually see the boom mic for the movie within the movie. Then the actual movie starts. Here’s are a few shots of this insanity.





She runs off the set and goes to jump off a cliff. This is when the movie ends in the dumbest way possible.


Yep! Even though it makes no sense, the boyfriend had a talking penis this whole time. It and Virginia sing together before Penelope and him run to each other for a final embrace.



This is one of the weirdest things I have ever sat through. It’s not good, but it’s strange enough that I kind of do recommend it. Also, I will be tracking down Pussy Talk, Pussy Talk 2, and Angel Above – The Devil Below as a result. Cause once I’ve sat through this one, I might as well sit through the others too. Plus, I’ve heard that Pussy Talk is actually good and is a bit of a landmark in French cinema. But I think I need a little break before I come back to this genre.

Embracing the Melodrama #42: Indecent Proposal (dir by Adrian Lyne)

This one is just dumb.

First released in 1993 and something of a perennial on AMC, Indecent Proposal tells the story of David (Woody Harrelson) and Diane (Demi Moore), two kids who meet in high school, get married, and end up living what, in Hollywood, passes for an average, middle class lifestyle — which is to say, Diane is a successful real estate broker, David is an architect, and they’re in the process of building their dream house on the beach.  (Just like everyone else you know, right?)  However, the economy goes bad, David loses his job, and they find themselves deep in debt.

Desperately, they decide to take a gamble.  Literally.  They go to Las Vegas and, at first, it seems like everything’s going to be alright.  David has a run of luck and makes a lot of money.  They make so much money that David and Diane end up having sex on top of it.  Now, I have to admit, if I ever won $25,000 dollars in Vegas, I would probably spread it on a bed and roll around naked on it as well.  But only if it was paper money.  Coins would probably be uncomfortable and I’d hate to end up with a hundred little impressions of George Washington’s profile running up and down my body.

But anyway, David and Diane make the mistake of sticking around in Vegas for a second day and they end up losing all of the money that they previously won and you better believe that when the chips are pulled away, Diane is shown trying grab them in slow motion while going, “Noooooo!”  Soon, David and Diane are sitting in an all-night diner and trying to figure out what to do next.  A waitress overhears them and sadly shakes her head.  Obviously, she’s seen a lot of movies about Las Vegas.

Anyway, this movie is too dumb to waste this many words on its plot so let’s just get to the point.  David and Diane meets John Gage (Robert Redford), a millionaire who offers to give David a million dollars in exchange for having one (and only one) commitment-free night with Diane.  David and Diane agree and then spend the rest of the movie agonizing over their decision.  Eventually, this leads to Diane and David splitting up, John Gage reentering the picture and proving himself to be not such a bad guy, and David eventually buying a hippo.

It’s all really dumb.

Anyway, I was planning on making quite a few points about this set-up but, quite frankly, this film is so dumb that I’m getting annoyed just writing this review.  So, instead of breaking this all down scene-by-scene, I’m just going to point out a few things and then move on to better melodramas.

1) Every character in the movie has a scene where they eventually ask what we (the viewing audience) would do if we were in a similar situation.  “Would you have sex for a million dollars?”  Well, let’s see.  Basically, the deal seems to be that you have safe, non-kinky, missionary position sex with a millionaire who you will never have to see again after you get paid.  And you’re getting a million dollars in return.  Would I do it?  OF COURSE, I’D DO IT!  It’s a million dollars, it’s just one night, and it’s not like you’re being asked to fuck Vladimer Putin or something.  If the film wanted to create a true moral dilemma, they should have cast someone other than Robert Redford as John Gage and they should have had Gage propose something more than just one night.  If Gage had been played by an unappealing actor (or perhaps if the film were made today with Redford looking as craggly as he did in Capt. America or All Is Lost) or if it had been a million dollars for Diane to serve as a member of Gage’s harem for a year, the film would have been far different and perhaps not any better but at least all of the subsequent angst would have made sense.

2) What really annoyed me is that, after Diane returns from her night with Gage, neither she nor her husband ever cash that million dollar check.  If you’re going to agree to the stupid deal, at least take advantage of it.

3) Finally, why would you accept a check for something like that?  Did Gage write, “For letting me fuck your wife” in the memo line?  Why not get paid in cash so, at the very least, you don’t have to deal with IRS?

Seriously, this movie is just dumb.

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