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Archive for the ‘The Brady Bunch’ Category

Ohhh The CHRISTMAS episode. Will it be heartwarming? Will it remind me of how important family and friends are? Will I learn that expensive presents and lavish parties should take a back seat to helping mankind? Or for once, will I be glad I’m not a fiasco/tragedy/calamity prone TV family whose belief in the spirit of Christmas saves the day, but instead one of those people who spend Christmas in a bar?

5.  The Golden Girls “Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas” December 16, 1989

Why don’t any of the girls’ children/grandchildren visit them on Christmas? For heaven’s sake! If my grandmother frequented the Rusty Anchor, lived in a house with three other old coots in MIAMI I wouldn’t miss a Christmas with her if my life depended on it. However, if their families had come to town, then they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend the holiday serving homeless people Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen, because we all know, nothing strokes the Christmas spirit quite like the homeless (please see: #4 and #2). In a comic twist, though, one of the homeless men lining up for food is Dorothy’s ex-husband (“Hi. It’s me, Stan.”) who recently became homeless when his latest wife kicked him out, I think for cheating. In addition to his marital problems, he’s also gone bust on his latest business deal, which was selling some kind of useless novelty doodad. (So let me get this straight, this man has no place to sleep, not a dime to call his own and no food to speak of, yet he is storing hundreds of these piece of shit tchotchkes somewhere? I say throw them out and SLEEP there.) In the end though, it turns heartwarming, when Stan returns to the soup kitchen, dressed as Santa Claus and hands out his failed novelties as toys for the hobo children.

4. Saved by the Bell “Home for Christmas (Part I & II) December 7 & 14, 1991

Part of me would like to write nothing about this episode (special?) and let your remember it in all its glory all on your own. But I can’t do that. First of all, how does “the gang” continuously find employment in the EXACT same location? For the holiday season, they all get jobs at THE MALL. (The SAME mall where that hidden camera show followed them around the mall all night, whilst they were attempting to obtain U2 tickets). Lo and behold, a new teen enters the scene (exit Kelly as Zack’s love interest). When it appears as if she’s stolen a jacket from the men’s clothing store from whence Kelly works, she disappears. This is when shit gets interesting. So, the gang knows she’s innocent, and clear her name at the clothing store, but she’s still NOWHERE to be found. They all split up to look for her and a few hours later, Zack and his mother run into her at THE CHRISTMAS TREE LOT. This is ridiculous. This is when we find out the she and her father live in their rusty ass hoopty in the parking lot OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE LOT! Good thing this is a two-parter! Imagine what happens next. Yes. You’re right. That is what happens. Wow. I wish this episode(s) wasn’t such a crucial part of my emotional development.

Please note: This episode airs on ABC Family Saturday, December 19 @ 7:00 a.m.

3.  Full House “Our Very First Christmas Show” December 16, 1988

Do you know how hard I laughed the first time I saw this episode? When everyone is waking up after being snowed in on Christmas Eve at some low-rent airport and Danny (or was it Jesse? Joey?) had fallen asleep on the luggage conveyer belt that rotated inside to outside all night long and now he is all covered in SNOW!! I was five and it was the moment I fell in love with sitcoms. THIS IS ABSURD. I am five years old and I am fully aware that this is absolutely ludicrous. I LOVE it. When the Tanner’s head for Colorado (and not-yet-Aunt Becky to Nebraska) for the holidays, they find themselves grounded in some rinky-dink airport terminal on Christmas Eve with about a thousand other people who don’t seem amused by Tanner family antics. Of course Stephanie is all worked up about whether or not Santa will be able to find her (which I think involves a comical scene inside a phone booth) and Joey dresses up like the old jelly belly to appease her. And then I think it alludes to the REAL Santa making an appearance in the airport. I don’t remember, I was too busy refusing to accept the plot line of this program to worry about whether or not Santa Claus was real.

Please note: This episode airs on ABC Family on December 18 @ 3:00 p.m.

2.  My So-Called Life “So-Called Angels” December 22, 1994

Yes, I did Photoshop that Santa hat on Rickie Vasquez. Why? Because without a little bit of Christmas cheer and humor, this episode will RUIN your Christmas. Like I said, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the homeless, but this show takes it to A WHOLE NEW LEVEL! Dear god this episode is tragic. Remember? Rickie had been living with the Chase’s (after being abused and abandoned by his own family) and getting along just great, until he overheard Patty the Bitch questioning Graham about how long Rickie should stay with them. Next thing you know, Rickie makes up a lie and is HOMELESS! DURING CHRISTMAS BREAK! It’s snowing out, oof, and there’s a homeless girl ghost who Angela gives her boots too and she sings and carries around a guitar, and confuses the fuck out of me. Awww, and then Angela runs off, to try and find Rickie. And she gets picked up by the police because she is in the HOMELESS TEEN WAREHOUSE when it got raided. All’s well that ends well though I guess. Patty finds Rickie at church, lighting candles and then I’m not sure what happens next because I’m too busy bawling into my oversized flannel to notice.

1.  A Very Brady Christmas “A Very Brady Christmas” December 18, 1988

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! From, the Brady's and their maid (front and center).

Alright, you got me. This is less of an “episode” and more of a “reunion movie” but well, fuck off, I’m making it my number one choice because I CAN. No other television event is so uselessly etched in my memory as the the time Mike Brady got trapped in a slowly collapsing building that he designed. (Those pesky kids were probably horsing around at his drafting table again!)  Oh and on Christmas! What’s a Brady to do??? Oh how about WE SING HIM OUT OF THIS NEAR FATAL SITUATION!! Oh good. It worked.

Please note: This episode airs on ABC Family Tuesday, December 22 @ 1:00 p.m.

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by Beal

S5-Jan_Brady_00061Show: The Brady Bunch (1969 – 1974)

Character: Jan Brady

Actor: Eve Plumb

Basically: Jan Brady is the quintessential “middle child.” Even when she and her sister’s blend with the Brady boys, she still managers to find herself stuck right in the middle. She’s less attractive and popular than Marcia and not nearly as cute as Cindy (who I never thought was particularly cute). And she’s not the smartest Brady either (seriously, they couldn’t have even let her be the brainy one?), in fact, there is little if anything special about her, which leads to her general sense of self-loathing, jealousy towards siblings as well as very few “Jan Episodes” in which she’s portrayed in a positive light.

Jan! Jan! Jan!: I submit that Jan (after those awkward single ringlets were straightened out) was probably the most attractive Brady, (a fact that no doubt embitters Maureen McCormick to this day). In the absence of her obnoxious siblings who were unable to mind their business, EVER, I think Jan could have thrived socially. Like really Marcia? You’re going to rat her out for not wearing her glasses to the library to meet a boy? She’s insecure as it is, give her a break already. Actually, as I think back on Jan and how great she probably was, it is slightly difficult to separate her relatively normal television character with her mildly retarded movie version character. So I’m just going to move on.

Groovy Favorites: How can I not mention the classic “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” moment here. It’s one of those classic television moments that no matter how uncomfortable it makes you (I need to wash my hands) it still makes you feel nostalgic, of a time when television plot lines conveyed sibling jealousy with a new catch phrase instead of murderous revenge. However, my favorite Jan moment, also a classic, is when she makes up a boyfriend TO IMPRESS HER OWN FAMILY. What is wrong with you Jan? I just defended your sanity, and now you’re going to fabricate both a person AND a relationship and keep this up this ruse with fake phone calls and flowers from George GLASS? Really? You thought this up and went through with it, and when you needed a name, glanced and uttered the first item you saw? Glass? His name is George Glass? On second thought, you’re completely mental.

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5. Monica on Friends “The One Where Monica Sings” (2003)

Alright so technically Monica doesn’t have to sing, but I’m still keeping this on my list, for several reasons. The first being Paul Rudd as Phoebe’s boyfriend, Mike, who works at the piano bar where Monica chooses to perform a little ditty. He’s hilarious and as I think NTO has mentioned a time or two before, terribly underrated. Also, hello, “Delta Dawn!” This is the kind of song that would be sooo fun to sing in a karaoke bar. The lyrics are simple, it’s southern, it’s twangy, it frequently finds itself in on my iTunes “25 most played.” However, even I–who have no shame and have sung Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” more than a dozen times in public–reserve that song for the shower or other private moments in which I find a microphone like object in my hand. Monica, however, goes right for it. A bold choice that is well received by an audience of generic New Yorkers. Oh that’s right, this is a sitcom, something zany’s about to happen. . .sure enough, the crowd isn’t moved so much by her rousing rendition of the Tanya Tucker classic, but  by the spotlight’s ability to make her shirt transparent. Whatever though, I totally laughed, because it’s funny. SHE DOESN’T KNOW!

4. Peter on The Brady Bunch “Dough Re Mi” (1972)

This is like, one of the most classic episodes in television history. I don’t even think it’s necessary for me to explain the premise, but, alas, I will. Greg, being his groovy self, decides that the world has waited long enough for the Brady Bunch (I wonder if that’s what they called their “band”) to drop a record, so he books some time at a studio (where did he get that kind of money?) and dragged his musically gifted mess of siblings down to lay down some tracks. Things get ugly though, when Peter, a victim of abrupt puberty, cannot sing his part, due to the EXTREME fluctuations in his changing voice. Luckily, Greg comes up with the nifty idea to incorporate Peter’s “issue” into the song, which is a SMASH hit. Sadly, when I located this clip online, I was able to sing nearly every word. I don’t have many life regrets, but I will NEVER forgive myself for selling my “It’s a Sunshine Day: The Best of the Brady Bunch” CD for $2 at a garage sale in the mid-90’s, NEVER.

3. Rayanne on My So-Called Life “On the Wagon” (1994)

I have really mixed feelings about this episode, and this incident in particular. First of all, the band, The Frozen Embryos, has up until this episode been made up of some randoms and Jordan Catalano and Tino. Am I right? Well, when Tino quits the band, they get desperate for a new singer. Now, the obvious solution to such a problem, would be for Jordan to sing. We all heard him serenade Angela with his less-than-deep ode to his car “Red” earlier in the series. He has a nice voice, and can sing AND play his instrument. Furthermore, if he can write his own songs, both music and lyrics, then surely he could handle a cover. No? Enter Rayanne, who recently sober, is desperate for a new attention grabbing ploy. And let’s face it, every teenage girl with a substance abuse problem, should probably be in a garage, excuse me, loft, band. Somehow, she finds herself the lead singer of the band, wherein she sings FOR THE FIRST TIME at some open mic, battle of the bands, I-wish-I-was-dead-instead-of-sitting-through-this gig and fails miserably. She does sort of redeem herself (and my self esteem) in the final scene. If only she would have fallen off the wagon BEFORE her stint in The Frozen Embryos.

2. Violet Bickerstaff on Saved by the Bell “The Glee Club” (1990)

Does anyone know how reruns work? Like, who decides what episodes will air when, in what order and how often? I watched SBTB every day after school on TBS for probably about a decade, and THIS episode is one of those that I always hoped for, but rarely aired. The gang, in an attempt to win a group trip to Hawaii, joins the Bayside Glee club, which will compete for such a prize with other local schools. Unfortunately, no one in the gang, or otherwise, SCOTT WOLF, can sing, except Jessie, who has caught Lisa’s cold (“Saawwrry,” Lisa says, in a clip that is featured in the opening credits for years to come, possibly because she is wearing the fiercest get-up ever worn). After discovering that Violet Bickerstaff, ahem, TORI SPELLING can sing, Zack and Mr. Tuttle make a plan to feature her, and downplay everyone else. It’s a foolproof plan really, the judges are never going to notice those innocuous “bum bum” noises they’re making, it totally sounds like harmony! However, their plans are foiled when a lovesick Screech simply ruins dinner at the Bickerstaff’s house, and Mr./Mrs. Bickerstaff FORBID Violet to see “Samuel” anymore, which means, no more glee club. She arrives last minute for the performance, but not before the club tries to pull a Milli Vanilli with a tape deck and cassette of the L.A. glee club (really?? the L.A. glee club?)

1. Clare Arnold on Beverly Hills, 90210 “The Long Goodbye” (1997)

When given this week’s topic, I had a moment of “I can’t think of any sing—oh Clare Arnold!” As surprised as I was with myself for coming up with a somewhat longish list of “must sing” incidents, I was more surprised to discover that this episode is, in fact, my FAVORITE BH, 90210 episode of all time. Though, not so much the talent show side-story, in which Clare sings, but for the fact that Brandon and Kelly get back together after she shows him that she’s been wearing the engagement ring he once gave her on a necklace (“I couldn’t bear anyone else having it”) and he thinks she went to the airport to see Dylan, and they hug, and make out, and confess their love. Aaaannyway, back to Clare, who despite having seemingly atrocious vocal stylings, signs up for the annual Greek life talent show at CU, to pay homage to her late mother through song. Unfortunately, boyfriend Steve Sanders (a talent in his own right) must find the right way to tell Clare that she’s horrible. It gets emotional when she reveals how important it is to her to sing this song, a favorite of her mother’s (who apparently sang it wonderfully, obviously) in front of a room full of peers who will shun her ever after. But wait, Clare is privy to the secret of a gorgeous voice: “sing from the heart.” Jesus. Did someone really write that down? Who approved this script? Clare can’t sing, BUT, perhaps if she really tries FROM THE HEART, truly and deeply from within, she will invoke the spirit of her dead mother, and sing beautifully while simultaneously coming to terms with her death. It’s TV GOLD!

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by Judi

Ok, fine. FINE. I admit it. I LOVE musicals. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? I am one of those people who “totally gets” what’s so great about people who spontaneously burst into song and tap-dance in the street in big, choreographed numbers. I think the fact that the musical is now a relic of better times (and High School Musical does not count, sorry. Call me when those kids challenge The Jets) is a travesty and must be remedied. But I digress. This platform is not the place for movie musicals. It’s a place of television MAGIC.

Occasionally though, these two worlds collide in outrageously entertaining fashion. Some are lavish, all-episode affairs (see #1) and some are, well, ridiculous. Some shows did it a little too much (I’m looking at you, McBeal.) And some shows not at all, sadly. More often than not, it’s just an excuse for an actor to showcase his-or-her vocal skills. Whatever the reason, bring it on!

5. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air- Ashley sings “Respect” to Uncle Phil (who is clearly not respecting her)

Tatiana Ali is no stranger to vocal exercises, having been on Star Search singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” when she was a precious little thing. So it was inevitable that Fresh Prince would make her sing at some point. But, oh, using a karaoke moment to perfectly illustrate her point? That’s just sitcom gold, people. GOLD.

That’s right. It’s in German. This is how I’m watching Fresh Prince clips from now on. Hilarious.

4. Bones– Brennan sings “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” until Booth gets shot, ruining her solo

We all know Zooey Deschanel can sing but who knew sister Emily can bring it too? In the second-to-last episode of Season 3, Booth and Brennan track down a dude who murdered a karaoke singer and Booth ends up adopting the singer’s stalker (whoops). Since the victim was a singer, it’s only natural that the pair would end up discussing the benefits of karaoke, leading Brennan to announce that she has an awesome voice (in her usual, blunt way). No one really believes her (it was her mom who told her she was good) so they set up a little surprise. Except, halfway through the song (that Brennan is enjoying so much that it’s almost cringeworthy) the stalker shows up and shoots Booth. So Brennan, you know, grabs Booth’s gun and shoots the stalker through the throat. “Girls Just Want to Have Excellent Marksman Skills”?

I apologize for the crappiness of the clips but what can you do?

3. The Cosby Show– Happy Anniversary performance

If there’s any video representation of what my family has tried to be like over the years it’s this. (It hasn’t happened yet but we keep trying). It’s all so great. The moves, Theo’s descent down the stairs, little Rudy, Phylicia Rashad cracking up… Classic.

You really need to watch it again. Come on, it’s so good. Skip to 4:05 for the good stuff.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer– Once More With Feeling

Joss Whedon loves musicals too. (Just ask Dr. Horrible) I don’t know what it is about this all-musical episode of Buffy but people reeeeally love it. Like have parties and sing-along love it. THEY DO LIVE PERFORMANCES (see below). The premise is made to tie in with a demon, of course, one that turns little sister Dawn’s world into a musical extravaganza leading to such numbers as “Something to Sing About” and “Where Do We Go From Here.” The singing is awkward but well-meaning but really, before this no show tried to capture what’s so great about musicals- that singing your feelings is a very pretty way of, you know, singing your feelings.

1. The Brady Bunch– The kids sing “Sunshine Day” and dance their way into the Camp Hall of Fame

As usual, the reason for the Brady kids singing on the Pete Sterne Amateur Hour is all Jan’s fault. I forget why but the PLOT of this classic episode is hardly the point. No, the point is awkward singing, the most cheerful song in the history of mankind (it’s really more like a sitcom jingle than a song but I digress), the choreography and what this would all lead to… the genius, short-lived program known as The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (which Jan refused to be a part of, thus ruining that too. Thanks a lot, Jan) Don’t you dig the sunshine? Don’t you hear it calling your name?

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by Beal

5. Friends “The One with Ross’s Wedding: Part I” (1998)

I am aware that by including an episode of Friends in a list of top anything greatly reduces my credibility as a television aficionado, but go ahead and chastise me, this episode was great. The ENTIRE cast (sans Phoebe, who was super pregnant, on the show and in real life) went to London. A budget that big proves that I wasn’t the only asshole watching. Seriously though, any travel episode which features a destination mini-montage AND a cameo by British royalty (Fergie) warrants a mention on this list. And yes, I know, both Friends and the world be be a better place in the absence of Matt LeBlanc, so shut up and enjoy the clip:

P.S. That laugh track is OUT OF HAND. Who are they trying to fool? It was 1998 and filmed on location. Wow.

4. I Love Lucy “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (1956)

Admittedly, I’m a little fuzzy on the details of this episode. What I believe occurs, is that a famous Italian “cinema” director spots Lucy on a train, and decides she would be perfect for his latest film, “Bitter Grapes.” Although he wants her to play the role of “average American tourist,” Lucy believes it is important to “soak up some local color.” Hmm. I wonder if Lucy is going to get in some kind of zany and troublesome situation. Oh, wait, yep, here it comes. We’ve all seen this scene, it’s probably one of the most famous from not only I Love Lucy but of television in general. I still won’t ever understand how the 1950’s disallowed Lucy and Ricky from sharing a marital bed or using the word “pregnant,” but did allow two women to wine-wrestle in a vat of juicy grapes. Go figure.

3. Full House “Tanner’s Island” 1989

No tropical vacation in TV land would be complete without a stranded-on-a-desert island incident! When the Tanner clan (and Rebecca, Danny’s co-host, wait- why is she there?) decide to celebrate their two-year anniversary of becoming a family (a hit show)–wait, didn’t they become a family when the mother died? This seems like a wildly inappropriate celebration now. I imagine little Stephanie in therapy many years later, “First, I’m addicted to meth. Secondly, one September my mother died in a drunk driving incident, and when we celebrated that fact in Hawaii two years later, we ended up stranded on a deserted island. How rude!” In the end, the Tanners + future Aunt Becky discover that they weren’t stranded at all, they were just on the WRONG side of island. Happens all the time (See: Golden Girls “Vacation” 1986). When taken to the Polynesian show on the proper side of the island, I think it’s only obvious what’s about to go down. A “reluctant” Jesse takes over the mic for a rousing rendition of the Elvis classic, Rock-a-hula, as the rest of the cast dances around on stage. I’ve always wondered about that audience. (A) Did they all seriously sit there just to catch a 30-second glimpse at the cast of Full House? (B) Do they mention this event every time they meet a new person? If not, why??

2. Saved by the Bell “Hawaiian Style” 1992

10103890Alright, alright, you got me. This isn’t actually an “episode” of SBTB– it’s a SBTB movie. But give me a break, it was the greatest vacation I never went on but have the fondest memories of. Kelly’s grandfather invites her and the gang to stay at his Hawaiian Hideaway Hotel one last time, because it’s about to be taken over by something corporate. Will a gang of mildly retarded teenagers save the day? You betcha! Oh and also, Zack will hook up with a cougar, whose daughter is like 10 years younger than him (am I the only second-grader who was creeped out at the possibility of my mother dating Zack Morris, cause seriously, that kid was like 8!) Oh, and don’t forget about Screech’s foray into idol-dom at the hands of the Pupuku tribe. Still unsure how a Polynesian/Hawaiian “tribe” could mistake a fro-headed Jewish kid in parachute pants for their god, or why there are no clips of this on YouTube.

1. The Brady Bunch “Hawaii Bound” (1972)

So this list could more aptly be called “greatest Hawaiian mishaps” but that’s beside the point. This 3-episode arc might be my FAVORITE in all of television. Seriously, as a kid, the Hawaii episodes (Hawaii Bound, Pass the Tabu, The Tiki Caves) warranted a sick day. Come on! Bobby and Peter find an “ancient Polynesian Tabu” at Mike’s construction site (and let me get this straight. Mike is working for a like Fortune 500 company that can afford to send his nine-person family to Hawaii for three weeks (episodes) yet, Mike, the architect of a GIANT project in Hawaii, cannot afford a home with more than one bathroom for his half a dozen kids?). At any rate, the tabu is cursed and will “bring bad luck to all that touch it.” And thank god, because otherwise I would have never had the opportunity to see Barry Williams eat shit on a surfboard. The show wraps up when some drunken hobo type informs the boys that the tabu must be returned to some ancient burial grounds/temple, where VINCENT PRICE holds them captive. Oddly, I have no recollection of what the Brady girls get up to while the boys are stuck in a temple with a possible pedophile.

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