Saturday, April 17, 2010

Canon Review of two The Bradys episodes

So last week, I watched the SciFi original movie Mega Piranha. I would recommend that you do all that you can to not watch this movie, as it is bad. The premise of this movie is that some scientists, including one played by former teen idol Tiffany, have accidentally populated a Venezuelan lake with giant piranhas, who have both male and female organs, can reproduce quicker than a hiccup, and eventually grow into the size of Cadillacs with impenetrable skin. Eventually, the Piranhas grow and grow and number, taking out everything in sight, including battle ships and nuclear subs, and it's up to Tiffany, her scientist friend, and some wannabe Jean-Claude Van Damme to save the earth. If you want, you can see the trailer right here:


So, what does this crapfest have to do with the short-lived 1990 series The Bradys? Simple, they both star Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady. In Mega Piranha, Williams plays some sort of government agency whose main contribution is to tell his operative to get away from the Mega Piranha. The guy spent most of the movie talking into his walkie talkie and was frankly quite useless. But at least Mr. Williams got paid, and was probably the best actor in the film, which doesn't speak well of any of his co-stars acting skills. Meanwhile, in The Brady, Williams plays Greg Brady. How about that?

Before we begin, I must share a little background on the series. As you've probably figured out, "The Bradys" is based off of the "Brady Bunch" sitcom from the 1970s. After CBS produced a TV Movie called "A Very Brady Christmas", the network, pleased with the movie's high ratings, decided to make a TV series chronicling the Brady's, now all grown up with problems of their own. Unlike the original light-hearted affair where everybody shared a laugh and learned a lesson, "The Bradys" was an hour-long drama which featured very serious situations. For example, in the first episode, Bobby Brady became a paraplegic after a wreck in an auto race. The show lasted six episodes, mainly due to low ratings, which Barry Williams would later blame on its poor timeslot. I will now attempt to watch 2 of these episodes right now, and more than likely complain about it.

Episode 1: A Moving Experience

There's trouble at the Brady House, as a new freeway is being built, and the zoning commission has given Mike and Carol six months to find a new place.  Mike organizes a meeting with the city councilman to present an alternative route for the freeway, but the councilman says it's not going to happen, but good luck. However, Mike's speech interests some politicians, who are looking for a candidate for city council, and think Mike can do it. Mike turns them down at first, but at the end of the episode he changes his mind. Meanwhile, the Brady's inspired by an idea from Marsha's kids Jessica and Mickey, decide that instead of moving to another house, they will move their house to a new location. Brilliant! Meanwhile, Cindy, a radio station DJ is dating her boss, a widower, and meets his kids, who are not happy about this idea at all. Peter is having trouble finding a woman while managing his new job at People for a Better Planet, and Greg and his family are also moving, as Greg recently received a promotion. While the Brady's wait for the construction of their house to be completed, Mike, Carol, Marsha and her husband Wally and their two kids move into a smaller apartment for one month. Unfortunately, the place is in a flight path, and many airplanes fly right overhead. Also, it's Mike's birthday, and the whole gang show up at the smaller house to celebrate, including the Korean girl Jan and her husband adopted, who made some seaweed soup. Sounds yummy. A few more notes.

- Greg has decided to grow a mustache, and the result is that he looks a lot like Jason Lee from My Name is Earl, only dorkier.
- The Brady clan have some awfully annoying kids, Greg's son Kevin acted like a bit of a brat, and tried to push the house on the truck while it was being moved. But Kevin's nothing compared to Marsha's son Mickey. Normally, I don't wish for harm to come to children, but in Mickey's case I made an exception. The worst part was when he was jumping on the bed while Mike and Mickey's dad Wally was trying to sleep, and the kid had the nerve to say that he wasn't going to stop no matter what Wally or Mike did. If I were them, I would have forcefully voiced my desire to have him stop jumping on the bed and go to sleep, but instead a pillow fight broke out, at first between the three men, and then somehow the ladies got involved. Anyway, everything Mickey said and did made me loathe him more and more.
- Interesting note, well, maybe only to me, but still. The part of Bobby's wife was played by former MTV VJ Martha Quinn. I found that curious, but I'm sure most people probably couldn't care less. Anyway, Bobby and Martha Quinn moved into a new house that just happened to be owned by a paraplegic, just like Bobby is now. I guess Bobby gets all the breaks.
-All of the original Bradys returned for this show, except for Maureen McCormick, who played Marsha. McCormick was pregnant at the time and did not want to devote all of her time to a TV series and be away from her family, so the part of Marcia was played by somebody named Leah Ayers, who was the journalist that hounded Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport.

Episode 2: Party Girls

This was less excruciating than the last episode, but still nothing I would recommend. In this episode, Marsha, Greg's wife and Martha Quinn decide to start a catering buisness. They get help from Marcia's husband Wally, who suddenly is interested in public relations work, and Alice's husband Sam the Butcher sells his old shop to them so the "Party Girls" (their business name) have a place to cook. Meanwhile, Greg and Peter get into a dispute after Greg has to cancel previous plans to go to a PTA meeting, and Peter totally overreacts and flips out, making for a very awkward situation. They try to reconcile, but further misunderstandings take place and both men promise to never speak to each other again. Meanwhile, Mickey continues to annoy. Everything comes to a head at an Austrian themed party hosted by the Party Girls. Greg and Peter have to be waiters due to the size of the party, and when Peter chokes on some food, Greg comes over and saves his life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The two make up, and Mike introduces the Australian dignitary to the Austian themed party, which was due to the fact that Mickey messed up taking the phone message. Nevertheless, the Australian is quite surprised at this turn of events, and is relieved that he won't have a bunch of ignorant Americans saying "g'day mate" and referencing Crocodile Dundee. The episode ends with the Party Girls moving out of the butcher shop, and Sam moving back in because he's bored with retirement. A few notes.

- Sam's never seen in any of the episodes, as the producers must have decided not to bring his character back in an on-air role. They could have, as the actor that played him, Allan Melvin, was still an active actor at the time this show was filmed, but for reasons unknown, they did not.
- I didn't recognize it until this episode, but the role of Greg's son Kevin was played by none other than Johnathan Taylor Thomas, who as most of you probably know, went on to star as Randy Taylor on the show Home Improvement. Meaning that he is the only person to play the son of Tim Taylor and Greg Brady. What a career.
- Even though this is supposed to be a drama, the producers of this show added a laugh track whenever a humorous moment occurred (there was not a laugh track in the first episode I saw). This made for a rather weird dynamic, as one moment Peter and Greg are fighting, and not a few seconds later somebody makes a quip and off goes the laugh track.
- This ended up being the last episode of "The Bradys", as the show went on hiatus for retooling, and ultimately CBS decided just to cancel the show altogether. Sadly, it would also be one of Robert Reed's (Mike Brady) last appearances, as he died in May of 1992, some 18 months or so after the airing of this episode.

Overall, I can definitely see why this show lasted only six episodes. For one, I wasn't really sure whether this was supposed to be a drama or a comedy. If it was a comedy, it wasn't very funny, and I have a hard time believing that the audience would want to see the Brady's in serious, tragic situations. I'm not really sure what they were going for here, and I'm not sure if the producers knew either. For both shows, I'll give a score of 1.69 out of 10, as quite frankly, it was hard to watch, and I'm sure that this post will be hard to read through because of that. But if you make it this far, than thanks for reading, and if you have future ideas for future reviews, than you know where to reach me. I leave you with the opening credits for "The Bradys" series righchere:

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