Tuesday, June 3, 2014
What The Brady Bunch Meant To Me
As the show's target audience when it premiered on ABC television in 1969—that is to say, an eight year old kid—I did watch The Brady Bunch, but it really was a bad show and it never captured my imagination the way that, say, Rocky and Bullwinkle or Jonny Quest did. The actors were devoid of edge, the jokes were Hallmark greeting card safe, and the plots—my God, the plots—well, that's the point of this short post.
The Brady Bunch was when I finally realized that stories weren't something that organically "happened" as a result of the collision of a person's innate character traits with changing needs and circumstances, but were instead a series of artificial hoops that actors reading lines jumped through. At least, on bad television.
It wasn't the first time The Brady Bunch would recycle a sit-com plot, nor the last, and I soon realized that most shows recycled plots and that most of the time, you could predict with some certainty what was going to happen on practically every show on television.
And it finally occurred to me that stories don't happen, they are told, and somebody—why not me?!—has to tell them.
But you can only have a particular epiphany once and The Brady Bunch was mine.
That by the spring of 1972 I had decided to become a writer, and that I recycled plots for my own amusement, is probably a coincidence. But maybe not. Every moment, no matter how small, is part of a chain that leads to the present. Who can say which of those moments is the vital link? Not me.
So, Brady Bunch, for making your crapitude transparent to at least one future writer, we here at the Monkey salute you!