Today Indiewire published a piece I wrote about the portrayal of kids coming-of-age on The Brady Bunch. It's the third in a series of five stories they're running this week to mark tomorrow night's launch of Participant Media's exciting new cable network pivot. As I think about all those afternoons trying to one-up my UCLA Daily Bruin colleagues in Brady trivia 20 years ago, I certainly never realized that one day my encyclopedic knowledge of most-things-Brady would actually come in handy.
I was a typical latch-key kid of the '70s and '80s, so my addiction to television should surprise no one. I had several afterschool television companions. Had you asked me when I was seven or eight to name my favorite show, I likely would have said channel 2's Captain Cosmic. But the show I ultimately absorbed and knew most intimately was absolutely The Brady Bunch, which aired its repeats on rival channel 44.
I'll admit it: I loved the Bradys. My parents divorced when I was four, and neither remarried until I was 13. I had no siblings, and even my two first cousins closest to my age lived out of the country until I was nine. I split time between each of my parents' San Francisco apartments: Mom in the Richmond, Dad bordering Golden Gate Park in the Sunset. The Brady Bunch presented a situation I could recognize and I suppose realistically long for even though it was pretty removed from my own.
I've never been someone who possesses instant recall of movies, television, theater or music. People will quote a song lyric or a line from a film and then be surprised -- or even disappointed -- that I can't identify it. I'm still that way. I tend to remember my feelings and reactions to the overall story more than the intricacies of plot or individual lines themselves.
However, that was never true with The Brady Bunch. By the time I arrived at UCLA in 1988, even though I had stopped regularly watching the Bradys years earlier, I realized that I could identify almost every episode within its first 10-15 seconds. The initial post-credits shot, background music and first few seconds of the first scene often were enough for me to know whether Marcia was about to get hit in the face with a football or Greg was about to "fit the suit" and turn into Johnny Bravo. When I became involved with the Daily Bruin, I met a few other people with Brady obsessions, and thus began the aforementioned trivia battles.