The Brady Bunch: The Voice of Christmas

f0a1754e462631d8d476b109fe8c03b0This is one of my FAVORITE Christmas episodes ever. I am SO glad you voted for it.

In this episode, Carol Brady comes down with laryngitis just before she is supposed to sing a solo at the church Christmas service. She’s been so busy getting ready for Christmas that she’s worn herself out. But being the great husband that he his, Mike tells her to follow the doctor’s orders and take it easy. It’s their “first family Christmas together” (awww) and he promises that he and the kids will take care of everything. Carol just needs to rest her voice and get some sleep before the service.

They try every remedy known to man, including a smelly home remedy from Alice’s grandmother, which consists of placing a towel soaked in a vinegar-solution around Carol’s neck. Nothing works.

When Mike takes the kids to finish their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, Cindy decides to ask the one person who can do something about this drug-resistant laryngitis. Santa Claus.

brady5They arrive to a very long line of children waiting to see the big man. Cindy insists that she can wait in the line by herself. Since he needs to exchange Carol’s gift (which would have been a poorly timed voice recorder), Mike let’s her wait alone. He arrives to pick her up just as an elated Cindy hops off of Santa’s lap.

Cindy runs up to Mike and let’s him know that Santa has promised to make sure Carol can sing at the Christmas service. It’s 1969 so television won’t let him say this, but Mike’s face clearly says, “Oh shit, as if I didn’t have enough to deal with right now. He tries to play it cool.

“Oh honey, how could he do that? He’s not a doctor,” he says.

“He’s better than a doctor. He’s Santa Claus,” says Mike.

Oh shit is right, Mike.

Mike goes “backstage” to the Santa break room and is like, “Dude what gives” (but like in 1969 Brady language.) Promising to give kids toys is one thing, but promising miracles is another. And the guy basically says he doesn’t want to disappoint her and just wanted to make her happy. So Mike’s like ughhhh I have to deal with THIS on Christmas morning.

But there are other things to deal with this Christmas Eve, like hiding presents. Since they’re Brady’s, they all rush around hiding presents for each other instead of just leaving them under the tree like normal people.
brady_bunch_a_lIn the middle of the night, the four eldest Brady kids meet downstairs and decide to postpone Christmas because Carol is sick. Alice finds them in the midst of their discussion and says they might as well return the presents, take down the tree, and throw away the turkey. But that might be A MAJOR BUMMER since their parents planned this whole freaking Christmas for them. And then they’re like okay, just kidding.

On Christmas morning, Carol wakes up humming “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” (Oh, of course she does). SHE CAN SING!!!! In honor of this beautiful talent that we lost this year (F.U. 2016) I’ll end with Florence Henderson singing one of my favorite Christmas hymns:

Block Party Summer

I don’t know if anyone remembers when Nick at Nite used to show some quality classic TV back in the 90’s, but I was quite a fan of Block Party Summer. It was really just three hour blocks of one TV show, but for some reason it felt like serious Summer fun to me. This should have been the first sign of a serious pop culture addiction, but it’s only an addiction if you want to stop, right? No? That’s not how that works? Anyway, I’d like to bring back Block Party Summer on The Very Special Blog.

This may be a bad decision because Summer is apparently our “crazy time” at work and as this is my first Summer at this job, I may be biting off more than I can chew with this little challenge. But I have an odd coping mechanism when someone gives me a ton of work. I’m kind of like Oh yeah? Well I’ll complete all of the “work” things you gave me but then I’m going to make my own work things to do on my own time but those work things will be FUN.

So there you go, The Very Special Summer will be my fun self-imposed non-work, work thing. So this July get ready for weekly lessons from your (my) favorite shows as follows:

Monday: The Brady Bunch
Tuesday: Boy Meets World
Wednesday: Full House
Thursday: Family Matters
Friday: The Facts of Life

Everything Old is New Again

I understand that I’m writing a nostalgia blog, so who am I to point fingers? But can we please get some new content in Television? At first I was like hooray, Twin Peaks and then David Lynch was all like well, maybe not. But I rolled with the punches. Plus, sometimes it’s like: Who hasn’t been in The Odd Couple? It was a play that became a TV Show that became a play like 50 bazillion times and is now a TV Show again. I can deal with that. And I love Matthew Perry and that girl from Sabrina, so I could totally see myself giving the show a chance. I haven’t seen a full episode, so if it sucks don’t judge me/just pretend I never slightly endorsed it on the internet. And hey, I’m open minded. I even plan on watching the new Magic School Bus series because I’ve found that those episodes and Bill Nye are they ways that I learn best about science. But lately, I’ve started to feel like every time I turn around there’s another reboot in the mix and I’m starting to get pissed off about it. Maybe, it’s because I’ve been burned before. I’m looking at you Girl Meets World. But really, I can’t help but wonder is nothing sacred anymore?? Something about the Ducktales announcement has really resonated with me. Like Ducktales is coming back too? No one can think of an innovate new show for America’s youth, so we have to recycle Ducktales? It seems like everyone is looking for safe ratings, so they’re grabbing up shows they already know have done well. Instead of giving shows a chance to grow because nothing else is picking up great ratings, we live in a world where Coach gets a full series order after eighteen years. But at the same time, reboots can offer a chance to redeem a show that was once amazing and then flopped. Like maybe the new Muppet reboot can make us forget about Muppets Tonight. And wouldn’t we be all the better for it? Alas, it appears that society is telling me that reboots are in. So I’m launching a new segment of The Very Special Blog called “Reboot-o-Rama.” And yes, this is all an elaborate rouse to re-watch The Brady Brides.

The Very Best Very Special Hawaiian Episode

It’s time for the ultimate showdown. It is time to see who will be named the “champion of vacation episode champions.”

Who will emerge victorious from this epic battle of sitcom family versus sitcom family? Will it the be the Bad-Luck-Bradys or the marooned Tanners?


Let’s turn our attention to the four pillars of VSE: Hawaiian Style:

Overall Plot. I’m not sure if it is the fact that the Brady Bunch Hawaiian episode feels so played out (it has been parodied and rerun at least seventy-seven thousand times),but I really feel more drawn to the Full House plot. I almost want to detract a point for Aunt Becky magically having a couple of different outfits while stranded on the desert island, but they already made a Gilligan’s Island episode within the script, calling Danny the “Skipper” an then yelling at him as the “Skipper” once he strands them on the deserted island, so even this plot error feels sort of smart. I cannot believe I’m giving Fullori-loughlin-jodie-sweetin-candace-cameron-mainl House points for plot, but I found the episode to be better paced and more entertaining than the Brady episodes. There were a lot of episodes that comprised the Brady vacation, so maybe they could have benefited from some editing. Either way, the point goes to Full House on this one.

Music. I still prefer the dulcet tones of Don Ho to John Stamos’s impersonation of Elvis. Plus, the soundtrack to the Brady vacation is pretty amazing all throughout. I would totally like to make a Brady-Hawaii Playlist and go chill on a beach for a little while. The point for music definitely goes to The Brady Bunch.

Vacation Attire.  This is such a tough one. As I have said before, I love what the Bradys are wearing. However, I think that Full House wins this one. The makeup department clearly put a lot of work into their hair and it paid off. Steph’s cute bouncy curls are way sassier than Cindy’s (who was possibly forced into wearing a wig at this point) and more fun in general. Also, DJ pretty much wins the beachy hair award that I’ve never been able to attain. Once again, I’d like to pay my respects to Uncle Jesse’s palazzo pants, but I have to give Aunt Becky’s floral print sundresses equal credit. And then there are all of the adorable outfits they put little Michelle in. It’s hard to beat a toddler’s fashion, so the Bradys really shouldn’t take this loss too hard. They put up a good fight.

Integration of Hawaiian Setting. I still want to give the Bradys mad props for paying their respects to the USS Arizona, especially since all of the actors seem genuinely moved at the site, but overall I believe that Full House shows more of what the average family might be able to experience on a Hawaiian vacation. Danny might seem like a jerk for forcing his family to interact at all times, but I think that his rigidity has made for a very sneaky tourism video. Hawaii has something for everyone: the casual golfer, the relaxed naturalist, the enthusiastic historian, the film buff, and those who want to watch their boat float away while stranded on the wrong side of a well-populated island.


Point Break Down:
The Brady Bunch:  Music (1 pt) = 1 point

Full House: Vacation Attire (1 pt) + Integration of Hawaiian Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  4 pts

Champion of Vacation Episode ChampionsFull House


Boy Meets World vs. The Brady Bunch

This is some stiff competition, you guys. The final semi-final round is upon us. This is the penultimate post before we find out once and for all which of our six sitcoms took the best vacation to Hawaii! As you may recall, all of the Brady’s got to go to Hawaii on business with Mr. Brady. They almost died because of a “tabu” amulet, but luckily they managed to return the amulet to a creepy cave, thus avoiding total destruction, and ended up having a lovely family vacation.

But over at Boy Meets World, Corey and Toboy-meets-worldpanga are finally on their honeymoon! Eric messes up their wedding night by sending Corey and Topanga to a honeymoon suite pretending to be another couple. The best-man/wacky-brother decides to make it up to them by lightly stalking them on their honeymoon in order to make sure everything goes perfectly. Corey and Topanga have such a good time on their honeymoon that Corey pressures Topanga into not returning to Philadelphia and instead spending the rest of their lives at the Hawaiian resort. Corey manages to make enough money painting celebrity heads onto coconuts, which all of the tourists love. They actually end up being pretty rich and very popular. The island is really weird to be honest. Everyone relocated from Ohio and managed to remain pasty white. They also use soup as deodorant?

Eventually, Corey and Topanga realize how much they miss their family. Mostly, because Corey paints a couple of coconuts to look like Shawn and Mr. Feeney and has absolutely no memory of doing so. (As it turns out, Eric actually painted them and then was held captive by the Ohioan-Hawaiian clan.)

I think these two episodes will be hard to compare, but here we go! The Brady Bunch clearly wins on integration of Hawaiian setting. I’m pretty sure everything except for 4 seconds of stock footage was filmed on a soundstage in Boy Meets World. They also win on overall vacation attire as well, in part because the late-90’s prep fashion can never compare to late-mod meets suburban-hippie garb. Even though I love the “adorkable” Brady’s, the writing on Boy Meets World is (unsurprisingly) much tighter and manages to be genuinely heartfelt even when it is ridiculous, so they win on overall plot. The Brady Bunch soundtrack is solid and even features Don Ho singing to little Bobby and Cindy, which of course the canned elevator music of Boy Meets World‘s Hawaii just cannot match. Brady_Bunch_Hawaii002

Point Break Down:
The Brady Bunch:  Music (1 pt) + Vacation Attire (1 pt) + Integration of Hawaiian Setting (1 pt) = 3 pts 

Boy Meets World:  Overall Plot (2 pts) = 2 pts

Very Special WinnerThe Brady Bunch

The as yet undefeated Bradys advance to the final round. Will they have the best Hawaiian Vacation ever??

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