In honor of Sherwood Schwartz: My top Brady moments

Sad news today. The creator of “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island” has died. Sherwood Schwartz was 94. He was currently working on adapting “Gilligan’s Island” to the big screen with his son Lloyd. He died at home surrounded by his family.

How many of us grew up watching Schwartz’s shows? I can’t begin to count the hours I spent with an afterschool snack in hand watching Gilligan and Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy. So in honor of Mr. Schwartz here are my top ten Brady moments. (Maybe you guys can weigh in on Gilligan moments too).  Rest in Peace Mr. Schwartz! You’ve made a lot of us smile.

10. Peter’s voice changes – While attempting to record a song, The Brady kids notice Peter’s voice is cracking. In their infinite wisdom Mrs. Brady and Alice know his voice is changing. Smart women. The debate starts as to whether to include Peter’s cracking voice on the record or kick him out of the group (very un-Bradylike, I know). In true Brady fashion, Greg writes a new song about puberty. Very edgy. Even today, when my voice cracks I’ll say, “Geez, who am I Peter Brady?”

9. Bobby and Cindy get lost in the Grand Canyon – this three parter was the first time the Brady’s left the studio and their astro-turfed lawn. It made this list, because I find it really amusing how unbothered the Brady parents seem to be that Bobby and Cindy get lost, like it’s a minor annoyance. They’re eventually found eating beans out of the flashlight with a Native American boy.

8. Mrs. Marcia Dennist – Okay, I know it’s spelled “Dentist” not “Dennist” but I had to write it this way because Marcia’s pronunciation of “dentist” cracks me up. The whole show revolves around the self-centered Marcia daydreaming about her groovy young dentist. Far out.

7. Greg Brady: Cheerleading judge – Greg is put in charge of picking the head cheerleader at Westdale high school. It’s a completely ridiculous premise that three high school boys would be the entire judging panel for something like this. But never let reality get in the way of a good sitcom. Anyway, a beautiful (although a little smarmy) girl starts hitting on Greg. He’s dumbfounded by her attention. But one day she tells “Greggy” that isn’t it weird that she’s trying out for head cheerleader while he’s a judge. The problem is Marcia is too. What is Greg to do? All ends well when Greg decides he will vote for the best candidate, who ironically is played by Rita Wilson, the future Mrs. Tom Hanks. Marcia is cool with it. The smarmy girl is not.

6. Aloha Brady Bunch – In their second three-parter, The Brady’s venture to Hawaii where Mike’s architecture firm is working on a building. (Wouldn’t you like to work for a company that pays for you, your wife, six children and housekeeper to go to Hawaii?) The story revolves around a tiki idol that Bobby finds at a construction site. It brings nothing but bad luck and eventually Vincent Price into Brady world.

5. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” – Enough said.

4. Davy Jones – Marcia promises her junior high that she can get Davy Jones to appear at the school dance (another example of Marcia overestimating her importance). She ends up sneaking into his hotel room (how did Mike and Carol allow that?). In the end, Davy surprises Marcia at her house while her 5 siblings look on and giggle.

3. Pork Chops and ‘Appleshauce’ – Peter thinks he has no personality, so he decides to become Humphrey Bogart. When he finds out what Mom and Alice are making for dinner, he goes around the house repeating, “Ahhhh, pork chops and appleshauce….” It’s nearly impossible for me to eat pork chops and applesauce without repeating this line.

2. The Silver Platters – Inspired by The Osmonds and The Jackson 5, Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz decide to turn their actors into singers. In this episode, Jan screws up and the kids need money to pay for their parents’ anniversary present. Naturally, they go on a local talent show and sing a couple of songs. I love how they keep ‘singing’ while their lips stop moving and they start bowing. Classic Brady.

1. Oh my nose! Marcia dumps nice wallpaper salesman Charlie to date the “Big man on Campus” Doug Simpson, but after Peter and Bobby hit Marcia with a football (They say it was by accident, but as established Marcia had it coming in so many ways) her nose swells like a balloon. Doug dumps her when “something suddenly came up.” Marcia learns that it’s what’s inside that matters. And she figures she’ll get discounts on wallpaper.

I know there are so many more. Please share your favorite Brady and Gilligan moments by commenting below.

RIP,  Mr. Schwartz.

Star of “Grease” and “Taxi” dead at the age of 60.

How sad to hear about the death of actor Jeff Conaway. He’s best known to most of us as Kenickie in the 1978 film “Grease,” or as Bobby Wheeler in the TV sitcom “Taxi.”

I remember watching him back then. I loved the “Summer Lovin” scene where he danced on the bleachers along with John Travolta and the rest of the Thunderbirds.

Fast forward about 30 years and the scene was much different. After leaving “Taxi” and failing to launch is movie career, Conaway appeared in reality shows such as “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Celebrity Rehab” in which he showed up in a wheelchair and blacked out on camera. Just last year he broke his hip and together with his drug and alcohol problems, it further compromised his health. Conaway had been in a coma for the last two weeks before family members decided to take him off life support.

Despite his last tough years, I hope we can all remember him as Danny Zuko’s wing man! RIP Kenickie!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0mhYLF-914

Whew! Well that was exhausting!

You’ve heard of feast or famine? When it comes to TV in May its finale or famine. Any TV watcher will tell you the end of May is just exhausting. (As exhausting as it can be to be a channel surfing couch potato). This week, we are being overwhelmed by finale after finale. Feast.

But within a week or two, the networks will start to pull out those summer replacement shows, most of them so bad they couldn’t make the fall lineup. (Remember, that classic summer turkey “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” You knew it was bad when they considered Rod Blagojevich’s wife a celebrity.)

But let’s not dwell on that, we’ll be in the summer TV misery season soon enough. This week is definitey a feast. Consider last night. Here’s what you had to choose from:

Dancing with the Stars: The winner is named. If you missed it, Hines Ward came out on top. See my last post. I called it. Sort of.

Country Idol…errr…I mean American Idol: Part one of the finale. Lauren and Scotty perform. I predict Lauren will win. Can I be two for two?

The Biggest Loser: Winner named (I have nothing to add since I don’t watch this show. I do have a life you know.)

Glee: Finale. The kids go to NYC and break into song. I love it.

And if you’re like my husband you ignore all of those shows and flip back and forth between the NBA game and the Twins game.

Whew! That was an exhausting evening. Who could keep up with the channel flipping?

And it’s not over yet. Not only does American Idol crown their winner tonight, but the queen of all things, Oprah Winfrey has her finale today at 4:00pm. 

I’m not sure my DVR can handle all of this. Good thing we’re not far away from “I survived a Japanese game show.”

“Italian Chipmunks” on American Idol?

I know it sounds weird and I certainly don’t mean it as an insult. In fact I think these guys were the best part of American Idol last night.

Here’s what happened: After riding bikes for quite awhile last night I didn’t have time to watch the entire show. But my 9-year-old daughter and I decided to whizz through the show to see who made it to the finals. I’ll get to that in just  a minute.

So we zipped through the hometown celebrations. Tears, cheers, interviews with local radio – you know the drill. Only the accents were different.

It was the guest performances last night that caught our attention.  Not so much the one from  Nicole Scherzinger (whom I only know through “Dancing with the Stars”). She was fine. She sang some song. My daughter asked if she was a Kardashian.

But then these three guys came on stage and started singing what sounded like opera. Could it be opera on the Idol stage? Yup. The name of the group is Il Volo, a trio of Italian teenagers. They sang,  ”O Sole Mio” and it was amazing! My daughter was less impressed, but made a pretty astute observation. She said “they’re kind of like the Chipmunks. The hot guy in the middle, the skinny guy with glasses and the sorta chubby one.” I’m not sure what troubles me more, my 9-year-old calling some guy “hot” or the fact that she thinks Alvin the chipmunk is hot. Even so, take a look at the photos. I think she’s right.

But I guess I can’t write this post without telling you who made it to the finals. It’s Lauren (Yay!) vs Scotty. Country/pop versus traditional country/country rock. Should be a good matchup. I’ll run that down later.

For now, I have to go download “O Sole Mio” by The Chipmunks, err…I mean Il Volo.

Who will make it the American Idol final?

Let me start by saying that Haley Reinhart is one smart chick. The 20-year-old bluesy rocker watched with the rest of us last week as America gave the boot to metal rocker James Durbin. So what does Miss Reinhart do? She pulls out all the stops – choosing a Led Zeppelin song for her first number last night. Brilliant, I say, brilliant! The girl is gunning for Durbin’s voters. Well played Miss Haley. I think she has a good chance to get them. While Zeppelin isn’t really my cup of tea (little too screamy for me) she’s did a great job with it. Seems to me real Durbin fans are more likely to cast a vote for her than  traditional country guy Scotty (I’m kinda like Randy Travis) McCreery or country pop cutie Lauren (I’m kinda a mix between Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood) Alaina.

If it were up to me, which it should be, I’d pick Lauren and either one of the other two. How’s that for taking a stand? My point is this: all three of them were just fabulous. It just comes down to the genre of music you like most. I just enjoyed Lauren the most.  If you’d like to see or hear what they sang just go to American Idol.com .

Then, I’d love to hear from you. Who’s going to make it to the finals next week?

Before we get to see that next week, we have to endure the tearful, exuberant hometown visits tonight.  I’m not all that interested in that. Maybe,  I’m just jealous.

Welcome to On TV!

I love TV. At times, in my life I’ve been embarrassed about that. It’s not as high brow as the theatre, as star powered as the movies, or as cool as the music scene. But maybe that’s why I like it. TV is always there. It’s in our homes providing news, information, and entertainment whether we’re dressed to the nines or in our robes and fuzzy slippers. It’s a comfortable companion that doesn’t ask much in return. I love that after a busy day at work or playing with my kids I can snuggle into my bed and turn on the tube. I can lose myself in a crime drama or an overhyped reality show.  Don’t get me wrong. I know Americans watch too much of it and we’re getting fatter as a result. Remember the phrase: everything in moderation. It can’t be all TV all the time. But when it is TV time, let’s talk about it and have fun with it. So take this blog for what it is – a chance to celebrate television, the good, the bad, and the “I can’t believe I’m watching this.” I want “On TV” to be our online water cooler where we can discuss what happened last night or tout our favorite shows. I’ll throw the topic out there, but I’d love to hear your comments.