Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MAY THE SCHWARTZ BE WITH YOU

Legendary TV icon Sherwood Schwartz is no longer with us. For over forty years he helped mold the modern culture, in ways great and small. He's the reason they call them the classics - and the fun was never more genuine. 

I fully acknowledge the advantages and shortcomings of being in my late 20s. While it's fantastic to be as proficient with technology as I am, it also means that I ever so slightly missed out on experiencing some great television firsthand (and becoming a regular at Studio 54). 

Based solely on the channels that were available to me as a child, I never really had much exposure to Sherwood Schwartz's most famous creations, The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island. I knew of them, but that was just because I was a pop culture-obsessed little gay boy who needed to know everything about everything.

In 1995 the The Brady Bunch Movie was being released, and I vividly remember looking at the newspaper to see what was playing this week at the handful of multiplexes surrounding Longmeadow, MA. It was a rainy afternoon, and my Mom told me to pick a movie for us to go see. Upon seeing the black and white photo of the cast, I informed her of my decision. "You want to see that?" Her words were not accusatory but merely astonished.

So saw it we did, and later a couple more times on my own. These are some of my first vivid memories of understanding and appreciating camp, satire and Los Angeles. I still have my VHS copy of both it and A Very Brady Sequel, and I watched both recently. Strangely enough I was planning on writing a little retrospective on those films, but due to impending Comic-Con, time has escaped me. It's sad that this is the occasion that I'm able to show my gratitude to Sherwood Schwartz for his contribution to our always-evolving television landscape - but I'm glad that I can now pay him tribute.

After my enjoyment of those films, I (naturally) went back and did my research. I watched as much Brady Bunch as I could get my hands on. And I loved it. Mr. Shwartz's quirky, optimistic, good-natured fun always tried to teach us something - whether it was the importance of not playing ball in the house, or that maybe if you tried hard enough The Professor would someday look at you like you were Ginger - while always keeping us pleasantly distracted in the process.

Rest in peace, Sherwood Schwartz. I hope Tiger is up there waiting for you.

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