Monday, January 27, 2014

Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The BBVH

2009, first edition, from ECW Press
Written by Ted Nichelson
Commentary and Special Features by Susan Olsen
Art Direction and Design by Lisa Sutton
Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
Bought new for $22.95
Paperback in good condition

I still remember my excitement as I taped the pilot episode of BBH ("Variety" was later dropped) off of Nickelodeon at midnight.  I of course watched at least some of these episodes when they originally aired.  Number one, it was the Bradys; and number two, it was a variety show on ABC, and I already faithfully watched Donny & Marie.  But I hadn't seen the show since, it having lapsed into what then seemed permanent obscurity.  By the time I was in my early 20s and watching Nick at Nite, I could appreciate BBH on a so-bad-it's-good level.  I later got the DVD with two episodes, and I've watched a bit of different episodes on Youtube, particularly because of reading this book a second time.  And, well, it is painful at times, but it's never boring.

As for the book, it captures much of the craziness onscreen and behind the scenes.  Too much time is spent on the swimming/dancing Kroftettes, who, yes, were hard-working but aren't really what's most memorable about the show.  I'd actually have liked to have heard even more about the costume- and set-designers.  I do love that there are many photos, all in color I think, showing the look of the show in all its tacky glory.  I like that Sutton uses a different color/object theme for each chapter, although I wish that less of the black text had been printed on gray.  I'm not color-blind, but it would've made the book literally more readable if it had been white text, or a different background.

As for the writing, Olsen's contributions are snarky but insightful, showing the perspective of someone who was a fifteen-year-old who hated disco and the Krofft look, but nonetheless appreciated all the effort put into the show.  And, yes, she reluctantly discusses Maureen's cocaine use and resultant unreliability.  She even talks about how she was regarded as fat compared to Maureen (who was also bulimic then) and "fake Jan" Geri Reischl.  (At nine years old and now I thought Cindy was then the prettiest sister.)  Geri, by the way, is proud of her role on the show, which is more than most of the cast would say of theirs.

Because there were only nine episodes, you're going to find more information per episode than you would in your average book on one program.  But if you're reading this book, then too much of a good/bad thing isn't a problem for you.

(And, yes, I'm using the Schwartiana tag, even though Sherwood was proud to have nothing to do with this spin-off.  They're still loosely based on his characters after all.)

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