The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

02 Apr
Eric Greenberg

Born in the U.K.

written by Eric Greenberg in Blog | 2 comments

He’s a young up and coming chef, who just happens to live with two girls. Don’t get too excited though. It’s all ”strictly platonic.” Of course, that leaves him plenty of time for checking out the ladies at the local pub with his buddy Larry…as long as he keeps it on the DL, seeing that his landlord thinks he’s gay. You know him. You love him. He’s Robin Tripp. Huh?

I caught a headline not too long ago that said U.S. television is borrowing more and more of its ideas from England. Maybe. Or maybe we’re just more aware of it. I think by now, lots of people know that half of the reality shows you’ve seen in recent years originally started overseas. Lots of you probably even know that the hit sitcom “The Office” is adapted from the unbelievably good BBC series of the same name. While British programming hasn’t exactly reached mainstream status here in the States, recent airplay on BBC America along with the TV show DVD phenomenon have made the original versions of adapted shows like “The Office,” “Coupling” and ”Kitchen Nightmares” (all of which I prefer) start to sneak their way into American homes. Whether you knew it or not though, you’ve been watching Americanized versions of British shows for years.

Even back when ”The Brady Bunch” was on the air, we had a few network series imported from England. ”All in the Family” was based on the BBC series “Till Death Us Do Part,” while ”Sanford and Son” was based on the BBC’s long running show ”Steptoe and Son.” Just a few years later, we borrowed “Three’s Company” from ITV’s “Man About the House.” Jack Tripper with a British accent? That’s just crazy! So when it actually turned up in my Netflix search, I had to check it out. Here’s what I found: 

We all remember Janet and Chrissy first finding Jack Tripper in the tub the morning after a wild party. Well guess what? A few thousand miles from Santa Monica, they pretty much remember it the same way. Only it wasn’t Jack Tripper. It was Robin Tripp, played by Richard O’Sullivan. And it wasn’t Janet and Chrissy. It was Joe and Chrissy, only Chrissy is the brunette. Lucky for Jack and Robin, both sets of girls needed to replace their roommate Eleanor. Lucky for the girls, they were able to convince both Ropers (different first names) that Jack had no interest in them. Lucky for both Larrys (different last names), it was a big lie. 

What’s even more fun is checking out a few of the more subtle things the American producers chose to borrow like the remarkable similarity of the living room couches and the fact that both Ropers had pet parakeets. On the other hand, I couldn’t be happier that they took some liberties with The Regal Beagle, because I just can’t imagine Jack and Larry hanging out at The Lucky Duck. Meanwhile, in a bit of irony, Jack Tripper had a Beatles poster hanging in his room, while Robin Tripp (at least in the first several episodes) did not.

Having watched our version for so many years, it would have been pretty tough for me to come out of this liking “Man About the House” better than “Three’s Company,” and I didn’t. Being as objective as I can (which is not very objective), I just like our cast, our crazy misunderstandings, and our physical comedy a whole lot better. Once I got past the comparisons though, I actually enjoyed the original and wouldn’t mind seeing a little more. I even thought Richard O’Sullivan gave a very good performance. So I mean absolutely no disrespect to him when I say that after seeing both shows, there was only one John Ritter, and nobody else comes close.   

 

2 Comments

    Taylor
    on Apr. 4th, 2008

    Me and my daddy love that show

    Bob Hunt
    on Apr. 5th, 2008

    Then there were the American versions that were ill-advised failures, such as 1983′s “Amanda”, in which Bea Arthur took on the role of John Cleese’s inkeeper in a dreadful remake of “Fawlty Towers”.

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