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…

28 Oct
Bob Hunt

Sitcom Sacrilege?

written by Bob Hunt in Blog, The Brady Bunch | 8 comments

The Fonz tries to express that his political convictions were wr…wr…they were wr…

The following hypothetical scenario is so explosively controversial that I precede it with an emphatic disclaimer:  I am making this up, and therefore in no way does it confirm or deny the political opinions or lack thereof of the persons involved.  Having said that, I ask you to consider your reaction to an imaginary YouTube clip featuring a 1970′s-era recording studio.  Gathered around a pair of microphones are present-day Brady kids Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, Chris Knight, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen and Maureen McCormick, all of them looking considerably older than their last appearance in these surroundings nearly 40 years ago.  They sway and bop their heads, belt out a few sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na‘s, and recreate that classic moment when The Brady Six recorded Time To Change.  Their clothes are much like the groovy threads they wore back then, with one notable exception:  they’re all wearing Barack Obama t-shirts.  If such a clip were made, what would your reaction be?  Is it sitcom sacrilege for actors to mix political opinion with their iconic characters?

That’s the question fans of The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days are asking after viewing Ron Howard’s Call To Action, a four-minute political video that debuted on Funny Or Die last week.  The clip features actor and director Howard expressing his desperation over the current political climate, a feeling so profound that he is willing to sacrifice his artistic integrity as a filmmaker to draw attention to his cause.  To that end, he appears in a black-and-white segment in which he and Andy Griffith reprise their roles as Opie and Andy Taylor at the fishin’ hole, followed by a resurrection of Richie and Fonzie in a skit with Henry Winkler.  The familiar characters in these retro bits lend support to the Obama campaign, discredit the current administration and poke fun at Sarah Palin.

Reaction from fans has been mixed.  “OMG, I love that!” reacted Schmoopie, who posts on the Sitcoms Online Happy Days message board, “Not only do he and Henry Winkler (and Andy Griffith, for that matter!) have great tastes in candidates, that was an awesome video!  Hilarious!”

An opposing view was expressed by Miss Crump’s Blackboard member Fillingstation, who posted, “I would think that these 3 gentlemen would have thought of the fans before doing this.  I will never forget what I saw today…I just don’t see what good this may have done.”

At the core of the debate is an issue as fundamental as the separation of church and state:  namely, the separation of actor and character, and the question of whether the ideology of the former should ever be permitted to be expressed by the latter.  Around the fringe of this argument is a repeated sentiment that many fans prefer to keep their memories of favorite shows untainted by anything that might disrupt their enjoyment.  And it doesn’t just have to be political.

“This reminds me of an experience my hubby had many years ago,” posted Miss Crump’s Blackboard member Sweet Tea.  “He was in a business in LA that provided a specific household service.  He had both everyday people as well as celebrities as customers.  His fave was Florence Henderson, she was so kind and friendly.  But, she also was not like Carol Brady (reasons which I shall keep private, though not negative).  This forever changed his view of her on TBB.  He wished he had never known, just like I wish I had never ever ever seen this video.”

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    on Oct. 28th, 2008

    “Happy Days” premiered in 1974 while “Brady Bunch” was in its last months on the air. I always thought that was fitting. Until about 1979, “HD” was really my favorite show.

    I don’t have a problem with Ron Howard’s clip but I guess it’s totally subjective. I completely support Obama so I found the video charming and effective. What surprised me most was seeing Andy Griffith because I always thought his politics leaned to the right.

    Everyone I know supports Obama and all the people I showed the video to thought it was great.

    Ontario Emperor
    on Oct. 28th, 2008

    I am not an Obama supporter, but I had no problem with Howard’s video, primarily because it was so positive (the fun with Sarah Palin was just that – fun). Maybe that’s a reflection of the characters that Howard, Griffith, and Winkler portrayed on those shows, and perhaps I might have reacted differently if Jack Lord had been doing the politicking. (Now I’m imagining what Chris Knight could have done with a “change” line…)

    on Oct. 29th, 2008

    I thought it was just fun.Hearing Fonzie And Ritchie.It’s like nothing changed.Fonzies still dating those twins and triplets.The three icons must seriously care about this great country to go into character.It’s just their commitment to better this country.I thought it was great.We know Ron isn’t dumb enough to support the other canditate.Made me laugh.

    on Oct. 30th, 2008

    Boy that took alot of guts to do! More power to them.It just goes to show that the country is headed in a different direction now.I belive that the election will be more of a blow out than most people think. I supported the war from the start.Saddam hussien needed to go! I do not support an army of occupation though!

    on Nov. 2nd, 2008

    After the ruinous 8 years we have endured, I think everyone has an obligation to help take the nation back. Howard himself says at the beginning of the video a similar sentiment. We have had a war based on a lie and now we are entering a recession of frightening dimensions.

    I applaud him for helping. I think most public personalities do in fact have to pay attention to politics but icons like Howard and Andy Griffith don’t have to fear any backlash and thanks to them we may get our country back

    on Nov. 3rd, 2008

    I thought it was a heartfelt outreach put in a fun and nostalgic way. His manner was warm, calm and intelligent. Quite different from some of the abusive and alarmist noise coming from the other side.

    Barry Williams
    on Nov. 8th, 2008

    It’s not easy to spot sincerity especially when it comes to actors, who are trained to fake it. However I think Ron Howard is being sincere here, thoughtful and level headed. His concern and love of country is clear and I respect his choice to make it public. It was also a creative piece of filmaking but of course we expect that.

    on Nov. 18th, 2008

    Barry has it Right! Good for you!

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