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…

13 Nov
Bob Hunt

Indoor Recess

written by Bob Hunt in Blog, The Brady Bunch | 6 comments

If only Language Arts were as captivating to them as this moment…

Brady fans, I bring you good news from the world of education.  Those worries that have kept you from sleeping at night, the creeping anxiety that a true appreciation of The Brady Bunch might die with the passing of your generation – I’m here to reassure you that your fears are unfounded.  Oh, I know that too many children today do not know Buddy Hinton from Harvey Klinger.  Yes, I am well aware that the phrases “Oh, my nose!” and “Something suddenly came up” have no special meaning for a depressingly large portion of modern youth.  But I shall not despair.  For I have seen with my own eyes the very evidence that makes me believe The Brady Bunch will be treasured long after its initial audience is gone.

It was the threat of rain that started me on the road to this revelation.  Before dashing off to my job teaching fourth graders, I tossed a Brady Bunch DVD into my bag of graded papers.  If the forecasted precipitation arrived before noon, I would need an acceptable option to keep my class entertained during indoor recess.  Sure enough, we spotted dark skies and a playground full of puddles when the recess bell rang.  I had my makeshift theater ready to go, with a boombox wired to pump out the sound and our trusty LCD projector standing by to splash the vibrant blue opening titles across the length and breadth of our overhead screen.  We arranged our chairs in rows, and soon a familiar theme resounded through the classroom.  Well, familiar to you and me, that is.

Seeing the smiling faces of TV’s most famous blended family and their wacky housekeeper was a total novelty for a number of my students, many of whom had never even heard of The Brady Bunch.  It was clear from the outset that they had no idea what they were watching, as one girl commented that she had never seen “this movie.”  How strange it must have seemed to them, this relic that bears so little resemblance to the various entertainments that fill programming schedules and theaters today.  With no point of reference to prejudice them, they simply accepted it at face value.  It was not retro, it was not kitsch, it was not nostalgic, it was simply a funny program as pure as the day it was first broadcast.  I was stunned by their reaction.

I had chosen to show the “Fright Night” episode, not only because it’s a fun story that features all of the kids, but mostly because I remember counting it as one of my favorites when I was in fourth grade.  I wondered if they would enjoy it as much as I had.  As the episode began, my class sat patiently through the opening sequence of Mike modeling for Carol’s sculpture project.  There were little side conversations breaking out when the camera panned over sleeping Brady girls in the next scene.  From the moment Jan and Cindy spotted a ghost outside their window, however, my students were hooked.  They laughed at the boys celebrating the success of their prank.  They stared with wide eyes as the girls discovered how they had been duped and plotted revenge.  They cheered when Bobby and Peter ran terrified from the attic.  And when Mike and Carol returned home from the art show instead of Alice arriving first, I heard my class emit a collective gasp.  They were as riveted as an I-beam.  When the episode ended, they begged to see more.

And why should I have been surprised, really?  Sibling rivalries, lighthearted pranks, taking a joke too far – these are timeless and universal themes.  It’s what captivated us grown-ups in the first place, isn’t it?  The creators, cast and crew of The Brady Bunch knew how to tell a good story, and if there’s one thing that kids love, it’s a good story.  If what happened in our classroom on a recent rainy morning is any indication, those stories will be enjoyed by many more generations to come.

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    on Nov. 14th, 2008

    I remember that episode well too. Thanks for the memories! But even some of my friends do not recognize the “guy in the picture with me” until I tell them that it’s Barry Williams, and then when I say “you know, Greg, from “The Brady Bunch” – then I get that look of “ahhhhhhh”. I also never thought that I would get my teenage son to watch old I Love Lucy episodes, partly because it lacks the big bang special effects and raunchy humor that permeates everything on the television these days. And *GASP*, it’s in black and white! I think these television shows are so popular because they remind us of a simpler, easier time in life.
    (and is it just me, but this is the first blog I have received in WEEKS!)

    on Nov. 14th, 2008

    That’s one of my favorite episodes although it always seemed like the kids were unduly mean to Alice for no good reason!

    on Nov. 14th, 2008

    I think you hit the nail on the head Renee! I think all of us “grown ups” reflect fondly on the “simpler, easier” times. I can still sit through any episode of The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, etc. and although I have seen each episode so many times I have the dialogue memorized myself, these shows are pure and timeless and I feel it is our “duty” to keep them going with each new generation!

    on Nov. 16th, 2008

    My sister is young and also loves the show.

    Hopefully you show them all the episodes by the year is over! lol.

    It is a shame, one reason being tv channels are not airing it nationally all the time in prime time. Or in the mornings before school.

    on Nov. 22nd, 2008

    I particularly enjoyed this blog. When I was 13 years old in 1979, it was already “uncool” (according to my classmates) to watch Brady Bunch reruns. So seeing that 4th graders today really enjoyed the show – without any predisposition on whether it is “square” or “retro” – makes me smile. I find it disheartening that kids today have no Saturday morning cartoons to speak of, no Wonderama on Sunday, and the family-centered shows usually disrespect the parents. This was a great experiment, Bob. Thanks for sharing.

    on Dec. 23rd, 2008

    Long live the power of the sitcom! Reruns were a big part of my life. The Brady Bunch had a lot of good stories to tell. Great post!

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