TV Guide Names Brady Hour 4th Worst Show of All Time

The Brady Bunch Hour is named by TV Guide as the 4th Worst Show of All Time.

January 23, 1977 – May 25, 1977
The TV family that wouldn’t go away starred in two sitcoms, a quasi drama, a cartoon, a TV-movie and this, the most dumbfounding of all: a variety show featuring the original cast (with the exception of Eve Plumb, always the smart one) in character. Seems architect data Mike had reluctantly given up blueprints to join his family in a musical endeavor-which explained actor Robert Reed’s profound lack of song-and-dance talent. So what was the kids’ excuse? We’ll never know.

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The Forman Bunch Variety Show (Spoof)

From That 70’s Show
Air Date: October 10, 2000

Taped:January 18-19, 1977 at KTLA Studios
Cast: Kitty Foreman (Deborah Jo Rupp), Red Foreman (Kurtwood Smith), Eric Foreman (Topher Grace), Laurie Foreman (Lisa Robin Kelley), Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), Fez (Wilmer Valderrama)
Guests: Shirley Jones, Charo, and Spiro Papadatos as “Gene Simmons”
Also appearing:Van Snowden, The Krofftettes and Water Follies

Synopsis:
Amidst family bickering, the Foremans settle down together for an evening of television. Kitty has baked a Bundt Cake, and suggests they watch The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Red snaps back by saying “Who the hell gave those people an entire hour!” Kitty brags that the Guest Stars are Charo and the rock band Kiss. The Foremans then start creating fictional episodes of The Brady Bunch in order to insult each other. Laurie storms out in anger followed by Eric and Steve, and Red leaves shouting “This show is crap!” Kitty then fantasizes about the Foremans having their very own Variety Show!

The Foreman Bunch opens its Variety Hour with a rendition of “I Got the Music In Me.” Eric and Steve inform their mom that they’ve decided to run away from home, Red leaves the stage cheering. In the meantime, Laurie is caught making out with Shields & Yarnell. Kitty wants to know who will take care of the boys and Shirley Jones appears. Eric and Steve reveal their intentions to become part of The Partridge Family, and “nail Susan Dey.” Shirley Jones explains to Kitty that the boys are leaving because she “chose to be a bad mother.” Laurie begs to join too but is rejected by Shirley Jones for being a “whore.” Charo then appears and annoys Kitty with her “hoochie coochie.”

Back in real life, Kitty vows that she won’t let the boys leave home, and laments “this show is crap!”

Later in the episode, a Gene Simmons impersonator has a cameo, and at the end Charo, Gene, and Kitty return to the Variety Hour and sing “Sunrise, Sunset.”

Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour (Spoof)

The Simpson’s Spinoff Showcase and/or
The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour

Air Date:May 11, 1997
Written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney, and Steve Tompkins
Directed by Neil Affleck
Featuring the voice of Pamela Hayden as “Lisa”

Webmaster’s Note: Simpsons composer Alf Clausen got his start on television working for Sid & Marty Krofft as a musical director for The Donny and Marie Show. This may partially explain the inspiration for this spoof. The fake “Lisa” is a combination of Geri Reischl, who replaced Eve Plumb as Jan on The Brady Bunch Hour, and the replacement Becky on Roseanne.

Synopsis:
Voted the 19th best episode of The Simpsons by Entertainment Weekly – February 7, 2003

simpsons74.JPG (48235 bytes)Troy McClure hosts this special episode of The Simpsons featuring three possible “Simpsons” spinoffs: “Chief Wiggum P.I.”, “The Love-Matic Grandpa”, and “The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour”.

simpsons3.JPG (51101 bytes)McClure is seen walking down a hallway of the “Museum of TV and Television”, on the walls are large posters depicting numerous television shows. He stops at one of these from the 1970’s program “Fish” and proclaims the excitement of the television spinoff. McClure explains that the network had been meeting with Simpsons producers about spinoff ideas to fill vacancies in the programming lineup, thus transplanting already popular characters into new locales and situations.

simpsons11.JPG (50175 bytes)In the final spinoff of the Showcase, McClure explains that “the Simpson family finally gets the chance to show off the full range of their talents. Unfortunately one family member didn’t want that chance and refused to participate. But thanks to some creative casting, you won’t even notice.” (Note: Obvious reference to Eve Plumb.)

simpsons12.JPG (58561 bytes)”Live from Radio City Music Room in downtown Springfield, it’s ‘The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour!’ Featuring the Waylon Smithers Dancers and the Springfield Baggy-Pants Players…and now, a family that doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘cancelled’, the Simpsons!” (Note: Obvious reference to The Brady Bunch, “The family that won’t go away”.)

simpsons22.JPG (56046 bytes)The Simpson family runs onstage, wearing coordinated 70s-era outfits, and sing “Come Along and Bring the Family.” The opening number is interrupted when Homer turns up missing, but he is soon found curled up in the orchestra pit hiding from the “special ghost”. Marge explains that their special GUEST is Tim Conway, who then walks in to shake hands with Homer.

simpsons36.JPG (51711 bytes)As the stage splits apart into three sections, Homer and Marge stand on the center piece as it rolls forward. Marge explains that the family has been busy as beavers getting the show ready, and Homer wonders what it would be like if the family really were beavers. (Note: Viewers will notice a spoof on a caricature regularly seen on the old Sonny & Cher Show.)

simpsons38.JPG (54425 bytes)Marge and Homer are then seen living in a beaver dam and wearing beaver costumes. Lots of beaver jokes with much canned laughter. Homer comes home from his work nibbling down trees. Marge prepares his favorite for dinner- (wooden) “stakes”. Bart enters and makes a bad beaver joke- “Hey, could you two close the dam door?”. The fake-Lisa notes Maggie has grown her first tooth, a buck tooth. The doorbell rings, it is Tim Conway dressed in a skunk costume. Everyone faints. (Note: In The Brady Bunch Hour, guest stars would often make their first appearance at the Brady’s home by ringing the doorbell.)

simpsons50.JPG (54448 bytes)The next sketch involves a 1950’s soda shop. (Note: A 1950’s sketch also appeared in the Pilot episode of The Brady Bunch Hour.) Marge asks Homer what is still pure and good about the world, he replies “Candy!”. The orchestra then begins to play the music number “I Want Candy!”.

simpsons56.JPG (58378 bytes) This segues into “The Peppermint Twist” where Bart, “Lisa”, and Maggie and dance on huge pieces of peppermint candy. Jasper appears and sings the 1960’s “Lollipop Song” and accidentally launches his dentures into the air while trying to make that finger popping sound inside his mouth. Waylon Smithers then performs a rendition of Devo’s “Whip It” while dressed as a cowboy and uses his whip to pop a bubble Selma is blowing. This leads into a big dancing finale and reprise of “I Want Candy!”. At the conclusion, the family pants from exhaustion.

simpsons70.JPG (51257 bytes)Hans Moleman, of Hans’ Poetry Corner, then appears a recites a strange poem about his cataracts. Conway appears again in his skunk costume and says “And they thought I stunk”.

simpsons72.JPG (55500 bytes)The Simpsons then address the studio audience from an enormous bed, Tim Conway surprises them by appearing from under the covers. They say goodnight and everyone but Conway engages in a pillow fight.

Tele-Visions

by Richard Hack

JUST AS WE ARE SOUNDING the death knell for variety shows, doesn’t someone come along with still another variation on the theme by Milton Berle. Actually, there are several new looks in the area, on ebbing “3 Girls 3” for NBC from Kenny Solms and Gail Parent, and the other “The Brady Bunch Special” pilot from Sid and Marty Krofft for ABC. The former mask news by taking three unknowns and starring them in musical-comedy. The “Brady” project is unique in several arenas. “The show will star the original cast from the Paramount series — Florence Henderson, Robert Reed, Ann B. Davis, and the Brady kids.” says executive producer Marty Krofft. “The unique thing here is that they will never come out of character. They won’t be Florence and Robert. They’ll be Carol and Mike Brady, plus six. And what we do is the old Jack Benny thing, a show within a show. The Bradys have moved to a new house and they are putting on a variety show. The father, of course, is an architect. He goes along with the idea, but is never overjoyed.” And small wonder. The show’s big feature is dancers-swimmer who cavort in a 400,000 gallon pool. (“The biggest thing since Ester Williams.”) And like Mike Brady says, “At $10.00 a five-gallon bottle, I should be smiling?”

TO PUT THE FAMILY in its proper perspective, lest you get confused with the current reruns of the series, the oldest Brady daughter, Maureen McCormick, is now 20, which should make us all feel the neuritis. The single hold-out from the video reunion is Eve Plumb, who you’ll recall played Jan Brady — the one in the middle. Eve, of course, was just triumphant in “Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway.” According to Marty, who insists that he should go down in the Guinness Book of World Records for reassembling the troupe, “Eve was willing to do the special, but no the entire series, because she feels her career is in films now. I feel for Eve because I know she wanted to do the show. Finally it came down to the fact that she agreed to do five of the initial 13 series episodes should it go that far, but then that would have caused contractual problems with all the rest. So, we looked at 300 kids and came up with a new Jan.” The newest Brady is Geri Reischl, a name that trips of the lip. “She’s a great little singer and dancer.” says Marty. And of course, blonde. It runs in the family.

GUESTS ON THE SPECIAL-PILOT, which has a Nov. 28 airdate on ABC, are Donny and Marie Osmond (from another Kroffts show) and Tony Randall, who knows from ABC series. Directing the show will be Art Fisher, who’s never directed a pilot that didn’t sell. The Kroffts don’t fool around with fate. Adding to the punch is head writer Carl Kleinschmitt, who knows from situation comedy, plus Ronny Graham, who’s on the writing team. Lee Miller and Jerry McPhie are coproducing. “It’s all very elaborate,” says Marty. “We open very high energy — with a big kick line. It looks like you’re at the Roxy Theatre. The dancers turn into the swimmers and then the Bradys come over the swimming pool and then the whole thing ends on a disco beat. It’s easier to watch than explain.” No doubt.

SID AND MARTY KROFFT, of course, have the “Wonder World,” which includes a multimillion-dollar exclusive deal with ABC. In addition to the Bradys, the Kroffts have two films in development for the network — on entitled “Steelheel,” a Zorroesque telefeature that has this male secretary in a police department turn into a super crimefighter at night. You know the type. The other is a two-hour survival epic about an Olympic team that crashes in the Himalayas. Both, of course, may well turn into series themselves. The Kroffts do have that knack. “Our only key to success is the idea that you’ve got to lead your audience by the hand. The only times we failed is when we got too artsy-crafty,” according to Marty. “When you come right down to it, you’re dealing with a medium that’s 3 by 2. We’re not dealing with CinemaScope.” Something about the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Tele-Visions by Richard HackTele-Visions by Richard HackTele-Visions by Richard Hack