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Thursday, March 7, 2013

'The Brady Bunch' The Complete Series Shag Carpet Cover: Bradyrific

In the spirit of Mike Brady's edict that a Brady never lies, I confess that I am reviewing the 2007 set of "The Brady Bunch" five-season complete series set with the groovy shag carpet cover because my supply of new DVD releases to review has been low these days. This real Magic Mike's voice in my head asking me if I have anything else to say is prompting me to add that I have not watched any of the DVD episodes yet.

For those of you who either lived in a cave from the '70s through the '90s or are too young to remember pet rocks and bell bottoms, "Brady" was a '70s sitcom about "a man named Brady" who had three sons and married a widow with three girls. They all lived relatively happily ever after in a very '70s looking house.

Each episode told both how that group "would somehow form a family" and mined humor from the stupid, arrogant, and embarrassing things that all kids do. These plots often involved one or more Brady kid scheming, in response to varying levels of provocation, against a sibling.

Other stories had the family engaged in fun adventures that included filming the story of the Pilgrims or encountering an ancient curse while vacationing in Hawaii.The family's adventure-packed trip to a ghost town and the Grand Canyon is equally memorable.

The series many contributions to pop culture included a stereotypical depiction of '70s-era Sears style clothing and furniture, the phrase "something suddenly came up" in the context of breaking one date to enable going on another, and most importantly the "Cousin Oliver" practice of introducing a new younger and cuter child on a show when the original moppets started getting older and less cute.

My final confession is that I am more of a Brady companion show "The Partridge Family" man and that I only bought this set because my significant other favors the Bradys over the Partridges and I promised to buy the shag carpet set if I found it for $50. I located it for that price last week and am very glad, for reasons that include those expressed above, that I bought it. It would have been more appropriate if I could have traded in green stamps for it. (This is another reference in these articles that you millenials must Google.)

Numerous conversations that my significant other and I have held regarding "Brady" episodes have kept us highly amused for the past several weeks. References to I believe awkward middle child Jan saying "Cindy, you know this one" when young Cindy froze on a TV quiz show has prompted me to annoyingly make many clearly erroneous statements to prompt the same response.

Additionally, the bubble gum pop songs on the show have been stuck in my head the last few weeks and have prompted my asking some folks if they know "who they are and what they want to be."

I know as well that I will refer to "the summer sun calling my name" and my need to go out and "catch some of those rays" in a few months.

On a more basic level, this series is the best video comfort food out there and is perfect for our current period of mega-storms and intense political upheaval. 

I am already looking forward to a cozy Saturday night on the sofa eating Whole Food's incredible macaroni and cheese, although meat loaf and mountains of mashed potatoes would be more appropriate, watching grade schoolers Bobby and Cindy trying to beat a teeter-totter record and a separate episode that has older brother Greg swaggering around as his rock star alter ego Johnny Bravo. (Yes, we will watch the TV quiz show episode as well and may make time for the "very special" Davy Jones episode.)

It is worth mentioning as well that this truly sponge cake-worthy '70s show is prompting digging into the Twinkies stash that I froze in December. Eating these treats while watching that show almost seems mandatory.

Additionally, the release's outer covering of thick lime shag carpet that is made of what is presumably some form of wonderfully icky polyester is both creative and adds a collectible element to the set.

Past comparable sets, some of which are currently selling for roughly $500, of other shows suggests that the value of this "Brady" set may dramatically increase in value. Examples of now truly collectibles include the "The Golden Girls 25th Anniversary" set with the Sophia's purse packaging and the original "Scooby Doo Where Are You" complete series set with the Mystery Machine packaging.

I am equally excited regarding a bonus disc that is exclusive to the shag carpet set. These extras include the two-part pilot of the "The Brady Kids" Saturday morning cartoon series and two episodes from the Bradys' more serious programs from the '90s. Alas, there are not any episodes from the '80s sitcom spinoff "The Brady Brides" that has sisters Marcia and Jan sharing a house with their husbands.

My final confession is that I may cheat and watch the cartoon episodes on my own tonight, rather than waiting for Saturday's Bradypalooza.

Aside from desiring to share my thoughts regarding the really cool packaging, I wanted to support the good folks at Paramount by responding to numerous on-line reviews about the discs being in tight sleeves and coming scratched and having glue on them. These comments caused great concern, but I decided to take the gamble of buying the set and was prepared to return it.

Paramount must have addressed the issues described above. My 21 discs came in a daisy-shaped flip file that had each disc easily accessible in its own slot. I examined each disc and did not find one scratch or indication of glue on the discs or the slots. Additionally, the cardboard artwork on the shag carpet looked more professional and was attached more tightly than many reviews stated.

As an aside, I have experienced the issue of reports of widespread technical problems before. I hesitated to buy the "Red Dwarf" complete series set because of many reports of missing sound and other technical problems. An investigation revealed that the flaws had been corrected, and my set was perfect.

My experiences the one or two other times that reports of technical problems have created concern regarding a DVD release have been equally positive.

As a lowly DVD reviewer, I cannot make any form of promise regarding the technical quality of any release but can share my experience that such problems are rare and that studios quickly respond to the types of issues described above.

In honor of pledge to be as honest as a Brady, I would encourage any fan or even folks who think that they may enjoy the show to get the shag carpet set. Although I still prefer dreamy teen idol David Cassidy's to dreamy teen idol Barry Williams' Greg Brady, I have no regrets regarding my purchase and have no reason to believe that any problems with glue on the discs exist.

Anyone who has questions or comments regarding "The Brady Bunch" is encouraged to email me. In the odd chance that you get a flawed set, please remind the retailer from whom you purchased it that a Brady always does the honorable thing.