There is no one like Mom. She smells of home cooking, fresh laundry and reminds us of home.
Florence Henderson passed away yesterday. Best remembered for playing Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch (1969-1974), Florence was seen as America’s mother.
In 1969, America was changing. While The Brady Bunch was wholesome, unaffected and unabashedly simple at times, it was also charming and reminded us of the love and the chaos of family. Carol Brady is a widow with three little girls. Mike Brady is a widower with three little boys. The Brady Bunch lasted five years, but lives on in reruns. What makes The Brady Bunch interesting from a television perspective is that while it was not the domestic comedies of the early 1950’s, it was represented the changes in the world. There wouldn’t be a Cosby Show, Family Ties or Modern Family without The Brady Bunch. Inspired by the feminist movement, more women were entering the working world, marrying later, divorcing their husbands and were more educated than their mothers and grandmothers.
Betty Freidan, Carol Brady was not. But she was a single mother who saw the possibilities in her daughters. She was also a wife who was a very happily married woman with a very active sex life.
RIP Florence Henderson.
The story of the underdog can be appealing to audiences. Those of us who feel downtrodden, ignored and used will often turn to fictional characters for support and inspiration.
In 1988, filmmaker John Waters introduced audiences to 1960’s teenager Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. Tracy is a pleasantly plump young lady whose sole wish is to dance in the local teenage dance show. In her drive to become a regular on show, Tracy not only changes the look of the dancers, but the color of the dancers. Subversive, campy, but with a strong message of diversity, inclusion and respect for all, this film spoke to audiences. In 2002, Hairspray hit the Broadway stage and became a mainstay in New York until it closed in 2009.
In 2007, a film musical, based on off the Broadway show hit theaters. Let’s just say that it was mostly flash and pop and lost the message of the original film.
In just under two weeks, NBC will be airing Hairspray Live.
We will know soon enough how it holds up to its predecessors. The thing that strikes me is that it still feels very timely, nearly 30 years later. We are still a nation and a culture who judges women based on their looks and discriminates based on color. Hairspray is a reminder that change is possible, if we are bold enough to step up and speak out for what is right.
Hairspray Live will be airing on Dec 7, 2016 on NBC at 8/7c.
Family and money are peculiar things. We do things for both that in the moment seem wise, but in the long run are far from wise.
In the 1998 film Krippendorf’s Tribe, James Krippendorf (Richard Dreyfuss) is an anthropologist who has misused university funds. Instead of discovering and recording the last unknown tribe of New Guinea, he comes home empty-handed. Instead of fessing up, Krippendorf comes up with the most unusual of scams: enlisting his children to pretend to be the undiscovered tribe of Shelmikedmu.
I find the premise of this film to be very interesting. Though I am not sure what genre besides comedy that it belongs to, it is certainly an entertaining film.
I recommend it.