An Ode to Sherwood Schwartz

Yesterday, I found out that Sherwood Schwartz had died. To some of you, this might not mean a thing but to me, it was as though Santa Claus himself had died and had his obituary posted on people.com. See Sherwood Schwartz was the creator of The Brady Bunch, one of my favorite television shows growing up and arguably one of the most remembered shows of all time. Who doesn’t remember the theme song? “Here’s a story… “And that is what Sherwood Schwartz created- great stories. Sure, none of them were Pulitzer Prize worthy (or even Emmy worthy) but he gave us stories. Each 30 minute episode had a problem- Marcia gets hit in the nose with a football, Jan is allergic to Tiger, Bobby finds a cursed tiki in Hawaii, the gang runs over a skunk on their way to the bank and are mistaken for bank robbers.

But every show also had a solution. Each time you thought the problem was too crazy, you could rely on Sherwood Schwartz to make sure it all worked out. And many of the solutions were simple changes of perspective- they assumed Jan was allergic to Tiger but no one thought to see if she was allergic to his flea powder, the family wasn’t trying to rob a bank, they were just trying to cover their noses to avoid the skunk smell. And forgiveness was often at the core of the solution-Marcia forgives the boys for throwing the football, Greg forgives Bobby for picking up the tiki and causing his surfing accident.

I have heard the argument that The Brady Bunch was too simplistic and wrapped up too quickly. This is probably true. But my rebuttal is simple: first- we do not know how The Brady Bunch accounted for time- maybe each episode was a day, a week, a month. No one knows. But more than that, wasn’t it nice to have a show that taught us to look at problems from someone else’s perspective and to always forgive errors. And that no matter what, you can discover a solution- it might just take longer than 30 minutes.

Goodbye Mr. Schwartz. Thanks for the stories.

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