7/13/11

Sherwood Schwartz RIP


It seems that a lot of Schwartz's actors had trouble taking ownership of his light hearted comedies.  Tina Louise and Robert Reed come instantly to mind.  Plus, the critics never gave him much slack.  Their reviews of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island were brutal.... but guess what? Sherwood's shows are still beloved and in constant rotation four decades later! 

So, what did his shows have that the critics and "serious minded" actors missed? It wasn't kitsch appeal - that sort of thing comes and goes, never enduring for long. They didn't have sensational scripts  The actiing wasn't particularly outstanding. The concepts weren't exactly cutting edge. To be honest, I don't have a good answer as to why his shows have endured for so long.  They are so much a part of my childhood that I simply cannot view them objectively

Whatever the reason, I am confident that my great great great grandchildren, living inside some domed city on Mars, will still be watching The Skipper, Marcia Brady, The Movie Star, Sam the Butcher, Gilligan, and even (choke) Cousin Oliver.. Sherwood may be gone, but his wonderful creations will live on.

RIP Sherwood Schwartz

13 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 13, 2011

    I presume the real reason why these shows linger on is that they had a kind of innocense and wholesomeness that a lot of shows didn't really have,particully today.They were just fun shows that appealed to all ages.Sure,you didn't have to be a Rhodes scholar to understand them,but does it really make any difference the way they make reality shows today?Let's face it,you don't have to be a brainiac to enjoy them as well.My condolenses to Mr. Schwartz for making many T.V. viewers including myself for tuning in and turning on to his wonderful television programs. Budd

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  2. I don't know what the major thing was that clicked, either. Sometimes people can just grab on and bottle some magic. He did, and I owe him so many good laughs and memories that there is really no way to repay that. The Bradys were the family I learned from. Gilligan's Island was there for lighthearted fun. So many hours of childhood. Thank you, Mr. Schwartz. L.I.M.

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  3. Hear, hear! And I'm betting that it is through the work of the late Mr Schwartz that your great great great grandchildren will first hear the name 'Joe Namath'.

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  4. My deepest sympathies for Mr. Schwartz family and friends. A great legacy for all of us who grew up watching good television.

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  5. what is good about these shows is their utter simplicity. they are almost child-like in their pre-supposed naivety. the characters are cartoons, caricatures of real archetypes, and the plots are hilarious for their predictability.
    innocent, daft, and sweet. also the "color by delux" primary tones of the shows, the costumes (how do they wear the same outfit every day for 7-8 years without ever getting dirty?)
    sometimes i wish my life could be more like the trope-laden, hackneyed existence the characters live in...to paraphrase the butthole surfers..."I think about the universe that Jethro Bodine lives in and it is a beautiful place"

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  6. Beyond their simplicity, Sherwood also had a very keen understanding of the human condition. Each of the characters on Giligan's Island was modeled after one of the seven deadly sins, thus their own human flaws worked against them every episode. (Doing the math? Ginger=Lust, Skipper=Gluttony, Gilligan=Sloth, Mrs Howel=Greed, Mr Howel=Anger/wrath, MaryAnne=Envy, my favorite Professor=Pride for his intellectual vanity despite not being able to fix a one foot hole in a boat.
    Similarly, the Beverly Hillbillies contained some of the most biting commentary on class in America to ever hit the small screen.
    However 'common' his shows were, they also exposed our deep commonality, and will last forever.

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  7. You just blew my mind. Gilligan's Island patterned on the Se7en Deadly Sins. Incredible. I need a drink of water.

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  8. I have heard that about "Gilligan's Island," a show I watched all the time but can't honestly say I liked. (I was more of a "Hogan's Heroes" guy.) That said, I watched the Bradys, too, but didn't really like it, either. So why did I watch? Because it was simple, mindless, and a pleasant way to waste an afternoon. (I saw them in reruns only.)

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  9. I think Gog hit it on the head. When I was a kid, I liked The Partridge Family better than The Brady Bunch because the Partridges were hip and now while the Bradys were square and cartoonish. Years later, watching The Partridge Family is painful because it was terribly dated while The Brady Bunch holds up because they existed in a world of their own, astro-turf lawn and all.

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  10. I grew up watching both The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island and loved every episode. It was one of the many things that "if you weren't there, you wouldn't understand". Modern audiences just don't have that innocence.
    I own The Brady Bunch season 1 on DVD and plan on getting the rest of the seasons soon.

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  11. When I was a kid, I wished I was a Brady! That house was so cool! How many of you can recite lines word for word from the show?? I know I could! Don't think people could say the same of the Partridge Family. The only reason I even watched the Partridge Family was because it aired right before the Brady Bunch. Re: Gilligan's Island...wasn't as much of a fan of that show. Most of time I was annoyed by the stupidity of the characters....except the Professor...I used to have a little crush on him.

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  12. A few days back, the local "middle-of-the-road" "adult contemporary" music station hosts were talking about the Schwartz death, and they were sorely embarrassed to even mention BRADY BUNCH and GILLIGAN. This from two adults who regularly get hot and bothered over AMERICAN IDOL and JERSEY SHORE and MOB WIVES.

    Sigh.

    Al Bigley

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  13. AnonymousJuly 20, 2011

    I do think the Brady Bunch in particular presented morality tales with flat, "everyman" characters: that accounts for the timeless quality mentioned in previous posts. But I believe the endurance of Schwartz's programs derives mainly from the audience - the Boomers (midstream Boomers, that is). Boomers have driven and defined mainstream culture (and counter-culture, hah) in our nation every since they arrived. Since my parents were postwar babies who married young, I grew up watching the Brady Bunch (and a couple of other shows made for Boomers) about a decade after the series was made. They were appealing but slightly disturbing, because while the scenarios seemed relatable, the fashions and lingo seemed odd in a way my child mind couldn't explain.

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