Some people are fans of the original series, and others belong to the generation of latchkey kids that bonded with The Brady Bunch in syndication, kids that, no matter where they lived, came home to 4222 Clinton Way. Or was it Clinton Avenue? Brady obsessives have their own reasons. For the weak in spirit, 44 minutes of amateur, juvenile bowling is just the kind of thing to test the limits of those reasons.
The Bradys Go Bowling is a cheap thrill for Brady Bunch diehards. It might be amateur bowling, but the experience of watching it is strictly for Brady pros. You have to be at the point that only the exotic stuff gets you high anymore, things like coloring books and Youtube videos of TV bumpers.
When you’ve memorized the entire series, and you’ve seen the Variety Hour, and A Very Brady Christmas then you’re ready to bowl with the Bunch. If you don’t know who Warren Mulaney is, you’ve still got some homework to do.
The Bradys Go Bowling contains two episodes of Celebrity Bowling. The first is from December 22, 1973 and features Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick bowling against Eve Plumb and Christopher Knight. The second episode is from September 8, 1973 and has Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen squared off against two weird kids from The Waltons, Mary McDonough and Eric Scott. I don’t know anything about The Waltons. It wasn’t on when I got home from school.
Celebrity Bowling was hosted by soap opera actor Jed Allan and ran from 1971 to 1978. Produced in the KTTV studios in Los Angeles, it delivered exactly what it promised and, other than sparse, dry commentary, very little else. Compared to the wretched CG hyper-glitz of contemporary reality shows, Celebrity Bowling looks like a cave drawing. But it was enough. The appeal of watching celebrities bowl was sufficient for the show to return in 1987 as The New Celebrity Bowling. Producer Joe Siegman, described it at the time as the “Miami Vice of bowling shows.”
It’s impossible not to compare the kids’ real, bowling selves to their characters. Barry Williams bowls like Greg would. He’s good, but hubris gets the best of him. Christopher Knight is a more thoughtful bowler than Peter would be. Maureen McCormick gets better as she goes and maintains Marcia-like poise in the face of gutterballs. For my money, the star is Eve Plumb. Then again, Jan is my favorite Brady. In patched bellbottoms, Plumb is funkier and less nervous than Jan.
Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen bowling against Mary McDonough and Eric Scott is interesting only as history. None of the kids get any better at bowling as the game goes on. You can’t blame them for being dull. They’re just little kids bowling. You can guess what that’s like.
Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) champ Cheryl Kominsky is on hand in both episodes to advise strategies and dispense bowling wisdom. She seems to be under sedation, which is too bad, but even so, she’s more interesting than Jed Allan.
Intact in the episodes are sponsor plugs with Jed Allan doing the voice-over. It is a brilliant inclusion that adds another layer to the experience of the DVD as a socio-cultural artifact. The audience is aware of Celebrity Bowling’s original context in the flow of media and marketing. And besides that, they look amazing.
It’s a great thing that S’more Entertainment dug this up and put it out. Unfortunately, the graphic design leaves something to be desired. They would probably hustle a few more units if it didn’t look like you were going to get a DVD-R of a multi-gen VHS rip. Adding insult to injury, Eve Plumb’s name is misspelled on the back. A little style goes a long way. The current design doesn’t do the content a service. Anyway, look into it, S’more.
For the price, The Bradys Go Bowling is low-key fun for those that really love The Brady Bunch and/or really love amateur bowling. If that’s you, welcome home. You can order a copy of The Brady’s Go Bowling on Amazon.
[Via] Mokkari 77