If you came of age in the 1970s, there’s a good chance you were raised on television. It all started out so innocently, with our parents plopping us in front of the TV to watch Sesame Street. Then it evolved into the original episode binging, on shows such as M*A*S*H and the Brady Bunch.
Truth be told, I learned a LOT from television, and most of it from Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Greg, Peter and Bobby. Okay, I didn’t learn much from Cindy and Bobby, but the rest of them — absolutely. Here are just a few of the things I learned:
The difference between genes and jeans. This science lesson came from the episode in which Jan’s aunt visited and they talked about how much they looked alike. I spent the entire episode thinking they were talking about Jan’s jeans. Schooled!
The meaning of the word literal. This vocabulary lesson came from the episode in which Greg does something he knows he shouldn’t do, but because it falls within the exact wording of what his parents told him, he does it anyway.
Freckles can be removed with lemon juice. Jan shows up at a department store counter in a head scarf and sunglasses, pretending to be an adult looking to rid her face of blemishes. The woman behind the counter suggests lemon juice as a freckle lightener. Every morning when I see my age spot (right cheekbone, your left if you’re looking at me) I think, “I really should rub some lemon juice on that thing.”
Lies My Teacher Told Me, edition — the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a desert. This geological non-fact from part 2 of the 3-part Grand Canyon or Bust episode was burned into my head until four weeks ago.
Teens get to live in a renovated attic room and goats will eat anything. I’m the oldest in my family, so this was a cool lesson in what happens when you get older. Recently, a parent told me that her two boys have the entire basement to themselves as a bedroom and I exclaimed, “How Greg Brady!” I also say this whenever someone has a live, high school team mascot hidden in their bedroom.
Unrequited love. My first lesson in love came in the form of a mad crush on Peter. One night I had this incredible dream about him in which I was sure I was going to experience my first kiss. Unfortunately, right before anything could happen, he turned into a duck.
And the most important lesson of all? That all of our problems can be solved within half an hour. Watching the Bradys solve all their problems within 30 minutes showed me that when something horrible happened, all I had to do was feel sad about it for 5 minutes and then declare that everything was fine. This method resulted in me leaving college after 4 months, throwing up pints of Ben & Jerry’s every day for 6 months and then participating in 4 hours of therapy (2 individual, 2 group) per week for 1 year. Okay, so no one on The Brady Bunch taught me how to do all that, but I did learn how to be a bulimic from a Meredith Baxter Birney made-for-tv movie.
Thankfully, things have changed. Now, everything I need to know, I learn from Facebook.
Categories: general humor