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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RIP, Sherwood Schwartz

There is a pall over 4222 Clinton Way, where the Brady's live. It is a sad day indeed for me and many other people across the globe because yesterday we lost one of the most prolific and important creators of television ever to exist. Sherwood Schwartz died on Tuesday at the age of 94. If you don't know who he is, then shame on you and may you be cursed by a tiki idol. Maybe the phrase "the youngest one in curls" will jolt your memory. Sherwood Schwartz created the best, most endearing and beloved television sitcom in the history of the world, The Brady Bunch. And as if that wasn't enough, he also created Gilligan's Island. The man was clearly a genius who was able to pry open the minds of Americans and see what they wanted to watch on television. How else was he able to produce two shows that although ridiculed in the beginning have managed to remain on the air for over 40 years?

Thinking of the passing of Mr. Schwartz brings to mind episode #74 of Gilligan's Island, "Where there's a Will, There's a Way." It's the one where Mr. Howell writes a will and leaves everyone on the island a fantastic gift after his death. He leaves oil wells and yachts and diamond mines. You know, your average everyday rich people stuff. Well, then Mr. Howell gets all paranoid that everyone wants to kill him so they can hurry up and get their bequeathment so he goes into hiding. While running through the jungle, he narrowly escapes some quick sand and then he gets an idea. He places his hat on the quick sand so that when the others find it, they will think he was swallowed up into the earth. Of course the Skipper finds it and they give him a funeral but Mr. Howell is hiding in the tree watching what everyone is saying about him. It is then that he realizes that the other castaways loved him and not just his money. As he wipes tears from his eyes, the tree branch breaks and he falls onto the ground ruining his secret. Everyone gathers around him saying how glad they are that he is alive. It's one of my favorite episodes on Gilligan's Island because it actually deals with a very serious subject in a Gilligan-gets-hit-on-the-head-with-a-coconut kind of way. Advice to anyone who is at Sherwood Schwartz's funeral: you better look up into the trees and make sure his sneaky ass isn't sitting on a branch watching you cry for him. I wouldn't put it past him, that crazy Sherwood Schwartz.

So, We say thank you to Mr. Schwartz for filling our childhood afternoons with laughs and silliness. His shows served as our babysitter, our friend and our teacher. He taught us lessons that we use to this very day. For example, when you want to back out of a date, you simply have to use the excuse "something suddenly came up." He also taught me the entire story to Hamlet thanks to episode #72 of Gilligan's Island where movie producer Harold Hecuba visits the island and they write their own musical version of the play.
Ophelia: Hamlet, dear, your problem is clear, avenging your father's death. You seek to harm your uncle and Mom, but you're scaring me to death.

C'mon, that's some fucking brilliance right there. But most of all, Sherwood Schwartz's shows taught us to enjoy life. Every single episode of Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch had a neat tidy ending where everyone was happy and life was good. Maybe they weren't completely realistic versions of life but they still gave us a hope that we too could find happiness in our every day life. If Ginger Grant could be happy at the end of an episode where she is almost thrown into a volcano, then shouldn't we be able to find some joy in our life?

Rest in peace, Sherwood Schwartz. Wherever you are, I hope you are having a Sunshine Day!

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dirtydisher said...

Ahh, something suddenly came up. Man, were you a Brady or what? Bitchy Brady. And I always thought that was Jan.

Thomas said...

Something suddenly came up (a mental image of me with you for an entire evening...)

sadi said...

lol @dirty disher! I wanted to be Marcia and Ginger. My husband says I'm a Mary Anne and only the pervs want Ginger.

Gotta love him.

RIP Sherwood Schwartz. You made a very rough childhood a little easier every week. Thank you.

dirtydisher said...

Mary Ann made coconut pies..out of what I do not know..but, men loved her ass in those denim shorts. I wanted to sleep with Thurston Howell.