One's a "Family Guy," the other wanted to "somehow form a family." Oscar-watchers were of differing opinions on host Seth MacFarlane's performance at Sunday's big awards show, but many found one thing to agree on: He looked an awful lot like Peter Brady.
Here's the story: Some Oscar-watchers felt host Seth MacFarlane looked more than a little like Peter Brady.
Twitter users spotted the comparison early, and began sharing photo comparisons and of course, "Brady" references. (Some saw a mixed resemblance, saying MacFarlane also looked like Donny Osmond.)
You remember Peter, the Brady family's middle son, played by actor Christopher Knight. Peter loved movies too -- he famously once tried to say "pork chops and applesauce" in the style of Humphrey Bogart. And he was more than a little into drama, once getting big brother Greg to attempt a "Cyrano" act with him in hopes of charming a girl, and pretending to his parents that he was still employed after a bike shop fired him for working too slow.
MacFarlane acknowledges the resemblance, telling Parade magazine on Sunday, "I get a lot of 'Hey, aren't you Peter Brady?'" And maybe the resemblance is more than skin-deep.
If you'll remember, poor Peter, like middle sister Jan, had it a little rough. He never pulled off the suave charm of Greg or the little-kid cuteness of little Bobby. Maybe, as the mixed reviews of MacFarlane's hosting gig continue to trickle in, the comic can relate.
"The New Normal" stars Andrew Rannells as Bryan, left, and Justin Bartha as David, a couple who are looking to add a baby to their family.
The two baby-faced gay fathers of "The New Normal" exemplify the new breed of television's trying-too-hard superdad. From "Modern Family" to "Parenthood" to "Up All Night" to "Guys With Kids," the sitcom staple has now become Dad as a panicky man-child in way over his head with adult responsibilities. Their sexuality takes a backseat to their desire to be Fred MacMurray; the real key to them is – and these dudes can't shut up about it – they want to be the family man. Unlike the sitcom dads of old – Fred Flintstone, Archie Bunker or Al Bundy – they're desperate to get it right.
The basic sitcom formula remains unchanged: You might recognize the kids (they are sassy!) and the moms (they are humorless-yet-wise tsk-tskers!) as straight from the cliché vaults, yet the megasincere dads are the ones who dominate. It's like cop shows, except the dads are now the wide-eyed recruits fresh from the police academy and the moms are their street-smart partners who grumble, "Listen, rookie, it's murder out here."
Before reality TV came along, prime time was filled with dysfunctional dads. But these days, if you want to see a loudmouth jerk slobbering with resentment, you have way too many reality-TV families competing for your attention. Hell, even Fred Sanford and his idiot son liked each other more than any of the Kardashians do. If you get your kicks watching loathsome families chew one another to shreds, why would you watch a sitcom? There's always "Toddlers & Tiaras" or "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."
"The New Normal" is auteur Ryan Murphy doing "Modern Family," but upping the gay-dad ante. It's the crowning act of Murphy's American-family trilogy, which he began with "Glee" and continued with "American Horror Story," both nightmares about how horrific families are and how you'll lie, steal, cheat or kill to escape. Now Murphy ventures into the heart of darkness: the sitcom, which has always been obsessed with the idea of the nuclear family. This is strange territory for Murphy, who has specialized in revenge fantasies about wiping out Mayberry with extreme prejudice.
At the center, there's a Los Angeles gay couple (Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) who crave a surrogate baby. Their designated womb-haver: earthy Midwestern gal Goldie. She already has a daughter from when she got pregnant at 15. As she tells the boys, "I became a mom in a Rite Aid bathroom." She also has a foxy grandmother: Ellen Barkin, kicking ass in the Jane Lynch/Jessica Lange nasty-blonde role. Barkin has considerably tougher comic chops than the rest of the cast, so she gets nearly all the laughs, spewing homophobic slurs like "salami smokers" and "ass campers."
"The New Normal" isn't brilliant comedy at this point. There are lots of speeches about what love and family really mean. But it's in a long, noble tradition of sitcom families looking to invent the new normal while keeping it as close as logistically possible to the old one. In the Seventies, that meant "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family," which were so outré they required theme songs that nervously explained how these single women got all these kids. Same with "The Odd Couple," which had to begin every show with a voice-over explaining that Felix wasn't gay.
The next two decades saw an explosion of new-normal templates, with (expletive) loads of single moms keeping it together one day at a time. Those aggressively funky families still define the state of the art, from "Fish," with Abe Vigoda in a house full of racially polarized orphans, to "Diff'rent Strokes," where one of the kids from Fish plus another from "Good Times" get adopted by that capitalist (expletive) Mr. Drummond.
It's a long road from "The Brady Bunch" to "One Day at a Time" to "Modern Family." This is the tradition that "The New Normal" comes from: the history of the American family that sitcoms invented, and have been furiously reinventing ever since.
That's the way ... they became "The Brady Bunch" -- again.
Here's the story ... of a "Brady Bunch" reboot. According to Deadline.com, CBS is working on a new version of the comedy about the famous blended Brady family, and actor Vince Vaughn is co-developing and executive producing the show.
The new show will focus on a divorced and remarried Bobby Brady, who is dealing with kids from his first marriage, kids from his wife's first marriage, and a child the two have together, Deadline reports. The site also reports that the famous "Brady Bunch" theme song will likely be reworked if the show makes it to air.
No word on casting yet. Mike Lookinland, 51, played Bobby in the original sitcom and in the 1990s drama "The Bradys," but he's worked more behind the camera in recent years.
It's about time for the Bradys to make another comeback. The original show ran from 1969 to 1974, and spawned a cartoon, variety show, reunion movies and more. The family enjoyed a revival of interest in the 1990s with the "Bradys" hour-long drama, parody movies and a live theater show using actual scripts from the original episodes.
Barry Williams, shown at right in photo with his "Brady Bunch" cast members, was a popular big-brother crush for many.
By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, NBC News
When word came Wednesday of the death of Don Grady, who played Robbie Douglas on "My Three Sons," many a now-grown girl felt the sting of losing one of her childhood big-brother crushes.
There was a period in the 1960s-1980s when big brothers were a staple of TV sitcoms in a way they aren't today. Whether you were the youngest of seven or an only child, you only needed to turn on the set to feel a part of a rollicking, loving family, and so many of them had at least one big brother leading the clan.
These were big bros to be proud of. They were always handsome, always polite, and it was easy to imagine them quarterbacking the family in a game of touch football or gently carrying the littlest family member home from a picnic or fireworks show.
Here are a few of our favorite retro TV big brothers.
Robbie Douglas, 'My Three Sons' We have to start with the late Don Grady. Robbie Douglas was one of the handsomest of the TV brothers, but he wasn't originally the oldest son. In the early days of the show, Mike was the oldest Douglas son, but when actor Tim Considine was written out, the sons shifted. Robbie became the oldest and orphan Ernie was adopted to keep the number of sons at three. Robbie was a great big brother, though, and eventually he married college classmate Katie, who gave birth to triplets -- the next generation of "My Three Sons."
Wally Cleaver, 'Leave It to Beaver' The oldest big brother on our list -- "Beaver" actually began in the 1950s -- Wally set the gold standard for others to follow. Part of his appeal was that even though he was a heartbreakingly handsome athlete who made the girls swoon, he didn't know it. With his parents, and little brother Beaver, he was a humble goofball, always there for his mischievous little bro and a prime part of the family team.
Keith Partridge, 'The Partridge Family' Hunky David Cassidy soon grew tired of his clean-cut image as Keith Partridge, lead singer of the Partridge Family and locker-poster heartthrob, even appearing nude (the photo was cropped) on the cover of Rolling Stone. But girls didn't tire of his gentle big-brother image and that irresistible feathered hair. We longed to ride that crazy multi-colored bus with him, and sit in the audience as he crooned "I Think I Love You."
Greg Brady, 'The Brady Bunch' It was no surprise to 1970s TV watchers that Greg (Barry Williams) and Marcia (Maureen McCormick) snuck some kisses during the filming of "The Brady Bunch." After all, they weren't even biological siblings on the show, let alone in real life, and who could resist the many charms of Greg? Whether he was directing the blended family in a movie about Pilgrims or leading the family singing groups (the Silver Platters and the Brady Six), Greg was the big brother -- and the big crush -- 1970s girls adored.
Richie Cunningham, 'Happy Days' Lucky Joanie. Red-headed Richie was no Fonzie, no epitome of leather-jacketed cool, but he was the ultimate big brother with a good head on his shoulders. He may not have had the teen idol looks of some of the other big brothers, but there was no denying the appeal of his clean-cut appearance and solid midwestern morals. Joanie loves Chachi, but we loved Richie. (And yes, for purists, there was an EVEN OLDER Cunningham brother -- the rarely seen Chuck.)
Theo Huxtable, 'The Cosby Show' Big brothers had started to fade off of shows in the 1980s, and Theo Huxtable wasn't even the oldest in his family -- Sondra and Denise came first. But to Vanessa, Rudy, and later little Olivia, Theo was a great big bro. Sure, he was a little more hapless (that Gordon Gartrell shirt!) and a lot less suave than the brothers of decades past, but he was always funny and sweet, and by the time he was working with dyslexic kids as a college student, we loved him all the more.