The Brady Bunch (tv)

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Sherwood Schwartz

REVIEWED: 12-01-97

Taken from The Boston Phoenix's "Character Sketches," a celebration of viewers' favorite TV characters. Click here for the full article.

Anytime Cousin Oliver's pudgy mug made an appearance on The Brady Bunch, a cloud descended over my television time. I hated Oliver. It wasn't only that he was a jinx prone to snoring. It was that he was just so damn pathetic. The Dorothy Hamill haircut, the thick glasses, that pig squeal of a voice . . . you couldn't watch the guy without squirming in embarrassment. Never mind that he started a dangerous trend in family sitcoms: when the show begins to age, bring in a baby/cousin/orphan/street kid to boost ratings. Today I have only to catch a rerun of Diff'rent Strokes with that little hick Sam, and I feel the Oliver bile rise in my throat.

I think the real problem was that I felt Oliver's pain a little too acutely. I had a snoring problem when I was a kid. My haircut wasn't so hot. I was a bit of a klutz. My adoptive family hated me. Oliver ruined the show's escapist factor for me, and drove me to drastic measures. Whenever an Oliver episode came on, I would go read a book until Three's Company began.

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